Fordingbridge is our nearest town (about six minutes by car) on the River Avon, where there is a variety of independent shops, a supermarket, a petrol station, a number of pubs and several restaurants.
Our nearest swimming pool is at the Sandy Balls Holiday Centre just the other side of Fordingbridge and is open to non-visitors. Bicycle hire is also available at Sandy Balls to non-residents of the park.
The New Forest
The New Forest is an area of about 150 square miles of open heathland and peaceful woods with deer and wild ponies, cattle and donkeys, and an excellent place for walks and picnics.
One of the best ways to see the area is on horseback or cycling.
The New Forest Heritage Centre at Lyndhurst is informative and interesting describing the history and wildlife of the forest.
Salisbury is just under twenty minutes drive away and is a wonderful medieval city with its spectacular cathedral. This impressive and elegant building is a masterpiece of early English Gothic architecture. Among the many other attractions in the Cathedral Close are Mompesson House (a National Trust property with delightful garden) and Salisbury Museum (a good guide to local history with some impressive exhibits).
The city is also home to the nearest theatre (Salisbury Playhouse), and the nearest cinema. Salisbury offers a wide selection of shops, pubs and restaurants to cater for most tastes. Market days are on Tuesday and Saturday.
This area is steeped in ancient history, both Dorset and Wiltshire have a plethora of archaeological sites of interest.
Old Sarum is an Iron-Age fort and the site of the original Salisbury Cathedral.
North of Salisbury, the renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites of Stonehenge, Avebury and other prehistoric wonders.
Dorset is dotted with hillforts, many of them owned by the National Trust and free to visit, except for parking. Dogs are usually allowed on leads, but do check first as they are frequently grazed by sheep.
The ancient capital of England. Wilton House, home of the Earl of Pembroke, is a fascinating and beautiful property, and only 20 minutes away. The house and grounds have been used as film sets for ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Mrs Brown’. There are beautiful walks beside the River Nadder and a large adventure playground. Whilst in Wilton visit the famous Carpet Factory, The Guild, a shopping village including factory outlets and Italianate church.
Ringwood is a thriving local market town (market day on Wednesday) with shopping in the High Street and Furlong Centre and with the local leisure centre.
Pubs and cafes abound along with walks close to the River Avon.
Close by is the Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre. The centre offers flying displays, group visits, specialised day visits and offers limited kennelling facilities if you have a dog with you.
Damerham, Martin and Whitsbury are within easy reach with their charming village pubs and churches with interesting houses and walks in the region. Martin Down (nature reserve) is a picturesque area of downland.
Cranborne - Has several excellent restaurants with Cranborne gardens and garden centre, and is the seat of the Salisbury family.
Breamore House overlooking the Avon valley was completed in 1583, and is home to a fine collection of 17th and 18th Century paintings, period furniture and tapestries.
The area around the house has been used for film sets including the recent adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’ and for ‘The Children of the New Forest’.
The Countryside Museum enables visitors of all ages to have a fascinating insight into the history of village life in the area. Children will particularly like the Great British Maze and adventure playground. There is also a Saxon Church in the village.
Towns and Cities
Bournemouth - Miles of sandy beaches, Bournemouth International Centre, shops, pier and gardens.
Christchurch - Ancient harbour, priory church, miles of sandy and shingle beaches. Hengistbury Head, overlooking Christchurch harbour and the south coast, is an area of natural beauty and a nature reserve.
Poole – Enjoy beaches, Europe's largest natural harbour, the ancient Quay and boat trips to Brownsea Island (National Trust). Walks in country parks and shopping at the Poole market on a Thursday and Saturday or the High Street and the Dolphin Centre.
Southampton - roman remains, the Tudor House and Garden and the Seacity Museum are just a few of the things to do in this coastal city.
Portsmouth - Naval Dockyard since 1496 and the home of HMS Victory, the Mary Rose and HMS Warrior.
Gardens and Historic Houses
Mottisfont Abbey - house and gardens with great historic interest. Exhibitions are also a feature.
Athelhampton House - at Puddletown near Dorchester.
Heale Garden - Historic house where King Charles II took refuge in 1651. Eighty acres of riverside gardens and beautiful surrounding landscapes. There is also a garden centre and shop.
Furzey Gardens - not just a lovely garden, but a social enterprise, supporting local charity Minstead Trust’s work with adults with learning disabilities.
Exbury Gardens - a wonderful garden, especially in the spring and autumn, a steam railway. Dog friendly.
Middle-Wallop - Museum of Army Flying.
Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park - heavy horses and farm animals, vintage displays and activities for children.
Monkey World - rescue and rehabilitation centre for chimps, gibbons, orang-utans and other apes.
Moors Valley Country Park - woodland and moorland walks, a play trail, a steam railway, refreshments - perfect for the family and the dog.
Blashford Nature Reserve - just one of the various nature reserves in the region.
Dorset is famed for it's ancient and beautiful coastline where a wealth of beaches, coves and villages await. The Jurassic Coast stretches 95 miles from Swanage in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon with amazing sites like Lulworth Cove and Warbarrow Bay.
Fossil finding is a rewarding adventure for kids and adults alike and there a lots of museums and visitor centres dotted through the towns and villages.