The New Forest, a wonderful corner of woodlands and moorland in Hampshire in Southern England shouldn’t really be called ‘new’ – it has been a wild space since medieval times, when it was a royal hunting ground. Now the park is an open-air playground connected by walking routes, cycling paths and horse-riding trails, and dotted with campsites where you can pitch a tent among the trees for a proper escape.
As well as providing a jumping off point for many of the best walks in the New Forest camping trips are also great for wildlife fans. This is, after all, a National Park: home to plentiful birdlife, no fewer than five species of deer, and of course the famous free roaming ponies. If it happens to rain on your New Forest camping holiday, you can escape to visit stately homes, pretty villages, the National Motor Museum, or just a traditional country pub. (If it gets really wet, you could even pack down the tent and flee to one of the many cosy hotels in the New Forest National Park. We won't judge you, honest!)
Our pick of the very best New Forest campsites are all relaxed and family-friendly, often with amazing walks right out of the door. Plenty of our these campsites allow dogs or permit campfires, and some are very near the coast, so you can combine the best of the New Forest with a visit to Hampshire’s finest beaches. Not sure if traditional camping is your bag? We’ve included three beautiful New Forest glamping sites too, where you can bed down under the stars, but with a few more little luxuries on tap.
Paulton's Campsite and Glamping
Paultons Campsite, on the eastern edge of the National Park, is the closest New Forest campsite to Peppa Pig World. In fact, you can walk from the site to the theme park. A family-run enterprise, the campsite offers a mixture of tented pitches, grass pitches for vans and hard-standing pitches for motorhomes. There are also two luxury wooden glamping pods, and two pre-pitched tipis, for those who want to crash in comfort.
The New Forest has lots of different activities to offer, and a vast array of campsites of all different kinds. But if, like Boris Johnson, Peppa Pig World is "very much your kind of place", you won't find better than Paultons.
Check out the Paultons website for more details and bookings.
Like your camping holidays simple and relaxed? You’ll love the chilled-out vibe at family favourite Teddy’s, where kids and grownups alike can run free in the woods. You can pitch your canvas home wherever you like on this sprawling, popular farm site (there’s space for around 60 pitches), and you’re welcome to say hello to the resident flock of sheep (or even buy some of the farm’s lamb for a slap-up evening BBQ).
There are lovely walking routes through the New Forest National Park right on your doorstep, plus the beaches and coastal footpaths around the town of Lymington are only a short drive away. Dogs are welcome, and campfires are permitted.
Find out more about opening times and bookings at the Teddy's Farm website.
Hollands Wood Campsite
Hollands Wood is one of the most famous New Forest campsites, having welcomed campers for generations. This huge site has room for a whopping 600 pitches, but these are spread through 22 hectares of oak woodland, meaning each tent or campervan gets its own grassy glade surrounded by trees. This gives a feeling of privacy and space despite the numbers (although you may find you share your chosen campsite with the New Forest ponies, who are allowed to roam free on the site).
There are great camping amenities on offer at Hollands Wood, including hot showers, a helpful reception and an on-site shop. If you’re a keen hiker, bring your walking boots – there are miles of forest trails to explore in the surrounding area, and the campsite has recommended walking routes you can pick up instructions for.
You can find out more on the Forestry England website.
If you don’t like rubbing shoulders with your neighbours when you're camping, this is the New Forest campsite for you. As charming and quaint as its name suggests, this prettiest of forest campsites is no-frills—you're in the midst of the sights and sounds of nature, with 60 grass pitches spread across a very generous 15 acres of grassy fields.
If you can tear yourself away from the peace of the farm, go and explore Hurst Castle nearby, head further into the New Forest to roam the woods on foot or by bike or walk the short distance to the town of Milford-on-Sea and the nearby coast. One of our favourite campsites in the New Forest.
Check out the Muddy Creek Farm website for more details.
"Turn off the email alerts and uncork the wine" suggest the owners of Harry’s Field on their website. Sound tempting? It looks pretty tempting too, when you get there. In fact, it’s easy to live the good life at this gorgeous, friendly New Forest campsite, where you can meet wild donkeys, play pooh sticks in the river or ramble miles and miles of forest track on trails through ancient trees that start right from your tent. Bring your own or rent one of the site's gorgeous bell glamping tents for a little added luxury.
The award-winning pub the Forester’s Arms is literally under a minute’s walk away, making this a great choice for more grown-up summer camping trips to the New Forest, and a great site to visit in the quieter months of May and June.
