15 Best New Forest Pubs You Can’t Miss

15 New Forest Pubs You Can't Miss

There’s no question, a trip to England’s New Forest national park just isn’t complete without visiting some of its wonderful pubs!

From historic spots to flower-adorned gardens, dog-friendly to family-friendly, there’s a huge range of fantastic boozers within this glorious area of Hampshire, and visiting at least a few really is a classic part of the experience here.

So whether it’s to sit by the fire all snuggled up in winter, or stretch out with a cool drink in a sunny garden during the summer, these 15 New Forest pubs will bring you the best experiences.

And don’t forget, from a fab Sunday roast to a delicious non-alcoholic beer and even afternoon tea, there’s plenty of reasons to enjoy these cultural and often historic centres of village life even if you don’t want to drink alcohol.

So let’s get stuck in with my list of the 15 best New Forest pubs…

England, New Forest, Me in National Park


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#1 The Oak Inn, Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst is one of the major towns in the New Forest, which means you’re bound to pass through it at least once on your travels in this national park.

And when you do, don’t miss the Oak Inn, which is just out of the centre down Pinkney Lane.

Perfect for walkers and dog-owners, the Oak Inn in Lyndhurst is a wonderful, atmospheric pub set in a historic building.

A cosy wooden interior is complemented by a lovely courtyard, complete with picnic benches, that make this New Forest pub great for Sunday lunch or a weekday dinner.



England, New Forest, Tudor Building


#2 The Rising Sun, New Milton

Set in a beautiful countryside area with a cosy feel, the Rising Sun in New Milton is the perfect spot for a good drink, especially in the summer thanks to its large garden and decking area.

In the winter, a roaring fire completes the feel of this great local, which is ideal for kids too with its play areas and children’s food menu.

Serving food every day from noon, the Rising Sun is a great New Forest for traditional grub, pub classics and some delicious ales – ideal after a long walk!


England, New Forest, Landscape


#3 The Rockingham Arms, West Wellow

Dating back to 1840, this lovely New Forest country pub is definitely one of the area’s best thanks to its cosy fireplace and deep leather sofas.

Set in the village of West Wellow, this place is full of character, with a beautiful garden that leads onto a National Heritage common.

Great home-cooked traditional food, good wine, lots of ales and top coffee, make this a super place to stop no matter whether you’re hungry or thirsty.

Oh and they’re dog-friendly too!

I ate dinner here during my third visit to the New Forest after it was recommended by my Airbnb hosts.

Clearly a local favourite, I found it very family-friendly and well-priced.


England, New Forest, Green Doorway




#4 Waterloo Arms, Lyndhurst

A 17th century, thatched roof pub, this New Forest gem of a pub certainly ticks the heritage box!

Open fireplaces, a piano and a cosy wooden interior seal the deal in this independently-run spot that caters for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters too.

Indoor and outdoor seating (and some lovely flower boxes) makes this place something of a New Forest watering hole icon and the bar snacks are stand out!


England, New Forest, Lymington Street


#5 Fleur De Lys, Lymington

And another icon on the list, the Fleur de Lys with its memorable name and gorgeous façade, is definitely another of the top New Forest pubs to enjoy.

This award-winning and historic pub is situated near Lymington in the coastal region of the New Forest in a village called Pilley.

This is actually thought to be the oldest pub in the area, which means it’s a bucket list tick with a great home-cooked food and drink menu to boot.

Ideal place to finish after a day at the coast!


England, New Forest, Historic Home


#6 The Royal Oak Hilltop, Beaulieu

Beaulieu is one of my favourite villages in the New Forest, and the Royal Oak Hilltop pub is the perfect place to unwind there after a day’s cycling, walking or road tripping.

Another historic gem, dating from 1848, this pub is a country classic with roading fires and comfy seating,

A beer garden, great Sunday roasts, local ale, fresh local produce food and a “dog and muddy boot friendly” approach make it a top spot.


England, New Forest, National Park post



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#7 The Pilgrim Inn, Marchwood

If you’re looking for a great place to stay, eat and drink, then the Pilgrim Inn in the New Forest’s Marchwood is a superb choice.

