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Blog: Winter in The New Forest

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Winter like real life Narnia here at holiday let in The New Forest National. Book direct and have yourselves a magical time.

Winter is the perfect time to walk or cycle in the forest – fewer cars on the roads, fewer users of the tracks and more chance of getting close to nature.

Enjoy the great outdoors

Take your little ones on a nature walk and try and identify the bare trees from their structure alone or crunch the fallen leaves in this ancient woodland. Another popular activity is to spot animal tracks in the mud - deer, ponies, cattle and more.

(The winter months are a great time of year to do some bird watching close by to us in Harbridge)

Birds of prey including merlin, peregrine falcon and short eared owl make regular appearances on the heathland. The great grey shrike, with its distinctive black mask and grey feathers is another winter visitor to the heathland. A great place to visit for some birding in the winter is the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Blashford Lakes nature reserve in the Avon Valley, near Ringwood. Here, huge flocks of overwintering birds fly onto the lakes to roost during the winter months.

If it’s dark and clear, park up at one of our heathland car-parks one evening (just don’t forget your torch!). Why? The New Forest has some of the UK’s darkest skies in the relatively light-polluted south-east. Nearly 90% of our skies are in the three darkest categories which make us the perfect place to see the Milky Way, spot Orion and the annual winter meteor showers.

Days out

If you’d prefer to be warm indoors then winter is the ideal time to take in some of our local museums. Lymington’s refurbished St Barbe Museum and art gallery runs a packed programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year. Fordingbridge museum is just 2 miles from us here at

The New Forest Heritage Centre is a great place to visit no matter what your age is and also regularly hosts events such as talks, exhibitions and more.

National Motor Museum and Palace House at Beaulieu is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day). Here you can not only get to discover history about some of the world’s greatest motoring achievements but you can also step back into Victorian times. Regular events take place at Beaulieu including the popular Victorian Christmas event.

Sammy Miller motorcycle museum near New Milton is open on weekends over the winter.

Moors Valley Country Park, near Ringwood.

Exbury gardens and steam railway is open throughout the year and offers tranquil and colourful walks in its own special New Forest countryside. The miniature steam railway is an ever popular feature of the gardens for visitors.

Foodie break?

We have many great places to eat close to us at forest palms, plus the town of Ringwood has a real big selection in places to eat too.

Then take your food to one of the forest’s fixed barbecue sites, at Lepe Country Park, perhaps, or Anderwood, near Lyndhurst, and cook up a winter storm. And don’t forget to bring some marshmallows to toast, too!

Sit near a roaring log fire after a winter’s walk. Enjoy a pint of local ale from one of our many New Forest microbreweries. In fact, why not book onto a tour of Ringwood Brewery and discover how they make their ales? The tour finishes with a tasting session in the Pinroom Bar and there are opportunities to buy gifts and souvenirs from the on-site shop.

Explore the historic towns and villages

While away some time by heading to Lymington. The Georgian High Street is lined with independent shops and some High Street favourites where you can pick up a new outfit, some Christmas gifts or just simply a treat. The weekly Saturday market which takes place in the town is also another great place to pick up items of jewellery, furniture, crafts as well as fruit, veg and other fresh produce, plus meet some of our locals.

The historic market town of Ringwood 5 miles down the road from us is a town full of history and heritage. The weekly Wednesday market has been held in the Market Place since a charter was awarded in 1226 and is a great place to purchase some great local crafts. Just up the road from Ringwood is our nearest town of Fordingbridge, another great place to browse through local shops and enjoy a warming hot drink at one of their cafes and tearooms. Fordingbridge (2 miles from us at is also a great place for a relaxing walk, especially down the long-distance Avon Valley Path.

Spend the day in Burley, a traditional village known for its history and witchcraft. Pick up some witchcraft items in the quaint local shops, such as cauldrons and broomsticks, and learn more about the crazy history of this village by talking to the lovely locals. Head to one of Burley’s pubs, cafes or restaurants for a refreshing drink and something delicious to eat. Hire a bike in Burley for the day and set off around the forest there.

Book a winter break at, book direct.

Top things to do in winter in the New Forest

  1. Book direct with us at

  2. do as little as possible

  3. Crisp winter walks

  4. Cycle trails

  5. Christmas fairs and activities.

  6. Detox January

  7. Pub lunches and dinners

  8. Award winning dining

  9. Museums and attractions

  10. Visit Salisbury, Bournemouth

  11. Visit many other towns and villages

  12. Star gazing

  13. Bird watching

  14. Relaxing


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