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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Things to do in New Forest Hampshire on a shoe string

Recent research by charity ‘Family Action’ states that many families will be ‘stuck at home’ this summer as the cost of family day trips rocket.

However not all days out have to cost a fortune. The New Forest is full of events, activities and days out this summer that are free or low-cost.

Things to do:

  • Explore the New Forest National Park for free. Walking or cycling in the New Forest is free and there is no charge for parking in Forestry Commission car parks. There are routes to suit every ability.

For walking and cycling routes visit

For a range of cycles and all ability bikes go to

  • Visit ‘A date with nature’ at the New Forest Reptile Centre just outside Lyndhurst until 2 September. Learn about birds of prey in the New Forest and see the action unfold on a live nest-cam. Afterwards walk round the Reptile Centre to see if you can spot natterjack toads, adders and more. The cost for car parking is a voluntary contribution.

For more information visit

This is a joint project with the National Park Authority, Carnyx Wild, Forestry Commission and the RSPB.

  • Visit the National Park Explorer roadshows on 31 July and 7, 14, 21, 28 August for free fun-filled activities including: bug hunts, stream dipping, seashore safaris, craft activities, colouring, scavenger hunts, clay modelling and more.

For more information and locations visit

  • Head along to Lepe Country Park on 9-10 August for ‘Marine Wonders’, a two-day activity bonanza of trails, activities, crafts, beach safaris and rock pooling as we celebrate South East Marine Week on the New Forest coast.

Activities are free but car-parking charges apply. For more information visit

This is a joint project with the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

  • Come to a ‘New Forest in a nutshell’ event at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst on either 2, 9, 16, 30 August and join a walk with a National Park Ranger.

The cost is £8 for adults, £2 for under 16s, free for under 5s and £5 for Friends of the New Forest Centre. This includes entry to the museum (worth £4) and free literature.

For more details visit

  • Take a trip on the New Forest Tour for unrivalled views of the New Forest National Park. Explore the New Forest on the interchangeable red and green routes on the hop on/hop off open-top bus.

When you purchase your ticket you will receive a Brand New Forest card that entitles you to discounts at various eateries and attractions across the New Forest.

A group ticket for five people is £28 and under 5s travel free. Both routes stop on the New Forest cycle network.

For timetables and bus routes visit

Family Action report ‘Breaking the Bank: Summer on a Shoestring
  • 54% of parents polled nationally plan to cut back on day trips this summer
  • because of money pressures
  • A week’s holiday away from home is out of reach for the majority of children
  • both in the squeezed middle and the very poorest households according to
  • Government statistics
  • The cost of day trips is equivalent to a week’s disposable income for some of
  • the poorest families helped by Family Action
For details visit

Learn more about the New Forest Hampshire UK

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