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Find your perfect day out away from the crowds this summer

By Time Out in association with South West Trains

Fancy having fun without the holiday crush? Then we’ve devised a fabulously fun little game for you this summer! Simply go to our South West Trains Redirect page, click on two things you want to avoid most on your next day trip out of London (junk food, screaming kids, smoochy couples and so on), click ‘redirect me’ and hey presto, we’ll offer up inspired ideas for things you’ll really want to do, all easy to reach with South West Trains this summer.

You’ll find out how to win a luxury weekend in the New Forest here, too. Of course, everyone hates a crowd, don’t they? So to get you started, here are ten places to have fun and avoid the masses. Enjoy!


Treerunning is like freerunning but from tree to tree, using ziplines, Tarzan swings and even snowboards as you scoot through the canopy of an oak forest deep in the Hampshire countryside. Go with your mates or take the kids – there are courses for any adventurer 1.1m or taller.

Nearest station: Andover

Find out more about Treerunners

Country Lanes Forest Cycling

Getting around on two wheels is a lovely way to explore the New Forest, and thanks to Country Lanes, you don’t have to take your own bike, you can hire one on the spot. Simply pick the distance and challenge that suits you – country trail, coastal trip, woodland adventure or easy cruise.

Nearest rail: Brockenhurst

Find out more about Country Lanes Forest Cycling

The Lightbox

As well as visiting exhibitions, this modern art gallery in Woking features excellent permanent collections. These include The Ingram Collection spanning over 100 years of British art and the Joan Hurst Collection of contemporary sculpture. There are regular tours and workshops for children, too.

Nearest rail: Woking

Find out more about The Lightbox


Sorted Watersports Centre

On beautiful Boscombe Beach, Sorted has built an O’Neill-sponsored surf school that brings a touch of California to our shores. With personalised coaching, great gear and facilities, this is a brilliant place to head for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding to suit all abilities. It even has hot showers, free volleyball courts and lifeguard cover 365 days a year.

Nearest rail: Pokesdown

Find out more about Sorted Watersports Centre

Godalming Packetboat

Fancy a day messing about on the river? Board the ‘Iona’ on the River Wey for a horsedrawn canal boat trip. Trips run most days from April to September in the early afternoons, and you can enjoy refreshments from the tea bar while gliding along.

Nearest rail: Godalming

Find out more about Godalming Packetboat

Jurassic Coast

Along the stunning English coastline from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, there lies a fascinating layer of history that’s rich in fossils. Get your walking boots on and explore – the Coast is accessible from several points along its 95-mile route, all detailed on the website.

Nearest rail: Weymouth

Find out more about the Jurassic Coast

Upper Lodge Water Gardens

When you’ve already explored busy Hampton Court Palace, try something a little different – the Water Gardens are an often-missed treasure set on the far corner of Bushy Park, just across the road from the Palace. A Baroque-style arrangement of pools, cascades and basins offers a relaxing escape.

Nearest rail: Hampton Court

Find out more about Upper Lodge Water Gardens

Archery Tag in the New Forest

If you’ve been there, done that with laser games and paintballing, why not try something new? Suitable for ages 16-plus, this is clearly a grown-up affair: race through the trees playing a range of different games, pitting your skills against your rivals.

Nearest rail: Brockenhurst

Find out more about Archery Tag in the New Forest


Lyme Bay Winery

Enjoy the countryside luxury of a vineyard visit without going all the way to France to find it. Sample Lyme Bay’s award-winning wines, ciders, meads – a great excuse for a day out in the beautiful Axe Valley.

Nearest rail: Axminster

Find out more about Lyme Bay Winery


The Old Ship Inn Upwey

A classic country pub as it should be – beautiful village setting, incredible food and cosy snugs. The seventeenth-century Old Ship Inn Upwey even featured in Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’. Respect. Book ahead for a menu of modern British dishes featuring daily specials that showcase local fresh fish.

Nearest rail: Upwey

Find out more about The Old Ship Upwey

South West Trains is offering off-peak day return tickets for just £16 for adults and £3 for kids, to anywhere on its network until September 9! All you have to do is book your ticket by midnight the day before you travel, either online or at station ticket offices, then hop on board and start your adventure.

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