As we love living is this area we thought we would highlight our family’s favourite things to do and places to go in the local area to give you some ideas. We have undertaken these activities or visited all these attractions recently (they are in no particular order):
- Paultons Park – this is a favourite of our children. The park has a number of great rides for both children and adults, but is particularly aimed at 2-10 year olds. The best thing is that the rollercoasters have been designed to be quiet (forest friendly) and have a lower height restriction than many theme parks (at 130cm you can go on all the rides). For the smaller children Peppa Pig World is very popular and there is a large indoor soft play if you need to get out of the rain. Our favourite ride is the Wave Runner. www.paultonspark.co.uk
- Forest Falconry – This is one for the adults – a hands-on falconry on our road. They have a large number of magnificent birds including owls, falcons and even Golden Eagles. You get the opportunity to put on a glove and fly some of these beautiful creatures. The owners are friendly and very knowledgeable about the birds. www.forestfalconry.com
- Rock Reef – This is a new attraction on Bournemouth Pier. The main building has been converted to an activity centre that has rock climbing walls, a high wire (Go Ape type) aerial obstacle course, simulated caving, a zip wire onto the beach and a few extra challenges. The whole family loved it, the rock climbing was simple click and climb with a safety system that slowly lowers you to the ground if you fall or jump off the walls. www.rockreef.co.uk
- Moors Valley – A country park with lots and lots of things to do. This is another favourite of the whole family, there is a great play area, a play trail, a tree-top trail, a fitness trail, a cycling trail (all of which are free), Go Ape (including a junior Go-Ape for children over 1m), Segway hire, fishing, golf and a steam railway. Our children never get bored of going here. www.moors-valley.co.uk
- New Forest Reptile Centre – This is a unique opportunity to see the reptiles that live in the new forest which include several types of snakes, lizards, toads etc. We went earlier in the year when the adders have just had their babies. This year they have got cameras on some birds nest containing babies. The best part is that it is free. www.new-forest-national-park.com/new-forest-reptile-centre.html
- Cycling – The new forest is a great place to go cycling, there are plenty of tracks away from the roads, some of which are on old railways lines and therefore pretty flat. We often take our bikes over to Burley and cycle along a disused railways track between Burley and the old Burley railway station (where there is a nice café). At the halfway point where a road crosses the track, you can also go left (up a pretty steep hill!) and get to the lovely White Buck Inn for a cheeky beer.
- Monkey World – This is another family favourite – it is a bit further to travel (about 45 miles and will take you about an hour and ten minutes), but they have some amazing Monkeys and they are all rescued from bad situations, and the history of where they have come from is printed on each enclosure. They also have an amazing play area with great climbing nets for the kids, which our kids love. www.monkeyworld.org
- New Forest Water Park – This park does various watersports and wake boarding, but this year has a huge inflatable aqua park on the lake (a bit like it’s a knockout). This is great fun, you get an hour on the park and children as young as 6 can go on (everyone gets a buoyancy aid so good swimming skills are not essential). www.newforestwaterpark.co.uk
- New Forest Wildlife Park – This is a lovely small wildlife centre with an emphasis on otters which are really fun and lots of owls, but much more as well. They also have a great wooden play area to keep the kids amused. www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk
- Our beautiful New Forest. What our kids enjoy most of all is playing in the forest. Whether it be animal spotting (especially pigs which are only seen in our area of the forest), picnicking, climbing trees or paddling in clear streams, there is hours of fun to be had exploring the forest. We particularly recommend Boldrewood where you can often spot deer, or paddling in the river at Balmer Lawn near Brockenhurst.
If you decide to try some of these we hope you like them as much as we do.