Check out the Harry's Field website for opening times, bookings and details of the bell tents.
Hate the idea of big, busy campsites, or not too keen on camping in a traditional canvas tent? Fernwood Glamping is one of the many great glamping sites in the UK that have sprung up in the past few decades, designed to help city dwellers fall in love with holidays in the wild. At this New Forest glamping site there are just two places to sleep – a gypsy caravan and a shepherd’s hut, making this a fine example of the new trend for glamping without tents. Both sleep four and both with wood-burning stoves to keep you cosy and warm all night long.
There’s also a little summerhouse on site where you can charge your phone or make a morning cup of tea. You can spot deer and foxes in the surrounding fields, go hiking or biking in the woods or browse the weekly market held in the nearby town of Ringwood. Fernwood is open year-round, making it one of the best New Forest campsites for a winter escape—both for glampers and campers alike.
Check out the Fernwood Glamping website for further details.
Smack-bang in the heart of the New Forest, this large campsite on Forestry England land near the village of Ashurst is the perfect base for exploring the sprawling New Forest National Park, with plenty of space for free-ranging kids to run amok.
You can head into the New Forest National Park on walking trails that run straight out into Ashurst Wood or onto Matley Heath, or pop into pretty Ashurst – its shops are a five-minute walk away. There are 280 pitches of various sizes and degrees of seclusion on offer at Ashurst, which is open from April through to September.
For more information, summer dates, and booking details, check out the Ashurst Campsite page on the Forestry England website.
Lepe Beach Campsite
Think 'campsites in the New Forest’ and you may not picture the coast, but you can have the best of both worlds at Lepe Beach, a traditional tent-only campsite where 100 pitches look out over the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight.
The big highlight at Lepe? The beach is only a scant 150 yards away, and the New Forest National Park is also within easy reach. Add to that some great facilities, open campfires and pre-pitched and furnished tents to hire if you don’t have your own camping kit, and you’ve got a real winner.
You can check availability and book Lepe Beach Campsite on their Campsites.co.uk page.
"Nature without the rough" is the motto at Sopley Lake Yurt Camp, one of the most luxurious campsites in the New Forest. Six gorgeous yurts sit on the edge of Sopley Lake, just three miles from the edge of the New Forest National Park, welcoming visitors all year round. If glamping is your thing, this is the place to stay in the New Forest.
At Sopley Farm you can pick your own fruit and veg in the summer months, or head to the beach at Highcliffe Castle, only a 15-minute drive away. The yurts really are something special – made in Mongolia, they come complete with proper beds and flushing loos, hot showers, barbeques, even wood burners and hammocks. Twitchers can sit on the wooden verandas and watch for the wild birds that visit the lake.
Check out the Forest Yurts website for more details and bookings.
Exploring the New Forest in your rolling home? Setthorns makes for a great place to stay, with grass and hard standing pitches to choose from and an electric hook up available for each pitch.
Some of the campervan pitches are so secluded you'll feel as if you're alone in the forest, and your dog is also welcome. If you're planning lots of walks in the surrounding New Forest National Park, Wilverley Inclosure and Whitefield Moor are both short strolls away, and Setley Ridge Farm Shop is a great place to stock up on everything you need for a barbecue.
Check out the Setthorns Campsite page the New Forest vistors website for more details and booking.
Open from mid-March onwards, this wide open campsite is known for its wildlife—horses and donkeys roam freely around the tents and campervans, and although they're wild and not to be petted, their constant presence is great for keeping children entertained. This family friendly New Forest campsite located near the historic village of Brockenhurst, once declared "Britain's most beautiful place to live".
Roundhill is a Forestry England campsite, which means the facilities on offer are excellent, and the prices are pretty reasonable. There's a recently-opened toilet and shower block, taps everywhere and facilities for motorhomes.
Check out the Roundhill Campsite page on the Forestry England website for more details.
Longbeech is managed by the same people as Roundhill Campsite, but caters to a completely different crowd. From 2024, this will become the Forestry England's first adults only campsite in the New Forest. That doesn't mean they're suddenly transforming it into a nudist colony or anything, just that they're keeping it kid-free so that people without children can enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet on their camping holiday.
Longbeech is also mostly aimed at guests with campervans and caravans—there are no toilets or shower facilities, so while tents are allowed, you'll need to have a chemical toilet with you. That might sound limiting to some people, but if tranquility is your main priority, then this is arguably the best campsite in the New Forest.
Check out the Longbeech page on the Foresty England website for more details, opening times, and booking.