After a day settling in at Southampton, we continued our summer holidays to New Forest for a day trip. Again, this was an one-the-day decision. A quick Google in the morning to locate a local pub and the best place to see the wild horses, and we were off to New Forest.
Date Visited: 8th July 2021
Location: Lyndhurst (SO43) and Brockenhurst (SO42)
Getting There: Easiest by car. There are trains and buses to the main towns above, but to get to the horses, you might find it best by car.
Lovely part of the world…
A short 25 minute drive from our stay in Southampton, we reached the Oak Inn pub for lunch. Cruising through Lyndhurst was nice, wasn’t expecting a Ferrari showroom in New Forest! On arrival at the Oak Inn, you could see the wild horses had been around with the mounds of poop. Being a city family, the smell really does tickle the nostrils. Luckily, it doesn’t waft into the pub and we were able to enjoy our meal. We opted to share a couple of starters, soup of the day (potato and leek) and scallops, which were very tasty. Mains of fish and chips, and a club sandwich followed, all cooked well with a crunchy coating on the fish and crispy bacon in the sandwich.
We arrived fairly early at around 12pm, but by the time we finished and left, the pub was full with more people being checked in for lunch. There’s a nice outdoor, covered seating area, and spaces for cars and bikes. All very Covid-safe with track and trace and sanitiser at the entrance. With the bill settled, we drove out and encountered our first wild horses standing on the verge eating grass from the parking driveway.
Here horsey. horsey, horsey
We continued driving and highly recommend taking the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive as a route through the New Forest. There’s plenty of opportunities to park the car and hop out for a walk through the woods. On this occasion, and especially after lunch, we were quite lazy and just drove slow enough to appreciate the nature. Also, we were determined to see some horses. Little did we know, only a few minutes later, we would see enough wild horses to fill a few Grand Nationals.
After stopping our ‘count the number of horses’ game at 20, we pulled into a car park to enjoy the surroundings. It was like watching a Lloyds Bank commercial in real-life with horses running around, and foals following their Mum. Beechern Wood car park is a great spot to view them up close. Just have to remember, they are wild so look after the little ones in case they run off or try to pat or feed them! As we visited off-peak, it was fairly quiet with a few other cars and a school group here and there. Otherwise, I can imagine this area being full of cars during peak summer holidays in New Forest.
Once we had enough of nature, we headed back to the hotel for a swim and another gut-busting dinner at Cosmo in West Quay.
Burn Time: 5 out of 5 – we spent most of the day out and about. If you’re inclined for long nature walks, this is the place!
Value: 5 out of 5 – free to go roam around New Forest. Lunch is extra but won’t break the bank (it’s a Fuller’s pub after all).
Overall: 5 out of 5 – good food and a visit with nature, followed by a swim and more food. How can you not give that a 5?
Have you been to see the horsies? What did you think? Any other good vantage points or suggestions to visit next time?
As linked previously, here are some other summer holidays ideas from the previous years: