For the February Half term I took the boys to New Forest! We cycled, we got lost, we saw animals, we got stuck in mud, the boys climbed trees and we saw a rainbow. Ive always wanted to go to the New Forest because of my love for nature, seeing wild animals, and just being able to explore at our own leisure. Ive looked into going to New Forest in the past and to stay local it can be quite expensive so I decided to stay in Southampton 20 minutes drive from the main forest and all the attractions.
I stayed in Days Inn Southampton Rownhams which was just off the motorway. I paid £65 for me and the boys for 2 nights which I thought was pretty cheap. The room was standard but clean an just what we needed for 2 nights. There is no food onsite but there was a service station a 2 minute walk from the hotel. The food selection was quite limited so we ended up having McDonalds which isn’t the best option but the other than that, there was a cafe there but I wasn’t too keen on it. You could look into other restaurants close by but honestly after the busy days we had I didn’t have the energy for that. Because the hotel is off the motorway it does mean that driving back to the hotel you do have to drive back on yourself to get on the correct side of the motorway. This adds an extra 5-8 minutes onto your journey which isn’t too bad but bear that in mind.
Travelling by car
I choose to travel by car because I was staying on the outskirts and wanted to be able to navigate to different locations easily. The drive from South London took just over 2 hours, I always think getting out of London takes the longest time, once on the motorway it was pretty straight forward. The boys played bop it the whole way there and looked out for animals. I don’t mind driving especially on the motorway. I didn’t take any public transport so can’t comment on how accessible public transport would be but having a car was easy and convenient especially as we were only there for 3 days.
New Forest Wildlife Park
On the first day we arrived around 2.30 and true Nahdz adventure fashion I couldn’t wait to get the adventure started. As it was quite late in the day I opted for New Forest Wildlife park which was a 10 minute drive from the hotel. I did a quick search online and found a discount code so I paid £22.80 for myself and the boys. There are so many animals to see like, owls, kangaroo, wolf, otter, badger, polecat, ferret, lynx, hedgehog, fox, wild bore, sousilk and we got up and personal with deers.
Even though we got there late we still managed to see the otters be fed. We walked through and saw all the animals in about 1 hour, you could probably spend longer but my children run and skip everywhere. There was an adventure playground just before the deer walk through so we stopped off there and burnt off some energy. The boys loved climbing up to the top and Micaiah was even doing back flips on the edge of the climbing frame! Yes wild child.
Once the boys finished playing in the adventure playground we walked through the deer enclosure. It was lovely to see all the deers wondering around, we even saw deers with really big antlers. We kept calling them Rudolph. After we spent sometime with the deers we headed over to another adventure playground. There was a zipline and other swings for the boys to swing and climb from. We spent the rest of the time here until the park closed.
This was a lovely park with plenty for children to do, I would defiantly recommend if in the New Forest area.
New Forest Adventures
Cycling through New Forest is a popular attraction and you can find plenty of companies that hire bikes at great prices. You can hire bikes for half a day, a full day and even a few days. I looked the morning of and booked with a company called New Forest Activities. I rang them before and they were very helpful, it is best to book bikes in advance but because it was a gloomy day I didn’t have any issues with getting bikes. They also informed me that the high street was close so I wasn’t able to park onsite but recommended a local affordable car park.
Ahaziah can ride a bike so I got him a children’s bike. I wasn’t sure if I would get Micaiah a tag along or a car seat. Once I got there I opted for the tag along which is attached to my bike. It meant that Micaiah could pedal and hold on to the handle bars but I was in full control. I think I prefer this option as he felt like he was riding oppose to him just sitting in the car seat enjoying the views and ride. I paid about £40 for all of our bikes for half a day.
There is a big map with different routes to choose from depending on distance, what you would like to see and your ability. I went for the off road route because I had the boys and we are not confident cyclers. The route was about 1 hour but cause we stopped often to look at the horses, pony’s and take in the scenery it took us longer. We were provided with a rucksack with a puncher repair kit and a map.
I really enjoyed cycling as much as the boys. It was muddy due to the rain and we got lots of mud splashes on our clothes but that didn’t matter because we ended up getting stuck in the mud anyway!! Once we returned the bikes I asked the guy where would be the best place to see the horses. He suggested that I drive to Brockenhurst. I was able to park for free and roam the park at my leisure.
We began our journey but had no idea where we were heading, sometimes I plan too much and it is good to be spontaneous so this was a very spontaneous adventure. We had no idea where we were heading to, we had no map, we just was on the search for horses. I let the boys choose what path we took, along the way they climbed logs, we got suck, we even got stuck in the mud but after walking for about 1 hour and a half we found horses. Loads of them, it was like they were all hiding together.
The boys were fascinated. The weather was also bipolar as you would expect in the UK, we had rain, sunshine and winds but of course it didn’t stop us. We saw a beautiful rainbow and even tried to find the pot of gold at the end. Not only did we use a lot of energy while having fun it also taught the boys resilience because we did not give up.
New Forest Activities have plenty of other activities to choose from. We would have love to do more but couldn’t because we wasn’t there for that long. I would defiantly go back during the summer and take advantage of the land and water activities they have including archery and canoeing. New Forest Activities is affordable, staff are very helpful and knowledgable. You are guaranteed to find an activity for the whole family to enjoy.
Lee Country Park
On the way back home I decided to split up the journey and head to the beach. This was not the greatest beach to visit but I didn’t want to drive away from South London. There is plenty of other beaches around New Forest but they were closer to Portsmouth. Because we visited in February dogs were allowed to be on the beach. I noticed that lots of children were searching for fossils, there were lots of beautiful shells in the sand. The boys found sticks and was playing a game. There was a adventure playground as well as a restaurant which had a beautiful view of the sea. We spent a few hours here and had lunch for the road. The beach itself is OK but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit, I think it was perfect for a pit stop but not a beach to spend the day.
We enjoyed our time away in New forest and can’t wait to visit again. My favourite part was cycling through the forest, Micaiah’s favourite part was running away from the horses once we found them and the zip line because it was so fun. Ahaziah’s favourite part was also riding on bikes because we got to ride and down lots of hills.