Rainy days in the New Forest

Rainy days in the New Forest doesn’t mean staying in… Here’s our list of hot spots for those who want to stay dry, or get strategically wet, and carry on anyway!

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”

Calshot Activities Centre

Calshot Climbing & Ski Centre is a great shout for whatever-the-weather days out. This activity centre is right at the end of the coastal spit and is surrounded by pebbly beaches, views of the Isle of Wight, tankers and cruise ships coming into Southampton Docks.

Inside you’ll find a space full of climbing walls, a ski slope, a mini Go-Ape-type aerial-scrambling course, and a velodrome. It’s not heated… but it’s dry, and there is a separate indoor-built-café (which IS toasty and does cheap and great coffees and simple food!).

The hangars were built in WWII for seaplane engineering and manufacturing. The area is full of history and it’s well worth a walk along the beach to see all the colourful beach huts. In summer you can sail and kayak from here too.





The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Explore Beaulieu! Comprising of several lovely attractions, there is enough to discover to keep you occupied for a great day out. The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu is huge, with fantastic displays & events throughout the year that attracts both families, and avid car fanatics. The monorail is great fun too, and gives you a birds-eye view of the landscape so you can plan your next move! From the museum itself, to Palace House, the It’s all undercover and little ones will enjoy a walk about looking at everything. Bring a brolly, as the walks around the garden and to the Motor Museum are on good, flat paths and the flower garden & kitchen garden are worth stopping by.

Little ones will also ‘Little Beaulieu’ – a great sized wooden play area. It is outside, but there are good overhangs with places to sit in the dry… and a café which keeps the grown ups happy!




Hythe Ferry

You can hop on the Hythe pier Train (only takes a minute!) to reach the Hythe ferry that crosses The Solent over to Town Quay in Southampton. The journey is a treat in itself, but there’s also West Quay & Showcase cinema if you are looking for a shopping trip or big screen experience!


Exbury Gardens & Furzey Gardens

Exbury Gardens are vast and rambling with show-stopping displays of mother nature in all her glory! Alongside the beautiful gardens, there’s often an event or seasonal activity on to be enjoyed, so do check their calendar. If the heavens open, take shelter in the café or hop aboard the steam engine from the replica victorian station to tour the gardens and dragonfly pond.



Peppa Pig World and Paultons Theme Park

A ticket here will give you access to both Peppa Pig World (this is a must for fans!) and to Paultons Park. Full of rides and attractions, there is also a cinema and a soft play here (fab cafes too) which will keep everyone busy and happy, no matter the weather- and for a whole day of fun!

Longdown Activity Farm

What a great spot. Half inside and half out and about around the farmyard. This is best for children under 6 or those that don’t see small cute farm animals. Check their website to see what’s on, and for animal feeding times. It’s a favourite, and the soft play area is a win too.

For those who don’t mind the wind and rain, head to Lepe beach and blow the cobwebs away. Walk the coastline or let little ones loose in the park. Lepe beach also boats a fab cafe with great view to escape and warm up as you storm watch!



If you are looking to be close to the action above, check out our homes in Beaulieu & Hythe.

St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington

Just off the High Street in Lymington, St Barbs is little museum which packs a punch. The local smuggling history, good Roman finds and a gallery showcasing local art. It also has a good café and an excellent shop with fun kids stuff. There are often events on during half terms and school holidays, do check out their events page for more information.

Shallowmead, Lymington

As well as housing a gorgeous plant nursery, Shallowmead is also home to Mabels – a much-loved café with Lymington locals. There are also flower making workshops and a gill distillery (820) on-site, so it’s worth having a look around during your stay to see what’s on.


The Malt Cinema, Lymington 

Sweet and petite, we love the old fashioned cinema screen housed in Lymington Community Centre! A hidden gem of a find, you can grab a New Forest ice cream (or a drink from the bar in the evenings) and be transported back in time! From ballet live streams to blockbusters, there’s something for everyone. We also love how there is a schedule of Autism and sensory friendly showings, alongside catering for those with Parkinson’s or Dementia.


Fairy spotting

Woodside Gardens is a prized park in Lymington, with sports grounds, a great play park, a skatepark, tennis courts, and lots of green space to run/roam and walk your dogs. Even on a rainy day, there’s fun to be had (the café should be open for hot choices and coffee too which helps!) as little ones can pop on wellies to spot the fairy houses hidden amongst the trees. Runners can also come along on Saturday mornings at 9am for the Lymington Park Run.

The Isle of Wight Ferry

Take the train from Lymington Station to Lymington Pier to board the The Isle of Wight Ferry for a day trip across The Solent (check the ferry is running as sometimes bad weather can halt the timetable!). The 40 minute journey boasts great views (even if it’s raining!) and the trip will take you straight into bustly Yarmouth. There are plenty of cafes, pubs and places to explore here and we love the quirky array of fossil, book and trinket shops!


Pamper days & gym/ swim passes

Get a day pass to Elmers Court where you can use their indoor pool, sauna, steam room and gym. You can also get spa treatments here, but do check what offers they have currently running.

Sweet Treats

Pancakes & milkshakes from The Lighthouse in Milford come highly recommended, whilst in Lymington we have it on very good authority that Hazy Days bubble tea is a winner, as is Toot Sweets ice cream selection! The train from Lymington to Brockenhurst makes for a fun little jolly to get a treat, and Brockenhurst’s Bakehouse is seriously top-notch!

If you are looking to stay nearby to the rainy day New Forest fun above, browse our homes in Lymington, Milford on Sea, Brockenhurst, and the Southern New Forest area.

Pottery Painting

Better Craft & Paint in Christchurch is a winner on a really wet day as all ages ca take refuge and paint a little masterpiece to take home and remember your holiday! Bare in mind that the firing process may take a day or two so make sure you’;re around to collect in time!


The Regent Centre Cinema, Christchurch

This Art Deco cinema and theatre is a local treasure. Situated in the middle of Christchurch High Street, and open all year around, The Regent centre shows a variety of broadcasts, films, theatre shows, live music performances and operas.




The Kitchen's Cookery School at The Chewton Glen 

From bread making to brunch, and mediterranean to Malay – what better place to learn how to knock up a showstopper than under the expert supervision of The Chewton Glen? Pssst – ask about our guest discount!

Moors Valley country park

Moors Valley country park offers a network of walking & cycling tracks (you can hire bikes here too), with a steam train ride, great parks + a Go Ape (high wire) experience amongst the treetops.  There are 800 acres to explore and, with many seasonal events running throughout the year, we recommend earmarking a whole day out here, plus you can get dry in their large café afterwards.

Avon Heath Country Park

Similar to Moors Valley (just a bit smaller), Avon Heath has a really good adventure playground and picnic areas with direct access to the forest for woodland wanders… take shelter under the tall trees!

Prevail Skate Park & Rock Reef

Bring the scooters and skateboards and be prepared to sit back and relax! Your little ones will love zooming around in Prevail’s indoor skatepark whilst you can enjoy a hot cuppa or two! A two hour session will save the day and burn off energy before returning back to your New Forest Escape to relax into the evening! If you are in the bournemouth area, the Rock Reef Indoor climbing centre is also ideal for anyone with energy to burn off as you can scale the walls and remain completely dry in the process.

Our homes in Burley, Ringwood & Fordingbridge and towards the Northern New Forest are nearby the activities listed above.

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