Christmas is still coming – but so is a brand-new year and a new decade, too! So it’s good to know that here in the magical New Forest our amazing local businesses and event organisers have been planning lots of wonderful things for you to do and some have incredibly exciting developments for everyone to enjoy. All you need to do is grab your diary and start pencilling in all the events and when the new developments will be complete – because you wouldn’t want to miss out, would you?
Around 20 of our venues will be throwing open their doors to show off their inspirational wedding spaces, and they’ll be plenty of staff on hand at each location to help couples with any queries about their ceremonies and receptions. You can visit between 12 noon and 5pm, giving you loads of time to visit a fair few venues to find the perfect place for your big day. We even provide a map to help you navigate from place to place around the New Forest.
(If you can’t wait that long, Careys Manor are hosting their own Wedding Open Day on January 20 from 12noon-5pm)
If you’re a small kid (or a big one!), let your imagination run wild as you storm up the bridge of the magical wooden palace, which draws on the heritage of Lord Montagu’s ancestral home of Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey.
The fun, fantasy play area is crammed with quirky features to try out and secret passageways to discover. Slide through grand fireplaces, peek out from behind portraits and crawl through a trick bookcase to explore every nook and cranny, from his Lordship’s library up to the clock tower lookout and turrets.
Don’t forget, too, to check out these other new and exciting events coming to Beaulieu this year:
- Blue Light Day April 26
From fully kitted-out fire engines and ambulances, to the purposeful motors of the police, Coastguard, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and more, you’ll be amazed by the sights and sounds of these machines which are used to save lives
- Spring AutoJumble - May 16 and 17
New for 2020 will be the Retro village featuring vintage and retro traders offering fashion, accessories, homewares and collectables. They will join more than 1,000 stands which are a treasure trove of classic car parts, motoring literature and automobilia at Spring AutoJumble.
Marwell Zoo – April 2020
Marwell’s new attraction for 2020 is literally blockbusting!
SUPERSIZED! is their brand-new, immersive adventure created with more than two million toy bricks and will include some of the deadliest and most deceptive creatures in the world, all blown up to enormous proportions.
The larger-than-life brick adventure features up to 40 astonishing models of real-life creatures with an explosion of colour and size. Guests will also be able to play games, build their own models and create toy brick graffiti.
But be quick – this exciting new attraction will only be at Marwell until September.
Dogstival - May 16 and 17
If your dog could speak, they'd ask you to take them to Dogstival. Set in beautiful Pylewell Park, the event is entirely about ensuring dogs and their owners have their best day out, ever.
The main arena will host The Essex Dog Display Team and Dog, Duck & Sheep herding displays. They’ll also have lurchers, terriers and hawks chasing, swooping and wowing the crowds along with working dog displays across the weekend. (There’s even a doggie photobooth!). And with hundreds of stands to eat, drink or shop at across the festival, two-legged visitors won’t miss out, either!
Tornado Springs at Paultons Park – May 19
New Themed World opening to visitors on 19 May 2020 at Paultons Family Theme Park. Tornado Springs is an American Midwest desert resort town in 1950s that will feature more than 8 new attractions and rides, including Storm Chaser, Al’s Auto Academy Driving School and Jesse’s Route 83 Diner.
The New Forest Show - July 28, 29 and 30
The New Forest Show is the Forest’s premier event; the time and place you can get to really understand this unique part of Britain. With themed arenas featuring everything from Family Entertainment, to the New Forest Farmyard, to Crafts and Countryside and Heart of the Forest you’ll see more and find out more than you ever dreamed about this special place.
Add to this the food to taste and talk about, as well as the parade of heavy horses, show-jumping and demonstrations and you may find one day is not enough!
Lymington Seafood Festival - August 8-9
The popular Lymington Seafood Festival's third year will see some great bands and artists making sure visitors are well-entertained, along with the kind of food you dream about and plenty of fascinating demonstrations, tastings and things to entertain the kids.
Sip award-winning English sparkling wines or relax with a gin and tonic while you watch a brilliantly talented line up of chefs in the demonstration kitchen - we promise you won’t want to leave.
