With Christmas coming up AND Small Business Saturday on December 4 there’s never been a better time to show your support for local businesses!

Here in the New Forest we’re blessed with so many beautiful little towns and villages, each with its own character and beautiful, independent boutiques and stores.

Fordingbridge in the north of the forest has a pretty street of independent shops and, for somewhere with a great mix of independents and upmarket chains, Ringwood’s the place, plus you'll find the fantastic Furlong Shopping Centre in this town too.

Even in winter, Lymington never seems to shake off its seaside vibe, which is reflected in the sophisticated gift and interiors stores there, as well as its galleries and the stylish shop at the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery. You’ll also find some interesting stores and the same coastal feel in the village of Milford on Sea.

Hythe in the forest’s east is another small town not to miss, and so is New Milton. And don’t forget our villages; Beaulieu and Brockenhurst or our ‘capital’ Lyndhurst, which has some amazing individual fashion stores, as well as those selling beautiful things for your home.

If you’re searching for unique gifts, check out Burley Fudge Shop. You’ll find it in The Mall in the picture-postcard New Forest village of Burley, selling a delectable selection of fudge, including Millionaire’s Shortbread flavour, as well as Seasalt & Caramel and Maple Syrup. They also do gift boxes and hampers, to make giving extra special.

Also in Burley you’ll find New Forest Cider. Try the unpasteurised real cider from the barrels and take some home with you. For non-alcoholic drinks, try their apple juice. And don’t forget to check out the village’s gift stores.

Staying with the foodie theme, you’ll find some fabulous fayre at Hockeys Farm Shop near Fordingbridge, from fresh bread and pastries as well as local meat, Fordingbridge Farm Shop is not to be missed either.

Some of our other great farm shops – for the kind of gifts you’ll want to give at Christmas – include Sunnyfields Farm and Sopley Farm Shop. To ensure you can pick up some of the excellent New Forest-produced Lyburn cheese and Naked Jams, travel over to Minstead Community Shop. Local farm shops are also the perfect places to pick up delicious food and drink for the big day - or purchase your Christmas meat from The Commoner's Larder

Check out The Forest Foodie's magnificent gift hampers to give this Christmas, crammed full of incredible local food and drink, hand chosen by the team! 

Don’t forget, too, that you can pick up some great festive floral and plant gifts as well as lots more besides at our gorgeous garden centres, many of which have cosy restaurants for that afternoon snack or lunch.

And our weekly markets are legendary – plus there are lots of magical Christmas markets in the New Forest this December too - with loads of seasonal gifts and treats to buy and eat, as well as the chance to shop in the fresh air.

If this all sounds a bit much to do in one day, then why not nab a last-minute booking, with lots of choice of accommodation in the New Forest? Our website will help you find the best place and the best prices so you can finish off your shop with dinner and a relaxing stay.

Or pick a pub or restaurant which features a guarantee of great, locally and sustainably produced food, for a real taste of what the New Forest is all about. The perfect places to gather with friends and family this December to celebrate Christmas!

Enjoy even more fun days out this festive season with a whole host of brilliant events and things to do in the New Forest - from canoe paddles with santa to wreath making workshops, and lots more! 

And if you’d like to save on parking, don’t forget to check the special dates when free parking applies in all the New Forest District Council town and village car parks.

*There's a whole host of things to do in the New Forest. Find out about more about them, including the locations of garden centres and the dates and places for markets at thenewforest.co.uk.