Our favourite forests in the UK
Travel Guides

Our favourite forests in the UK

5th March 2024

Photo by Alex Larusso on Unsplash

We love a woodland walk here at Coolstays, with crispy leaves underfoot, the sun poking through the canopy, and nothing to listen to but the breeze and birdsong. The UK is a green and vibrant land, and is home to a wide array of woods and forests that make up over one-eighth of the total land.

So if you’re looking for a destination for your next staycation, why not consider a woodland cabin or cottage - or perhaps a magical treehouse stay tucked away amongst silver birch, ash, lime, and oak trees? You can wake to the peace and tranquillity of nature, wander the banks of meandering streams, and spot a range of native wildlife going about their day amongst the trees.

Here at Coolstays we offer a huge number of stays tucked away in the woods, so we thought we’d put together a list of our favourite forests and woods in the UK.

Our favourite forests in the UK

The New Forest, Hampshire

Photo by Thomas Allsop on Unsplash

Up first is a bit of an obvious one. But no list of the best forests in the UK can exist without the New Forest. The New Forest is a peaceful place where you can picnic in a quiet glade with your loved ones or strap on your hiking boots and stomp your way across vast, open moors. There are some delightful cliff top walks and, of course, some marvellous and beautiful ancient woodlands for you to explore.

There are so many walks on offer in the New Forest, but we particularly like the Radnor Trail. This trail winds its way through sweet chestnut, oak and beech trees that date back as far as the 1860s, and also takes you around the edge of the ancient Mark Ash Wood, which is home to some delightful pollarded beech trees. We’d also recommend a visit to Ashurst Wood and the nearby Churchplace Inclosure, which is a beautiful oak and beech wood that has been fenced off from grazing animals.

The New Forest is also home to some great locations for days out, including the New Forest Wildlife Park, Hurst Castle & Hurst Castle Ferry, Breamore House and Museum, and Paultons Park, which is the Home of Peppa Pig World!

Some of our favourite Coolstays in the New Forest.

Moonwood House

Beaulieu - Hampshire

Sleeps 10

Stylish holiday home with a beautiful garden tucked away in private woodland in the New Forest, perfect for groups of friends or families.

Shepherds Huts at Green Hill Farm

Landford - Wiltshire

Sleeps 2

Step back in time with a stay in a traditional, luxury shepherd’s hut in Wiltshire, surrounded by New Forest woodland.

The Hay Loft - Warborne Farm

Lymington - Hampshire

Sleeps 8

A luxury barn conversion on an award-winning farmland estate, close to the sparkling Hampshire coast and the lush New Forest landscapes…


Lymington - Hampshire

Sleeps 14

Bring family and friends together at Eastwoods, a luxurious holiday home in the heart of the New Forest National Park – complete with outdoor pool.

The Lookout

Frogham - Hampshire

Sleeps 3

Switch off and enjoy the sights and sounds of the New Forest countryside in this idyllic thatched roof cottage.

Our favourite forests in the UK

Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway

Picture courtesy of Allan Watt via Flickr Creative Commons.

Next up we’re taking you to the picturesque Dumfries and Galloway, which is home to the spectacular Galloway Forest Park. Here you can explore idyllic glens and rolling hillsides, or wander enchanting forest trails. However, if you want to stay still, you’ll want to simply while away the day by the shores of an inspiring loch, gazing up at the mountains beyond.

Many people refer to Galloway Forest Park as “the Highlands of the Lowlands”, and we can see why. The park is home to a dramatic range of breathtaking scenery as well as a vast array of wildlife. Deep lochs, sprawling mountains and thick conifer forests cover the land, which offers up a range of activities like cycling, hiking and fishing.

When it comes to specific spots to try out, we’d recommend visiting the tranquil Cally Woods, made up of relatively young oak, birch, sycamore and beech trees. Visit in spring to see the snowdrop drifts or come later in the year and witness primroses and bluebells, whilst keeping an eye out for red squirrels, buzzards and treecreepers.

We’d also recommend you visit Glen of the Bar, a spectacular viewpoint that looks out over a tree-clad gully that runs away from you for almost a mile. And finally, you might want to give Knockman Wood a try, with its tranquil atmosphere, roe and fallow deer and the fabulous views over Cairnsmore and the coast.

