Things to do in the New Forest area over the summer holidays
Comprehensive guide for children and families in Lymington, the New Forest and surrounding areas.
School's out for summer!
Whether you're local to the New Forest or visiting on holiday, you'll find loads to keep you busy this summer.
Our summer holiday guide for families and children is stuffed full of fab things to do in the Lymington, New Milton and New Forest area over the school summer holidays. Take a look also at our fun days out feature if you're looking to venture slightly further afield. And for those having to juggle work with school holidays, we have information about holiday childcare, which also includes details of activities days for children.
See what's on day by day in our New Forest Events Calendar. Remember, if you're organising a local event then you can add your event to the Lymington.com calendar for free and contact us to find out about Lymington.com membership which includes local advertising and promotion (including being in this article!)
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Remember to mention Lymington.com when you're out and about this summer!
Get out on the water in Lymington and the New Forest...
Swimming and inflatable fun
Lymington Sea Water Baths are open throughout the school holidays from 9.30am to 6pm each day. Book online in advance for 90-minute sessions on the 200m of inflatable obstacle courses, paddleboards or for swims. You'll find great fun whatever the weather - once you're wetsuited up and in the water the rain doesn't matter! Wetsuits are available for hire. Lifeguards on duty. Snacks and drinks are available at the kiosk. Book here.
Ballard School Summer Camps include swimming. There are also private swimming lessons available.
Head to the beach
The sea is lovely and warm! Find our guide to local beaches here, including details of parking, where dogs are allowed and which beaches have a lifeguard patrol - plus the all-essential nearby cafés and other conveniences.
Learn to sail
Lymington really is the place to learn to sail! Find out here about learning to sail in Lymington. This summer Royal Lymington Yacht Club welcomes non-members and members on their RYA Learn to Sail training courses on various dates during the school holidays.
Kayaking and canoeing
New Forest Activities in Beaulieu offer kayaking and family canoeing along the beautiful Beaulieu River. There are also Ladies Only Paddles on dates throughout the summer (check our events calendar for dates). For families with children aged 12+ try the Beaulieu Canoe Explorer, which covers a good distance on this extended trip through the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve.
Hire paddleboards at the New Forest Paddle Sport Company, based in Milford on Sea. Meanwhile, local experts Chad and Jamie at New Forest Surf have a great online shop.
Summer holiday sports and camps for kids in the New Forest area...
Ballard School Summer Camps are running each week during the summer holidays and include a range of sports, Mad Science, Horrible Mysteries, drama, music, art, stay and play, gymnastics, swimming, junior DofE, Forest Rangers and BikeAbility. These fun summer camps are running daily throughout the school holidays and are open to all children, not just those who attend Ballard School. Get the lowdown here.
New Forest Hockey Club is running hockey camps for 8-15 year olds on 9th, 10th and 11th August on the astro pitch at Lymington Health and Leisure. Each day 8.30am to 3.30pm. A great way to have fun, make new friends and improve your hockey skills with NFHC's brilliant coaches. Find out more and how to book a place here.
Lymington Cricket Club is holding cricket camps for 9-13 year olds on 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th July and 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th August at Lymington Sports Ground. Players of all abilities are welcome - whether you’re hoping to make the district or Hampshire team, or a first-time player. A fun and friendly environment with dynamic coaching. Book for individuals days or a whole week: find more information and how to book here.
New Forest Football Academy is once again providing day camps throughout the summer holidays. Find more information and contact details here.
For more sports holiday camps and clubs, see our Holiday Childcare article...
Family sporting fun in Lymington and the New Forest...
New Forest Adventure Golf is open throughout the holidays from 10am to 5pm. Built with children in mind, it's also fun and challenging for adults. The beautifully landscaped adventure golf course is a high spec 18 hole discovery adventure of the New Forest, including Isle of Wight ferry, Lymington and Beaulieu Rivers and New Forest towns and villages.
Lymington Golf Centre is open every day for 'pay and play' out on the fabulous 9 hole course - or practice your swing at the driving range (purchase a token at the clubhouse to get a bucket of balls at the driving range). If you're new to golf or would like to improve your technique, we recommend lessons with the brilliant (and very patient!) resident PGA golf pro, Matt Vineer. Matt is an inspiring teacher for children and adults alike - you'll learn loads! Contact the club for more information.
Pack up a picnic and head out on a family cycle! If you'd rather cycle away from the main roads, the New Forest has numerous tracks and trails. Find a useful map of cycle routes here. Hire bikes at Cyclexperience in Brockenhurst (conveniently located near to the station) or at New Forest Bike Hire in Lymington (Quay Street).
Anyone for tennis? Lymington Tennis Club still has their 30 days for £1 offer for locals - brilliant for older children who want to rediscover their tennis skills over the summer break! More information here.
Race around the world for Oakhaven!
This summer, help Oakhaven Hospice race around the world: the distance around the world is 24,901 miles - collectively, as a community, can we complete the trip? Sign up now to take on the challenge by pledging your own mileage goal and how you’ll complete it. For example, you could simply pledge to walk 2 miles a day during the 80 days: 160 miles. The choice is yours! Let’s walk, cycle, run, row, sail, swim (or indeed any other mode of travel that takes your fancy) our way around the world and all those miles will provide a world of care at Oakhaven Hospice. Find out more and sign up here.
If the weather is kind, make use of our local facilities, including tennis courts, table tennis tables and outdoor gym at Woodside Park, plus the chess/draughts table at Bath Road Park.
Summer culture for kids in the Lymington and New Forest area...
Visit St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery to learn more about Lymington and surrounding areas. Find out more about the New Forest coast, an area with a rich maritime heritage where smugglers made a profit on the shores, and where boat-builders and salt-makers developed their trades.
Discover your inner artist!
