Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A fun way to get around the New Forest

The Green route - New Forest Tour Bus

Every year we try to make use of the New Forest Tour bus at least once as it is a great way to travel around the forest without taking your car and you learn some local history and quite interesting information along the way.  The fun thing about it is you can hop on & off where and when you like as long as you catch the last bus back!

One Saturday last summer my mum & I took the kids on the green route heading for Lymington.  It was a nice day so we decided to sit up the top where it's open and you get the best views, although be aware it's very fresh up there! The route took us from Lyndhurst car park via Brockenhurst and then on to Lymington - a pretty bustling Georgian market town with a wonderful old stone cobbled lane that leads down to the scenic Town Quay, which is still used today by fishing boats and several little tour boats, one in particular Puffin Cruises, where you can just do a tour of the Solent or use it as a ferry to the Isle of Wight - a much nicer way than the commercial ferry in my opinion.

We had something in particular in mind for this afternoon, so we got off the bus at the top of the high street and  because I always like a little browse, we wondered through the busy market.  This is always a lovely place to get your fruit, veggies and even meat amongst a lot of other things -  I always like to come and get my plants for the garden from here too.  There is also a lovely range of shops which are all well worth a look.  

We carried on down the picturesque cobbled street and past the Town Quay, carried on walking down Quay Street & Town Slipway, past the children's playground & bandstand and on to the Seawater Lido.  This open air seawater baths date back to the 1833 and  are weather permitting  is open daily to swimmers from May to September from 10am to 6pm.  

This was our first visit to the Lido and I have to say it is a great place to spend the day.  There is a very large pool, but it isn't very deep, then there is a shallow pool for small children and a sand pit.  For refreshments there is a small kiosk which does chips, snacks, ice creams and drinks.  There are showers and changing rooms and plenty of tables and seats.  At the far end of the large pool you can also take canoeing lessons.  
Even though the afternoon wasn't as warm as we had hoped we still really enjoyed it.  The water is very cold though as it's brought straight in from the sea, and you definitely need sun cream too as there isn't any shade and you are in salt water. 

After braving the cold water for a couple of hours we then decided to go back into the high street for a late lunch in one of the quaint independant cafe's.  We had a lovely lunch outside in the small courtyard area of a lovely cafe which I can't seem to remember the name, but it was about half way up on the left hand side as you walk up the hill.  By this time the kids were getting a little tired and it was time to make our way back to catch the return bus.  We decided that this time, as it was late in the afternoon and the sun had gone, we would be best sitting inside - in the warm.  The route took us via Elmers court a very nice looking place to have an afternoon tea or lunch, then onto Beaulieu Village, Exbury Gardens, back to Beaulieu and Beaulieu Motor Museum and then back to Lyndhurst.

It was a lovely day out and so easy as it didn't involve driving, parking or rushing.  It just involved sightseeing, fun, comfort, relaxation and car free tourism! 

Mel :)

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