Which means it’s time to start thinking about how to enjoy it the best way we know…in the magical New Forest.

We’re the perfect place to spend the run-up – all that wonderful shopping and eating - Christmas Day itself (let one of our wonderful hotels, restaurants or pubs do the heavy lifting this year) and the time after, as we have hundreds of miles of beautiful and bracing pub walks and bike rides to enjoy.

To help you get the most out of it all, like the good elves that we are, we’ve gathered some fab suggestions to see you right through the season!

Before the Big Day

Kick-start your Christmas shopping in our pretty villages, bustling towns and at our markets where you’ll find loads of artisan foods and drink to purchase, along with locally-made and sustainable treats and gifts.

A Christmas market is one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit, with the beautifully decorated stalls, the scent of roasted chestnuts and even mulled wine and Christmas lights glistening all around.

Lucky, then, that there are plenty to choose from across the New Forest.

Don't miss the popular New Forest Christmas Fair at Exbury Gardens on Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8, where you will be sure to find the perfect gifts for your family and friends. You may even be able to purchase some delicious local produce to add to your festive spread.

The Green Dragon in Brook are holding another Christmas market on Saturday December 7, between 11am and 5pm. Have a wander around loads of stalls, buy some great Christmas presents, listen to some live music and enjoy some tasty festive food and drink. You can also get into the Christmas spirit and get your hands on some great gifts at Durlston Court on November 22 with an afternoon of mulled wine, festive food and shopping at their annual Christmas market

Head to Christmas in Ringwood on December 1 to browse through the market stalls, visit Santa in his grotto, enjoy the live entertainment and stick around for the fantastic lights switch on! Or pop over to Barton on Sea for the now-famous Byron Road Christmas Lights switch on.

HytheLymingtonNew Milton and Ringwood all have brilliant weekly markets throughout the year and in the run up to Christmas, where the stalls sell some great and unique gifts – so, head to one of our Town & Village markets this festive season!

Don’t forget, too, that our High Streets are also the perfect place to do some Christmas Shopping – with plenty of gift, fashion, food and drink, craft shops and more, you’ll be able to do all of your Christmas shopping whilst supporting local businesses in the New Forest.

And, if you’re looking for something very special to give this year – especially if the recipient is a bit of a petrolhead - why not consider a Gift Voucher from New Forest Classic Cars? Based in the heart of the New Forest just minutes from the Beaulieu Motor Museum, they have vouchers for a selection of classic vehicles from a sleek Jaguar E Type to a mighty 5.7L AK Cobra. To order a gift voucher call 01590 612999.  All vouchers are valid up to a year after initial purchase, just phone when you want to book a date for the hire which also includes insurance.

Fancy a pre-Christmas get-together with your favourite people?

We’ve got it sorted!

There are loads of festive party options available for you in the New Forest, from fine dining at some of our luxury hotels or local restaurants, through to traditional pub grub and cosy fires at some of our pubs and inns, to dancing the night away at your own Christmas party. Set menus can help make planning your celebrations easier and offering brillant festive meals at great prices, it'll be hard to say no! 

Whether your party is for a large group or a more intimate gathering, you will find plenty of Christmas menus, packages and party ideas in the New Forest, check out our Christmas Parties webpage to find some marvellous places you can celebrate with friends, family and work colleagues.

And remember, if you fancy making a break of it then many of our hotels with party packages will offer discounted rates on rooms when a party is booked.

Festive things to do

If you’re looking for a pre Christmas treat for the kids, what about something completely different – a festive paddle?

New Forest Activities will take you along the beautiful Beaulieu River on a 90 minute guided tour, with some special festive treats along the wat, if you keep an eye out you may even see Santa paddling in his canoe full of gifts! Thanks to the magic of Christmas, Santa will also be out and about at many other New Forest locations including Paultons Park, where you can head into his magical grotto then head to Peppa Pig World, which will be beautifully decorated in Christmas sparkle.

