Fordingbridge

all you need to know

On the banks of the River Avon lies the historic market town of Fordingbridge, ‘northern gateway to the New Forest’. With a fascinating history, myriad of woodland walks and cycle tracks and lots of great pubs and restaurants, a holiday cottage in Fordingbridge has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday right on your doorstep.

About Fordingbridge

On the banks of the River Avon lies the attractive market town of Fordingbridge, known locally as the “northern gateway to the New Forest”.

Once a bustling centre for cloth and brickmaking, Fordingbridge’s industrious past also includes a more colourful chapter as a smugglers’ haunt, one of the town’s more infamous rascals being Captain Diamond, the ‘Smuggler King’, a frequent denizen of the local hostelries. These days, you don’t have to be a rum-runner or a brandy-bootlegger to enjoy a sumptuous lunch in one of the town’s lovely pubs.

Fordingbridge’s most iconic landmark is its medieval ‘Great Bridge’ spanning the River Avon with its seven graceful stone arches. Take a stroll along the willow-wept riverbank and you’ll see a bronze statue of renowned post-impressionist painter and former resident Augustus John.

History lovers will enjoy a visit to the Fordingbridge Museum on Kings Yard which houses an impressive collection of antiquities and delves deep into the town’s illustrious past. Just off the bustling high street - with its artisan shops, tearooms, galleries and boutiques - lies St. Mary’s Church which, despite its restoration during the 19th century, still retains many of its impressive Norman features. It’s here, in the leafy shade of the churchyard, that you’ll find a memorial to James Alexander Seton, the last person to be killed in a dual on English soil.

There is plenty to do both in and around this much-loved riverside town, enough to occupy the whole family. The children’s play area and memorial gardens provide a lovely picnic setting, and if you fancy your chances with the local trout, fishing passes are available for purchase at the riverside kiosk. Another popular haunt for anglers - particularly those who enjoy, or would like to learn, the noble art of fly fishing - are the lakes at Rockbourne Trout Fishery, set in fifty-five acres of secluded woodland. Nature lovers will relish a trip to Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve, a haven for all sorts of enchanting wildlife.

Walkers will be captivated by The Avon Valley Path which provides beautiful sweeping views of the river and the opportunity for a gentle detour across the wildflower meadows to the working mill at Alderholt for a traditional cream tea. Another great way to explore the towpaths and woodland trails of this gorgeous corner of Hampshire is by bicycle; the cycle centre at Sandy Balls can kit out the whole family and send you peddling on your merry way. Make a splash at the New Forest Water Park with its inflatable assault course and exciting variety of watersports, or venture into the woods to try your arm with medieval woodland weaponry and learn ancient bushcraft techniques under the watchful eye of the instructors at Insight Activities at Featherdown Farm.

After all that action and adventure, you’ll no doubt be in the mood for something a little more sedate, so why not head for the Roman Villa at Rockbourne, or Breamore House, an Elizabethan manor where you can discover more about Fordingbridge’s rich and fascinating history at the countryside museum.

You’ll have no problem keeping the whole family entertained when you holiday in Fordingbridge. Have a look at our list of holiday cottages in Fordingbridge and start planning your New Forest escape.

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Fordingbridge Museum
(Less than a mile)

Preserving the rich history of the village of Fordingbridge on the edge of the New Forest, the former market town’s famed folk including artist Augustus John, its role during the Second World War, and its trade past are all documented in this former granary run by volunteers.  They have a collection of temporary and permanent exhibitions available to see, as well as seasonal events.

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Insight Activities
(2 miles)

Feeling active?  It’s Insight Activities for you then!  Archery, combat tag, crossbows, axe throwing and woodland weaponry are all part of the game as you explore the New Forest in Robin Hood style.  It’s perfect for anyone over the age of six, and is a chance to learn something new and have fun at the same time!

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New Forest Water Park
(2 miles)

When it comes to water sports and activities in the New Forest, the New Forest Water Park is hard to beat.  From wake boarding to inflatables, it is an adventurer’s paradise.  It’s family friendly and with camping available you can visit for a few hours or a few days, depending on your endurance levels!

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We only did the inflatable part of the park but it was great fun, plenty of time to get around the whole thing and do all the best bits over again until exhaustion takes hold! I strongly suggest getting there at least 20 minutes before your booked time though as we were essentially told off for arriving late even though we were there for the time we booked for.

February 2018


Firtree Farm Equestrian Centre
(3 miles)

A family run business with a warm welcome and a friendly atmosphere, Firtree Farm Equestrian Centre offers indoor and outdoor riding options for people of all ages and abilities, whatever your riding goals.  There is also a Pony Club Centre - more on that when you get in touch - and access to bridleways and the beauty of the surrounding area.

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Rockbourne Roman Villa
(3 miles)

Take a step back in time to visit this Roman villa which was discovered in 1942 thanks to the remains of oyster shells and tiles.  Once excavated, the treasures kept coming with a mosaic floor and foundations making themselves apparent until the entire villa was uncovered, not to mention the remains of an Iron Age timber roundhouse as well.  Visit, explore, and see what you discover!

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The Crown - Fordingbridge
(Less than a mile)

A friendly, town centre pub in Fordingbridge, with some tables to the rear for when it’s warm. Inside there’s a nice open fire and plenty of tables. The menus are pub classics at a very reasonable price, which can be washed down with a good pint of real ale.