Some of our favourite Coolstays close to the Galloway Forest Park

The Pond Lodges

Castle Douglas - Dumfries and Galloway

Sleeps 2

Cosy studio style lodges with stunning countryside views near the south west coast of Scotland, perfect for a romantic rural escape.


Dumfries - Dumfries and Galloway

Sleeps 10

Spacious holiday home in a charming village on the banks of the River Nith, perfect for a family escape to south west Scotland.

Shorepark Holiday Cottage

Glencaple - Dumfries & Galloway

Sleeps 6

Spacious and historic coastal holiday cottage in Caerlaverock with wonderful views, picture windows and modern luxuries

Mount Freedom Cabins

Ayr - South Ayrshire

Sleeps 2 per cabin

Three beautiful log cabins, with stunning sea views, nestled on the edge of picturesque woodland near Ayr, Scotland. Perfect for a romantic retreat for two.

Gatehouses of Fleet Cottages

Gatehouse of Fleet - Dumfries and Galloway

Sleeps 4

Three boutique Georgian cottages in a picture-perfect village, overlooking Dumfries and Galloway’s magnificent, rural landscapes…

Our favourite forests in the UK

Eryri National Park (Snowdonia), Wales

Photo by Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

This is one of our favourite national parks in the whole of the UK and offers a whole host of activities and days out. Most people think of Eryri National Park for its huge mountains, but it also features around 36,400 hectares of woodland, which is 17% of its total area!

One forest trail that we would recommend is the Dinas Emrys trail. This takes you past waterfalls and through beautiful oak woodland as you make your way up to the summit of this legendary hill. Once you make it to the very top you’ll discover the remains of a square tower and defensive ramparts that once belonged to the ancient princes of Gwynedd.

Coed Felenrhyd & Llennyrch is another wood that’s worth a visit. This fabulous, rare, Atlantic oak woodland is one of the largest woods in Wales. This wood is located above the Vale of Ffestiniog and is surrounded by the dramatic waterfalls of the Afon Prysor gorge. The wood is awash with atmospheric pools and offers dramatic views of Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) to the north and the rugged uplands of the Rhinog mountains to the south.

Coed-y-Brenin Forest is one of the more unique forests in the UK that sits within the Eryri National Park. This beautiful forest park in Wales, in Gwynedd, is the ideal getaway for any mountain bikers out there. This park was the first forest in the UK to be fully developed for the sport of mountain biking and is one of the best mountain biking spots in the country to this day! Not only do the man-made trails offer a fabulous way for mountain bikers to enjoy the forest, but it also offers breathtaking scenery and expansive views across to Cadair Idris and glaciated valleys, as well as wild untamed rivers.

Some of our favourite Coolstays in the Eryri National Park.

Old Slate

Snowdonia - Gwynedd

Sleeps 6

Retreat to Old Slate, a renovated cottage in the heart of Snowdonia, Wales with a roll-top bath, hot tub and stunning vistas of the surrounding greenery.

Dolydd Cottage

Maentwrog - Snowdonia

Sleeps 2

A fairytale cottage, perfect for two, set in the heart of Snowdonia

Ty Cipar

Betws-y-coed - Gwynedd

Sleeps 4

A remote spot within one of the best stargazing sites in Snowdonia, Ty Cipar cottage is a true escape from urban life.

Celyn Snowdonia

Nant Gwynant - Snowdonia

Sleeps 4

This 17th century Welsh longhouse benefits from stunning views of Snowdonia National Park, and an unrivalled location at the foot of Mount Snowdon.

Showman's Wagon

Dolgellau - Gwynedd

Sleeps 2

All the fun of the fair awaits in this vintage Showman's wagon, offering quirky and cosy van-style living in the heart of the Snowdonia Mountain range

Our favourite forests in the UK

Bradfield Woods, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Picture courtesy of Rictor Norton & David Allen via Flickr Creative Commons.

