You’re not going to run out of exciting things to do and places to go in Dorset, but when...
One of the many great things about the New Forest is the fact that, no matter what the weather is like, there’s always somewhere really exciting to visit.
From indoor attractions and museums to shops and markets, the New Forest really is set up for variable weather.
If you are staying in one of our cottages in the New Forest, then you will be spoilt for choice between visiting busy seaside towns and pretty villages in the heart of the forest.
Here we guide you through some of the top attractions you can experience and activities you can try in all types of weather.
Beer has been brewed in Ringwood ever since medieval times when the market town was an epicentre for merchants looking to whet their whistle before beginning bargaining.
Today the brewery offers a whole host of activities for visitors and if the weather takes a turn for the worse, or you just love your ales, then a tour around the Ringwood Brewery should certainly be on your to-do list.
The brewery has a range of ales on tap including the Razor Back, Boon Doggle, Forty Niner, Old Thumper and Circadian. Seasonal ales such as the Mauler (February to March), Red Boar (April), Circadian (July), Wild Boar (October) and XXXX Porter (December) are also available to try.
A tour of this iconic brewery takes just an hour and a half and includes a complimentary drink, a tour of the brewing facilities, malted barley tasting as well as an up-close look at the fermentations at work in the TunRoom.
The brewery is open throughout the year on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesdays and tickets cost just £8.50 for adults and £5.00 for under 18s.
Whatever the weather, there’s always lots of family farmyard fun to be had at Longdown Activity Farm.
The farm, which is just off the A35 between Lyndhurst and Southampton, offers you lots of hands-on activities which run throughout the day, giving you ample opportunity to see and feed the animals. You can bottle-feed a kid goat or even a calf, hold a duckling or baby rabbit in the animal-handling barn and say hello to the pigs and piglets.
The farm has a range of adorable animals such as cows, donkeys, pigs, ponies, alpacas, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens and goats.
If you have little ones who love tractors, then the tractor and trailer rides will make them smile, whilst the outdoor and indoor play areas mean there is plenty of space to let off some steam. The indoor play areas have a soft play area, a trampoline barn and a huge straw barn.
You can also try some local produce at the Longdown Farm Shop!
The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum in the New Forest is a perfect all-weather attraction to visit.
The museum is home to one of the finest collections of fully restored motorcycles in the world and currently has over 385 bikes on display, from the pioneers of the 1800s through to the machines of the 70s and 80s.
World-record-breaking bikes and racing machines from all over the world are on display and, incredibly, most of the bikes are in working order.
What’s great about The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum is the fact that it is not just for the bike enthusiast. They have craft and gift shops as well as a children’s play area. If that’s not enough, then you can also meet animals such as alpacas, donkeys, goats, sheep and turkeys during your visit.
The small village of Burley in the heart of the New Forest embodies everything you would expect from a traditional village in the area.
Nestled in the countryside among colourful heathlands, mighty oaks, beeches and lofty pines, Burley is a popular stop-off.
Heading to the village, you can stop off at Burley Fudge Shop to taste some of the most delicious fudge you will ever eat.
The shop is the perfect haven to revitalise your energy levels after a long day of exploring. It produces handmade artisan fudge of the highest quality and offers daily fudge tastings and a range of fudges to suit many dietary requirements. This year the fudge shop is offering a new special flavour every month alongside its range of traditional classic fudges.
You can then take back some of this delicious fudge to your English country holiday cottage or buy some to take home as a present for family and friends.
The St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery allows you to find out more about the New Forest coast, learning how smugglers made a profit on the shores and salt-makers and boat-builders developed their trades.
The museum’s collection relates to the area between the Solent Coast and the New Forest, covering topics from home life and industry to farming, war and sport.
There are hundreds of artefacts on show that you can handle, costumes you can try on and even a replica pilot boat wheelhouse to have a go on.
Just because it may be raining doesn’t mean you have to stay inside because, at New Forest Activities there is a wide range of canoeing and kayaking activities you can try.
New Forest Activities said, “We offer a wide range of activities to do regardless of the weather conditions – as long as our team think it’s safe, we will always go ahead.
“One of our most popular activities is canoeing, which is great for families and those who are not as brave to go in a boat alone. Kayaking is another one of our water-based activities that is very popular with visitors.”
Whilst canoeing and kayaking, you can explore the beautiful Beaulieu River and discover hidden creeks, whilst having great fun come rain or shine.
New Forest Activities have a variety of other all-weather activities you can try.
A spokesperson added, “We also offer a great range of activities such as Battlefield LIVE, our hugely popular laser combat game, plus archery, ropes courses, bush craft days and family and woodland adventure days. Whatever the weather, we are prepared.”
The Battlefield LIVE combat game is an infra-red gun game that allows you to choose a weapon, aim down the red-dot sight and take out all your opponents.
If that isn’t up your street, then learn about the art of archery, a sport that dates back to the ancient battlefields. With bows and arrows of all shapes and sizes, you can learn new skills and go for gold.
If you just want to put your feet up and relax, then you are in luck as there are plenty of relaxing spas in the New Forest area.
Herb House Spa at Lime Wood offers a number of treatments that will make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Treatments include a variety of body massages, skincare treatments, body scrubs and wraps, hand and feet massages and manicures and speciality treatments like stone massages, reflexology, four hands massage and a tri-dosha pummelling massage, to name just a few.