New Forest & English South Coast Mini Guide

Going on holiday to the New Forest every year was my favourite family adventure. As I was growing up, my grandparents would take me and my brother down South for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the summer holidays. Then my mum and dad would come down a week later so we could all spend time together. It was near six hour journey but my brother and I would always occupy ourselves playing silly car games and writing stories and eating ham sandwiches in the back of the car. Because it was a camping holiday, we'd visit various places through the day and then go back to the campsite in the evening and play games of rounders and hide & seek with the other kids on the camp (complete with camouflage clothes and glowsticks, I recommend this to everyone). We stopped going a fair few years ago but this year we decided it was high time to go back to our favourite holiday spot. Although the weather wasn't as good, we had a good time travelling along the South Coast and visiting our home away from home. So I thought it was about time that I shared a few of the New Forest and South Coast gems with you!

Lyndhurst | If you're in the mood for a spot of shopping and some really good ice cream, Lyndhurst should be top of your list. It's a tiny little place but there are a lot of family-run cafes and one-of-a-kind homeware stores filled with lots of treasures. It's not very big so it's good for a day where you just want to spend a couple of hours out and about.

Christchurch | As well as having a busy centre filled with high street shops and restaurants, there's a boating lake and a really big, beautiful church with a lovely courtyard. There's also a river running behind it so when the weather is nice it's a lovely walk. I snapped this picture of my grandparents sat by the lake while we were there. You can just see the church in the background but it doesn't do justice to how lovely it really is!

Mudeford | There isn't a whole lot to do in Mudeford but go fishing. It's a very short walk along the sea front and there is a little pub at the end but other than that there isn't much to do. If you just want a day to sit out and enjoy the rare British sunshine, have a drive to Mudeford. We went because we wanted to give crab fishing another whirl. The first time we did it none of us caught anything, except my brother who caught five! This time was no different, we had no success, but it was nice to just sit on the edge of the water and watch the boats go by and relish is everyone else's crab fishing successes.

Southsea | This was always my favourite place to go when I was younger. At the time it just seemed to vibrant and full of life and people! It wasn't quite the same when we went back (blame the weather, as always) but all the same things were there that I loved when I was a kid - arcades, fish & chip shops, cafes, castles (for the History nerd in me) and pebbled beaches. If the weather is good, it's a lovely long walk along the sea front to the big pier at the other side. There's something for everyone in Southsea!

Bournemouth | This time around, it was Bournemouth that I enjoyed the most. There's a big beach with bouncy castles and zip wires and a big pier with arcades and fairground rides. We went on a pretty windy day so we quickly escaped into the town to grab some food and do a bit of shopping. The great thing about Bournemouth is that it's so easy to go from city to sea and back again so if you want to spend some time at the beach you can but you can just as easily walk through the town for a more urbanised vibe. The best of both worlds.

Have any of you every been to the New Forest or explored any of these places along the South coast? I think these places will always be places I hold dear to my heart! Too soppy, alright, I'll leave it there.