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Saturday, 20 June 2015

5 Historical Sites You Must Visit in the New Forest

The New Forest is a truly unique national park in Hampshire, covered in mystical woodland, ‘chocolate box’ thatched cottages, wild ponies and historical sites. Although there is so much to choose from in the New Forest, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 historical sites to visit during your stay here.

1. Rockbourne Roman Villa

Rockbourne Roman Villa New Forest Hampshire UK
Rockbourne Roman Villa
Photo: Hantsweb
The largest known Roman villa in the area, Rockbourne dates from the Iron Age to the 5th Century AD and showcases some of the best preserved Roman mosaics. Set in a picturesque farming estate and complete with living quarters, bath houses, workshops and farm buildings, this extensive historical gem truly is a sight to behold. It is still possible to see the outline of the villa’s 40 rooms and evidence of an underfloor heating system!

2. Beaulieu Abbey

Beaulieu Abbey New Forest Hampshire UK
Beaulieu Abbey - Photo: Beaulieu
Created by Cistercian monks in 1204 on land given to them by King John, Beaulieu abbey is a wonderful historic building, allegedly haunted by ghosts! Despite much of the abbey being destroyed during Henry VIII’s reign, there are still many parts to explore, including the incredible gardens, where monks would grow herbs for both cooking and medicinal purposes. You can even download an audio tour to listen to during your visit, giving you all the need-to-know information and insights into this magical place.

3. Eling Tide Mill

Eling Tide Mill Totton Hampshire
Eling Tide Mill
Photo: Totton & Eling Town Council
This 900 year old mill, located in Totton, is considered by many to be one of the most important heritage sites in the New Forest. Currently undergoing £1.3 million worth of restoration to bring it back to its former glory (due for completion in summer 2016), this amazing tidal mill is still grinding wheat into wholemeal flour today, just as it was in the 1100’s! For an authentic experience, why not apply to become a volunteer miller, where will use traditional methods and techniques to mill the wheat?

4. Bucklers Hard

Bucklers Hard Beaulieu New Forest Hampshire UK
Bucklers Hard
Photo: The New Forest Guide
Step back in time at Bucklers Hard, an 18th century shipbuilding village where boats were created using New Forest timber! Three of the ships that were built here saw action in the battle of Trafalgar, amongst other notable craft. With a museum, cottages, woodland walks and river cruises to discover, you can get a real feeling for what life must have been like in this historic village, from all angles! It is even possible to stay here at the Master Builder’s House Hotel, enabling you to wander the street at night for that genuine experience.

5. Breamore House & Countryside Museum

Breamore House and Countryside Museum
Breamore House
Photo: Breamore House
Currently in its ninth generation of family ownership, this incredible Elizabethan manor house and museum gives the opportunity to experience how the aristocracy of the New Forest have lived since 1583. Amongst tapestries, needlework, porcelain and furniture dating back several hundred years, Breamore is also home to a plethora of steam powered farm machinery and tractors. After whiling away your afternoon with all that Breamore has to offer, why not pop into their tea room for a spot of lunch or a homemade cake?

We’re sure there’s something in our top 5 for everyone, but the New Forest doesn’t stop there! Take a look through our website for other fun filled activities and notable places to visit in the New Forest - there’s lots to choose from!

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