The countdown is on… it’s not long until Christmas will be here and where better a place to spend it than in the New Forest!

With enchanting woodlands making for some fantastic wintery walkscosy pubs with roaring log fires and a wealth of festive events and activities for all ages to take part in, discover why you should plan your Christmas here in the New Forest.

Image - Ponies in the snow in the New Forest

Festive days out

Gather the family around and take part in some seasonal events that bring all the magic of Christmas to you and create some cherished memories together.

From 3 December, and on selected dates throughout the month, Paultons Park will be holding their Celebration of Christmas. Younger visitors will love Peppa Pig World – all decorated. There will be magical illuminations throughout the park, shows, story time and the chance to go on some of the park’s rides. 

Image - Celebration of Christmas at Paultons Park

Enjoy an immersive Christmas light extravaganza at Glow Marwell from 18 November to 30 December! With glowing displays and twinkling lights leading you through the winter light trail, plus lots of seasonal treats, including marshmallow toasting around cosy firepits.

Be enchanted by the childhood magic at A Winter Wander with The Snowman™ and The Snowdog at Lepe Country Park. From 26 November to 2 December, you can wander around this stunning location, completing themed activities as you go, inspired by this festive classic.

Exbury Gardens is a delight at any time of year but at Christmas you can enjoy Christmas Fair weekends (selected dates in December) and the opportunity to hop aboard the Festive Express (on the miniature steam railway). If you fancy it, you can also book to see the big man himself at one of the Meet Father Christmas sessions. Please note – pre-booking for the Festive Express and Meet Father Christmas sessions is required.

Image - Exbury Gardens

For something a little different, why not book a paddle along the Beaulieu River to find Santa? These 90-minute activities are run by New Forest Activities from 10-23 December.

Take a look at our events listings for other seasonal events including Christmas craft workshops, opportunities to meet Santa, carol concerts and much more. There’s plenty going on throughout the lead up to the big day!

Festive food and drink

The New Forest takes pride of its local produce. You’ll find plenty of examples of our local artisan suppliers in our farm shops (also a great place to head for some last-minute Christmas presents) and upon the menus at our pubs, restaurants and even tearooms.

Several of our pubs and restaurants have already released their Christmas menus – so whether you are looking to plan a meal out with a group of friends, for a cosy, family gathering or for a work party – browse the tempting menus and start planning.

Image - Christmas Lunch at The Master Builders House Hotel

If you are looking to take the stress of cooking Christmas lunch away, then do check out some of our restaurants that are serving up on Christmas Day including Forest Park Hotel, Brockenhurst and The Mortimer Arms, Ower.

Christmas shopping and Christmas markets

Stuck for ideas for your loved ones this Christmas? Why not buy something unique from the New Forest? Look out for gifts on sale from local artisan makers at some of our weekly markets at HytheNew MiltonRingwood or Lymington or check out some of our independent shops in our towns and villages.

Image - The Beaulieu Festive Fayre

On 20 November, Eat ‘n’ Treats will take place in Brockenhurst – a great chance to meet some of our local producers and to buy food, drink and craft directly from the makers at this brilliant Christmas-themed market event. 

Between 9-11 December, Beaulieu will be running its Festive Fayre. Featuring artisan creators, live entertainment and local producers, entry to the Fayre is included with standard admission tickets to the attraction.

Plan your festive break

It’s not too late to plan your festive break. If you are looking for somewhere to stay over the festive period then discover places to stay that are suitable for you.

Whether you are looking for a self-catering cottage where all the family can stay, a hotel package where all the stresses of organising are taken away from you or even a caravanning or camping break, you will find options to suit all budgets and tastes.

Image - Christmas at Chewton Glen

A final note from us…

We hope you have a wonderful time planning your Christmas break or activities – we’d love to see your photos!

On behalf of all the team here, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!