Dramatic sunset over the New Forest National Park at Bratley View near Lyndhurst in Hampshire


Drive from Elmers Court to Lyndhurst and in under 20 minutes you’ll reach Lyndhurst - the heart of the New Forest, also known as its capital since William the Conqueror established it as a royal hunting ground in 1079.

Fittingly, the New Forest Heritage Centre is located on the high street in Lyndhurst and offers a unique and interactive guide to the area’s history and heritage. Entry is free although a modest donation is much appreciated.

Anyone fascinated by reptiles will be intrigued by the inhabitants of the New Forest Reptile Centre, just outside the village, where visitors get the chance to see Britain’s native reptile and amphibians, including the country’s only venomous species of snake, the adder.

The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) or water turtle basks on a trunk that is partially submerged in water. His head is up and he is looking at the sun.

Not surprisingly, Lyndhurst is the starting point for some fantastic walks and cycle routes, and you can get lots of information on these from the Heritage Centre. The Lyndhurst to Brockenhurst bike route – around 10 miles – is a popular one and cycles can be hired for the day at Woods Cyclery on the High Street.

Lyndhurst is also perfect for a potter, a stroll and a spot of lunch if you fancy a laid-back day. Make sure you take time to admire the beautiful pre-Raphaelite windows, designed by William Morris, in the striking mid-19th century church, St Michael and All Angels. The church has another claim to fame; its graveyard is the resting place of Alice Pleasance Liddell, who as a little girl, was the inspiration for Alice in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland`.

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