Waking up to the pitter patter of rain doesn’t mean you’re in for a day of doom and gloom. Especially not in the New Forest!
Whilst British weather may be changeable, the abundance of indoor activities in the New Forest means you’ll always have something fun to do whenever it’s too wet to head out on a walk or fire up the BBQ.
Here’s our list of rainy day activities in the New Forest - the top places to take shelter whenever the weather starts to get a little damp.
1. Buckler’s Hard
The New Forest has more visitors per square kilometre than any other national park. Buckler’s Hard is just one of the many attractions available to visitors on rainy days. Along the banks of the beautiful Beaulieu River is Buckler’s Hard – an unspoilt shipbuilding settlement that has stood since the 18th Century.
When the rain starts splattering down, you can duck into the village’s maritime museum. In here you’ll learn all about the history of Buckler’s Hard and its role in Britain’s shipbuilding history. Buckler’s Hard played a significant role in Nelson’s Navy.
When the rain eases off, head over to Shipwright’s Cottage for a look back in time. The cottage gives an insight into what a family home would have looked like hundreds of years ago. St Mary’s Chapel is also worth a visit, once the village school; the building may have been used by 17th century smugglers. See if kids can find the treasure…
With good facilities and a number of places to eat, the village makes for a great family day trip.
2. Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre
Unsurprisingly, it’s not just us humans that don’t like the rain. Luckily the animals at Liberty’s Centre near Ringwood, including reptiles, hawks, vultures, lizards, snakes, spiders and owls can all be found indoors.
Liberty’s offers a memorable day out for the whole family, allowing you and the kids to get up close and personal with all kinds of colourful creatures. The reptile house is home to a great selection of scaly lizards and raptors. As well as having animals on view to the public, the centre also partakes in animal rescue, rehabilitation and release into the wild whenever possible. You’ll learn about this as you move around the centre.
If the sun does happen to appear above the rain clouds, you may be able to watch one of the stunning bird of prey demonstrations. There’s also a café on site to grab a cup of tea, and a cracking gift shop to pick up some souvenirs!
3. New Forest Cider
If you’re a cider fanatic, you’ll find yourself utterly besotted with the New Forest Cider house. Situated in the blissful village of Burley, it’s a perfect place to spend the day when the drizzle is descending, allowing you to forget all about the bad weather outdoors with a free sample of lip-smacking cider straight from the barrel.
Just 2 minutes from our Holmsley site and a 20 minute drive from our Aldridge Hill site, you’ll find one of the prettiest villages in the New Forest: Burley. Look out for the barrel near the post office and follow the directions to find the home of New Forest Cider.
The cider here is brewed using traditional methods and English Apples from local gardens. There is an enormous selection of ciders, country wines and perry available to buy, as well as some refreshing apple juice for the kids (and your designated driver).
4. New Forest Centre
The New Forest Centre is the talk of the woodland – and for good reason. From museums, to exhibition galleries and libraries, it’s bristling with excitement from top to bottom. The centre offers a terrific selection of activities and entertainment for adults and kids alike.
The gallery is home to a rotation of wonderful exhibits, and there are play areas and interactive attractions that will keep the kids busy for hours.
To learn more about the best spots to visit in the New Forest, head to the library or chat to one of the friendly, well versed staff in the information centre.
5. The New Forest Wildlife Park
The New Forest Wildlife Park boasts twenty-five acres of woodland and a variety of charming indoor enclosures that can be explored when the rain is tumbling down. These include The Glass House (which is home to otters, hedgehogs, mice and foxes), The Owlery, The Pine Martens Enclosure, and The Scottish Wildcat Houses.
When the weather does brighten up, you can venture outdoors to watch wolves prowl, deer dance and frogs hop between lily pads on ponds. You might be able to spot a Eurasian Lynx, Wild Boar or Red-Necked Wallaby enjoying a break in the rain.
The park has a feeding schedule which enables you to watch the animals enjoy their meals whilst asking any questions you may have for the keepers. There are a number of adventure playgrounds for all ages to enjoy and a restaurant and coffee shop to help you refuel.
6. Wessex Racing, Indoor Carting
At this family run business there’s a huge focus on teaching kids to drive karts safely and plenty of facilities for all.
Children aged 8 -13 that are new to karting must partake in a cadet session which teaches them how to handle their kart safely before they can race with the rest of the family. These sessions run often throughout the summer holidays and on Sundays during term time. The indoor karting track has plenty of viewing galleries, a bar and restaurant facilities for spectators to ensure those seeking a slower pace can relax and watch those seeking the adrenaline rush.
As well as karting, Wessex Racing offer Virtual Warfare Laser Combat. The game uses infra-red guns, allowing you to battle your friends and families in a game of laser combat. The indoor battle space is over 11,000sq which allows plenty of room to hide, seek and battle.
You’ll need to call to arrange a booking in advance for both activities.
7. Leisure and Play Centres
These are perfect for burning off any excess energy when the weathers gloomy. From ball pools and bowling all the way to saunas and badminton courts, view our top New Forest leisure and play centers.
Come rain, wind or shine, there’s a staggering amount of things to see and do in The New Forest. Check out our 10 New Forest campsites to book a holiday spot in one of the most fun-filled areas of England.
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