The spectacular New Forest area is vastly becoming one of the most popular areas to visit in England for both young and old.

It is not hard to see why, as the 193,000 acres of thick woodlands, unspoilt heathlands and flowing rivers paint the most wonderful of backdrops. The area used to be the royal hunting ground of William the Conqueror before becoming a national park in 2005, however you can still feel the history that floats through the area as you explore the 143 miles of cycle tracks (#$file/new-forest-cycle-code.pdf) and hundreds, if not thousands of unmarked trails.

But it is not just the beautiful outdoors and free-roaming donkeys, ponies and pigs that attract visitors to the area; villages, farm shops, museums and a growing number of New Forest cottages (# make this area a haven for family holidays.

Here I outline my top three things to do with children in New Forest.

1. Beaulieu River, Beaulieu

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There is no doubt that getting out and enjoying the wonderful outdoors that New Forest has to offer is one of the top things to do. And while taking a lovely walk or cycle can be soothing and enjoyable for all of the family, it would be a shame to miss the other great aspect of New Forest’s appeal… the rivers!

One of the most famous is the beautiful Beaulieu river (#, which is worth a visit alone, owned by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. The river stretches 12 miles long throughout New Forest before meeting the sea close to Solent.

The best way to explore the Beaulieu is by taking a family canoe tour which allows you to discover every crook and hidden creek there is to see. I would even suggest searching out one of the adventure companies that will keep the little ones busy with a tie the ropes course or archery at the other end to really get the kids excited!

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2. Paulton’s Park and Peppa Pig World, Ower

Located in the tranquil village of Ower, Paulton’s Park (# was originally opened in 1983 as a country park and bird garden but has been growing ever since.

By constantly adding different attractions and rides, it has managed to collect numerous awards over the years, such as TripAdvisor and Netmums best family theme park. For those with young families a visit to the park is sure to be the endearing memory of a trip to New Forest!

The obvious attraction, due to the ever-growing popularity of the books and TV shows, is Peppa Pig World. The little ones can ride in a car with Daddy Pig, play in the house with the real Peppa Pig or choose to sail throughout the park in Grampy Rabbit’s sailing club. But even for those kids who have not been bitten by the Peppa bug, there are shows and rollercoasters which will keep them entertained for hours.

3. National Motor Museum & Estate, Beaulieu

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If you are not lucky enough to be blessed by dry weather on your visit to New Forest, worry not as there are a growing number of activities to cater for those who wish to be indoors.

Currently, the most popular in the area is the National Motor Museum which is home to one of the largest collections of cars in the world. With over 250 cars from throughout history, film and TV to look, admire and play with, there is plenty to keep even the least motor interested person intrigued. Even the little ones are well catered for with go karts, mini motor play areas and special activities such a vintage dress up!

The other benefit of this wonderful location is that if the sun does decide to appear, you are only a short walk or monorail away from gorgeous landscaped gardens, Palace House and some woodlands with wildlife to be spotted.

Of course, these are only three of the great attractions this little corn of the UK has to offer, check out the official New Forest website to find out what you and your family could get up to!