A pick and mix of countryside and coast when you visit THE PIG in the New Forest. From sunset kayaking and gin tours to cool culture, make the most of your stay with Muddy Stilettos top picks.
Pedal to the metal for the National Motor Museum
13 mins by car
Nostalgic cars, gorgeous gardens, a huge adventure playground and a fun monorail circling around it all – be ready for a full day out at Beaulieu. As well as the National Motor Museum and World of Top Gear, tickets will get you into the historic Palace House and 13th Century Beaulieu Abbey. For kids, there’s the children’s adventure play area, Little Beaulieu, unlimited rides on the monorail and the stunning Victorian grounds and gardens to explore.
Bambi spotting at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
19 mins by car
There are so many beautiful walks around the New Forest. But with year-round outdoorsy beauty and family-friendly half, one or two-mile trails, Bolderwood takes some beating. New Forest ponies are regulars here but gaze out over the meadow from the deer-spotting platform here and you’ve a good chance of seeing a Bambi or two as well.
Arty party at Southampton City Art Gallery
30 mins by car and 17 min walk from THE PIG in the wall, Southampton
Culture fix? A short drive from the city, the free-to-enter Southampton City Art Gallery has over 5,000 works and spanning eight centuries, from Renaissance to Surrealists and contemporary works by Antony Gormley and Lucian Freud. It’s also next door to the city’s SeaCity Museum, with its brilliant Titanic exhibition (and a chance to steer the ill-fated ship). Nearby, THE PIG in the Wall, the hotel’s boutique city piglet is a good spot for lunch, with fresh produce brought in from THE PIG in the Forest and cocktails or local, city brewed-beers to wash it down with. Order the Piggie Bits or Veggie Bits platters (you’ll thank us).
Ahoy there, Lymington!
14 mins by car
The pretty cobbled town sitting between the coast and New Forest, lovely Lymington is a favourite of the sailing set, with boutique shops to wander and plenty of pubs, restaurants, cafés and wine bars to have lunch. In the summer months, the country’s oldest open air lido Lymington Sea Water Baths has loads of inflatables, perfect for a splash about with the family (top tip: The Mayflower pub opposite is excellent for a post-swim slap-up lunch).
Period drama at Mottisfont
30 mins by car
Slightly further afield from THE PIG in the Forest (but still less than half an hour away), this National Trust big hitter still has the atmospheric remains of the medieval priory underneath it. Head a smidge beyond Romsey and feast your eyes on this romantic 18th-century house and gallery that was built around it. (Look out for the extraordinary drawing-room painted by Rex Whistler and the changing art exhibitions on the top floor gallery). Surrounded by ancient trees, rolling lawns and wetlands, wherever you wander here, you’re never far from the beautiful, crystal-clear waters of the River Test which runs through the estate.
Sunset kayaking at New Forest Activities
8 mins by car
The beautiful Beaulieu River is a stunning place for a sunset kayak ride – just one of the outdoorsy activities couples and families can do here. If they’re not keen to take to the water, New Forest Activities also have land-based fun like archery lessons and laser tag (duck, mum!).
Sun, sand and Highcliffe on Sea
27 mins by car
Just outside the New Forest, with views over to the Isle of Wight, the seaside town of Highcliffe-on-Sea was quite the place to holiday for wealthy Victorians and Edwardians. Overlooked by the clifftop Highcliffe Castle (well worth a visit too), the strollable shingle and sand beach is backed by grassy dunes and low-rise cliffs. Park at the cliff car park beside the Cliffhanger Café, and take the path down to the beach, then come back for a meal or drinks on the terrace here and soak up the stunning views.
Ginspiration at Wyrd Spirits
29 mins by car
Want to shake things up a bit? The only distillery based within the New Forest National Park, Wyrd Gins in Ringwood are handcrafted in small batches. Headed up by Master Distiller Mark, visitors are welcome for tours, distil-your-own gin experiences and cocktail-making masterclasses. Better book at taxi if you plan to dive deep into the stills. Hic!
All content is thanks to Muddy Stilettos.
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