A fresh menu, which uses many locally-sourced ingredients, is always on offer at this pub, and there’s an outstanding array of cask ales to boot!


England, New Forest, Pony on Moor


#8 The Swan, Lyndhurst

Another classic New Forest pub, and another one in Lyndhurst, The Swan is a traditional country boozer that is both family & dog friendly.

A large beer garden, play area and restaurant, where food is served daily, are complemented by a great bar selection and a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks.

The Sunday roasts here deserve a special mention! Make sure you reserve a spot!


England, New Forest, The White Hart


#9 The White Hart, Cadnam

On my 2nd trip to the New Forest, I was staying in an Airbnb in Cadnam and really loved wandering down the road to this large and friendly pub.

With a huge garden, as well as cosy inside seating, the food here is absolutely delicious and they had some great vegetarian options too.

Definitely one of the best places to eat and drink in the New Forest.


England, New Forest, Bunting


#10 The Chequers Inn, Lymington

And in at number 10 of this list of the best New Forest pubs, it’s The Chequers Inn in Lymington.

Dating back to the 16th century, this is the perfect spot for walkers (dogs also welcome), as the pub sits along the ancient maritime pathway on the edge of the historic Lymington Salt Marsh and Nature Reserve.

A lovely, hidden and quiet spot, this place shouldn’t missed as part of a good ramble itinerary in the New Forest!


England, New Forest, Donkeys


#11 The Foresters Arms, Frogam

A really beautifully decorated pub in the New Forest, the Foresters Arms is Frogam is a classic gastropub, whose recent renovation has made the best of its lovely internal and garden spaces.

Serving real ales and wonderful food, with a seasonal and local twist, this is a top-rated pub is famous for its donkey friends who can often be seen standing by the gate as if to welcome visitors!


England, New Forest, Harbour


#12 The New Forest, Ashurst

With a large outdoor space and some great views, this much-loved New Forest pub is another top one for walkers thanks to its country location and dog-friendly feels.

The children’s playground and large tables make it ideal for families and friends looking to get together while they enjoy some delicious food and excellent wines.

England, New Forest, Couple Walking


#13 The Fisherman’s Rest, Lymington

The opportunity to sit by the warm crackling fire in the winter or the sunny beer garden in the summer, make The Fisherman’s Rest a top New Forest pub that is full of welcoming, local vibes.

Friendly staff serve award-winning food in a place that is popular with locals, visitors, families and four-legged friends alike.

The red brick and pinewood interior only add to the great and relaxed atmosphere of this coastal area boozer, which has a good soft drink menu for non-drinkers.




England, New Forest, Church


#14 The Fox and Hounds, Lyndhurst

A chic and rustic feel where country meets quality, the Fox and Hounds in Lyndhurst is a popular favourite on the New Forest pub trail.

Situated in one of the area’s main towns, regular high season theatrical performances make this a great stop in the summer months.

A historic former coaching inn, the internal décor is lovely and the beautiful flower boxes outside make sitting on the sunny terrace here a very inviting prospect!

Modern craft beers, great food and a friendly atmosphere will welcome you at this fab spot you shouldn’t miss.


England, New Forest, Lighthouse


#15 Red Shoot Inn & Brewery, Ringwood

And last but not least on this list of the 15 best New Forest pubs, we come to the Red Shoot in Ringwood.

Up in the northeast of the New Forest, this place has a great community feel, and its spacious inside and outside seating make it a great place for get-togethers.

Dietary requirements are catered for with a gluten-free and children’s menu here too with some delicious local beers on tap produced by the onsite brewery – yum!


Other Fab New Forest Pubs Worth a Mention

  • The Lamb Inn – located in the brilliantly named village of Nomansland, just inside with the National Park, this local favourite was buzzing when I visited on a Sunday afternoon. A traditional British pub, tables outside allow punters to mingle with the New Forest ponies who can often be seen just metres away. Inside a warm welcome greeted me and the vegetarian wellington roast was a delight!


  • New Forest Inn – dating back to the 18th century, this fab pub located in the picturesque village of Brockenhurst welcomes four-legged friends, families, cyclers, hikers and horse riders alike with fantastic Sunday roasts (including a fab lamb roast I’m told!), a selection of great wines and ales, and then several ensuite rooms where you can stay upstairs.


