The most wonderful time of the year is still taking place in the magical New Forest!

After everything that’s happened during 2020, it seems almost more important than ever to gather with those we can and enjoy ourselves as much as possible.

Yes, there will be some restrictions and many events will be done a little differently. BUT our wonderful New Forest hotels, pubs, restaurants and attractions are just waiting to welcome you to a heavenly host of lunches, seasonal activities and celebrations. Don’t believe us? Read on!

Let’s start with Christmas 'parties'... with your household! We have various options available, from luxury dining at some of our local hotels or restaurants, to cosying up by the fire and enjoying traditional pub grub at some of our pubs and inns. With most offering tempting set menus, where you’ll often find local produce high on the menu.

From full-blown Christmas 'parties' offered at the elegant Balmer Lawn Hotel, to the festive lunches and dinners they’re putting on at Cambium at Careys Manor Hotel, you’ll find something for everyone in the below list, including options to stay the night to sleep off the merriment! Take your pick from the following New Forest Hotels for your pre-Christmas celebrations with your household. Balmer Lawn Hotel, Burley Manor, Careys Manor Hotel, Master Builder's House Hotel, Montagu Arms Hotel, Passford House Hotel and Forest Park Hotel.

Now you’re sorted for a pre-Christmas celebrations, how about lunch on the Big Day itself? Once again, we have plenty of wonderful wintery venues with festive trees, exquisite menus and roaring log fires, all ready to ensure your Christmas Day Lunch is perfect, without you having to do anything more than show up. The hotels listed above are all serving Christmas lunches for day guests, so it’s just a case of picking the one that suits best and getting in your booking. Please note, in line with the Government's Christmas guidelines, you can only go out for Christmas Day lunch with your household/normal bubble, not with your 'Christmas bubble'.

We also have some fabulous pubs and inns which are putting on Christmas lunch this year. Take your pick from The Bold Forester, The Burley Inn, The Drift Inn, Monty's Inn, The Mortimer Arms, The New Forest Inn, The Rising Sun, The Royal Oak Downton, The Royal Oak Beaulieu, The Trusty Servant Inn and Walhampton Arms.

Perhaps you and your household fancy the whole package of a sumptuous Christmas lunch in front of roaring log fires, somewhere comfy to rest your head and loads of other brilliant festive entertainment? A Christmas break in the New Forest is just what you need! Many of our hotels, holiday parks and other types of accommodation offer fantastic one, two or three night breaks over Christmas. Take a look at our Christmas Breaks page for more information of this unmissable magical experience and how to book.

Or treat yourself to something completely different and book a winter glamping trip at Back of Beyond Touring Park, just outside of Ringwood.

After exploring the extensive grounds at Back of Beyond, relax in your cosy caravan, motorhome or glamping accommodation, including wooden pods, shepherd huts, lodges and there’s even a luxury yurt. Hire a fire pit and toast marshmallows or enjoy a drink at the new, outdoor pop-up, Monty's Bar, where proprietors Martin and Vicki are hoping to put on some special events for Christmas and New Year. Dogs are welcome in the shepherd huts, lodges and one of the pods. Find out more about their festive season celebrations here.

If your annual Christmas Day tradition is to celebrate at home cook for the family then ensure use some of our delicious local produce from the forest for a top-quality feast. Head to our Local Produce page to find out where you can buy some great ingredients from.

One of our favourite Christmas traditions here in the New Forest is getting outside for a post-lunch or Boxing Day walk and we have more than 140,000 acres for you to explore, with more than 140 miles of tracks to enjoy. Explore our gorgeous winter woodlands and fall in love with the views across our landscapes, and see what wildlife and animals you see along the way. Take a look at our suggested walking and also cycling routes on our website and plan your Christmas adventure in advance!

If you’re looking to enjoy some magical Christmas fun across this festive season, with the kids or the whole family, check out the following exciting activities and events.

Ringwood’s Furlong Shopping Centre might look a little different but that doesn’t mean it won’t be full of festive cheer! Expect festive farmers’ markets, community choirs, street performers, antique markets, spectacular light displays and as well as a fantastic selection of stores to pick up those Christmas gifts from, including Waitrose, Joules, Phase Eight, Paperchase, Fat Face, Osprey London and many more.

New for this year is the Furlong Star, a giant beacon of hope (and a great selfie opportunity). On November 12 this will be located just outside the Waitrose & Partners store. They hope, if restrictions allow, to have regular choirs spreading festive cheer to Ringwood shoppers throughout December. See their website for a whole list of upcoming festive events.

Paulton’s Park is holding a Celebration of Christmas from November 21 to December 23. Peppa Pig World will be transforming this Christmas season as Peppa Pig and George wrap up in their winter scarves, hats and coats. Among the land of seasonal music and giant Christmas trees, Santa in his sleigh from the TV series can also be seen.

New for 2020 is Santa’s Special Christmas Show! Head over to the Show Stage where, for the very first time, Santa Claus will be joining Paultons’ festive friends in their very own show. Little ones will also be able to stop by for Santa’s Storytime, the perfect chance to take a break from the excitement and enjoy a festive story from the man himself! If you’re hoping for snow this winter, then make sure you join Frosty’s Snowtime Show for even more song and magic from resident snowman, Frosty!

Over at Adventure Wonderland near Hurn they are holding ‘The Santa Show’ where everyone will be able to enjoy the festive fun from their very own reindeer stable pod, which seats up to six people.

‘The Santa Show’ is a 30-minute magical, musical performance for all the family. A cast of talented elves will sing and dance their way through this enchanted blend of grotto and panto. The finale is a special appearance from Father Christmas himself! There’s even a souvenir gift for every child. As part of the admission ticket, some of the park’s favourite rides will be open, including The Curvy Caterpillars, the Turbo Teacups and the Safari Jeeps. The Adventure Wonderland Christmas event will run on December 12, 13, and from 19 - 23.

Little Teddy Bear lovers will adore the Teddy Bear Hunt at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum and their Junior Bikers Trail for older children on the days of opening over the Christmas Holidays (check opening times on website).

And at Avon Tyrrell in Bransgore they’ll be holding a Christmas Activity Trail on multiple dates, including December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20, in two-hour slots throughout the day.

The outdoor activity involves a number of festive family challenges including archery, pioneering, bushcraft, art in the environment, problem solving and more. Their Café Explore will be open for each event date from 9.30am-3pm and you can book online here.

Enjoy a festive feast of family entertainment this Christmas at Beaulieu, together. On 5, 6, 12, 13 and 18 December to 3 January, experience the beauty of a traditionally decorated country home, buzzing with excitement and Christmas magic at Palace House. Spruced up with seasonal decorations and accessible in all weather, it’s the perfect time to explore Little Beaulieu. For those that truly believe, you may even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas – rumour has it that he is out and about, driving one of the vehicles from the National Motor Museum’s workshop.

Celebrate with New Forest Activities, who are running their festive paddle on the Beaulieu River to find Santa. Enjoy their 90-minute guided tour and meet Santa in his boat full of Christmas gifts! See their website for available dates throughout December.

Back at Sammy Miller’s, On Friday January 1, they are holding a New Year’s Day Ride In from 11am until 2pm. The Tearooms will be closed but the Catering Shed is open. The event is free to attend but museum charges apply.

*As with everything 2020, we strongly advise visitors to check the website of the attraction, or hotel/restaurant/pub they are planning to book and to be aware that current guidelines for Tier 2 (our current COVID-19 status) are in place but may change before your celebrations begin and also be aware of the different rules for the 5 day period over Christmas, so further checks may be needed before you visit.

** Blog updated on 27/11/2020.




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