A good base from which to explore the national park or simply stop off for a pint, a cuppa or a map, the quaint little country village of Lyndhurst is one of the larger settlements in the area and has an excellent information centre, good facilities and several cosy pubs and restaurants.
The tourist office (8028 2269; www.thenewforest.co.uk; High St; 10am-5pm) sells a wide variety of information on the New Forest, including cycling maps, a map showing walking tracks, and a free camping and caravanning guide. It also sells the Ordnance Survey (OS) map (No 22, £7.49), which covers the area in greatest detail. In the same building, the informative New Forest Museum (8028 3444; www.newforestmuseum.org.uk; adult £3) runs through the unique ecology and social history of the region.
Just across the car park, the library (8028 2675; 10am-1pm Fri & Sat, 10am-1pm & 4-7pm Tue, 3-5pm Wed) has free internet access.