The lead up to Christmas is a busy time of year. If you aren’t sure where to start or are looking for some ideas on some top Christmas events to go to in and around the New Forest then you have come to the right place!

Whether you are looking for some traditional family fun or perhaps a relaxing activity, we’ve an amazing line-up of festive events. Read on to take a look at some of our highlights.

Active ways to enjoy the lead up to Christmas here in the New Forest

We all know Christmas can be a time of indulgence, so why not get a head start on the January fitness regime by taking part in one of our outdoor activities?

Meet Santa in a completely different way this Christmas, by canoe on the Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities! Paddle to meet Jolly Saint Nick in his boat full of presents and enjoy the picturesque surroundings in the heart of the New Forest.

Image - Christmas Canoe Paddle with New Forest Activities

New Forest Activities will also be running a festive and ultimate twist on BattleZone Laser Tag. Grab your troops to defend Santa's base on BattleZone: Santa Claus' Crisis!

Soak up the scenery by bike by heading to Cyclexperience in Brockenhurst for a stunning day of cycling through the New Forest. After their cycle, younger guests will then get a chance to choose a Christmas gift.

Wrap up warm and take part on a Winter Wander The Snowman™ and The Snowdog at Lepe Country Park (26 November–1 January). Inspired by the hit sequel to Raymond Briggs' much-loved classic, this wintry adventure is suitable for children aged 3 and upwards. Trail packs cost £7 and include an activity booklet, crayon, a voucher for little ones to enjoy a free babyccino and a special The Snowman™ and The Snowdog gift.

Please note – pre-booking for all activities mentioned above is essential to avoid disappointment.  

Image - The Snowman™ and The Snowdog at Lepe Country Park

Opportunities to meet Santa and his friends

A must-do for little ones in the lead up to Christmas and a perfect way to spread the magic.

Meet Santa and his reindeer in his grotto as part of Ringwood’s Winter Wanderland on 27 November. The big man will also be in his festive lodge at Longdown Activity Farm for the Christmas on the Farm fun on selected dates throughout November and December.

Image - Santa at Longdown Activity Farm

Little ones will be thrilled to know that Mrs Claus is on her way to Lepe Country Park for some Christmas stories! What better way to enjoy the magic of the season? Cosy up by the fire, listen to some classic Christmas tales whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the Solent. Mrs Claus and her elves will then provide some festive crafts. At £12 per child, a hot chocolate and cookie are included in the price.

Fancy a spot of tea with Santa? Head along to Steff’s Kitchen at Fairweather's in Beaulieu. Children aged between 3 and 8 will enjoy a story from Santa, afternoon tea, Christmas activities and receive a cuddly hand warmer to take home.

Image - Santa at Fairweather's Garden Centre

You can experience seeing multiple Santas in the festive spectacular Charity Santa Toy Run at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum on 3 December. Fancy joining in? Dust off those Santa suits, dress up your bike and ride to the museum with an unwrapped toy to help the museum support the Wave 105 Mission Christmas Appeal! Also taking place that day at the museum will be a fantastic Christmas Craft Market.

Christmas light switch ons and festive performances

It’s green for go with Christmas in Fordingbridge, a family event to celebrate the Christmas lights being switched on. The event will take place from 5-8pm on 2 December. Activities in town throughout the evening include street performers, Colin Nutley’s Christmas disco, Christmas stalls, crafts for kids, Santa at his grotto (as mentioned above), choir performances and much more.

Image - Fordingbridge Christmas Light Switch On

Book ticket to see The Snow Queen at Beaulieu, a fantastic festive performance for the whole family to enjoy and love. Christmas is also coming to Hanger Farm Arts Centre with a great selection of festive shows for all the family! From Swing into Christmas with the Five Star Swing Band to The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasness! This is just a small taster of what's to come.

Magical children’s events

We have some beautifully magical events for children happening including Marwell Zoo’s Glow Marwell light trail (running until 30 December) and A Celebration of Christmas at Paultons Park.

Image - Glow Marwell

Furzey Gardens are offering a children’s Christmas event with a difference from 25 November – 24 December, Furzey Fairy Lantern Trail. Book tickets for a lantern decorating workshop and short lit trail around the gardens with one of the night fairies of Furzey. For daytime visits, you can follow a self-guided trail around the gardens hunting for the night fairies of Furzey.

Take part in some Christmas crafting sessions

Whether it’s to decorate your home or to give as some Christmas gifts, why not book onto a Christmas craft workshop?

New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst is running two Christmas wreath making workshops (6 December, 10.30am–12.30pm or 13 December, 4pm-6pm). Tickets cost £40 per person. For younger visitors, there will be some free festive fun with Christmas crafts for children on 20-21 December between 10.30am-11.30am or 1.30pm-2.30pm.

Other workshops are set to take place at Lake Farm, Alderholt (4 December) and Lepe Country Park (9-13 December).

Image - Wreath Making with New Forest Heritage Centre

Find out more about Christmas in the New Forest

If you’d like to find out more about what’s on, places to eat and drink, where you can stay over the festive period and much more, do check out our Christmas pages. These are regularly updated with new events, activities and much more.