The days are beginning to get longer and you can still enjoy the benefits of log fires, cosy pubs and long winter walks on crisp mornings during February.
The New Forest becomes as magical as ever in February with frosty scenes and perhaps even a dapple of snow across the heathland. So, pop on those walking boots, grab your camera and head out for a New Forest adventure!
If you are looking for further inspiration, take a look at these amazing things you can do in the New Forest this month:
- Experience the New Forest at night
This fantastic event on Friday 7 February in Lyndhurst provides you with an opportunity to explore the New Forest Heritage Centre at night. Not only will there be family quizzes but a chance to see some live owls and join in with crafts.
- Get your garden ready for spring
Join in with a willow obelisk workshop on Saturday 8 February in Minstead and make your very own willow planter for your garden. Add to your garden as well by visiting the popular garden centres in the area such as Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu.
You can also take inspiration for your garden from a trip to the beautiful Furzey Gardens, Minstead (please note, the café and toilets will re-open to the public from Saturday 15 February but the gardens are open throughout the month).
- Book on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Verderers court
Ever wanted to know more about the Verderers of the New Forest? On 12 February there’s a great opportunity to find out all about them in an evening in the home of the ancient Court of Verderers in Lyndhurst. Learn about how the Verderers help protect the New Forest and the commoning practices that take place here. Places for this event are free but are limited in numbers so booking is essential.
- Feel the romance of the New Forest over Valentine’s Day
The New Forest is a romantic destination at the best of times but over Valentine’s Day look out for some dreamy short breaks and romantic event and special offers. Choose from high-end, luxury spa hotels, cosy log cabins in the woods, relaxing pubs with roaring fires or places to stay with views to die for.
- Become hands-on with history and crafts this half term
With half term falling in mid-February, there are some great events for the children taking place in the New Forest. At Beaulieu, children can get hands-on and learn how to train to be a Victorian house servant or a country garage mechanic. Tackle household chores using methods from days gone by, discover curious gadgets from the 19th century and dress up in the collection of driving costumes available.
At St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington, children can take part in some fun crafting workshops. Try your hand at felting to create your own winter-themed wet felted artwork, make your own 3D coastal landscape model inspired by the New Forest’s coastline or for those that don’t feel like crafting, there’s a winter storytelling workshop.
- Enjoy the thrill of Paultons Park over February half term
Paultons Park will re-open for the Hampshire February half term (on 15th February) and selected other dates during February. Experience the thrills of some of the rides, take little ones around the ever-popular Peppa Pig World and see if you can spot Professor Blast’s mixed up animal friends – the Curious Critters, located throughout Critter Creek.
- Take a winter walk
Walking. What better way to soak up the scenery and atmosphere of the New Forest is there? Walking in the New Forest is a delight. Although during winter some of the area can be boggy, stick to the gravel tracks across the heathland for some spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Not sure where to start? Why not let one of our local guided walk companies lead the way with their expert local knowledge, or take a look at some of our suggested routes.
- Seek inspiration for your photography
If you are a keen photographer or you simply appreciate photography as an artform then be sure to pop along to the New Forest Camera Club exhibition before it finishes in early March. Not only can you see an amazing array of photography on our landscape, wildlife and locals but you can also purchase some of the prints as a long-lasting memento of your visit.
- Go birding at some of the New Forest’s nature reserves
Winter can be a great time to go birding locally. Wrap up warm and with lots of layers and head to some of the area’s top birding spots.
Blashford Lakes nature reserve, on the outskirts of Ringwood is a haven for birds with flocks overwintering on the lakes here. Common terns, lapwings and oystercatchers are just some of the species that can be seen feeding on the lakes so why not pop into one of the reserve’s six bird hides to see what you can find?
Another popular birding spot all year round is the Lymington and Keyhaven nature reserve (between Lymington and Milford on Sea). During the winter months, large flocks of Brent geese seek refuge on this reserve.
- Book a pub lunch
Sample some of the New Forest’s traditional fare by booking a spot of lunch at a local pub. Why not embark on a New Forest walk (see point 7 for ideas) and then follow it up with a bit of R&R in a cosy pub? There are plenty of pubs to choose from including those near the water (look out for ones in Lymington, Milford on Sea and Hythe) or ones set within the heart of the National Park where you may even spot a New Forest pony or two trotting by!
Finally, we hope we’ve given you lots of inspiration for a visit to the New Forest this February. Plus don’t forget, 2020 is a leap year so you get an extra day to enjoy here this month! We look forward to welcoming you to the New Forest very soon and in the meantime, do keep an eye on our special offers and upcoming events as more are added on a regular basis.