With the Easter weekend now behind us, it’s time to start thinking ahead to May and the next bank holiday weekend!

Of course, there’s plenty to see and do in the New Forest at the best of times – with fabulous walking, cycling and other outdoor activities. Added to this though, we have some amazing bank holiday events taking place across both May bank holiday weekends. Read on to find out what’s happening across the Early May bank holiday weekend.

With the Early May bank holiday falling on Monday 6 May, there’s less than a month to get planning what you’ll be doing across the weekend.

Events across the Early May bank holiday weekend

Across the bank holiday weekend, Beaulieu will be transformed with the return of the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair. This Spring Fair includes Beautiful Borders and The Hillier Experience packed with planting ideas, and stunning floral displays from top nurseries. Whilst at the fair, be sure to check out the Forest of Calm feature garden too.

Gardens at Beaulieu in the New Forest
Image - Beaulieu

Another event being held across the weekend is the J & A Artisan Craft Fair in Burley Village Hall. Check out some local fares and pick up a unique souvenir of your time in the New Forest.

Saturday events

Take to the water on Saturday 4 May aboard the Steamship Shieldhall as she sails from Southampton, into the Solent. Along the way, expect views of the New Forest shoreline and music from the Selsey Shantymen.

Steamship Sheildhall
Image - Steamship Shieldhall

Are you called Alice? Whether it's your first name, surname, middle name, or nickname. Come and discover your inner Alice at the New Forest Heritage Centre on the Saturday. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a project inspired by Alice in Wonderland but one that also celebrates you!

Finish your Saturday off with a Bolderwood Dusk Explorer Walk with Wild New Forest. This 2.5-hour walk will look for and discuss the status New Forest crepuscula specialists such as Nightjar and Woodcock while keeping an ear our for drumming Snipe and any other wildlife that ventures out of hiding at this peaceful time of day.

Sunday events

On Sunday 5 May, Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum will be holding their Spring Autojumble with gates open to sellers for set up at 7am, buyers at 8.30am. Entry to the Autojumble is £5 for adults with children free.

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum
Image - Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum

Also on the Sunday, The Friends of the New Forest Airfields Heritage Centre in Bransgore will be open to visitors from 10am-4pm (last admission 3.30pm).  Come along and learn about the history of the '12 airfields' and their important role in D-day on this 80th anniversary year, then enjoy a coffee or tea with a cake in 'Mee Mee's Kitchen' (and learn why it has this unusual name).

Activities taking place throughout May in the New Forest

You won’t be short of things to do here in the New Forest, and we have some absolutely amazing activities to get involved with across both bank holiday weekends and the rest of May.

If you're looking for a unique and exciting family adventure, then look no further than Insight Activities. Challenge yourselves on their engaging Medieval Trio activity, mastering archery, axe throwing and crossbow shooting skills in one 2.5-hour session, all set in a beautiful woodland location. (Ages 12+ for axe throwing and crossbows). Younger adventurers can also join in the fun with archery-only sessions, suitable for ages 6+.

New Forest Activities offers a wide range of outdoor activities for all ages. During May, their top highlights include family paddling (enjoy a gentle family friendly introduction on our guided canoe and kayak tours where you will spend time exploring the hidden creeks and waterways of the stunning Beaulieu River) and archery.

Two people canoeing on Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities - Things to Do Feature
Image - New Forest Activities

Test your abilities on Jaunt-e Bikes’ brand-new outdoor escape room, the Pedal and Puzzle - an adventure on e-bike. It’s a brilliant full day out on e-bikes and excellent for the May bank holiday weekends.

Experience Hampshire are also offering sessions on a variety of activities across both weekends. From children’s fishing clubs on the Saturdays to 2-night Eco Farm Yoga and Wild Swimming Retreats Breaks. Take a look at their website for more information.

With any of the activities mentioned, we’d strongly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Likewise, accommodation is likely to book quickly for the Early May bank holiday weekend so do take a look at places to stay to make the most of your visit.

This is just a taster of what’s going on in the New Forest, find out more about our events and things to do.