Ever since I was little, my family have always gone on camping trips either within the UK or to France or Italy; The Lake District, Cornwall, The Dordogne or Brittany being particularly frequented. This year, we decided to stay in the UK and visit both The New Forest and Dorset. We were very lucky with the weather on this trip. As you probably know, English weather is very unpredictable, but most days were warm and sunny.
The drive to The New Forest from our home on the outskirts of London is only about 2 hours, so it was not long until we arrived at our campsite, Long Meadow, which was situated in a beautiful location called Brockenhurst inside the national park. The campsite had a gate at the end which gave direct access to the park and allowed us to explore miles and miles of walking trails and open heath-land full of wild horses. The New Forest is famous for its wild horses- you can walk through towns and villages and they’ll be standing outside restaurants and bars hoping for food. I’m a huge lover of horses so this thrilled me, although when driving it was important to be extra vigilant due to the sheer number of wild horses.
We spent about 5 days in The New Forest and generally spent our time hiking and cycling our way through the national park. There’s endless miles of the place so there was something new to see everyday, and in the evenings we’d cook a barbecue at the campsite and play board games or visit the local pub in town.
We moved on a few hours west from The New Forest and set up camp in Osmington, Dorset. Dorset was beautiful, with sea side towns and remarkable coastal scenery. We visited parts of the Jurassic Coast, including Lulworth Cove, Chesil beach and Durdle Door. From the pictures below, you can distinctly see Durdle Door as it has a large, natural arch carved out in the rock- (hence the word “door”). Every time we visit Durdle Door, it’s always surprisingly quiet, and we get a section of the beach to ourselves. It could be to do with the steep climb down from the cliff to get to it; I fell over twice on the way down. I also believe a scene from Nanny McPhee was filmed here. We spent a lot of time hiking and cycling, which offered beautiful scenery as The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO heritage site.
We also spent time in Weymouth, a quaint but lively sea side town with a harbour running through the centre. During the day, it was nice to wander and sit down for fish and chips by the harbour or the sea; during the evening, we tended to visit the sweet little English pubs. Weymouth also has an aquarium which we visited on one rainy day- it was very diverse and housed otters, seals and penguins as well as fish. One day we also took a drive to Wareham, where there is an ape rescue centre called Monkey World. The centre clearly looks after the apes and monkeys very well and there were behaviourists and keepers giving frequent talks about the residents, so we spent a good few hours here learning about the animals. Admission was about £11 if I remember correctly, which is a great price for the amount there is to see.