Attractions and businesses shown below may have reduced their opening hours and may be making other changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use the links provided to check before you visit.
So much to see and do!
Our park is within easy reach of country parks, historic towns, beaches, the New Forest National Park and a host of attractions and gardens.
- Fishing information is on the Local Fishing page.
- Local events are listed on our What’s On page.
- Information for dogs is on the Dog Friendly page with links for beaches, attractions and activities. We’ve also included some doggie info for the attractions listed below on this page.
Close to our park
Easy walking distance
- The Woodman (15-20 mins) – a dog friendly Marston’s pub and restaurant, near the entrance to our lane.
- East Moors Riding School (7 mins) – woodland trekking or private hacks in the vast Westmoors Plantation, located on our approach lane.
- Shamba Holidays (7 mins) – a family holiday park (dog friendly) on our lane where you’re welcome to use the clubhouse with games room, bar and takeaway, as well as the swimming pool if open, for a small fee.
A longer walk or cycle
- Hurn Forest – (20-25 minutes walk) is a large stretch of heathland and woodland with miles of tracks and trails, entrance on Boundary Lane which goes from our nearby roundabout – great for dogs.
- At the Woolsbridge roundabout to the north (30 minutes walk) on this side of the the A31, there is an M&S convenience store, a Greggs and a Subway.
- The St Leonards Hotel – (30-40 minutes) is on the opposite side of the A31 towards Ringwood. Dogs welcome.
Please check the Information Board by the entrance to the Pitch & Putt for local information.
The AllTrails app works well for planning and logging walks in our area.
For information on local country parks, cycle routes, cycling in the New Forest and bike hire, please go to the Cycling page.
Public transport and taxis
Get the Morebus app for your smartphone for up-to-date bus information and more.
There’s a limited bus service to Ringwood from the bottom of our lane see timetable. (Our stop is Boundary Lane NE-bound and the closest main stop is St Leonards Hospital). From Ringwood, you can get the X3 to Bournemouth and Salisbury, or in summer catch the New Forest Tour open-top safari bus.
Many guests find it convenient to get a taxi back from Ringwood due to the road layout. Local taxi numbers are in your welcome booklet, or there’s a taxi rank in the main car park in Ringwood.
The taxi fare from Back of Beyond to Ringwood town centre (or back) is around £10-£12 each way between 7am and 11pm. Expect to pay more outside of those times.
Within a 10 minute drive
Our nearest town is a traditional country town with a good selection of shops, coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and takeaways, some of which deliver to our site. It has a Waitrose, a Sainsbury’s and a large Lidl.
Worth a visit:
- Ringwood Brewery (book a tour)
- Ringwood Meeting House & History Centre
- Local talks, art exhibitions and activities at Greyfriars Community Centre
- Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre
- Markets – Ringwood market every Wednesday in the Market Place, Antique and Decorative Arts Market quarterly in the Furlong (see What’s On for dates), Farmers Market in the Furlong last Saturday of the month.
The New Forest
Cross the cattle grids and enter the wonderful world of the New Forest – 219 square miles of woodland and heathland, towns, villages and coast. You can walk or cycle for miles and there’s no shortage of pubs and cafes for pit-stops. You’re likely to come across free-roaming ponies and cattle along the way, you might also catch sight of some deer and, in autumn, the pigs that are set free to eat the acorns. There are some pretty fabulous views too.
The New Forest has traditional villages, such as Burley and Brockenhurst, the characterful towns of Lyndhurst and Lymington and some unspoilt coastline which attracts sea birds and people to spot them. You’ll also find some major attractions here such as Beaulieu National Motor Museum and the renowned Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway – individual attractions are listed below.
Nearest country parks
- Hurn Forest – see above
- Moors Valley Country Park and Forest with miles of trails, cycles for hire, narrow guage steam railway, fishing, cafe, shop and ‘Go Ape’ treetop adventures
- Avon Heath Country Park with marked pathways and a cafe
- Parley Common (5 miles away) is a historic nature reserve where several species were discovered. It’s run by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (dogs must be kept on a lead).
Now a Bournemouth suburb, Ferndown has a large Tesco a Sainsbury’s superstore, and a Lidl. It also has a bustling high street with a wide range of shops. The Community Market takes place on Mondays at Pennys Walk.
This large village has a busy multi-purpose venue, the Verwood Hub. It houses a cinema and gym, and hosts live music, theatre, art and workshops. Verwood also has a large Morrisons supermarket.
