A Mini-Break in the New Forest: Part 2

Back at the end of the summer holidays (which feels like forever ago now as I sit here finally writing about it mid-October!) we all bundled into the car and headed down to Southampton for a couple of days to visit my best friend Rachel and her husband James.  We had a brilliant time and packed a lot into the two days we were there.  On our first day we visited the New Forest Wildlife Park and saw wild ponies in the forest at Deer Leap.  I’ve written all about it and shared all my favourite photos in Part 1.

This post is all about our second day.  All the walking we did and fresh air we had on the previous day must have worn the girls out completely because they actually had a little lie-in, which is nothing short of a miracle, especially when we’re staying in an unfamiliar place.  We had a lovely lazy morning, playing with the dogs, Amber and Rowan, in the back garden, whilst Rachel packed us a picnic lunch.

We’d decided to head down to the coastal part of the National Park.  The girls were clamouring to see the sea and neither the husband nor I had never been down to that stretch of the New Forest before.  Our destination was Keyhaven, near Milford-on-Sea.  It took us about 45 minutes to get there, winding our way through pretty, bunting-adorned villages full of quaint little shops and well-tended front gardens of cute cottages.

We arrived and parked, then ate our lunch by the harbour, watching boats of all shapes and sizes navigate their way in and out.

A picnic lunch with a pretty view

Lola and Ella watching the boats

Tummies satisfied, we set off to walk across The Spit, a huge pebbly beach stretching out into the sea and reaching towards the Isle of Wight, clearly visible in the near distance.  The dogs absolutely loved it, bounding in and out of the water and taking great delight in shaking themselves dry all over us.

Our aim was to make it all the way to Hurst Castle, perched right at the end of The Spit.  It was a lot further than it looked but eventually we made it with the help of a few strategically timed snacks of homemade chocolate-orange flapjack along the way.  We didn’t go in to look round the castle itself as the girls were pretty pooped by that point, though it looked like it would be an interesting place to explore.  Hurst Lighthouse also had it’s home at the end of The Spit, perched proudly at the entrance of the harbour ready to guide the boats safely in and out.

The land on the horizon is the Isle of Wight – so close you feel like you can almost touch it!

The start of The Spit

Rowan and Amber loved running in and out of the water

Hurst Lighthouse and, to it’s right, Hurst Castle

Looking back along The Spit to where we’d started – we walked a long way!

I love this photo – the dogs posed so well!

We decided to catch the ferry back to Keyhaven, partly because of tired little legs and partly because we thought it would be a fun new experience for the girls.  It was their first time on a ferry and they were a little nervous at first but within a minute or two they were standing up excitedly to look over the sides and watch us chug over the water back to the start of our little adventure.  The journey was only about ten minutes in total but it was on of the highlight of their day.

Ella watching the ferry come in


We finished off our excursion with an ice cream as per our little family tradition (we have to have an ice cream every day when we’re on holiday – it’s the Ridgway family law 😉 ), before heading back to the car and making our way back to Rachel and James’ house.

Once we were back at their house, Rachel’s sister, who I haven’t seen since Rachel and James got married seven years ago, popped over with her husband and their two children.  It was so lovely to catch up with them and meet their gorgeous son and daughter, and I felt so content just sitting in the garden in the sunshine, watching the girls play with their new friends and then eat tea together outside, whilst we adults talked and laughed.  Finally, once all the children were in bed, James cooked an absolutely delicious risotto for dinner (I must ask him for the recipe!), which we ate by candlelight, the dogs happily settled at our feet as we talked about their upcoming travels and impending new arrival.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to our little mini-break.

Here’s a little video of our time there:

We had such a lovely time and the girls are already asking when we can go back and visit them again  because they enjoyed it so much.  It’s definitely a part of our beautiful little country that we’re keen to explore more of so I’m sure it won’t be too long before we head back down there for another adventure, hopefully for a bit longer next time.

Please note: No one has asked (or paid!) me to write this post and all opinions, thoughts, ideas, words and photos are my own

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  • Reply October 22, 2017

    Sarah Christie

    It looks so lovely there, its not a place we have visited before but would love to go on a sunny day with my camera x

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Really? I’m amazed that you’ve never been to the New Forest – I know you’re a city-girl at heart but I’m sure you’d love it there!

  • Reply October 23, 2017


    Oh how lovely! Gorgeous pictures too, as ever! x

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Morgana 🙂

  • I’ve never been but it looks pretty amazing! You got some great shots there too xx

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Pamela 🙂 It’s a beautiful part of the world (though I imagine Scotland has scenery that’s just as impressive!)

  • This is so so so lovely, it makes me want to rush to book a family weekend away for us this weekend! True story! Taking pictures is just my favourite thing but after weeks of weekend at home my picture count is way down. Beautiful post xx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…Autumn Walks and Winter CoatsMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Go for it Heledd! We so rarely get a weekend break that we really made the most of this one. Let me know where you end up heading off to 😉

  • Reply October 23, 2017


    Oh wow it looks like you’ve had an amazing little break, such gorgeous pictures. And can I just say? Chocolate orange flapjack sounds divine! Xx

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      They were Suzanne! We had such a fab little break – sometimes even a couple of days makes all the difference doesn’t it?

  • Reply October 24, 2017


    Wow what a trip looks like you guys had such an amazing time. Love your photography too hunny just beautiful! Flapjacks are my fave I try not to eat them or I will want to binge on them for weeks sounds delicious though. lol I am dying for a family weekend away. #wrc
    Jenny recently posted…Adult Weekend Getaway to Cannes, FranceMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Haha flapjacks are my absolute favourites and Rachel’s homemade ones were delicious 🙂 And thank you for saying such lovely things about my photos!

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