September, October and November are often referred to as the New Forest’s ‘shoulder months’. With the area being less busy, it’s a great time to get away and discover the tranquillity and beauty of our National Park and surrounding areas without the crowds you’d expect in the summer months.

Here are just some of the fantastic reasons to visit us over the coming months…

1. The New Forest Food and Drink Fortnight is set to return

A popular highlight of the New Forest calendar, join us for two weeks of culinary delights. From farmers’ markets to cookery demonstrations plus ample opportunities to sample our local food and drink. Pop the 3-16 November into your diaries! Full details of this year’s events are due to be announced very shortly so do keep an eye out on our website for further details.

2. Enjoy our family attractions without the crowds

If you have pre-school children then the autumn months can be a great time to explore some of our family days out without the masses of the summer holidays. Paulton’s Park and Peppa Pig World, for example are open the majority of the days up until mid-November. Your little ones will love the opportunity to meet Peppa and her family and to experience the thrill of the rides.

Open 363 days a year, Marwell Zoo makes a lovely day out from the New Forest with animals and birds including cheetah, the popular Humboldt penguins and Amur tigers.

Near Ringwood, Moors Valley Country Park offers plenty of opportunities to burn off excess energy with various woodland play areas, off-road cycling tracks, a tree-top trail and the GoApe zipwire/high ropes experience.

3. Experience the arts

Okay so the weather doesn’t always play ball in the autumn but you can certainly escape any rain by taking time out to experience some of our more cultural activities here in the New Forest. Take a look at the strong programme of events at the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington, Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton and art exhibitions and much more at the New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst.

Look out for upcoming productions and workshops at the Forest Forge Theatre in Ringwood or catch the latest films at the Art deco The Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge.  

4. Embark on some of our walking routes over the autumn months

Crunch your way through the fallen leaves and soak up all the colours of autumn as you take a walk around the New Forest. We have many walks available to you so whether you are looking for a short amble or a walk which spans several days there is plenty to choose from whatever your fitness levels.

5. Take part in some sea fishing

Although your target species will be different from the summer months, many people enjoy sea fishing in these autumn months particularly in the estuaries and deeper waters around the New Forest. Charter a fishing boat from Lymington or Keyhaven and see what you can catch.

6. Cycle through our forest

Another great way to enjoy the autumn is on two wheels. Hire a bike from one of our cycle hire shops (or bring your own) and enjoy some great off-road routes on forest tracks and sections of disused railway. Bring a picnic with you or stop at some of our country pubs for a spot of lunch.

7. Start your Christmas shopping early

We know it can feel like a struggle to start any Christmas shopping before December but it’s a great way to beat the crowds. Plus, shop in some of our New Forest stores and you’ll often find gifts that are handcrafted here in the New Forest. Lymington is an ideal location to head to for a spot of shopping as not only do you have some of the high street names but a wide-range of independent stores and boutiques too.

8. Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard

For a combined day out, why not pop along to the world-famous Beaulieu and then stop at nearby maritime village of Buckler’s Hard? Beaulieu is home to a stately home, the National Motor Museum and Beaulieu Abbey and there’s plenty to see both indoors and outdoors. Just a couple of miles down the Beaulieu River, Buckler’s Hard comes complete with a maritime museum, 18th century reconstructed cottages to view and beautiful vistas over the river.

9. Tour Ringwood Brewery

Ever wondered how these popular New Forest beers are made? Book onto a 90-minute tour of Ringwood Brewery and discover the journey from hops to beer. Each tour is followed by a drink in the Pin Bar (alcohol for over 18s only) and your opportunity to shop in the Brewery store. Why not pick up some beers to sample again later or to give as a gift to friends?

10. Great deals on accommodation

As a quieter time of year, you can often get some great deals on places to stay. Look out for discounts on short breaks, last minute deals and sometimes even added extras such as tickets for days out. Take a look at our current special offers on hotelsself-catering cottagesB&Bs and holiday parks. Do keep checking back as well as special offers are added throughout the season.