Dog-Friendly Holidays The New Forest: Best Days Out, Walks, Accommodation For Dogs · The Wildest

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Dog-Friendly Holidays in the New Forest

Heading to the picturesque wild pony-filled New Forest? Here’s where to eat, sleep, play and walk with your pup

by Ro Elfberg
6 June 2024
Rita_Kochmarjova / Shutterstock

If the idea of exploring idyllic glades, ancient woodland, open moors, heathland and cliff top walks is you and your pup’s idea of heaven, then a trip to the New Forest in Hampshire should definitely be top of your staycation bucket list this summer. Not only are there walks aplenty, you’ll also be sure to bump into free-roaming ponies, cattle, donkeys and deer on your travels (the New Forest dog-walking code states that if you cannot reliably recall your dog or keep them close by, to keep them on a lead). Or head down to the all-year-round dog-friendly beaches for unrestricted frolicking in the waves.

Ahead, we round up the New Forest’s most dog-friendly places to sleep, eat, play and more to make sure you – and your pup – have the summer holiday you’ve both been dreaming of.

Dog-friendly cottages

Although there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels in the New Forest, self-catering cottages can provide a great home away from home for humans and pups alike.

The Chapel

Located in the pretty thatched-cottage village of Whitsbury, which is on the edge of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Chapel is a recently converted former Methodist Chapel. It can accommodate up to four adults and two dogs, and is just a 10 minute drive from The New Forest National Park with miles of tracks and footpaths – perfect for tuckering out both humans and canines, so you can return home after a long day of walkies to enjoy a lazy evening around the log burner. It’s worth noting that dogs should be over the age of one unless previously agreed with the owner, and there is a charge of £30 per dog, per week. 

The Chapel, Whitsbury, from £771 for four nights

Plummers Water

Planning a trip with a group of family or friends? This sprawling bungalow on the outskirts of the chocolate-box village of Pilley sleeps seven humans and two dogs. The property not only comes equipped with plenty of inside fun in case of rain (pool table and table football) but also offers direct forest access from the grounds, so your whole pack can spend the day getting lost in the countryside. It’s also stumbling distance to the New Forest’s oldest pub, The Fleur De Lys, where dogs are very much welcome. 

Plummers Water, Pilley, from £511 for three nights

Pop’s Barn

If you want to go officially off-grid for the weekend, Pop’s Barn and it’s intentional lack of wifi should do the trick. This secret little hideaway in the village of Downton (sadly not associated with Downton Abbey, but you are only an hour’s drive from Highclere Castle where the series is set) is the perfect cosy spot for you, your significant other and your four-legged bestie. With wooden floors and beams and its own walled garden for your pup to explore, this cute cottage is an ideal base for those looking to explore the area, with The Cranborne Chase right on your doorstep, offering a network of scenic walking and cycling paths.

Pop’s Barn, Downton, from £337 for three nights

Dog-friendly hotels

If you’re after pup-centric amenities like a doggie hampers and treats at reception, look no further.

The Montagu Arms

Dogs will love the warm welcome they receive at this country house hotel in the sleepy village of Beaulieu. With a variety of amenities including dog beds, bowls, meals and their very own hamper to keep your pup pampered and happy throughout your stay, The Montagu Arms is perfectly located for hours of walks through the rolling hills of the New Forest. 

The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu, from £200 per night

Burley Manor Country Spa Hotel

Dogs stay free at pup-friendly Burley Manor, which is set within an eight-hundred-year-old estate surrounded by rolling countryside and Burley Park – a red deer sanctuary (keep your pup on the lead unless you want to recreate your own ‘Fentooooon’ moment). In the heart of the New Forest, there are plenty of walks you can enjoy straight from the hotel, and they even offer a handy pup station at reception where you can find dog towels, water bowls and bags. The staff are also on hand to recommend dog-friendly cafés and attractions in the area. There’s a doggie menu available for your pup, which includes treats, special drinks and main courses, so your dog always feels included.

Burley Manor Country Spa Hotel, Burley, from £160 per night

Thatched Cottage Hotel

Is there anything more quintessentially New Forest than staying in a thatched cottage in the village of Brockenhurst where wild ponies roam the streets? We think not. This Grade II-listed hotel offers dog-friendly cottage rooms as well as garden rooms and suites, and dogs receive special treats on arrival and are welcome to join you for all your meals in the hotel. Or why not go on a culinary tour and explore the wealth of dog-friendly restaurants and pubs nearby?

Thatched Cottage Hotel, Brockenhurst, from £278 per night

Dog-friendly accommodation

For those looking for something a little bit different, here’s a few dog-friendly options that fit the bill.

Red Shoot Camping Park

Welcoming tents, caravans, motorhomes, campervans, and crucially, dogs, this family camping park in Ringwood is perfectly positioned to explore the forest on foot or bicycle. There’s also an on-site shop and bakery and children’s play area – ‘fun for the whole family‘ springs to mind.

