If you’re looking for a relaxing short break in the UK, how about a weekend in the New Forest? The New Forest National Park is located in Hampshire on England’s south coast. There are lots of little villages and of course you can’t not mention the ponies that are free to roam around, both on the moors and through the middle of the villages! This is my New Forest weekend away guide, including where to stay in Burley!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information visit the Privacy & Disclosure Policy here.
New Forest Weekend Away
🕙2 nights, 1 full day (could be done with 1 night too)
🚗Best to travel with a car
🏨Where to stay: Cider Cottages (Burley)
Burley New Forest
I was based in Burley for my weekend in the New Forest. It’s a good central location for exploring some of the surrounding villages. Burley is a very small village but it has a big personality. It has connections to witchcraft, with legend stating that a witch used to live in the village! Because of this, there are several shops with a witchcraft theme! You can also take a trip on the Burley Wagon Rides, which offer carriage rides pulled by shire horses, around the lanes surrounding the village.
The Burley New Forest Village is a small shopping street. Some must visit shops include: The Burley Stores (for New Forest Ice Cream…the oriental ginger is lovely!) and The Burley Fudge Shop (homemade fudge in a range of flavours).
If you’re still hungry after all the sweet treats, the Queen’s Head pub do lovely food, serving: brunch, lunch, dinners and Sunday roasts. The pub dates back to the 1600’s and was once upon a time a blacksmiths.
Ponies also wander the streets of Burley. One morning they were right outside our accommodation waiting at the bus stop! They don’t seem to be bothered by people or cars, but please keep your distance and drive by them slowly, if you see them on the side of the road.
Cider Pantry Burley
🗺Pound Ln, Burley, Ringwood BH24 4ED
I am a bit of a cider fan, so of course I was drawn to The Cider Pantry & New Forest Cider! They offer you tasting samples of the unpasteurised cider straight from the giant barrel. We opted to try the sweet cider which is a scrumpy style and ended up buying a 2 litre bottle of it! They are also open for breakfast, lunch and cream teas and cake between 9am to 4.30pm.
Where to stay – Cider Cottages
Attached to The Cider Pantry, is Cider Cottages Bed & Breakfast. There are 4 ensuite rooms in total with tea and coffee making facilities, a small TV and free WiFi. The highlight on the stay was the breakfast which is included in the room rate. One morning I had waffles and on the second morning I had the fry up which has amazing cider sausages. As well as the ‘main’ choice, you can also choose a cereal side (I had hot porridge) or giant door step toast. If you ask for apple juice, you are severed their homemade cloudy apple juice!
On one of the New Forest Cider fields, is Tread Lightly Glamping. For those after a more off the grid experiences, they have fully furnished tents and private shower facilities and composting toilets.
⭐️Great for spotting New Forest ponies
There are several villages in the New Forest, so it’s worth seeing a couple during a short break. The village of Brockenhurst is a short drive away from Burley. Originally we visited, as we knew of a spot which is popular with the *wild ponies! A pay and display car park is in the village centre, however a great place to part is the Balmer Lawn Car Park. This parking area is free but it is quite small. It’s right alongside the banks of the Lymington River which is a fun place to paddle in the water or stop for a picnic on a hot day. If this car park is full, the Tilery Road Car Park is a short walk away.
*Although the ponies are ‘wild’ in the sense they are free to wander and there’s no guarantee where you’ll see them, they are technically owned by ‘commoners’.
The Balmer Lawn area is a big wide open area them is frequented by the ponies. When I was younger, I stayed at Hollands Wood Campsite on the edge of this area. The ponies would wander around the tents and caravans! The campsite is HUGE with 600 grass camping pitches (non electric) and there are toilet and shower facilities. If you want a little more luxury, the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Saltus Spa is the closest hotel, or Careys Manor Hotel is a short walk away.
Brockenhurst also has a train station with direct trains to London Waterloo, which take around 1hr 30. This could be a great option if you want to get a taste of the New Forest but are travelling without a car. It’s also on the train line to Bournemouth.
Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
🗺Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Dr, Lyndhurst SO43 7GQ
Most of the time when something is a ‘sanctuary’ it’s usually a paid attraction, a little bit like a zoo. However the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary in the New Forest is free! It’s more like a wildlife area. There’s a large parking area (although it was completely full on the weekend that I visited in July), toilet facilities and then 3 woodland trails.
The Deer Platform Trail is a 1/2 mile loop. Obviously with the deers being wild animals, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be in the area at the time of your visit. From the platform we could see them in the distance but we couldn’t really see them.
We decided to continue along the blue Jubilee Trail, which is a 1 mile loop and we were lucky enough to see some of the male deer close up! Deers are generally very shy animals and will run away if there are loud noises (such as children), so the quieter you are, the more likely you will be able to fully enjoy viewing them.
Driving In The New Forest
It’s also fun just to drive around the roads of the New Forest. Some roads are across wide open moors, others are through thick forests. The roads are narrow in some places and there are lots of blind bends. Make sure to keep at a sensible speed because there may be ponies in the roads, along with other cars or cyclists. There are trail car parks that are free to park in, however if you plan on visiting the different villages, many of the parking areas are pay and display.
There are many other things to do in the New Forest, from visiting the coastal villages, going to a spa, hiking or cycling (there are many routes throughout the National Park) to larger attractions such as: Paultons Park theme park and Beaulieu Motor Museum. We decided to have a more relaxing weekend (trying to dodge the rain and avoid needing to prebook attractions).
Inspired to have a weekend in the New Forest? Pin it for later!