Festivals have been few and far between this year but there’s one which always takes place no matter what’s happening – harvest festival.

So what better time to visit the New Forest and sample some of the fabulous food and drink that’s produced locally at this time of year?

If you fancy a forage you’ll find blackberries, sloes (have a crack at making your own sloe gin), and cob-nuts. You may even find plums, damsons and apples for free outside homes and farms – but check to make sure there is no honesty box before you help yourself!

We have 140 miles of walking tracks for you to enjoy which – if you’re lucky – will lead you to some of our roaming pigs at Pannage, helpfully eating up all the acorns so they don’t poison the ponies

Or you could make it easier on yourself and have a great day out by taking the kids or the grandkids to visit one of our great farm shops or Pick Your Owns.

Cat & Fiddle Farm is located on the edge of the New Forest near Hinton Admiral and they grow nearly 20 different fruit and vegetables, some of which you are able to pick yourself and some sold ready picked in their farm shop. Check beforehand but some of the things you might find now include blackberries, currants, runner and broad beans and pumpkins.

Also try their other farm, Sopley Farm, nearby Bransgore for great PYO and produce. Or visit Hockey’s Farm Shop at South Gorley near Fordingbridge, where you’ll find some fabulous meat to choose from as well as veg.

Don’t forget, too, that you can pick up some traditionally-made New Forest Cider in Burley and that our vineyards, at Setley Ridge in Brockenhurst, Marlings near Lymington and New Forest wines near Ringwood are waiting to welcome visitors to buy as the vendange approaches.

And check out our website for the regular markets which take place throughout the forest in towns including Lymington and Ringwood.

Another way to enjoy the best food in the area is to book and dine at one of our pubs or restaurants or pop into our cafes.

Coronavirus may have changed the way they have to go about things but it hasn’t affected the service or the amazing variety of local food, much of which carries the New Forest Marque guarantee of excellence.

Sample the 25-mile menu at The Pig at Brockenhurst; treat yourself to the seasonal menu at Lime Wood or push the boat out with a three-night mid-week stay at the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst, dining at their Beresford’s Restaurant. Prices are from £420 running from September 6 to October 21.

New Park Manor in Brockenhurst has some fab offers for families midweek during the autumn and so does the 5* Chewton Glen near New Milton. At Burley Manor you will love the Mediterranean-inspired food from their wood-fired oven.

And don’t forget to check out the fab foodie treats on offer at the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu and their sister hotel in Brockenhurst, Careys Manor.

The New Forest is one of the UK’s best foodie destinations. Now is the best time to find out why!

PS Please check availability and Coronavirus safety measures before planning a visit to any establishment or attraction in the New Forest.