Around 15-20 minutes drive
Burley village (9 miles east)
You’ll often find ponies roaming the streets of this traditional New Forest village, which has witches, smuggling and dragon slaying in its history! There’s a good size car park and you can browse unusual shops selling curios and the famous handmade fudge. Hire a bike from Forest Leisure Cycling or try the New Forest Cider made at the Cider Pantry.
Bournemouth (13 miles south)
This great seaside town has a lot to offer with miles of sandy beaches, clifftops, two piers, shopping centres, theatres, gardens, new cinema complex, music venues and nightlife. Highlights include:
- Seven miles of south-facing sandy beaches stretching from swanky Sandbanks in the west to historic Hengistbury Head in the east. Most are Blue Flag and there are land trains to give you a lift along the front. Enjoy clifftop walks and zigzag paths or wooded chines down to the beach, alternatively try the West Cliff Funicular Railway. Between 1 May and 30 September dogs must be kept on a lead on the promenades and paths, and may only be exercised in signposted areas – see details
- From Bournemouth Square, the Lower Gardens lead to the Pier Approach and beaches. On the way you can take a ride in a stationary hot air balloon for aerial views of the coastline!
- The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is the collection of artworks, furniture and rare decorative pieces that a Victorian couple accumulated over many years travelling. These are now on display in what was their grand clifftop home.
- The Oceanarium has a wide range of creatures from above and below the water.
- Castlepoint Shopping Centre has a Sainsbury’s and Asda at either end, with national brands of clothes shops, homewares and book sellers in between. Parking is free.
- Major venues include the Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth International Centre, Pavillion Theatre and 02 Academy.
Christchurch (11 miles south)
Historic Christchurch has a famous Priory and a picturesque harbour where the Stour and Avon rivers flow into the sea. In addition to the shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s popular for:
- Walks around the town, quay and along the river
- The Red House Museum and Gardens, a former workhouse filled with locally themed displays and changing exhibitions
- Vintage ferry (passengers only) stops at Christchurch Quay on its way to Mudeford Beach
- Saturday market
Hengistbury Head (13 miles south)
This headland is at the eastern end of the Bournemouth beaches. It’s an important archaeological site and a nature reserve. Cars are restricted, so you have to walk, cycle or take the land train (if it’s running) over to Mudeford Beach with it’s large, multicoloured beach houses on a sandbank at the entrance to Christchurch harbour. From here you can get a passenger ferry over to Mudeford Quay.
Wimborne Minster (9 miles west )
Famous for its large medieval church (the Minster), this historic Dorset market town has a large Waitrose and Co-op as well as restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Main attractions are:
- The New Forest www.thenewforest.co.uk
- Visit Bournemouth www.visitbournemouth.com
- Visit Dorset www.visit-dorset.com
- Best of Dorset attractions www.dorsetattractions.co.uk
- Visit Hampshire www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on
- Visit Wiltshire www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
WITHIN AN HOUR’S DRIVE
To the South East
Mudeford Quay (12 miles) has a pub, cafe and fresh seafood stall right on the seafront.
Avon Beach (13 miles) is a mostly sandy beach near Mudeford with a restaurant, shop and parking close by.
Highcliffe Castle (14 miles) Victorian Gothic castle and cafe on the cliffs above Highcliffe Beach with walks down to the beach.
Hurst Castle (20 miles) was part of our coastal defences from Tudor times to WW2. It’s only accessible by shingle bank from Milford on Sea, a lively seaside village with a shingle beach, or by passenger ferry from Keyhaven (runs April to October), a small hamlet with a pub and yachting harbour. There are bird reserves and walks across marshes around here. The small passenger ferry from Keyhaven also runs a limited service to the Isle of Wight (May to mid-September) .
To the South West
Sandbanks (17 miles) At the Western end of the sweep of Bournemouth bay, this famously expensive peninsular has wonderful sandy beaches on one side and Poole Harbour on the other. You can cross the mouth of Poole Harbour on a car ferry (if it’s working) to get to Shell Bay on the Isle of Purbeck.
The Isle of Purbeck (18 miles via Sandbanks ferry or 30 miles round Poole harbour) is a peninsular with stunning beaches, a dramatic coastline, a ruined castle and great seaside towns:
- Studland Bay is a National Trust nature reserve with unspoilt sandy beaches and a seafood restaurant at Shell Bay. Studland village has a pub and restaurant.
- Old Harry Rocks are three dramatic chalk formations at the Southern end of Studland. View them from great clifftop walks.
