Our halls are decked with boughs of holly and the Big Day is nearly upon us!

So, if you’re searching for a few family friendly things to do in the run-up to December 25, look no further than the New Forest.

We’ve got stuff to do indoors, places to visit outdoors and loads of brilliant ideas to get everyone in the festive mood.

Sort your Christmas shop in one drop and enjoy a mince pie at Lymington’s famous Saturday market on December 15 and 22.

Tinies will love Peppa Pig World’s Christmas fun at Paulton’s Park, with Santa’s grotto. They’ll also love the Christmas hubbub at Longdown Activity Farm, which is going until December 23, with the chance to see the animals in the farmhouse grotto.

Train-loving tinies – and granny and grandad – will adore the chance to send their letter to Father Christmas via the Postal Express at Exbury Gardens on December 15 and 16 from 10am-5.30pm.

And, whatever you do, don’t miss out on Beaulieu’s magical and illuminated Christmas trail which takes place on selected dates until Christmas Eve. Listen out for the singing trees, marvel at the tunnel of light which features around 100,000 twinkling bulbs, and soak up the atmosphere of the scented fire garden as you wind your way round the grounds.

Still at Beaulieu, New Forest Activities’ family archery days and winter paddling take place on selected dates throughout the winter and are great for a treat or day out to burn off energy before December 25.

Relax and take in a festive movie as it really should be seen – on the big screen. On December 15 Forest Arts Centre at New Milton is showing the Will Ferrell classic, Elf, from 10.30am-12.10am at its Saturday mornings kids’ club.

Or hold out for the ultimate Christmas tear-jerker and catch one of the three screenings of The Snowman, accompanied by live classical music, on December 22 from 2pm onwards at the same venue.

Or what about a good old-fashioned walk? We’ve got 140 miles of trails and footpaths punctuated by pubs with roaring fires, most of which welcome furry friends, and all have plenty of festive fare to sample.

Base your walk around a pub, such as The Drift Inn near Lyndhurst, or The Rising Sun in Bashley. How about trying out the ‘Lyndhurst’ trail and enjoy a festive tipple by the open fire at some of the beautiful country pubs along the way, including The Waterloo Arms and The New Forest Inn. Whilst on the walk you could also count how many New Forest Ponies you can spot along the way!

Or why not attempt the Burley Food Trail, five miles of fun, which takes you to New Forest Cider, gives the chance to traditional sweets and handmade fudge. Younger walkers will find plenty of things to spot along the way including a ‘cob’ cottage made of earth, a witch on a broomstick and a large stone cross.

Plenty of our places are still doing seasonal lunches and you can even book a festive Afternoon Tea at some of our cafes and restaurants, The Bell Inn even have a special NativiTEA you can book until 23 December!

Youngsters are welcome in almost all our pubs and restaurants, where you can enjoy a drink and some delicious food, loads of which use our wonderful local produce. Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood offers a relaxed, yet stylish environment and Beresford’s at Balmer Lawn Hotel is another example of a restaurant that is particularly welcoming to families.

You’ll find plenty more ideas on our Christmas Events Page – so take a look now & have a very merry Christmas in the New Forest…

Don’t forget to use your Go New Forest Card when you’re out and about in the New Forest this festive season! Save money at pubs, restaurants, attractions, shops, cafes & loads more! There are nearly 400 offers for you to use across the forest – check them out online. If you haven’t bought your 2019 Go New Forest Card yet, then make sure you buy it now as there is an amazing Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer on until 31 December – and you don’t even have to wait until 2019 to use it, as they are valid to use from 1st December 2018!

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