Christmas is coming and deep in the New Forest preparations are underway for festive celebrations.
The New Forest is a truly magical place at this time of year. Wake up to frost on the ground, wander the woodlands, gaze out over heath and spot a herd of the fallow deer that roam the region.
One of the best things about the lead up to Christmastime are the markets where you’ll find twinkling lights lighting up the decorative stalls, gifts and presents on display, ice rinks for some festive fun and, if you’re lucky, you might get to meet Santa. If you combine exploring this atmospheric landscape with a visit to the excellent Christmas markets found throughout the area, you’re sure to get in the Christmas spirit.
To help you plan your perfect Christmas, we have compiled a guide to Christmas markets taking place across the New Forest National Park in 2018. Some have activities for children, some have live bands, and all are family-friendly.
Our guide will help you find the best markets in the New Forest to explore throughout November and December.
All you need to do is wrap up warm in a fluffy scarf and gloves!
When: November 24th - 25th 2018, December 1st - 2nd 2018
The largest Christmas event in the New Forest, the New Forest Christmas Fair will be taking place at Exbury Gardens this year, welcoming more than 100 traders and stalls to bring in the Christmas cheer. A traditional family day out, there are all kinds of wonderful gifts to purchase, as well as plenty of tasty local produce to sample.
When: November 23rd 2018
Tasty food, Christmas decorations, crafts and Christmas gifts for all ages can be found at Lymington High Street in November. As a special extra this year there will be a free giant Snow Globe where kids and adults can pose together with family and friends in their own winter wonderland. Otherwise, there'll be Santa on his sleigh, Christmas carols, and a Christmas lights switch on. Car parking is provided free of charge all day so you can relax and enjoy getting in the Christmas spirit!
When: December 22nd - January 6th 2018
Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum and Beaulieu Abbey, puts on a fantastic festive event every year. Last year, they took visitors back in time with a traditional Victorian Christmas in the Montagu family home, capturing how the occasion would have been celebrated back in 1889. There was Victorian cooking, mulled punch served by a roaring log fire, Christmas trees in every room and a giant life-size gingerbread house for taking pictures. Other activities included craft workshops and carol singing. We don't know what's in store yet for 2018, but know it's going to be just as much fun!
When: November 16th - December 23rd 2018
Southampton is found just outside of the New Forest, over the eastern border, and is home to one of the best Christmas events on the south coast. The Southampton Christmas Festival is home to a traditional German market, packed with over 40 chalets selling toys, soaps, decorations, jewellery and more beside a range of classic festive treats, including gingerbread and bratwurst. There’s also plenty of entertainment on offer throughout – musicians will be performing every day, while twice a day, the Flying Santa will take to the skies, before the kids are invited to meet Santa and receive a present.
When: November 17th - December 20th 2018
Located less than a half-hour drive from the New Forest border, Winchester is a city well worth visiting in its own right thanks to its amazing history and architecture, but it’s an extra-special place to visit at Christmas. With the cathedral as its backdrop, this magical market has more than 100 chalet stalls to browse, filled with handmade British goodies to buy. The stalls also surround a giant ice rink, so get on your skates for some wintery family fun.
Christmas in the New Forest
The New Forest is a simply beautiful setting to spend the festive period in – not only are there these wonderful events to visit, but the winter scenery is simply stunning and perfect for a Christmas break to remember. If you're looking to head to the New Forest to celebrate at this special time of year, check out our full collection of Christmas cottages to start planning your yuletide holiday.