The wild New Forest ponies that you’ll see trotting about are just a small part of what makes this beautiful area of England so unique and intriguing.
Every corner of this region offers something a bit different, whether that’s a dense ancient woodland ripe for exploration and adventure or a river cruise where guests can expect serenity amongst tranquil surroundings. Take dogs for a walk along shingle beaches backed by dramatic fossil-rich cliffs or clamber around a Go Ape course while your canine companion watches from the grassy forest floor below.
The New Forest is known for its fantastic outdoor spaces - always a winner when it comes to our puppy pals - and you’ll have plenty of opportunities for scenic walks through heathland and along the coast - you can even take up a cycle trail if you prefer to explore on two wheels.
Warming country pubs can be found offering dog bowls and treats for keen adventurers, while there’s a whole range of dog-friendly attractions available throughout this region as well. Canine companions will have a great time and their owners will no doubt love it too!
Take a peek through our collection for pups and find your ideal dog-friendly cottage in the New Forest.
New Forest retreats
What do you want to know about the New Forest? We’ve put together this guide to ensure you have everything you need to start planning a fantastic dog-friendly holiday to the New Forest. Read on and get inspired for your next UK trip.
What have we got to get tails wagging?
Click to fetch the New Forest's...
🐾 Top walkies
🏖️ Top beaches
🐶 Top days out
🍴 Top dining spots
🏡 Top places to stay
The best dogs walks in the New Forest for explorers
Put your best paw forward with the wide variety of woodland dog walks and secret trails that criss-cross the beautiful New Forest. It’s a unique place to go walking with your canine companion as you never quite know what you might find around the next corner, be it a free-roaming New Forest pony, snuffling pig or lop-eared donkey wandering through the countryside.
Best coastal walk for salty sea dogs: Sea Air Trail, Lymington
Part of the waterside footpath - the Solent Way, which stretches from Milford on Sea to Emsworth Harbour - the Sea Air Trail allows you to stroll past magnificent tall yachts and watch boats sailing in and out of Lymington Marina. Keyhaven is a beautiful nature reserve you’ll take in on your way and there’s a sandy spit too, complete with a sea fort called Hurst Castle where your dog can race about and splash through the lapping waves.
Best forested walk (with a dog activity trail!): Wilverley Inclosure, Brockenhurst
A wide, winding path that passes through beautiful dense woodland, this trail is great for walkers or cyclists to go exploring. Here and there, footpaths lead off into the trees and near the car park you’ll find the dog activity trail which is a great obstacle course for you and your canine to attempt to conquer.
Best New Forest walk with a pub: Parish Walk, Lyndhurst
We all know how important it is to have a hearty plate of pub grub to tuck into after a long walk. Refuel and refresh at one of the warm and welcoming dog-friendly pubs in Lyndhurst after you and your canine companion have enjoyed stretching your legs on a ramble around the village and through the surrounding countryside.
Stroll your way across the county along some of the best walks that the New Forest has to offer. Visit scenic Buckler’s Hard (where you and Fido could also hop aboard a river cruise!), wind your way through beautiful Burley or walk by bustling Southampton. Your puppy pal is sure to love discovering the New Forest by your side.
The best beaches in the New Forest for salty paws
Every pup adores digging in the sand, meeting other doggos and chasing driftwood in a game of fetch. While in the New Forest, head to the beautiful coast where you and your partner can enjoy windswept walks with your dog by your side.
Why it will set tails wagging…
There’s a nature trail to explore, play areas for children, and meadow where your pup can race through the long grass; all before you even reach the sea! Down on the shingly seafront you and the canine companion will enjoy a walk out to the spit and can take a dip in the water. This is also a great option for any pet parents with limited mobility as an all-terrain wheelchair can be hired for use on grass, sand, pebble beach – call ahead to book.
Why it will set tails wagging…
Splash through waves, take in views from the cliff top, and pop into a dog-friendly café in town while on a trip to this seaside gem. Hordle Cliff can get busy during the summer, but the rest of the year this place is a bit of a local secret. The popular seaside spots of Highcliffe Beach, Hengistbury Head and Avon Beach draw the bigger crowds, leaving this beauty often overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake, the views and the atmosphere of this place ensure it’s a wonderful choice for a seaside stroll with your dog.
Why it will set tails wagging…
Another scenic spot especially loved by dog-walkers, Barton-on-Sea Beach is backed by 30-metre-high cliffs and with steep shingle leading down to flat shallow flats when the tide is out, it’s a rather dramatic beach for your morning stroll with the pup. There are beach huts and fossil beds along this beach offering variety for holidaymakers and, after your canine companion has enjoyed a dip in the waves, you can walk into Barton-on-Sea or New Milton and head into a dog-friendly café.
Discover more unique and lesser-known sandy spots bordering the New Forest in our guide to dog-friendly beaches.
The best attractions in the New Forest for active hounds
Do you think you’ll have to leave the dog at home when you visit an attraction? Think again. The New Forest has plenty of things to do for both you, your human guests and your canine companion. Four-pawed friends will love adventures out on the water, intrigue in the forest with Gruffalo sculptures and dog paddling areas and strolling around ancient heritage sights where the pup can be king of the castle.
If your dog loves the water…
If you’re hoping for a relaxing day out, look no further as you and your puppy pal will have a wonderful time on the Beaulieu River Cruise. The perfect activity for a warm summer’s day (not too hot mind you, we all know pups don’t like the heat!), with the breeze and lapping water all adding to that wonderful atmosphere, you and your canine companion can enjoy a half-hour meander down the scenic Beaulieu River before returning to the pretty village of Bucker’s Hard. The village itself can be a fun place to visit but the museum is not dog-friendly, so if you plan to explore after your boat trip, ensure you’re happy to take turns outside holding the lead.