The New Forest Film Festival - September 19-27
From Series 3 of The Crown (did you spot our Rhinefield House on it?) to the Oscar-winning A Man for All Seasons, the New Forest has always been a firm favourite with film-makers. The New Forest Film Festival celebrates all this, plus the new films and those making motion pictures in this area. We can promise a feast for the eyes and the imagination.
Our other New Forest attractions and organisations have been busy organising a bumper 2020, too. So don’t forget to check out their events and activities and celebrate our films, film makers and filming locations.
Sandy Balls Holiday Village
Sandy Balls Holiday Village is investing 3.8m over the next few months on marvellous new facilities, including a makeover on The Woodside Inn, a new Interactive Bear, refurbished gym plus new equipment and new luxury and indulgent accommodation! So, book a getaway or head to one of their fantastic events throughout the year, such as:
- 101 Year Summer Festival - June 19 - 23
Sandy Balls was the place to be last year as they celebrated 100 years of holidays. They decided to bring the festival back as a ‘let’s celebrate summer’ event! So look forward to Alice in Wonderland tea parties, live music and kid’s festival themed activities.
- Cream Pie Fight - August 30
Their hugely popular, ever growing, school holiday festival of splattery is back! The kids will never have seen (or done) anything like it and it’ll create memories to treasure for years.
Forest Leisure Cycling
In 2020, Forest Leisure Cycling will be changing their name to 'New Forest Cycling', to suit their position as a hub for cycling in the New Forest, whether it be for visitors looking to hire an electric bike and explore the forest or local gravel riders looking to have their bike repaired by our expert mechanics. Their positioning is in one of the best spots in the forest to access the incredible network or gravel trails, they also provide maps and route information for any visiting cyclist. Additional to the name change, they are updating their website, which will be a great resource for information on cycling in the New Forest. Forest Leisure Cycling (soon to be New Forest Cycling) are specialists in E-bikes, a regisitered Bosch service centre and a Cube bikes dealer (the best brand of E-bikes on the market). They pride themselves on their high level of customer service and have won the TripAdvisor Award for Excellence 5 years running. Keep an eye out for the changes being made soon...
2 brand new hot tubs are arriving in March at Lake Farm and are being placed at 2 of their log cabins, The Meadows and Hazel Lodge. Their couples cabin at the end of the lake, Lake View, is also being refurbed with a kingsize sleighbed and new lounge interior!
New Forest Heritage Centre
The New Forest Heritage Centre have a host of exhibitions on during 2020, starting with New Forest Camera Club from January 11- March 8, showcasing 50 of the most beautiful images of the Forest that you’ve ever seen.
From March 14 – May 31 they are showing John Welsh: ‘Art of the New Forest and South Downs’. John Welsh is a professional artist from Hampshire who works in oils and specialises in landscapes and portraits; his style is expressive and realist and his inspiration comes from the South Downs and the New Forest.
June 6 – July 12 is Francoise Sergy “Fruit Full”, a photography and installation exhibition around fruit. And just after, July 18 – September 6, they are exhibiting Su Eaton’s “Impressions”. Hand printed images of local landscapes and seascapes, highlighting the beauty of the woodland and coastline of southern Hampshire.
And loads more throughout the year, including Emily Hancock and Hannah Freeland, growers and jam makers from 12 September to 8 November and Peter Frost & Barry Peckham - 'New Forest Art, The Past and The Present' from November 14 to January 17 2021.
2020 is officially the year of Wild at Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, which means wild-themed events for families, wildlife walks for adults, nature trails for all to enjoy plus the all-new Dragonfly Pond, opening to the public in 2020 for the first time.
The New Forest Paddle Sport Company
The New Forest Paddle Sport Company new West Solent Experience will be bookable for 2020. It’s a morning paddle board trek along the west side of the Isle of Wight from Colwell Bay to the Needles, with powerboat safety cover along the way.
And don’t forget to look out for our New Forest Autumn Wedding Showcase and the New Forest Food and Drink Fortnight coming in November 2020.