We’re heading to Suffolk next to the glorious, ancient Bradfield Woods. This is a truly marvellous and unique spot, as it has been under continuous traditional coppice management since 1252! Coppicing is an ancient method of managing woodland, where people cut the stems at ground level, in order to promote vigorous re-growth. Due to this ingenious approach being taken at Bradfield Woods for such a long time, the wood is home to some ash trees that are thought to be over 1,000 years old!

This wood is a great spot for lovers of wildlife, as the dense bushy growth provides fantastic cover for an array of migrant songbirds. These include the garden warbler, blackcap and willow warbler. If you’re vigilant you may also spot stoats, yellow-necked mice, dormice and badgers.

Bradfield Woods is also home to around five miles of walking trails, with three coloured trails providing you and your loved ones with different length walks to tackle.

Our favourite Coolstays near Bradfield Woods.

The Windmill Suffolk

Bury St Edmunds - Suffolk

Sleeps 4

An amazingly unique and luxuriously converted windmill with panoramic views over the Suffolk countryside.

The Tryst

Lavenham - Suffolk

Sleeps 6

The Tryst is an historic, Grade 1 listed property set in the heart of one of Suffolk's most charming villages.

Ringshall Grange

Ringshall - Suffolk

Sleeps 23

Grand, moated manor house in its own private estate in the Suffolk countryside with hot tub, stylish interiors, and spacious gardens.

The Gig House

Stowupland - Suffolk

Sleeps 6

Marvellous rural holiday retreat in the Suffolk countryside offering friends and families a wonderfully homely place to stay.

Quays Lodge

Bury St Edmunds - Suffolk

Sleeps 4

Modern and spacious lodge with rustic charm, stylish decor and modern amenities, just a five-minute drive from Bury St Edmunds.

Our favourite forests in the UK

Kielder Forest, Northumberland

Photo by Amy Gatenby on Unsplash

Kielder Forest, in Northumberland, is the largest forest in England and it sits around the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. And yet not enough people know about, or appreciate, this absolutely outstanding part of the UK.

A true heaven for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, from hikers to bikers, the Kielder Water & Forest Park offers more than just trees. A quarter of the area is made up of vast open space, including the nation’s largest area of blanket bog. This provides you with big open areas to traverse, whilst taking in distant views of water and trees. Kielder Forest is also home to the largest remaining population of red squirrels in the country.

We think you may also enjoy a visit to the spectacular Kielder Castle, which is home to a striking Minotaur Maze where you and the kids can get lost! The castle also sits at the start of a 26-mile path that winds its way around the lake, so you can enjoy a scenic stroll along the water’s edge. The forest is also home to some of the best dark night skies in the country that are perfect for stargazing!

Some of our favourite Coolstays near the Kielder Forest.


Hexham - Northumberland

Sleeps 2

A stunningly unique watchtower, inspired by the castles of the surrounding landscape, awaits you in the depths of Northumberland woods.


Hexham - Northumberland

Sleeps 4

Fairytale treehouse in the heart of Northumberland National Park, perfect for romantic escapes surrounded by nature.

Broadgate House & Steading

West Woodburn - Northumberland

Sleeps 12

Exquisite 19th century house surrounded by acres of open Northumberland countryside.

Hollin House

Hexham - Northumberland

Sleeps 10

Retreat to a beautiful, secluded holiday home with a trip to Hollin House, Northumberland, a renovated stone house minutes from the National Park.

Tiny Home Borders

Hawick - Roxburghshire

Sleeps 2

Retreat from reality at the peaceful Tiny Home Borders in the Scottish Borders, a couples' cabin hosting a Scandinavian wood-fired hot tub and a private Lochan.

Our favourite forests in the UK

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Photo by Richard on Unsplash

Nestled at the boundary where England merges with Wales, the famous Forest of Dean provides an expanse of pristine wilderness and enchanting attractions. The forest and the nearby Wye Valley (another of our absolute favourite places in the UK) offer you the chance to slow down and live life at a more leisurely pace. This part of the country is home to some beautiful landscapes and ancient woodland that is teeming with wildlife.

You should start your trip to the area by visiting Beechenhurst, an expanse of gorgeous woodlands that you can explore with your loved ones visiting the family activity trail, Sculpture Trail and the fab play area. Beechenhurst is one of Britain's oldest and largest woodlands, and you can feel the ancient history as you explore its marvellous pathways.

