On the map
While you could easily spend a month without even leaving the New Forest, those who venture a little further afield will certainly be rewarded. You might even find yourself hunting a giant or with a seat at King Arthur’s table. Here’s a quick tour…
Location: East of Southampton (42.8 miles)
Great for: sun, sea, ship and shopping seekers
Visit: It’s not hard to see why Portsmouth is called the Waterfront City. If it’s by the water – be it the HMS Victory or Mary Rose at the Historic Dockyard, the award-winning Blue Reef aquarium or the lively Gunwharf Quays – chances are you’ll have a great time.
Top tip: At 170 metres tall, Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower offers unrivalled views of the Solent and the surrounding area. On a clear day you can see for up to 23 miles – just don’t look down.
Find out more: www.visitportsmouth.co.uk
Location: North of Salisbury (41.2 miles)
Great for: budding photographers and history buffs
Visit: It may not have made it into the new Seven Wonders of the World, but Stonehenge still knows how to draw a crowd. We still don’t really understand why people spent around 30 million hours building it, but that doesn’t make this prehistoric site any less impressive.
Top tip: Avoid the perimeter fence with out-of-hours Stone Circle Access – call 01722 343834 to book your place.
Find out more: www.stonehenge.co.uk
Isle of Wight
Location: Accessed via car ferry at Lymington
Great for: Everyone – fun for small and ‘big’ kids guaranteed
Visit: With Lymington on the doorstep, the Isle of Wight is just a fun ferry ride away. Coloured sand, model railways and even a dinosaur farm make it sound more like a giant theme park than an island – and if you can tear yourself away from its great beaches and cliff top walks, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
Top tip: Take a chairlift ride over the cliff at Alum Bay to see the wonderful Needles Rocks and Lighthouse – before picking up a coloured sand souvenir.
Find out more: www.iwight.com
Location: West of Poole (40.9 miles)
Great for: Walkers, wannabe geologists and snorkellers
Visit: Lulworth Cove is full of surprises. With everything from the famous Fossil Forest to the cove’s very own butterfly the ‘Lulworth Skipper’ – not to mention the deserted village of Tyneham nearby – a day trip here is as intriguing as it is beautiful.
Top tip: Brave the hill for the refreshing walk to Durdle Door a massive rock arch jutting out into the sea. Its sloping beach is great for sunbathing and snorkelling.
Find out more: www.lulworthonline.co.uk
Location: North of the New Forest (31.5 miles)
Great for: leisurely day trips, music and history lovers
Visit: People in Salisbury and the surrounding area certainly know how to have fun. Take a walk on the wild side with some pig racing, a tip to the bat cave and even a hunt for the Salisbury Giant – not to mention his friend Hob Nob. Just make sure you keep your windows up in the Longleat safari park otherwise you might attract some rather unwelcome visitors.
Top tip: Why pay to see a concert when you can enjoy choral evensong at Salisbury Cathedral? It’s beautiful, happens every day and it’s free.
Find out more: www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
Location: Near Fordingbridge (32.1 miles)
Great for: leisurely walks back in time and curious children
Visit: The only problem you’ll have at Breamore House is deciding where to start. Aside from the delightful manor house, there is a maze and a 17th century museum village to explore – complete with a school, blacksmith's shop and many old thatched cottages.
Top tip: Rest and be thankful at the village’s Tea Shop, which serves delicious homemade cakes.
Find out more: www.breamorehouse.com
Corfe Castle and Swanage
Location: West of Poole (37.1 miles)
Great for: Keen walkers, souvenir shoppers and trainspotters
Visit: Corfe Castle is so much more than an exposed ruin on the top of a hill. Walking through the National Trust village – with its gardens, model village and craft shops – is like walking into a picture postcard.
Top tip: Take the Steam Railway from Corfe to the delightful seaside town of Swanage. Pleasure cruises and great coastal paths – to caves and a stone globe – make it a journey to remember.
Find out more: www.corfe-castle.co.uk
Location: North of Southampton (31.3 miles)
Great for: history lovers and inquisitive children
Visit: What Winchester doesn’t have in size it certainly makes up for in great attractions. Winchester Cathedral is one of the highlights – with the longest medieval nave in Europe, Jane Austen’s tomb and one of artist Antony Gormley’s statues in the crypt. If you have time then head to The Great Hall for a glimpse of the legendary Arthurian Round Table.
Top tip: Climb to the top of the The Westgate – the fortified medieval gateway, which spent 150 years as a debtors’ prison – for great views of the surrounding area.
Find out more: www.visitwinchester.co.uk
Make the most of your time at Passford with our in-room activity guides. Why not plan your itinerary over a glass of wine from the comfort of your bedroom – or ask one of our team to recommend their highlights?