Red Shoot Camping Park, Ringwood, from £20 per pitch per night

Shorefield Country Park 

From caravans to lodges with hot tubs and even two luxury treehouses, Shorefield Country Park welcomes pups with open arms across all their accommodation ranges. If fresh air and plenty of exercise is on your agenda, look no further than the abundance of forest walks, the nearby all-year-round dog-friendly beaches of Milford-on-Sea, walking routes from Milford-on-Sea to Keyhaven, or the 14 acres of woodlands known as The Pleasure Grounds.

Shorefield Country Park, Milford-on-Sea, caravans from £365.00 per unit per week

Midgham Feather Down Farm

With a pack of resident Pekingese pups on-site, Midgham Feather Down Farm in Fordingbridge (near but not quite in the New Forest) is as dog-friendly as it gets. Offering just six fully-furnished canvas lodges, which each sleep six adults, Midgham Farm is electricity-free – but who needs a charged device when you’re surrounded by farm animals, including ponies, lambs, pigs and goats. Plus, there’s a communal fire pit and pizza oven, as well as a long stretch of the River Avon to walk along so your pup can splash and swim.

Midgham Feather Down Farm, Fordingbridge, safari tent from £660 for four nights

Dog-friendly beaches New Forest

People often forget just how close the New Forest is to the coast and its wealth of dog-friendly beaches available for you and your dog to explore. If you’re not sure whether your dog is allowed, it’s always best to check. And make sure you’re fully confident on how to keep your pup safe while you’re there. The following beaches near the New Forest welcome dogs all year round.

Mudeford Sandbank

Catch the little dog-friendly ferry boat from Mudeford Quay across the entrance of Christchurch Harbour to Mudeford Sandbank – it welcomes dogs off lead all year round. It’s an iconic and beautiful beach, famous for its pastel-painted beach huts (which sell for nearly half a million pounds). On one side, small sand dunes gently slope to the sea for safe swimming with views across to the Isle of Wight. On the other side is the huge expanse of Christchurch Harbour, where you and your pooch could even try paddle boarding.

Mudeford Sandbank, Christchurch

Highcliffe Beach

The sandy section of  Highcliffe beach at Steamer Point is dog friendly year round and offers your pup the chance to swim in ‘excellent rated’ clean, clear water. Some sections of Highcliffe Beach do not allow dogs during May to September, so make sure to check the map before heading out.

Highcliffe Beach, Christchurch


Milford-on-Sea beach has an extensive beachfront, with two different locations: Hordle Cliff beach and Hurst Road, known locally as Keyhaven beach, both of which are dog friendly 365 days a year. Hordle Cliff is home to brightly coloured wooden beach huts and is popular with swimmers, kite surfers, kayaks and paddleboarders, while Hurst Road offers spectacular views from the walkway that runs along the top, enabling you and your dog to walk its full length and enjoy views of the Solent.

Milford-on-Sea, New Forest


Nearby Barton-on-Sea’s miles of dog-friendly beaches are perfect for exploring, with hidden coves, wildlife and bird-watching opportunities galore. There are plenty of coastal walks, too.

Barton-on-Sea, New Forest

Dog-friendly days out

If you have any spare time in between all these walks and beach trips, here are some other attractions in the New Forest that welcome dogs.

New Forest Reptile Centre

If dogs aren’t your only animal interest, check out the home of a unique collection of snakes, frogs, toads and lizards. With a picnic area in the forest, too, this dog-friendly day out is a great attraction to visit with the whole family, as long as your pup doesn’t have a fear of snakes and creepy crawlies.

New Forest Reptile Centre, free entry

Hurst Castle

Got a history-loving pup in your family? Aside from its dog-friendly beach, the big draw to the village of Milford-on-Sea is the one-and-a-half mile spit leading to King Henry VIII’s coastal fortress, Hurst Castle, which was one of the most advanced artillery fortresses in England and went on to play a role in defending from Napoleonic Wars and Second World War invasion threats. Dogs are welcome to explore the whole castle and its grounds with you – and can even catch the dog-friendly ferry there from Keyhaven.

Hurst Castle, from £7.50 per adult

New Forest River Explorer

You and your dog are both invited to enjoy a cruise along the Beaulieu River in a canoe, exploring its hidden creeks and waterways. You’ll be guided by experienced and qualified coaches – just bring along a blanket or towel for them to perch on in the boat!

River Explorer, from £46 per adult

Ro Elfberg

Ro Elfberg

Ro is The Wildest UK’s Senior Editor. She has previously written and copy-edited for British Vogue, Glamour and DICE. When she’s not being manipulated into dishing out Dreamies to Kobe the cat, she spends her free time trying to convince her snake, Butters, to wear a tiny hat.

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