- The towns of Swanage and Wareham (see below)
- Corfe Castle (see below)
The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site stretching from Studland to Exmouth in Devon. Highlights include Durdle Door, the arched rock formation in the sea, Lulworth Cove, the almost circular bay with unique geology and West Bay cliffs (featured in the TV drama Broadchurch).
Towns and cities
Lyndhurst (16 miles) is actually a village – the largest in the New Forest and the ‘capital’ of the area. The New Forest Heritage Centre (free to visit) is here, the New Forest Reptile Centre is two miles east and the New Forest Wildlife Park is five miles to the east.
Lymington (20 miles) is an elegant Georgian town with a bustling high street, old cobbled walkways and several quays, along with galleries, venues and a museum, plus a large outdoor seawater swimming pool. Lymington to Yarmouth is a scenic route to the Isle of Wight on WightLink car ferries. Nearby are Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum, and historic Buckler’s Hard (see below).
Wareham (20 miles) is the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. It’s a historic Saxon market town on the River Frome, near Poole Harbour, with pubs, cafes and restaurants plus massive earth ramparts built by Alfred the Great.
Blandford Forum (20 miles) was rebuilt after devastating fires to create a fine example of a Georgian town. Worth seeing:
- The Blandford Town Museum a wealth of artefacts and archives from Prehistoric to the present day
- Royal Signals Museum
- Blandford Fashion Museum – three centuries of ladies’ clothing and underwear!
Salisbury (20 miles) has a famous cathedral, a theatre and cinema. It’s a beautiful city to walk around with quaint alleyways and numerous waterways. You’ll find a good selection of shops and and places to eat and there’s a Park & Ride. Worth a visit:
- Salisbury Cathedral with the tallest spire in England and which houses the best preserved copy of the 1215 Magna Carta.
- Old Sarum, site of the first settlement of Salisbury
- The Salisbury Museum – with its Stonehenge Gallery exhibition space.
- Magnificent Norman Abbey housing the tomb of the Lord Mountbatten of Burma, great-uncle of Prince Charles
- King John’s House and Heritage Centre, a medieval house with a family history
- The Signal Box, an intriguing slice of railway history preserved by volunteers
- Broadlands home of the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. The house is open to the public for a limited time each year. Check website for details.
Shaftesbury (24 miles) is accessed by a minor road across scenic Cranborne Chase (see below). You’ll encounter Zig Zag Hill on the way, one of the bendiest roads in England! Great for walks, the town has the famously steep Gold Hill (famous from Hovis adverts).
Southampton (25 miles) usually has at least one gigantic cruise ship visible in its terminal. There’s excellent shopping and the Mayflower Theatre with West End shows, plus historic sites and fascinating museums. Southampton is the historic port where both the Mayflower and the Titanic set off for America. The city suffered badly from bombing in the war, but a large portion of the medieval city walls are still standing. Places of interest include:
Hythe (25 miles) on the eastern edge of the New Forest and its surrounding area, known as Waterside, is on the edge of Southampton Water. Take a wander up the Georgian High Street or catch the passenger ferry into Southampton. To the north of the area is the 500 year old Eling Tide Mill Experience, one of only two tide mills still working in England.
Swanage (31 miles without the Sandbanks ferry) is a traditional seaside town with sandy beaches, surrounded by the Purbeck Hills and famous for the Swanage Railway steam railway which takes a scenic 12-mile route to Norden, just past Corfe Castle.
Dorchester (32 miles) has numerous visitor attractions with museums, shops, walkways and a popular market on Wednesdays. Nearby is Maiden Castle, one of the largest and most complex Iron Age hill forts in Europe. (Dogs must be kept on a lead as sheep graze the site.)
Winchester (33 miles) is the county town of Hampshire and the former capital of Wessex, kingdom of the Anglo Saxons under King Alfred the Great. It has a Park & Ride and there’s a lot to see here, including:
- The Great Hall, home to King Arthur’s Round Table
- Winchester Cathedral
- Royal Armouries – Fort Nelson
Weymouth (40 miles) has a sandy beach and beautiful sea front as well as a harbour. Attractions include the Sealife Adventure Park and RSPB reserve. There are cycle routes around the town and a Sandworld Sculpture Park. Worth a visit nearby are Nothe Fort (dogs welcome on a lead) and Bennetts Water Gardens (assistance dogs only).