If your dog loves adventure…
Take them to Moors Valley Country Park & Forest where there are lots of things to do for both humans and hounds. Let the dog off the leash in the dedicated dog parks in this beautiful forested park where there are also dog bowls offering much-needed refreshment after all that exercise. Families and groups of mates will have a wonderful time too as there’s a Go Ape course, ideal for human adventurers to get a thrill on the high ropes, a Gruffalo trail for youngsters, and a railway to hop aboard to see the sights.
If your dog loves being the centre of attention…
Try tasty treats, see shows and meet other mutts on this dog-centric day out. It’s an annual event that takes place in the spring so ensure you time your holiday right in order to make this wonderful festival about all things dog.
Take them to meet reptiles, wander to the end of a shingle spit, and enjoy a seafood festival together: the New Forest is teeming with dog-friendly events and activities to entertain you and your furry friend.
New Forest days out
Dog-friendly places to eat in the New Forest for tasty treats
After all the excitement of a day out, whether it was racing around the beach, exploring forest paths and trails, or sailing around on a river cruise - good food will be at the top of everyone’s list! Stop at a café or pub that welcomes dogs to dine alongside their human pals and enjoy an evening out.
Best pet-friendly coastal eatery: Beachcomber Café, Barton-on-Sea
A cool café set on a cliff overlooking dog-friendly Barton-on-Sea Beach, it’s the perfect excuse for a cuppa and slice of cake after a walk along the seafront. There’s a lovely beer garden where you can sit and enjoy the sea air when stopping here, while the front is lined with windows so you can enjoy the sea views even on chilly days.
This beautiful eatery claims to be a VERY dog-friendly pub in the New Forest, and we love that motto! They understand that dogs should be welcomed and allow them anywhere in the bar, restaurant and garden. Head to this stylish country pub with pups in tow for a delicious Sunday roast with the whole family.
Best family-friendly pub: The Drift Inn, Brockenhurst
With a play area great for youngsters needing to burn off energy before their tea, colouring packs to keep them entertained while at the table and a children’s menu ensuring child-friendly dishes, this pub is just the place for young families looking for a stylish place to dine out. Acres of open heathland surround the inn, great for playful pups to enjoy a pre-dinner walk, and there are often treats and water bowls so your dog can enjoy refreshments too.
With wonderful beer gardens, tasty dog biscuits and bowls of refreshing water on offer, your pup will be well cared for at these establishments. Keep looking and find a dog-friendly pub near you.
New Forest places to eat
Unique dog-friendly cottages in the New Forest for an unforgettable stay
Uncover luxurious holiday getaways and welcoming country cottages across this region, perfect for a paw-friendly holiday with your furry four-legged friend. Humans and pups can curl up in front of warming wood burners after days out and about traversing the fantastic landscape. You’ve seen just how much there is to do throughout this country, now take a look at the cosy cottages where you can relax and do absolutely nothing at all.
Get everyone together for a big pack holiday to The Old Bakehouse, an ultra-stylish country cottage combining industrial chic with cosy farmhouse vibes that sleeps up to four dogs. Your four-legged friends are welcome to bring eight humans along with them for a fantastic family holiday to beautiful Sway in the heart of the New Forest. A hot tub, wood burner and BBQ are all special features that ensure a five-star stay at this luxury holiday cottage in the New Forest.
Best paw-friendly romantic couples’ retreat: Old Telephone Exchange, Beaulieu
A romantic retreat for two plus a playful pup - whisk your partner away to this lakeside country escape in beautiful Beaulieu. It’s another of our five-star properties with a luxury open-plan interior offering sleek furniture, wooden flooring and delightful views, filling this retreat with true country cottage charm. A tranquil escape with wonderful walks nearby and a terrace for sitting out to enjoy the serenity of the quiet lane in this lakeside setting.
Best coastal cottage for pups: Solent Retreat, Milford-on-Sea
You can glimpse the sea from this dog-friendly coastal cottage in Milford-on-Sea, complete with hot tub and garden lodge. It’s 3 miles from either Barton-on-Sea’s dog-friendly beach or the beautiful Keyhaven Nature Reserve where you can spot birdlife and visit a fort on the shingle spit. After long coastal walks, eating out at seaside cafes and pubs, and stopping by fun New Forest attractions, return to this holiday cottage to soak in the bubbling hot tub while your pup naps on the grass.
Plan your next adventure in the New Forest
Dogs deserve amazing holidays with their pup parents, and we won’t let anyone miss out on a great trip. The New Forest is overflowing with top dog places to visit and we put together a few of our favourite pit stops for you and your pack while you are here. Pick out the perfect cottage and enjoy your dog-friendly holiday to the New Forest.
New Forest cottages
Whatever kind of holiday you’re hunting for, we’ve got a whole lot of tips and advice throughout our guides on planning your perfect paw-friendly escape. Keep reading for more insight on enjoying your holiday to the fullest - no matter where in the UK you and the pup are travelling!
🌲 The Canine guide to the Lake District - climb fells and sail on glistening lakes in this breathtakingly beautiful national park.
🐾 The Canine guide to Devon - trek along the dramatic coast or delve into the moors in this intriguing county.
🌞 The Canine guide to Cornwall - make the most of this palm tree-laden UK holiday destination with sandy shores and turquoise waters.
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.