In Christmas

From a festive Afternoon Tea to a Yuletide activity day with family and friends, nowhere helps you to celebrate Christmas better than the magical New Forest.

And, after so many of us were forced to forego our Christmas traditions last year, now’s the season to make up for lost time.

So, why not push the boat out and enjoy a sneaky pre-Christmas festive lunch with family or friends? Scented with the fragrance of fresh pine needles, the Dining Room at Chewton Glen near New Milton is a spectacular place to do it. Their festive three-course lunch costs £49 per person and will get you firmly in the Yule mood!

Or, after a hard afternoon’s shopping, why not indulge in their Festive Afternoon Tea? This seasonal take on a perennial favourite features a selection of sandwiches, including turkey, cranberry sauce and chestnut stuffing, warm plain and golden raisin scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and seasonal pastries including salted caramel and clementine cupcake. Prices start at £45.

New Park Manor at Brockenhurst can also sort you for a delicious winter Afternoon Tea, flavoured with the aromatic spices of the season to tantalise your tastebuds in the run-up to Christmas.

Check out the host of other pre-Christmas lunches and dinners on offer across the New Forest, as well as the wintery menus available at our cosy pubs and inns.

If you don’t fancy the trek out, however, let the food come to you! The Forest Foodie has a delicious selection of fresh food hampers they can prepare to bring to your home, holiday cottage or even your yacht.

Each of their hampers is named after a local beauty spot, from The Salterns, featuring lobster and crab as well as mango with chilli salsa, or Beaulieu, which is packed with local cheeses, charcuterie, chutney and chilli jam. These hampers can be delivered free within a ten-mile radius of Lymington.

This year they’re also taking bookings for a knock-out New Year’s Eve fresh food menu, as well as their wonderful gift hampers.

If you fancy getting out and about then you’ll be spoiled for choice this Christmastide.

New Forest Activities will plan you an office Christmas party with a difference - with a day or half day of fun activities including kayaking and archery as well as zip-lines. They’ll help you choose what’s best for your group and can even sort food, as an extra, if you require.

Or join them for their wonderful Festive Christmas Paddle down the beautiful Beaulieu River. On a fresh winter's day it’s the ultimate outdoor treat for the kids and for you, especially the look on their faces when Santa arrives with his boat full of gifts and a toasty hot chocolate to keep you warm.

Christmas Markets and light switch-ons are another lovely thing to visit and we’ve got plenty to keep you entertained. New Milton’s Christmas lights switch on and festive market featuring more than 100 stalls takes place on November 27 from 12 noon onwards.

Ringwood Winter Wanderland takes place a day later, on November 28, from 12noon to 6.30pm. With more than 50 stalls, live music, entertainment, Santa’s Grotto and the switching on of the lights, it promises to brighten up the darkest winter day. New Forest Eats ‘n’ Treats at Brockenhurst College is going to be a super festive location on November 28, too.

Rather be indoors? Balmer Lawn’s Christmas Fayre on December 5 is the place to go. It’s free to enter but paying £7 gets you an hour’s early entry to snap up a bargain, plus a warming glass of mulled cider.

Or check out Beaulieu’s Artisan Collective Fair, taking place over two days on December 10-12. Along with delicious food and drink there’ll be loads of festive stalls and the chance to explore the museum and Palace House and grounds at their festive, sparkling best.

And don’t forget to book the little ones into the joy that is Paultons Park’s Celebration of Christmas. Running on weekends from December 4-23 inclusive, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, decorations, and illuminations at every turn.

Santa will be appearing daily on the show stage for storytime and his Magical Christmas Wish shows and Peppa and George Pig will also be doing meet and greets in their seasonal outfits in Peppa Pig World. Paultons Park’s newest attraction, Tornado Springs, will also be decorated for Christmas and open for Americana inspired festivities.

*For more details on these and all the other fabulous festive events taking place in the run-up to Christmas, visit thenewforest.co.uk.

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