New Forest Reptile Centre: A Cool Thing To Do In The New Forest?
We recently visited the New Forest reptile centre during a holiday in the New Forest national park, a stunning area of natural beauty in the south of England. We are very fortunate to live an easy couple of hours’ drive from the New Forest and we (including our three children aged 8, 6 and 4) had a brilliant time discovering the best things to do in the New Forest. We saw the famous wild ponies, paddled in natural streams and wandered through quaint English market towns.
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We stayed in the excellent Hoburne Bashley holiday home site, in a spacious and incredibly clean caravan with great facilities. The kids loved the indoor and outdoor pools, softplay, games arcade, sports courts and playground as well as kids’ clubs, extra sports sessions and evening discos and entertainment. Us adults loved it because it was quiet, clean, it had a great gym and very good restaurant and the staff were without exception friendly and helpful. We were also perfectly located to explore the New Forest national park and we were just 5 minutes from a gorgeous beach! We would highly recommend booking Hoburne Bashley if you are considering visiting the New Forest.
One of the things we did in the New Forest was visit the New Forest Reptile Centre. This is a free-entry centre in Lyndhurst and it is run by the RSPB. There is plenty of free parking, next to a picnic area and toilet block, so we rocked up and had a wander around.
What Is The New Forest Reptile Centre?
The New Forest Reptile Centre consists of several covered outdoor habitats, created for various species of native British reptiles and amphibians- the most shy New Forest animals! The habitats are very well put together as they consider the animals’ wellbeing first; this means there are a lot of places for them to hide so you aren’t guaranteed to spot the residents! However, they seem to love basking in the sun and we spotted an adder (the only venomous snake in Britain) as well as toads, frogs, a slow worm and a few other cool creatures.
As well as the outdoor habitats there is a small indoor centre with information and exhibits about the local wildlife, including a live video link to a bird of prey’s nest- the kids loved watching the mama bird fly in with food for the chicks! An RSPB employee was there and enthusiastically talked us into buying a membership, which meant the girls all got bird identification books and some other welcome gifts. The New Forest Reptile Centre is free to enter (you can give a donation) so purchasing an RSPB membership goes towards maintaining the facilities.
Next to the information centre there was a large table with fascinating nature bits ‘n’ pieces- some deer antlers that had been found after shedding season; a shed snake’s skin; a few egg shells and skulls of different animals as well as various leaves, abandoned birds’ nests and the like. The girls really enjoyed looking at and examining everything, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re looking for a fun and educational activity in the New Forest.
New Forest Reptile Centre Useful Visitor Info
The postcode for the centre is SO43 7GR.
Parking is free.
There is a toilet block including an accessible toilet.
There is woodland, a field and a little stream next to the car park, and there are picnic benches so you could easily come and hang out for a morning or afternoon even though the actual centre is small. The New Forest Reptile Centre is open 7 days a week from 30 March – 2 September, and each Wednesday from 10.30-3.30 during school holidays there are Wild Wednesdays with reptile and bird trails, quizzes and other activities.
Other Things To Do In The New Forest
For our other favourite things to do in the New Forest, check out our things to do in the New Forest bucket list!