At St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington the team has organised a range of fun art and craft workshops for the summer holidays. Come along to Magical moths (27th July), Animal sketchbook workshop (3rd August), Botanical illustration (10th August), Plastercine patterns (17th August), Fish hats workshop (24th August) and Drawing in the dark (31st August)
Learn Pyrography - draw and write with fire with wood turner Graham Turner at Keyhaven Scout Hut on 14th August.
Chill out with a book!
Join the Summer Reading Challenge "Wild World Heroes" at your local library! It's free to join your local library and the summer challenge is a great way to inspire and encourage young readers! From 3 July to 18 September - and completely free of charge! Lymington Library is currently open 9.30am - 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from 9.30am to 1pm on Wednesdays.
Dance and drama
The fabulous team at New Forest Academy of Dance is running a summer school from Monday 26th to Thursday 29th July at Lymington Community Centre. Explore dancing, theatre, singing, drama and more through a week of fun and engaging classes with industry professionals.
Meanwhile near Ringwood, Forest Forge Theatre Company has a holiday theatre workshop from 2nd - 6th August. An exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of theatre and performance for a whole week.
Films for kids at Lymington's cinema
Lymington's Malt Cinema will be showing:
- Felix and the Hidden Treasure (U) on Sat 24th, Tues 27th, Wed 28th and Thurs 29th July at 11am and Mon 26th July at 2:30pm.
- The Croods: the New Age (U) on Fri 30th July at 2:30pm & Sat 31st July at 11am & Mon 2nd Aug at 2:30pm, plus Tues 3rd, Wed 4th & Thurs 5th Aug at 11am.
The New Forest Players are performing 'Curtain Up' at Ballard School from Wednesday 28th to Saturday 31st July. A comedy about five women who inherit equal shares in a dilapidated theatre and plan to bring it back to life again.
Learn more about the great outdoors in the New Forest...
Join New Forest Activities for a Family Woodland Adventure Day! Light a fire and build a woodland shelter before testing your aim with a bow. Explore woodland Low Ropes Challenges before taking to the trees for your High Ropes Adventure. Various dates throughout the summer holidays including 1st, 15th and 29th August.
Become a Little Ranger at New Park Farm near Brockenhurst! Regular 2 hour courses for 3-12 year olds and parents throughout the holidays, looking at wildlife, nature, conservation, New Forest myths, legends and folklore and much more. Find out more about Little New Park Rangers here.
Take a walk on the wild side with Wild New Forest! Fascinating guided walks in the New Forest with Russell and Marcus, who have over 50 years experience in wildlife survey, monitoring and photography in the New Forest National Park. Try the Bolderwood Kids Wildlife Adventure on 24th July and walk out for more guided walks in our Events Calendar!
Throughout the holidays, hop on a New Forest Tour bus to visit new places around the Forest - there are 3 routes and plenty of buses every day. (Editor's tip, combine a visit to New Forest Adventure Golf and Goodalls PYO Strawberries with a bus tour around the New Forest!)
Family fun days out in the New Forest...
Head to Beaulieu for a fun-filled family day out this summer, where there really is something for everyone. Beaulieu makes a great day out for locals and visitors to the New Forest area, come rain or shine. One inclusive ticket provides access to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, the ancestral Montagu home Palace House and beautiful gardens, Little Beaulieu - a fantastic new children's adventure play area, Beaulieu Abbey, the Secret Army Exhibition (perfect for kids studying WW2) and unlimited rides on the monorail.
Plus until 30 August, see Sculpture at Beaulieu - the works of 50 renowned sculptors, including Dawn Rowland, Frederic Chevarin, Helen Sinclair, Neil Wilkin, Paul Vanstone, Shaun Gagg and Lymington's very own Michael Turner.
Keep an eye on our Events Calendar for special events at Beaulieu, including evening tickets to view Sculpture at Beaulieu and the popular 'Simply' events. On Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August it's the popular Supercar Weekend, a must-see family spectacular that brings some of the world’s most exclusive and desirable motors to Beaulieu. See displays of prestigious supercars and hear their distinctive engine notes as they unleash their horsepower on the demonstration run. Book your tickets now!
Just down the road from Beaulieu is Bucklers Hard. Discover the Maritime Museum and Bucklers Hard story, brought to life by living history characters.
Pick your own strawberries at Goodall's Farm (plus raspberries, cherries...and more!) - they really are the tastiest strawberries in the world. Afterwards, explore the new farm shop full of local produce. A great activity combined with New Forest Adventure Golf right next door.
Over at Bickton Manor Farm (near Fordingbridge), the Maize Maze opens on 7th August, along with pick your own maze and sunflowers, art and craft activities, a Peter Pan theme and lots of family fun! This year raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Find out more here.
In East Boldre, the legendary Beer Festival at The Turfcutters Arms will be taking place from Friday 30th July to Sunday 1st August. The Turfs has a fabulous children's play area and based so close to the Forest makes a super place to combine a good walk with food, drink and fun!
One for the diary: on Saturday 11th September it is the Family Fun Day at Oakhaven Hospice. A wonderful traditional family fête with games, stalls and delicious refreshments, all raising funds for our fabulous New Forest, Waterside and Totton hospice.
Take a look at our Fun Days Out article for more ideas on places to visit locally...
Other great things to do in Lymington...
You could also explore the bargains at the New Forest Car Boot Sale on Sundays (unless pouring with rain). A great way to find some different pre-loved toys and games!
Discover Lymington's playgrounds! Find out more about where to play from some intrepid experts...
Remember to keep an eye on the Events Calendar as new events are added daily! And subscribe (above) to receive our free 'Weekly What's On' newsletter by email every Friday and we'll keep you up to speed with what's happening locally.
Remember to mention Lymington.com when you're out and about this holiday!