The New Forest beaches are very beautiful and diverse. Sandy, silty, pebbly and many are near coastal bird reserves.
Here’s our guide to spending a day on the local beaches…
Milford on Sea beach
is sandy at mid-low tide. Pebbly at high tide. Check the tide times and go there for yellow sand and sandcastles. It’s rarely busy. Park on the cliff and walk down. Dogs welcome all year. Cafes and facilities are limited. Swim here – there are no lifeguards tho’.
- Read our Insiders Guide here.
- Low tide below…
Tanners Lane Beach
- Just east of Lymington is Tanners Lane. Sandy, pebbly, silty. A gentle incline into the water. It’s great for wild walks, quiet picnics, tree climbing and den making. Dogs welcome but watch them on the bird reserve.
- On the most eastern side of the National Park boundary, Lepe has fantastic views of the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. It does get busy (for the New Forest anyway) in peak dates. The new cafe there is lovely but avoid busy times. Dogs are welcome here. There is an excellent walk from here along the coast. Children will love the trees and dens.
Hurst Castle Spit.
It’s the same type of beach here as Milford on Sea. At mid to low tide the pebbles end and it gets lovely and sandy. The water here toward the Island is very dangerous. Do not swim here. But on the other side of the spit in the lagoon, it’s gentle and lovely.
Paddle boarding here is great with The New Forest Paddle Sport Boarding Company.
The castle is on a long pebble spit that juts out into the Solent. The castle at the end is run by English Heritage. You can also come by boat (every 20 mins from March to Oct). It’s a 2 mile walk out there. Walk around the castle for free and enjoy amazing views toward the Needles and Isle of Wight.
Park at the Keyhaven. You can go crabbing off the little bridge at the base of the Spit.
Highcliffe and Avon Beach
- Whilst slightly out of the New Forest area, all these beaches are lovely and well worth a visit. They have fine yellow sand and can be busy at peak times. Don’t miss The Noisy Lobster cafe at Avon beach – it’s great. Surfing here is small and friendly.
Mudeford Spit and Highcliffe Beaches.
This is a favourite for two on our team (out of four of us) so that’s saying something. The beaches here are pale and fine sand. The Spit takes 20 minutes walk to get to. Go around on the trail (scooter and pushchair friendly on path) where the land train runs, or walk over the hill fort of Hengitsbury Head which has fabulous views on all sides. Wooden beach huts, white beaches, the lagoon, woodland. It’s very pretty. We like to get the boat over and the train back. The cafe there is nice too.
Pics coming – but google it in the meantime – you won’t be disappointed.