The spring flowers will be out, the New Forest ponies and their foals will be roaming the land and (hopefully) the sun will be shining over the forest over the two May Bank Holiday weekends.

Early May Bank Holiday

The first Bank Holiday is Monday 3 May so the Bank Holiday weekend will begin at the end of April. Many of our outdoor attractions will have opened their doors again as part of the government’s roadmap to recovery so why not make time to explore the beautiful gardens at Exbury, Furzey or the extensive gardens and grounds surrounding Beaulieu Abbey? Although our pubs, cafes and restaurants will still be closed for indoor dining, you can enjoy some al fresco dining at an extensive range of places to eat and drink in and around the forest. Visit Thatched Cottage Hotel, where they will have New Forest Pizza Company serving freshly cooked pizza from the wood fired oven on Saturday 1 May!

Why not embark on some outdoor adventures and perhaps hire a bike, go for a kayak or don your walking boots and take a hike on the search for bluebells? Late April-mid May is often the perfect time to see these beautiful flowers carpet some of the woodland floors.

There are some amazing walks that you can do here whether you are looking for a family stroll or a more hardcore walk. Take a look at our walking pages to find walking routes that are suitable for you.

Families will love some of the outdoor pursuits on offer over the Bank Holiday weekend with New Forest Activities. Choose from archery, canoeing, kayaking or their BattleZone outdoor laser tag experience. Likewise, the New Forest Paddle Sports Company will be open for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and other water-based pursuits. Booking in advance is strongly recommended as spaces are likely to book up very soon.

Spring Bank Holiday

The second Bank Holiday of the month falls on Monday 31 May. There are some fantastic events due to take place over this weekend, including the BBC Gardeners’ World Fair Spring at Beaulieu. This fair will include lots of opportunities to buy plants to stock up your garden, some beautiful floral displays, gardening advice and amazing food and drink from the BBC Good Food Market.

Book onto one of the sailings being offered by Steamship Shieldhall, the largest working steamship in Britain. On Sunday 30 May, for example, the ship will be sailing along some of the New Forest coastline, giving you a different perspective of Lepe Country Park and the mouth of the Beaulieu River.

You will also find loads more fun-packed adventures on offer with Insight Activities, with archery, axe-throwing and crossbows. Or book onto a fun day out with New Forest Activities’ Woodland Adventure Day on the Sunday. There are loads more activities and attractions in the New Forest to be enjoyed this May Bank Holiday.

With the government gateway set to be on track, our pubs, restaurants and cafés should be re-opened for indoor guests along with continued opening of their outside spaces*. So why not enjoy some traditional New Forest fare? Or perhaps indulge in a tasty New Forest ice cream?

Book a short break

For the first Bank Holiday weekend, self-contained accommodation such as cottages, lodges and campsites will be open for short breaks and holidays to people staying from the same household (or support bubble). Accommodation is likely to be full very quickly, so again, we’d strongly recommend booking ahead.

For the late May Bank Holiday weekend, all remaining accommodation options, including hotels and B&Bs should be re-opened so you’ll have lots of choice of options when booking your New Forest break. Like before though, we strongly recommend booking in advance.

*information correct at time of writing.




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