The Crown (T: 01425 652552) 62 High Street, Fordingbridge, SP6 1AX

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The Ship Inn - Fordingbridge
(Less than a mile)

In the centre of the town is the popular pub - The Ship Inn.  Inside there’s an open fire, and traditional bar which stocks a good selection of drinks and cask ales. During the warmer months, you can sit outside in the walled beer garden. The main menu offers the usual pub fare which is supplemented by an extensive specials board. There’s live music at the weekends and monthly theme nights which are great fun.

The Ship Inn (T: 01425 654371) Fordingbridge, SP6 1AX

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The George
(Less than a mile)

This friendly, riverside gastro-pub in the centre of Fordingbridge overlooks the towns famous ‘Great Bridge’, and reputed to be Fordingbridge’s oldest surviving inn. The George is open for food all day including cream teas.  Menus feature plenty of local produce and change regularly, centring around pub classics with a few surprises and twists on traditional plates. It gets busy, so best book ahead.

The George (T: 01425 652040) 14 Bridge St, Fordingbridge, SP6 1AH

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Excellent service, atmosphere and food.

April 2018


Excellent family pub in a lovely location on the river and dog friendly.

June 2018


The Augustus John
(Less than a mile)

A funky, shabby chic, cottage style pub with a huge heart and lovely friendly service. Food is delicious - you can even order a take away to take back to your cottage. The seasonal menu features lots of star ingredients from local producers, accompanied by a great selection of drinks including some amazing cask ales. Expect creative and imaginative dishes cooked really well. There’s also an active events calendar of live music and food themed evenings.

The Augustus John (T: 01425 652 098) 116 Station Road, Fordingbridge SP6 1DG

 

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Good food, pleasant atmosphere, they were happy to have a 1 year old in the evening.

September 2018


Lovely grub.

September 2018


The Three Lions
(Less than a mile)

Very much a gastro pub with a good size bar. The Three Lions is a real treat and very popular, so it’s advisable to book. The owners, one of whom is a former Michelin starred chef, have created a foodie haven, accompanied by an excellent selection of drinks and friendly service. Well worth a visit.

The Three Lions (T: 01422 400089) Stuckton SP6 2HF

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Very friendly staff, warm and cosy bar area where we were allowed to bring the dog. Lovely homemade food - I especially enjoyed the lasagne. We ate here three times during our week's stay in Redlynch and the service and food were consistently great. We wish this could be our local! Highly recommend.

October 2018


Highcliffe Beach
(14 miles)

A picturesque, tree-lined beach of shingle, and sand at low tide. Good facilities on the cliff top including an excellent tea room, award winning public toilets, baby change and a children’s play area in the Castle gardens. Plenty of parking, but there is no disabled access and quite a few steps to get down to the beach. Lifeguard cover from July to Sept. No dogs allowed.

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Lovely clean sandy beach and a really i would highly recommend this spot for your car to break down takes the ouch out of waiting for the recovery truck

April 2017


Lovely

April 2019


Barton on Sea
(15 miles)

A stony beach with sandy areas as the tide goes out, and a great spot to do some fossil hunting. The cliffs are subject to considerable coastal erosion and at times parts of the beach can be cordoned off. The Beachcomber Café on the cliff top is one of the most popular cafés in the region. Plenty of parking in car parks along the cliff top as well as on-road parking.

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Super walk, nice and easy and great place for a meal or tea and cake by the car park.

April 2019


Mudeford Sandbank
(15 miles)

This is one of the most scenic of New Forest beaches. Lined with some of the most picturesque and expensive beach huts in the country! There’s no parking next to the beach, as it’s a traffic-free zone, but there’s pay and display parking at Hengistbury Head from where you can catch a little train to the sandbank, and Mudeford Quay which runs a small ferry (5 mins) over to the sandbank. Can also be reached on foot and by bicycle.

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Beautiful place, our favourite beach in south of England. It feels like an island, when you go over on the ferry and at times (off-season!) on sunny days it can feel like a little piece of Heaven, it's so peaceful and beautiful- bit of a sense of New England. There's a super little 'restaurant', the Beach Hut, which does great breakfasts, meals all day and some evenings. Also takeaway eg pizzas, you can eat on the beach. Very simple surroundings, with a sheltered veranda that can be uncovered in fine weather, and amazing views. Quite pricey and often very busy (and you are best to ring and check opening times and book since often weather and ferry-dependant) but the quality of the food and those stunning views make it more than worthwhile!

March 2018


Boscombe Beach
(15 miles)

Boscombe is a popular family beach with plenty of sand, and a small pier with extensive facilities including a children’s play area, several seafront shops and cafés, crazy golf, plenty of parking and a safe traffic free area perfect for cycling and scooters.

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Bournemouth Beach
(15 miles)

Nestled beneath stunning cliffs, Bournemouth Beach (also known as Bournemouth Central Beach) is the popular stretch of sand to the east and west of Bournemouth Pier. Enjoying its own micro-climate with some of the warmest sea waters in the UK, and with spectacular views of the Isle of Wight, this is one of the busiest parts of the full seven-mile stretch of sandy beaches that run along the Bournemouth coastline.

Easy walking distance from the shops, bars and restaurants in the centre of Bournemouth, there are lots of things to do here too, from the selection of rides, amusements and boat trips that depart from Bournemouth Pier, to the shore zip wire, to a refreshing paddle in the waves, or a spell relaxing in the sunshine on a deckchair. Bournemouth Oceanarium is also located on the seafront, as are many bars, cafes and restaurants to suit every taste.

Land Train runs along the promenade from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier, or to Alum Chine - perfect for children or anyone else who wants to save their legs whilst enjoying views of the beach.

Dogs are not permitted on this stretch of beach, but are allowed on a lead on the promenade.

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