More than nine centuries ago William the Conqueror demanded that the area we now know as the New Forest was set aside as a place to hunt deer, calling it his 'new' hunting forest. The forest was granted national park status in 2006, and is as fiercely protected now as when William was alive.
It stretches from the southern coast across the county of Hampshire, covering more than 90,000 acres. It is made up of vast heathlands of heather and gorse, ancient woods, meandering streams and pretty villages, and is probably best known for its freely wandering animals – having to dodge a pony on a pavement is not an unusual experience when shopping in some of the New Forest villages. Ponies, cattle, donkeys, sheep and pigs owned by commoners are allowed to graze in the forest; without them the landscape would look very different.
Once you are in the forest you may feel that you are miles from anywhere, but it's actually within easy reach of Southampton, Bournemouth and Winchester, and is just 90 minutes drive from London. There are airports at both Southampton and Bournemouth, the villages are served by numerous railway stations and with a 40 mph speed limit on forest roads it is a pleasant place for cyclists too. Our famous national park really is accessible to everyone.
Whilst in the New Forest you are never far away from one of our hotels. To learn more about the location of each of our hotels follow the links below.