Portsmouth (44 miles) makes a great day out. At the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard you can go aboard Nelson’s warship; HMS Victory and view King Henry VIII’s Mary Rose ship, rescued from the sea bed. Next door is the designer outlet shopping centre, Gunwharf Quays, and nearby is the impressive Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Places of interest and attractions
Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park (9 miles north west) is home to 5 breeds of heavy horses, where you can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and learn about how these big, gentle beasts have served humans since the beginning of time. Experiences include a WW1 fields trench display, vintage vehicles and very engaging talks. (Dogs allowed but must be kept on short lead.)
Breamore House and Museum (12 miles north) is an Elizabethan Manor house with many original features and a Countryside Museum with a fine collection of steam powered farm machinery.
Upton Country Park, Poole (13 miles south west) has a Georgian Mansion and extensive grounds on the edge of Poole Harbour. With a botanical walled garden, miles of walking and cycling tracks plus a tearoom and free entry, it’s well worth a visit. (Dog friendly.)
Kingston Lacey (14 miles west) is a National Trust stately home and gardens with plenty of walks and a cafe. (Dog friendly.)
Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum (16 miles south west) New Milton has a world class collection of restored motorbikes.
Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (17 miles north west) covers 380 square miles of scenic countryside in Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset. The area is an International Dark Sky Reserve with numerous cycling and walking routes.
Wilton House (24 miles north) is a magnificent, beautifully restored country house and gardens set in landscaped parkland just outside Salisbury, home to the earls of Pembroke. (Assistance dogs only in the house and grounds.)
Tolpuddle Martyrs (24 miles south west) This Dorset village commemorates the farm labourers who were arrested for forming a trade union in 1834 and transported to Australia, leading to the foundation of trade unions. There is a walking trail around the village, a museum and an annual festival in the summer.
Corfe Castle (25 miles south west without the Sandbanks ferry) is a fairy-tale ruin on a hill with a picturesque village nearby. (Dogs are welcome on a lead). The Swanage steam railway stops here.
Monkey World (25 miles south west) is the ape rescue centre – you may recognise it from the TV programme Monkey Life. (Registered assistance dogs only with prior approval.)
Beaulieu (26 miles south east) has the National Motor Museum, an abbey, stately home and extensive grounds with a monorail, plus Buckler’s Hard shipbuilding village nearby. Dogs are allowed in the grounds on a lead, but not inside the attractions, restaurants or on the rides. There is a special area beneath the Motor Museum entrance where dogs may be left at their own risk.
Old Wardour Castle (27 miles north west) was once a lavish home that was destroyed in the English Civil War. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
The Tank Museum (28 miles south west) at Bovington has an impressive collection of tanks and weaponry. (Assistance dogs only.)
Hardy Country (south west) named after the famous novelist and poet has several attractions including Hardy’s Cottage (30 miles) and his home in Dorchester, plus towns and villages mentioned in ‘Hardy’s Wessex‘.
Stonehenge (31 miles north) is the iconic monument dating back 5,000 years. Dogs on leads are allowed outside only.
Marwell Zoo (32 miles north east) has hundreds of animals in as natural a setting as possible, with an emphasis on conservation work.
Stourhead (35 miles north west) is a stately home run by the National Trust with stunning grounds famous for autumn colours. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Longleat (41 miles north west) is a magnificent stately home with famous safari park and other attractions including a maze. Dogs are not allowed in most areas, but there are unsupervised kennels at the Sarari Park entrance – see details.
Abbotsbury (42 miles south west) historic and picturesque village has Sub-Tropical Gardens (dogs welcome on leads) and the Swannery, (dogs prohibited) the only place where you can walk among nesting mute swans. Chesil Beach is one of several walks near here where dogs are allowed to visit all year round.
Jane Austen’s House (48 miles north east) the writer’s home – a must for Jane Austen fans.
Knoll Gardens near Ferndown (7 miles) specialise in ornamental grasses under the UK’s leading specialist, Neil Lucas, who sometimes gives tours. (Guide and hearing dogs only.)
Compton Acres (16 miles) has 10 acres of formal gardens in different styles with a highly rated cafe, located between Bournemouth and Poole at Canford Cliffs, near Sandbanks. Dogs are allowed in the gardens, cafe and tearooms, but must be kept on a short lead.
Furzey Gardens (17 miles) are informal woodland gardens with a thatched seasonal cafe run by a local charity that supports people with learning disabilities. (Assistance dogs only.)
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens (24 miles) near Romsey have a stunning collection of trees and shrubs, with interesting events throughout the year. (Registered assistance dogs only.)
Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway (29 miles) offers 200 acres of dog friendly woodland gardens plus a small 12.25″ gauge railway located in the southeast corner of the New Forest. Dogs are welcome, and can go on the train, provided they are on a short lead.