You have found the perfect paw-friendly cottage, you’ve tracked down a couple of cosy pubs that welcome four-legged patrons, but you’re struggling to find attractions that welcome dogs. So where do you look?
Finding things to do when you’ve got a dog by your side can be tough, but your holiday wouldn’t be the same without Fido snoring loudly by the wood burner in the evenings - so we’ve found a few activities in the New Forest that prove firm favourites among the canine community and we think you’ll love them too.
If you and your dog plan to spend your holiday to the New Forest traversing woodland trails and uncovering scenic paths, take a look at our guide to walks in the New Forest for a few ideas.
The UK is full of great things to do with your dog by your side, so check out our ultimate guide to days out with the dog or head over to our guide to the New Forest to keep planning your holiday.
There are plenty of dog-friendly days out in the New Forest. Are you an adventurous soul or do you prefer to be quiet and reflective? Are you looking for a fun event for you and your dog or an activity that will entertain the whole family?
Take a look through these dog-friendly attractions in the New Forest and plan a holiday full of fun for you, your human guests and your furry canine companion.
Best 3 family-friendly attractions
Why your dog will love this: They get to join you in the great outdoors! The humans can enjoy a variety of activities from archery and crossbow to pioneering and bushcraft – and they are super dog-friendly so there’s no need for your canine companion to stay home. If your pup gets restless, take them for a quick walk around the site.
Best for: Families and groups searching for adventure!
Cottage nearby: Willow Tree Cottage, Sandleheath | sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans
Why your dog will love this: Take a cruise along the glistening waters of Beaulieu River and see if you can spot birdlife darting between the reeds, paddling along in the water and flying overhead. Dogs on leads are welcome aboard and will enjoy meeting the other guests and watching the world pass by during this unique dog-friendly experience.
Best for: Old dogs and calm pups who don’t mind a busy boat.
Cottage nearby: The Harbourmasters, Beaulieu | sleeps 2 dogs and 8 humans
Why your dog will love this: Watching these creepy critters scuttering and slithering about will no doubt intrigue your pup as this place holds a large variety of native reptiles, including the only venomous snake in Britain: the adder. There’s also a walking trail, cycling trails and a picnic area so your doggo can expect the chance to stretch their legs before chowing down on a picnic alongside their humans.
Best for: Any dog is welcome as there’s a great path to wear out excitable, energetic pups who’ll enjoy a woodland walk.
Cottage nearby: Bench Cottage, Lyndhurst | sleeps 1 dog and 7 humans
Best 3 dog-friendly parks and gardens
Why your dog will love this: The sweet-smelling gardens, the adventure trails and the paw-friendly steam train – why wouldn’t your pup enjoy a jaunt to Exbury Gardens? There are several different gardens to explore, including a sundial garden and winter garden, and trails for kids to follow too, so it’s a great option for families with little ones.
Best for: Couples and families with youngsters and the family pet to entertain.
Cottage nearby: Old Telephone Exchange, Beaulieu | sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans (7 miles)
Why your dog will love this: There’s so much to do! With cycle hire and trails, children’s play areas including Gruffalo sculptures, Go Ape and a railway you’ll be well entertained although, admittedly, most of this is for the humans rather than for the dog. How about this: there are dog paddling areas, water bowls and a couple of dog parks where the pup can run about off the lead – your canine companion will have a fantastic time!
Best for: Adventure-seekers with four legs and two.
Cottage nearby: Rosewood Cottage, Burley | sleeps 1 dog and 6 humans (10 miles)
Why your dog will love this: The chance for walks, swims and running through open meadows will all call to your canine companion. The 5-mile coast and countryside circular walk, the Lepe Loop, will lead you and your dog past the sea and through beautiful natural areas of this scenic nature reserve and past historic remains from the D-Day landings. Events and activities take place year-round and there are activity trails and a Cold War Explorer Backpack to get children involved in this historic site too.
Best for: Couples seeking a romantic walk and young families searching for a fun, outdoorsy day out.
Cottage nearby: The Shipwrights, Beaulieu | sleeps 2 dogs and 6 humans
Best 3 English Heritage attractions
Why your dog will love this: Splashing about in the waves and discovering the coastal reserve, there are lots for humans and doggos to explore. There’s incredible history at the castle for history buffs to seek out, Hurst Spit is a wonderful place for a long walk and for dogs to let off steam, while Keyhaven is a beauty spot that will have birdwatchers hooked – and you can discover it all in one go.
Best for: Explorers and seaside lovers.
