10 New Forest Museums – A Trip to New Forest
There are many fantastic New Forest museums. Here we set out our top picks for your trip to New Forest.
10 Best New Forest Museums
1. New Forest Heritage Centre
Address: The New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, S043 7NY
Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
The New Forest Heritage Centre is one of the Free New Forest museums and a great place to visit at the start of your stay in the New Forest. There are continuous activities for families taking place throughout the year.
Situated in the beautiful New Forest Village of Lyndhurst which is a great day out all on its own. The New Forest Heritage Centre gives you a glimpse into the life of the New Forest resident both past and future.
With libraries full of information and gallery. This heritage centre is dedicated to sharing the history and traditions of this diverse and beautiful New Forest.
The New Forest Heritage Centre is run completely on donations and is a registered New Forest museums charity. It costs a staggering £1000 a day to keep the place going. Volunteers work hard to keep the place running spick and span. They put together some beautiful displays to teach visitors about the history of the area.
There are interactive displays on every era of New Forest history; including wartime memorabilia. There are displays explaining the area links to Alice in Wonderland and everything you would ever need to know about the New Forest Ponies and their history in the New Forest.
If you’re at the beginning of your trip to the New Forest this is a great place to start where you’ll not only get to experience the beautiful town of Lyndhurst but you’ll learn everything you need to know about the New Forest, its history and the New Forest Animals that roam here.
2. National Car Museum New Forest
Address: John Montagu Building, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZN
Opening times: 10am to 6pm
The National Car Museum is in the beautiful new forest village of Beaulieu. Renowned as the most expensive New Forest village to live at, here you will have a wonderful time exploring the quaint town of Beaulieu and Bucklers Hard.
The Beaulieu National Motor Museum is a nationally as well as internationally famous car museum and one of the most popular New Forest Museums. If you’re a car fanatic then this is the place you really must see. It contains the finest collection of motoring memorabilia in the world.
From the earliest motor carriages to classic family saloons, the world-famous National Motor Museum has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world.
From legendary F1 cars and land speed record breakers perfect for the speed freaks, to incredible examples of pioneering motoring for the history-buffs.
This is an extremely good day out and you’ll get to see some of the James Bond cars from the movies and over 265 vehicles from all times in history. This museum even hosts the famous Blue Bird. This is one of the most famous New Forest museums.
When you’re done with seeing all of the incredible cars within the museum, take a walk around the incredible grounds of the Palace house which is the old Montague family home.
Take a tour of the beautiful palace and get an idea of what it would be like to live there in Victorian times.
If you’re a Top Gear fan you’ll get to view the exact cars from the episodes, in the same condition they were left in after the episodes were filmed.
For children there is a new adventure playground called Little Beaulieu. You’ll find a wooden replica of the Palace house to climb around on and a beautiful treetop walk. From there you can take the zip line all the way down from the tops of the trees to the ground below.
If after walking around the grounds your feet are becoming tired then why not take a ride on the monorail and get a birds eye view of the beautiful landscape and gardens. There’s also a 1912 open top bus which will take you from the restaurant through the grounds to the Palace house.
Read More: 11 Pubs in the New Forest – (Plus Video and Photos) * Burley New Forest Walk Around * New Forest Ponies – Where To See? * New Forest Villages – 6 Most Popular * 13 Things to do in the New Forest – New Forest Holiday
3. New Forest Motorcycle Museum
Address: Bashley Cross Rd, Roads BH25 5SZ
Opening times: 7 days a week 10am – 4.30pm
The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum can be found in the lovely little town of New Milton. This museum hosts the finest collection of fully restored motorcycles in the world.
The museum was created by Sammy Miller MBE who is an 11 times British Motorcycle champion. You can meet Sammy in the museum as he gives displays throughout the year, with the many restored, fully working bikes from all agesr.
You’ll find many of the bikes Sammy personally road in his career as well as many rare and interesting bikes dating back to 1898.
For the younger members of the family, there is a lovely animal area where you can go and say hello to the Chickens, Goats, Donkeys and Alpacas.
4. Rockbourne Roman Villa
Address: Rockbourne Rd, Fordingbridge SP6 3PG
Opening times: 11:00 – 16:00 – Check website for any seasonal opening times.
The Rockbourne Roman Villa is near to the beautiful and historic New Forest village of Fordingbridge. The history of this Roman Villa complex spans from the Iron Age to the 5th century AD.
Walk amount the ruins of this magnificent, historical find. Which include the remains of bath houses, workshops farm buildings and living quarters of the workers. This was a farming estate. This is the most unique of the New Forest museums.
You’ll get to see the amazing remnants of mosaic flooring and an ancient underfloor heating system that encompass the villa’s vast forty rooms. In the onsite museum, you will see many of the artifacts displayed in historical order so you get a true feeling of what life was like here through the ages.
There are not only artifacts in the museum but an actual real life skeleton that was found buried face down on the grounds. The full skeleton is on display in the museum. He is believed to have been buried around Roman times.
Information boards guide you around the site as you walk the ruins and a family friendly trail awaits you. Perfect for all the family including the family dog, there are picnic grounds to make a whole day of it.
Children even get the chance to make their own mosaic which they can take home with them as a memory of an amazing day out in the New Forest. And if they feel like playing dress up, they have the opportunity to dress as a real roman soldier. There are craft activities and special events on holidays too.
5. Red House Museum
Address: Quay Rd, Christchurch BH23 1BU
Opening times: Free Entry, 10:00 – 16:00
The Red House Museum is in the beautiful historic market town of Christchurch. Once a former Georgian workhouse, this beautiful museum takes you through the history of Christchurch from before the ice ages to modern times.