If you fancy lunch by the side of a scenic lake, then we’d advise you give Mallards Pike a try. This beautiful setting is ideal for a waterside stroll or a family cycle trip that takes you further into the forest. The lake also offers a lovely cafe for lunches and coffees, and the chance to get on the water and try your hand at some different activities.

Cannop Ponds is a pair of delightful reservoirs situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean. The ponds were initially established in the 1820s to provide water for a waterwheel at the Parkend Ironworks and now they are a lovely fishing spot favoured by the Yorkley Angling Club. If you don’t fancy fishing, this is still a great location to explore or just sit and enjoy a scenic picnic whilst taking in the diverse local birdlife.

Some of our favourite Coolstays near the Forest of Dean.

Monnow Valley Studio

Rockfield - Monmouthshire

Sleeps 24

Stay in a piece of rock 'n' roll history - the studio where Oasis, Black Sabbath and Tom Jones recorded is now a deluxe party house for up to 24

Cromwell's Hideaway

Raglan - Monmouthshire

Sleeps 2

A cosy romantic hideaway in the heart of Monmouthshire, this converted Shepherds Hut is cosy and cool with underfloor heating and stunning views


Monmouth - Monmouthshire

Sleeps 2

Cosy studio for two with stunning views overlooking the Wye Valley and a luxury wood fired hot tub, perfect for romantic escapes to the Welsh countryside.

Owls Nest Hideout

Brockweir - Monmouthshire

Sleeps 2

Stylish and cosy eco retreat with wood burner, sheltered loggia, BBQ and hot tub surrounded by beautiful woodland walks in the Wye Valley.

The Dome Garden

Mile End - Gloucestershire

Sleeps 4 - 8 per dome

Futuristic glamping in the Forest of Dean. 11 super-cool domes. Hanging beds and rocket stoves

Our favourite forests in the UK

Dalby Forest, Yorkshire

Photo courtesy of Carl Spencer via Flickr Creative Commons.

We’re taking you up to Yorkshire now, with a visit to the outstanding Dalby Forest set within the North York Moors National Park. Spanning over 8,500 acres of captivating landscapes, offering an array of walking, running and cycling trails, along with enchanting Gruffalo adventures, Dalby Forest is a great spot for a family break or a romantic getaway amidst the trees.

The forest holds the prestigious title of a Dark Sky Discovery Site, which means you and your loved ones can step out at night and witness the mesmerising Milky Way without any visual interference.

When heading out, there are some great routes for you to explore. One standout choice is the Ellerburn Family Cycle Route, thoughtfully designed to accommodate disabled cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. For those seeking a more extensive journey, embark on the Dalby Forest Route, which is a captivating 14.5-mile circular path that is great for both cycling and walking.

Nature lovers can also spot a whole host of wildlife at Dalby Forest, including grazing deer along the Sneverdale Rabbit Run, and the picturesque Staindale Lake, which is a delightful spot for a leisurely picnic. And if you want to venture further afield, you have the whole North York Moors National Park on your doorstep!

Some of our favourite Coolstays near the Dalby Forest.

The Grange at High Oaks Grange

Pickering - North Yorkshire

Sleeps 12

Luxurious manor house set in the Yorkshire countryside with stunning views across the Vale of Pickering, ideal for family gatherings and large groups.

A Frame Cabins North Yorkshire Hideaways

Pickering - North Yorkshire

Sleeps 2 per cabin

Two truly unique, luxurious cabins with uninterrupted views of the breathtaking North Yorkshire countryside. The perfect choice for a romantic rural retreat.

Hillside Farm

Sleights - North Yorkshire

Sleeps 22

A huge, beautifully renovated stone farmhouse in the stunning North York Moors. The perfect escape for a relaxing group getaway.

Larpool Mill

Whitby - North Yorkshire

Sleeps 12

Nineteenth-century mill lovingly converted into a holiday cottage near Whitby, perfect for family gatherings or group trips to the coast.

Yorkshire Burrows - Pheasant's Roost

York - North Yorkshire

Sleeps 6

Cosy hideaway with a hot tub in North Yorkshire, set in the hillside with fantastic countryside views.

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