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Southampton: Gateway to the New Forest

If you’re looking for a coastal getaway, far from the hustle and bustle, heading to the New Forest via Southampton could make for a wonderful adventure. Home to free-roaming animals including cattle, pigs and ponies, the New Forest National Park covers over 200 square miles and boasts an exceptional legacy. 

Whether you’d like to immerse yourself in cultural and natural history or stroll through acres of purple heather at sunrise, check out our guide to visiting the New Forest from Southampton below.

a horse standing on top of a lush green field

How far is the New Forest from Southampton? 

The perimeter of the New Forest National Park is just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Southampton. Just over six miles away, Ashurst New Forest Station is the closest rail connection to the city, with frequent rail services arriving from Southampton Central after just a 10-minute journey. 

It’s just as easy to reach New Forest beauty spots including Brockenhurst and Sway, further along the same line. From Brockenhurst, you’ll be able to reach hotspots including Whitefield Moor, known for its exceptional heathland views and excellent picnic spots.

a boat is docked next to a body of water

Exploring the New Forest from Southampton

There’s plenty to discover in the New Forest, especially if you have a passion for the great outdoors, local wildlife and fine dining. Heading there from Southampton is an ideal choice for those looking to ditch the roads and leave behind the traffic.

Plus, if you’re starting your adventure in Southampton, you might choose to stay there for a night or two before you head to the New Forest. If that’s the case, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, shops and nightlife. An exciting, year-round programme of events and activities promises something to keep you and your family entertained in Southampton.

Hotels in the New Forest National Park

The top-rated Forest Park Country Hotel & Inn is located in Brockenhurst village, just steps away from Brockenhurst station. After just a short, relaxing train journey, you could say goodbye to the traffic and quickly reach the heart of the New Forest from Southampton.

Foodies will enjoy the culinary delights on offer at The Pig Hotel, an independent venue with a focus on using local and homegrown seasonal produce in the kitchen. With some ingredients grown in the hotel’s own Kitchen Garden, everything on the menu is sourced from within a 25-mile radius.

a group of people in a garden


Camping in the New Forest and Southampton

For an immersive outdoor experience, there are plenty of great options for camping in the New Forest. Whether you prefer to tow a caravan or pitch a tent, campsites in the New Forest National Park welcome every type of camper.

Long Meadow Campsite is located just a 20-minute stroll from Brockenhurst village, with easy access to acres of woodland and secluded footpaths and cycle routes – or, if you’d like to explore even more of the New Forest, top-rated Setthorns Campsite is just under two miles from the charming village of Sway.

How to get to the New Forest National Park

If you’re heading to the New Forest for the first time, starting your trip in Southampton could be the best way to familiarise yourself with the local surroundings. Save money on fuel and book train tickets to Southampton today to start your New Forest adventure with a smooth, comfortable journey. Wherever you choose to go next, we’re with you.


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