Planning a trip to the New Forest this winter? Even when the weather is less than great, this gorgeous national park in Hampshire is a complete joy to visit and I highly recommend a trip here. A weekend break with some outdoor time is the perfect way to recharge your batteries and shake off the winter blues.
Below, I’ve rounded up a few of the best things to do in the New Forest, no matter the weather. In the thick of winter, or the fresh chill of Autumn, there are so many great things to see and do in the park. From delicious food, to historic attractions, to hitting the trails and enjoying the fresh (cold) air… these are the top ways to enjoy the New Forest this winter…
One of the best things to do in the New Forest when it’s cold outside is to head indoors and EAT! There are so many amazing pubs and restaurants in the park, making the most of the fantastic local produce. Here are a few of my top picks…
Get a Pub Dinner at the Angel and Blue Pig
The Angel and Blue Pig in Lymington is one of my favourite pubs in the New Forest. Exposed beams and roaring log fires make this a fabulously cosy place for a winter’s evening. I visited recently to experience the restaurant’s new menu – and it was exquisite (the pork belly was delicious). Think elevated pub classics and hearty, wintery dishes that are perfect for taking the edge off the winter chill. Save space for dessert, because the sweets list is just as enticing as the main menu.
Address: The Angel and Blue Pig, High St, Lymington, SO41 9AP
Indulge in an Afternoon Tea
With its abundance of stately homes and beautiful upscale hotels, there’s no shortage of places to enjoy a classic afternoon tea in the New Forest. My personal favourite is served at the beautiful Lime Wood Hotel – where they also make a mean hot chocolate if you’re not in the mood for tea!
Address: Lime Wood, Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ
Enjoy the 16 Mile Menu at The PIG
Famed for their over-flowing kitchen garden and locally foraged ingredients, the restaurant at The PIG is in a colourfully tiled conservatory overflowing with plants. The menu changes daily in line with what’s been sourced from the garden that day, and is just as eccentrically English as the setting. Plus, absolutely everything is sourced from within 25 miles – much of it even closer to home than that – so you know you’re getting a good, local meal!
Address: The PIG, Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst SO42 7QL
Take a Winter Walk
Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean the New Forest is any less beautiful. In fact, a little dusting of snow on the pine trees can make for the perfect winter wonderland setting. Wrap up in some decent winter gear (check out my favourite winter coats here) and hit the trails. Plan a walk that ends in a nice pub so you can warm up afterwards.
One of the best things to do in the New Forest is to hit the bike trails, which is the perfect year-round activity. There are loads of great trails in the forest and they’re all well maintained and well sign-posted (and relatively flat), so it’s a great way to explore. You can rent bikes in Brockenhurst from a place right next door to the train station, so it’s super easy to set out. Just be sure to check the weather warnings before getting started, just in case!
Take a Winter Paddle
Feeling brave enough to take to the water? Take a tour in a classic Canadian canoe and explore a different side to the New Forest. These two-hour-long tours are the perfect way to spot wildlife, and you’ll take in some spectacular views along the way, too. Just be sure to wrap up nice and warm, and prepare yourself for wintery weather.
Enjoy the Beaulieu Christmas Events
I’ve been visiting Beaulieu since I was a kid and it’s absolutely one of my favourite things to do in the New Forest. A gorgeous old English manor house set in beautiful grounds, the site is also home to a fab motor museum filled with cars of all ages and descriptions. You can even take a ride in an antique vehicle!
Don’t miss the various events all winter long – check the website to see what’s on. New for December 2018 is the gorgeous looking Christmas at Beaulieu light trail, which is sure to conjure up some Christmas spirit!
Address: John Montagu Building, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZN
Relax at a Spa
There are dozens of fabulous spas in the New Forest, and they’re the perfect way to escape the cold and spend some time rejuvenating. Winter weather, heating, and lack of sunshine can take a pretty big toll on your skin, so why not treat yourself to a deep treatment or a facial? Or simply head to the wet spa and enjoy the heat of the sauna!
Escape an Escape Room
If you’re looking for one of the more unusual things to do in the New Forest, look no further than ClueCrypted. Set on the edge of the forest in New Milton, this is an exciting and immersive escape room experience for groups of 2 to 6. You’ll have 60 minutes to solve the puzzles and escape the room – can you do it?
Address: 7, Milton Business Centre, Wick Dr, New Milton BH25 6RH
Step Back in Time at Buckler’s Hard
Another unusual activity in the New Forest is Buckler’s Hard. This 18th-century shipbuilding yard is now an immersive museum, where you can step back in time and experience life in the 1700s. With a living history tour, you can meet historic characters who offer an expert-guided tour of the village. These only run during selected school holidays, so double-check the website for the next dates.
Address: Bucklers Hard, Brockenhurst, SO42 7XB
Have you visited this part of Hampshire? If you’ve got any great suggestions for things to do in the New Forest in winter, scroll down and leave a comment!