Cottage nearby: Southerly, Keyhaven | sleeps 1 dog and 6 humans
Why your dog will love this: There’s plenty to explore here. These are the remains of an abbey built by Cistercian monks, with parts dating back to the 13th century, whose ruined walls are overgrown with ivy inspired artists and writers during the Romantic Movement including John Constable and Thomas Gray. Dogs are welcome on leads while you walk through beautiful doorways and allow your imagination to wander…
Best for: Creative humans or families and their four-legged friend.
Property nearby: Rooksbridge Barn, Burridge | sleeps 2 dogs and 4 humans (6 miles)
Why your dog will love this: Another set of beautiful ruins, this time sat atop a hill, that were once part of a Norman castle which towered over Christchurch. Climb the steps with man’s best friend by your side to view this ancient building – your dog will enjoy gazing out over the local territory.
Best for: History hounds and waggy-tailed walkers.
Property nearby: Wick Cottage, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans
Best 3 dog-friendly events and festivals
Why your dog will love this: This springtime event, taking place in Pylewell Park in Lymington, is the place for pups to be and be seen. Dogstival is the biggest dog festival in the New Forest and draws crowds of 10,000 humans every year along with their four-pawed companions.
Best for: Sociable dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Property nearby: Gilpin House, Lymington | sleeps 1 dog and 10 humans (4 miles from Pylewell Park)
Why your dog will love this: This foodie festival is a great choice for anyone into their seafood and the dog will no doubt welcome any titbits that fall on the floor. Dogs are welcome on leads at this event – probably best as, with all the delicious smells to follow, any pup would find it difficult to resist wandering off!
Best for: Salty seadogs who love the taste of fishy treats.
Property nearby: Sailor's Retreat, Lymington | sleeps 2 dogs and 6 humans
Why your dog will love this: Pups are welcome at this annual family-friendly county show, where you’ll find stalls, activities and live music to enjoy – no doubt including plenty of butcher stalls where you may be able to pick up leftovers for your canine companion. Dogs are not allowed inside any of the livestock tents, so if you want to get close to the other animals, it may be that Fido has to give this one a miss, or you and the other humans could simply take turns staying with your four-legged friend.
Best for: Doggos who are happy around livestock and exploring the grounds with their humans.
Property nearby: Littlewell, Brockenhurst | sleeps 1 dog and 6 humans
Other regular markets across the New Forest
Regular outdoor food markets take place in Hythe, Lymington, New Milton, and Ringwood. These foodie stalls are great places to pick up local produce for big breakfasts and evenings dining back at your holiday cottage, and as they are outdoors you can bring your doggo along while you browse.
Best 3 cycle trails
Whether your pampered pup likes to cosy up in a dog carrier while you cycle along or race alongside side you and the bike, there’s a whole range of cycling trails that criss-cross this beautiful county. Don’t restrict yourself to two wheels either – many of these footpaths are equally great for walkers or runners.
Over 140 miles of paths and tracks lead through forests, over heather, across rivers and along the coast.
Why your dog will love this: The peace and quiet make for a true back to nature jaunt, great for dogs who wish they think were wolves. With no sign of traffic along this scenic route through a working forest, you’ll pass by surviving parts of Beaulieu WWII Airfield. It is a 9-mile circular cycling trail.
Best for: Energetic pups who can keep up (or race ahead) on a 9-mile route.
Cottage nearby: Clares Cottage, Lyndhurst | sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans (7 miles)
Why your dog will love this: Burley has a whole mix of cycling routes for you to choose from – pick a tranquil cycle trail that passes a couple of dog-friendly pubs or choose a more challenging route.
Best for: Excitable doggos, although there’s plenty of variety so you can pick a route to suit you and your pack.
Property nearby: The Old Chemist, Burley | sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans
The Old Chemist
Why your dog will love this: An 8-mile figure-of-eight loop that leads through pretty woodland where your canine companion will no doubt spot some squirrels to chase and sniff out a few animals trails. There’s the option to shorten this route, perfect for those with old dogs and children in tow.
Best for: Again, this is great for hounds who can manage a long route and keep up with their cycling human, although there is a shorter option if your pup begins to slow down.
Property nearby: Forest Corner, Godshill | sleeps 2 dogs and 9 humans (7 miles)
Dog-friendly attractions in the New Forest
Start putting together a holiday itinerary with a visit to a few of these great dog-friendly attractions in the New Forest. There are so many things to do that you and your canine companion will be ready to relax in a cosy dog-friendly holiday cottage when evening arrives.
Haven’t chosen your bolthole yet? Browse our dog-friendly holiday cottages in the New Forest.
New Forest cottages
For more fantastic ideas on dog-friendly days out across the whole of the UK, you can read our ultimate guide to days out with the dog.
Dog-friendly days out
Head over to our guide to the New Forest to discover the rest of this wonderful National Park and plan an unforgettable retreat.
Dog-friendly New Forest
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.