Find out about the incredible history of the Hengistbury Head which Saxon princes and Iron age dwellers roamed.
Great for all the family and there is even a family area with hands on activities and craft hours. From dress up in the old historic costumes to quizzes and spotter trails out into the beautiful gardens.
Admission is free and the museum is run by a host of volunteers who work eagerly to keep the place running.
There are some beautiful gardens here to walk around and some Dinosaur surprises hidden within them. Have lunch in the charming cafe on the museum garden grounds.
After your trip to the museum, why not take a walk around the beautiful Christchurch Priory and Christchurch Quay and Harbour.
6. Friends of the New Forest Airfields
Address: Mosquito Way, Bransgore, Christchurch BH23 8HE
Opening times: 10am to 4pm
If you’re a fan of everything Aviation then this is the museum for you. The New Forest Aviation Museum was formed by a group of aviation enthusiasts, service veterans, historians and authors with an interest in establishing a memorial to the personnel who served in the New Forest. The aim is to preserve the aviation heritage of the New Forest for future generations. This is one of the famous New Forest museums.
You’ll learn about the Aviation heritage of the New Forest through the ages including both world wars. You’ll visit the 12 airfields through the Heritage centre, and learn about their incredible involvement in World War two and more importantly D-Day.
If you are an aircraft enthusiast you’ll get to learn all about the British and American WW II warbirds and will find information on the aircraft that operated from the New Forest Airfields with many models, photographs, and prints.
7. Breamore House and Countryside Museum
Address: Breamore House, Breamore, Fordingbridge SP6 2DF
Opening times: 10am to 4pm
Within a beautiful Elizabethan Estate and country house is the Countryside Museum. Situated in the beautiful Avon Valley on the edge of the New Forest National Park. The village of Breamore is a stunning new first village where you will encounter Geese roaming free on the village green and thatched quaint village houses.
The historic Breamore House was built in 1583. It was built in the typical Elizabethan style. and really is a stunning example of the architecture of that period of time.
It has been kept pristine and has hardly changed at all in the last 400 years. This is one of the oldest New Forest museums.
Take a tour around the beautiful country house and get to imagine what it was like to live in such a stunning estate through different times in history. Including WW2.
The Countryside Museum is well worth a visit too. Here you will get to see the history of agriculture and how it developed through the ages.
On exhibition is a collection of scenes including a dairy, blacksmiths, school, leather worker, village cottage and more.
8. Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum
Address: Buckler’s Hard, New Forest, Hampshire, United Kingdom SO42 7XB
Opening times: 10am to 5pm
Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum is in the Beautiful New Forest village of Beaulieu. On the Beaulieu river in the centre of the New Forest.
This is an 18th-century shipping village. This is where the navel fleet for Nelson was built hundreds of years ago. Three boats built here took part in the battle of Trafalgar.
This is a beautiful area to walk and spend some quiet time. Perfect for a picnic. There is the Bucklers Hard pub here too which is very popular for lunch and dinner.
The Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum is where you’ll learn about the history of boat making in the area and learn the history of Beaulieu, Bucklers hard impacted boat making history of the United Kingdom as a whole and the outer areas of the New Forest.
There’s also a stunning river cruise you can catch which will take you down the Beaulieu river.
One of the unique experiences here is a cottage on Bucklers Hard which has been kept in its original state and you can take a look at one of the boat makers’ homes. Once home to shipwright Thomas Burlace and his family, you can now explore this charming cottage to see how Thomas and his family would have lived.
Entry to the Shipwright’s Cottage is free.
9. Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre
Address: Hengistbury Head, Broadway, Southbourne, Bournemouth BH6 4EW
Opening times: 10am to 4pm
In between the lovely market town of Christchurch and Bournemouth, you will find Hengistbury Head. famous for its incredible archeology and history dating back to the stone age, with its Jurassic coastline. Hengistbury Head is a real gem of a destination. Go to our Hengistbury Head page to see videos and more information on Hengistbury Head.
Next to the car park and the cafe you with find the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. Packed full of interactive displays, with lots of friendly, knowledgeable volunteers on hand, it’s a wonderful way to step back in time and see how our ancestors lived.
As soon as you step within the visitor centre you will get to see some incredible exhibitions on the archeology of this ancient area dating back to the iron age and the incredible wildlife that live here. There are live cameras of the birds which live in Hengistbury Head, many of which are rare and protected species.
Take a walk along the beautiful golden sandy beach and see if you can find any fossils embedded on the embankments. This is one of the most beautiful New Forest Museums. As the scenery and outside location is the museum itself.
Next to the Hengistbury Head Cafe you will be able to catch a land train that will take you through Hengistbury Head to the famous Mudeford Spit which houses the most expensive beach huts in the world.
10. Ringwood Meeting House and History Centre
Address: 22 Meeting House Lane, Ringwood, Hants BH24 1EY
Opening times: Monday to Saturday – 10am to 12pm
Situated in the beautiful market town of Ringwood, near Burley and a short drive away from Bournemouth you will find the Ringwood Meeting House and History Centre. A grade two listed meeting house originally built in 1772 with its original features.
This beautiful building houses a permanent exhibition of the history of Ringwood and the surrounding New Forest. A vast collection of old local photographs and other historical information is available to view in the History Centre.
Visitors are welcome to browse the beautiful building, research the local history or just take a refreshment and sit and relax in the surroundings.
Throughout the year the meeting house holds many exhibitions displaying talent from the local area.