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Campsites and Holiday Parks in The New Forest

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82 bookable sites within 40 miles of The New Forest

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Camping in the New Forest: scenic stays for all sorts 

It may be England’s smallest national park (at a petite 223 square miles) but wow, does the New Forest pack in a whole load of gorgeous scenery, fab wildlife and fresh-air activities. Just the sort of place for an outdoor break, one might suggest? And we’d give a keen thumbs up to that – it’s possible to find everything from fancy tipis and yurts to wild camping in the New Forest, so you can sort some open-air antics whatever kind of thing you’re in the market for.

The compact size of the park is a bonus for folk who like to cram in plenty of variety on their hols: stays at camping sites in the New Forest will have you not only surrounded by countryside but also close to the coast for days out by (or indeed in) the sea.

Ready to wander in the woods, spot wild ponies and stick your toes in the sea? Read on for our advice on how to find the best places to camp in the New Forest… 

Simple or stylish: finding your New Forest campsite

Among the heaths, woods and coast are plenty of fab places to stay – so truffling out the best campsites in the New Forest for your own personal setup might take a little bit of effort (but also a lot of looking at nice pictures, so it’s hardly a hardship…)

A good starting point, as usual, is to determine whether you’re going to bring your own accommodation with you or move into something that’s already there. If you’re in the former, ahem, camp then you can narrow things down by searching for tent camping, motorhome pitches or touring caravan sites in the New Forest. 

Within that little lot is a good spread of different places to stay, so use the filters to find your vibe: perhaps pick peaceful or remote location for a secluded place to commune with nature, or find the family-friendly filter for somewhere you can be sure the kids can charge about without issue.

Not in possession of your own camping kit? Fresh air still beckons for you (phew). This part of the world was once a royal hunting ground, designated by one William the Conqueror no less, so you’ll be treading in famed footsteps if you decide to take the fancier option of glamping in the New Forest.

Even within the sphere of glamping, you’ve got a good amount of choice… take a look at bell tents or spacious lodges for a family break or cosy up in something like a shepherd’s hut if you’re travelling as a twosome. Keen to keep the budget down? Opt for a frill-free camping pod, or set off for a stay at one of the smart static caravan parks in the New Forest.

What kind of facilities do New Forest campsites have?

Well, that all very much depends on where you’re pitching up… and again, you can use the handy filters to make sure you’re getting the sort of combo that suits you. If you’re bringing the kids along, you might like to take a look at family-friendly New Forest holiday parks, which are often set up with all sorts of things to entertain the nippers (have a look out for play areas, outdoor pools, indoor pools or kids’ club activities) and grownups (a games room or a bar, perhaps?)

If that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing at all, panic not – there are plenty of campsites around that cater for those seeking something altogether simpler: maybe you’ll fancy a bit of fishing, or a place that allows you to build campfires of an evening?

Those tick-box filters are the place to make sure you’re heading off to a site that’s set up for your travelling party too: you’ll need a dog-friendly place if you’re packing the pooch, and a place that accepts groups if you’re planning to gather with pals.

Where to go while camping in the New Forest

Frankly, this section could have a book of its own, such is the list of stuff to do around here, either within the national park or heading a little further afield into Dorset or Hampshire.

You’ll want to start, most likely, with a bit of an explore of the pathways that cross the heaths and woods of the park… there are lots of walking trails about, plus riding centres and places to hire bikes (Brockenhurst is a good bet here). Wherever you roam, keep eyes peeled for the famed wild ponies, deer and bats that you’ll share the space with.

For days out, the swish estate of Beaulieu (home to the National Motor Museum) is a popular choice, as is a wander around the historic riverside village of Bucklers Hard. Just across the river from there are the pretty pathways of Exbury Gardens (which you can also puff through on a steam railway should you wish).

If gardens and history aren’t doing it for the kids, set tracks for the New Forest Wildlife Park, head off to meet the life-sized porker herself at Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park, or chuck the nippers at the inflatable obstacles of the New Forest Water Park.

For coastal times, Milford-on-Sea and Lymington are popular spots, for walks out to Hurst Castle, dips in the saltwater pool or days of watersports like paddleboarding. Seeking a sandy beach? Head a little west to Hengistbury Head, Highcliffe or beyond to buzzing Bournemouth.

Considering the idea of a two-centre holiday? Hop on a ferry in Lymington or nearby Southampton for a stay at a campsite on the Isle of Wight, or head to Poole to cross the channel for a North Normandy camping holiday.