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Mini Travel Guide to the New Forest

England, New Forest, Cycle Trail Sign


How to Get To and Around the New Forest?

Driving to the New Forest from across the UK is easy and straightforward with lots of good connections.

If you’re looking to hire a car in the UK, Discover Cars offer some very competitive rates.

Otherwise, if you’d prefer to use public transport, trains are the best way to get here with over 9 different stations in towns scattered around the New Forest.

Regular connections arrive from London Waterloo, Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth.

As always, I use Trainline to book my UK coach and rail travel as they compare a huge range of transport options, as well as use split-fare features, to get you the best deal on tickets.

Their handy app also allows you to track your journey, as well as save all your tickets in one handy place – winning!


Where to Stay in the New Forest?

Accommodation in the New Forest isn’t the cheapest, so for those of you on a tight budget, camping really is the best option.

Discover more in my ultimate guide to camping in the New Forest, which includes a list of the top 7 campsites in the area.

For those who want something a bit comfier however, the Highfield Bed & Breakfast in Lymington gets rave reviews thanks to its great location, facilities and service.

Or the luxury Cottage Lodge Hotel in Brockenhurst is a top-rated winner.

Otherwise, these Brockenhurst Apartments are excellent for those who prefer self-catering accommodation with a full kitchen in the heart of the New Forest.

For something a bit more quirky, this brilliantly rated Shepherd’s Hut near Ringwood is the glamping option to go for!


How Long to Visit the New Forest For?

The answer to this question is really up to you.

If you’re staying or based somewhere like Lyndhurst or Lymington, then you can easily day trip to many of the other great spots in the forest on this list.

Otherwise, if you can manage a weekend, then camping in more remote parts is another great option.


When to Visit?

There’s no question in my mind, the best time to visit the New Forest is during the summer season, when the UK’s good weather allows you to get the nicest experience from your time there, especially if you want to enjoy some hiking or cycling,

The only problem with the summer and the weekend is that the New Forest at its busiest then too, so do be warned!

If you have the option to visit on a weekday, or outside of school holidays, then I’d advise this, as parking and finding some more deserted trails will be a lot easier at these times!

I’d always recommend booking a table at a New Forest pub, especially during the weekend or for dinner at most times of the year.


New Forest Packing Essentials

And now here’s my list of the top 5 packing essentials you shouldn’t head to the beautiful New Forest without…

#1 A Good Camera

I love my Sony A6000 and GoPro, which are both light, compact and great for travel.

#2 Decent Walking Shoes

Get prepared and ensure you have a decent pair of walking shoes – these cross trainers from New Balance are ideal (and totally stylish) for the job.

#3 Light Waterproof Jacket

Whatever the time of year, you have to remember this is England after all, a country in which the heavens can open at any point!

This North Face one is perfect.

#4 Compact Hiking Day Pack

If I’m heading out to hike or cycle in nature, this super featherweight Kompressor from Marmot is my go-to, because it folds down to nothing and is water-resistant.

#5 Portable Charger

And finally, I would never head off anywhere without my trusty Anker Portable Charger, which keeps my phone and camera batteries full all day, every day!


Where to Go After?

If you’re still keen for more southern English splendour after the New Forest (and, quite frankly, why wouldn’t you be?!), then you have some more great options on the doorstep.

First up, the nearby cities of Winchester, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Southampton are all worth a visit.

Otherwise, if it’s coastal vibes you’re after, then the beautiful county of Dorset with its great beaches and clifftop walking is just a couple of hours away.

Or, slightly further away, Somerset with its countryside feels, or the seaside glory of Devon, are just a few hours drive from the New Forest.

And who could forget, the Isle of Wight too?!

You can actually catch the ferry to this beautiful spot from Lymington (with your car) in just 30 minutes.


Best UK Tours that Include the New Forest

These top picks for tours of the UK’s SouthWest give you lots of good food for thought.


Travel Insurance for the UK

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.


Travel Money in the UK

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So there you have it, my list of the 15 best pubs in the New Forest.

Which is your favourite?

Tell me all in the comments box below…


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