Nearby Marwell Zoo also has lots on this Christmas, with their fairy tale Alice in Wonderland theme. The whole family can enjoy a tea party with Mother Christmas, enter the elf workshop in a 'garden of fun', and meet Father Christmas, too. Sandy Balls Holiday Village are holding Festive Weekenders this Christmas, where you can join in with loads of great activities with a festive twist, taking place For more activities plus a festive twist, taking place from December 6 - 8 and 13 – 15.

Try out some delicious Christmas Fudge Flavours at Burley Fudge Shop between 3 and 16 November, as part of the New Forest Food and Drink Fortnight. And, for real Christmas magic, don’t miss Nova Foresta Classical Players’ performance of the timeless Christmas film, The Snowman,with a live orchestra on Saturday December 21 at St Thomas Church, Lymington. Performances are at 2pm, 3.15pm and 4.30pm.

Make sure you gift yourself the best present of all – a little time out during the busy festive season. Best places to do it? At any of our award-winning spas, of course! Chill at The Herb House in stylish Lime Wood or book a private treatment at The Potting Shed at The Pig in Brockenhurst.

SenSpa at Careys Manor Hotel is another excellent choice, giving the opportunity to try a variety of spa experiences, and there is also the Saltus Spa at Balmer Lawn, the spa at New Park Manor or, if you adore Temple Spa products, head over to Burley Manor? Or take it up a notch and book yourself into The Spa at Chewton Glen for one of their signature treatments.

The Big Day!

Do it different this year and experience the real magic of Christmas in one of our amazing hotels which are offering all kinds of packages to suit every kind of gathering; from romantic couples, to families with children, and many welcome furry friends, too, so no one needs to miss out.

But remember - if you want to be relaxing in front of a roaring fire, enjoying a sumptuous lunch and being entertained over December 25 you’ll need to move fast.

The New Forest is home to a fantastic selection of hotels offering the best Christmas deals and packages this Christmas. From two, three, four or more nights, through to post-Christmas breaks, we can guarentee you'll find the perfect break for you. See on our webpage details about some of our hotels’ festive break packages you can enjoy this year and book now before all availability goes!

Loads of our gorgeous Bed & Breakfast’s stay open over Christmas and offer the perfect festive stay for their guests, where you can enjoy a delicious New Forest Breakfast to get you ready for the exciting day ahead, then head out for a traditional Christmas lunch at one of our many local restaurants, pubs or hotels before going for a Christmas afternoon stroll in the New Forest. 

Or, if you still fancy hosting for your friends and family, but in a holiday surrounding - then where better than at a cosy Self Catering Cottage? We have plenty of locations to choose from - take a look at the huge choice on our website.

Holiday Parks are perfect for a fun Christmas break, some of them are welcoming new guests to enjoy a Christmas away, offering great festive prices, such as Hoburne Bashley. If you want to get closer to nature, some of our Campsites will also be open over Christmas. Take a look on our website for details and contact the parks direct for details of Christmas bookings.

Or what about staying at home but getting someone else to do lunch this Christmas, so you can relax and really enjoy these special moments with your friends and family? Book a table with one of our wonderful hotels in the New Forest, who are waiting to welcome you for the most important meal of the year. Check them out now on our website and book today.

And if you fancy getting cosy and enjoying Christmas Day Lunch in a traditional New Forest pub, lucky for you, there are plenty of perfect places you can book, too.

Twixmas (After December 25)

When the clock strikes 12 midnight on December 25 that means it’s the start of Twixmas – the magical week between the Big Day and the New Year.

It’s the perfect time to practise for your New Year fitness regime (or working up an appetite for yet more feasting!) and get out into our beautiful heathlands and woods to enjoy a bracing walk and blow away the winter cobwebs.

We have more than 140 miles of dog-friendly tracks and footpaths where you can enjoy easy-to-follow walking routes from short strolls to long-distance trails. If you’re very lucky it may even snow and so you’ll get to see our living Christmas trees as nature intended! Or take a wander along our unspoilt coastline – we’ve got more than 40 miles for you to explore.

Twixmas is a great time to get the kids out on their bikes – fewer cars are on the roads - and there are plenty of great pubs and inns where you can break for lunch or snacks.

Don’t forget, too, that many of the hotels above do festive New Year packages so all you need to do is get booking and you won’t miss a thing!




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