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Family Activities and Things To Do in The New Forest

The children will frolic around in swimsuits whilst you relax in the sunshine with the latest bestseller. For 20 minutes. If you're lucky. That's when you get the first "what are we DOING today?" Suddenly the reality of the summer holidays sinks in. Six weeks of keeping the kids amused - and for many of us juggling jobs/careers/our own businesses at the same time. And then it starts to rain...


Thankfully Lymington (and its surrounding area) has lots to offer...come rain or shine! So whether you are looking for kids camps, ideas for fun actitivies or days out, look no further! Keep track of what's on in and around Lymington with our events calendar (where you can also add your own events!) - you can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.


So here is "The List" of things to do... do get in touch if you hear of other fun days or events that we should include!



Plus many more, check the Lymington events calendar for details.


Low cost ideas for family fun

  • The Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge will be available at all local libraries for children aged 4 to 11. The Challenge for them is to read or listen to six library books between 11 July and 13 September. As they progress through the challenge they can earn stickers, a Record Breakers Certificate and even a medal if they complete the Challenge. In addition, every Wednesday in August isCraft Time from 10-11.30am for children aged 3+ and their parents/carers.
  • Wild About Ponies New Forest Ponies. Why are they here? Why are they important? Come along to a fun, free information session and learn answers to all your questions about these four-legged icons of the forest. Free session from 1pm-2pm on the following dates at the following locations:
        • 23rd July - Hatchet Pond Car Park
        • 30th July - Bolton's Bench Car Park
        • 6th August - Hatchet Pond Car Park
        • 13th August - Bolton's Bench Car Park
        • 20th August - Hatchet Pond Car Park
        • 27th August - Bolton's Bench Car Park
  • Rock Up and Explore - an introduction to the New Forest with a Forestry Commission Ranger at the Deer Viewing area at Bolderwood. 2pm - 4pm every Sunday in August. Help celebrate your National Park with a day of walks and activities for all the family in and around the New forest Centre and the historic Queen’s House gardens.
  • Family Discovery Days at the New Forest Museum in Lyndhurst, with themed trails, quizzes and craft activities for all the family. 10am-4pm.
        • 11th & 13th August - New Forest Creatures
        • 18th August - My New Forest
        • 20th August - Royalty in the New Forest
        • 25th August - Royalty in the New Forest (Magna Carta)
        • 27th August - Love the New ForWild Wednesdays at the New Forest Reptile Centre from 10am - 3.30pm on Wednesday 26th July and every Wednesday in August. Dogs allowed.

  • Superworm Trail at Bolderwood, New Forest from 25th July to 31st August. Join Superworm on his forest adventure from 11am - 4pm. You will find ten panels along the trail, each with a fun challenge to complete. Approx 1 mile. Suitable for children 3-8 years. No booking is required.
  • Explore the town! Lymington Trail leaflets are available around the town (notably by the Sea Water Baths and in the walkway from St Thomas' Street carpark and Church Lane. Treasure Trails have a fun walk around the town, available at the Post Office and online (there are also trails for Brockenhurst, Burley and other local towns...). Geocaching is another fun way of searching for treasure whilst having a walk, there are lots to find in and around Lymington.
  • Lymington Town Tours was the inspiration of the late Jack Bradbury who, having retired to the town soon realised that it was a rare jewel steeped in history, mystery and skull duggery. In 1986, with the assistance of Helen Theobald, Lymington Town Tours was born. Initially just one walk covering the history of Lymington itnow boasts six walks around Lymington and one in nearby Milford on Sea.
  • Cycle in the New Forest! There are lots of routes suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
  • An alternative to the New Forest, Moors Valley Country Park provides a great day out in the woodland with playtrails, cycle routes and play areas!
  • Tennis:  Lymington Tennis has great summer coaching
  • The children will love to Pick Your Own at Goodalls Strawberry Farm Lymington


Fun in the Sun

  • Lymington Sea Water Baths is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Swimming, inflatables, zorbing, kayaking...great fun whatever the weather!
  • Or head for the beach... Milford-on-Sea and Hordle Cliff have pebbles and cafes, head for Highcliffe Castle, Avon beach or Southbourne for more sand!
  • New Forest Activities enable you to explore Beaulieu River by kayak or open canoe, have a go at Archery or try Sea Kayaking - activities need to be booked in advance.
  • Puffin Cruises provide a ferry service and cruises from Lymington Quay, to the Isle of wight, along Lymington River and out to the Needles.


 Local days out

  • New Forest Tour open top bus now has 3 tours, with the Green route and Blue route stopping in Lymington. The Green route (approx 2 hours) heads to Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens and the Hythe ferry. The Blue route (approx 2 hours) heads to Burley, Barton on Sea and Milford on Sea. Online booking for up to 5 people gives a 10% discount.
  • Spinners Garden and rare plant nursery in Boldre near Lymington, has a beautiful garden filled with a variety of rare plants. Under 16s free entry to the garden.
  • Furzey Gardens in Minstead, New Forest are proud RHS Chelsea winners. Visit the gardens, look out for the fairy doors and have fun in the play areas!
  • Exbury Gardens and steam railway is open from 10am (last admission 4.30pm). An excellent picnic location, with dogs permitted on a short lead. Check the website to steam railway running times.
  • Hurst Castle provides a great local day out! Learn all about Henry VIII's most advanced artillery fortress in Europe. Open daily 10.30am-5.30pm. Walk there along the shingle bank from Milford on Sear or Keyhaven - or you could take the Hurst Castle ferry from Keyhaven which leaves approximately every 20 minutes.
  • St Barbe Museum in Lymington is open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm. An excellent way to find out more about our town!
  • Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum is one of the largest collections of motorcycles in the world! Open 10am - 4.30pm.
  • Beaulieu Motor Museum is an exciting day out for all the family - come rain or shine. The national motor museum, world of Top Gear, Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and much more!
  • Buckler's Hard provides a delightful day out with an interesting insight into 18th century shipbuilding. Visit the maritime museum, shipwright's cottage, shipwright school, St Mary's Chapel. Explore the woodland walk and glorious location on the Beaulieu River.
  • Mottisfont is a wonderful day out, with an interesting house and beautiful gardens. From 18th July - 6th September explore the Lauren Child exhibition and enjoy an exciting family trail through the house and gardens with the 'Adventures with Charlie and Lola and friends.'
  • Longdown Activity Farm is a delight for young children. Feed the animals, ride on tractors, collect the eggs and have fun in the play areas. Lots of picnic space. 
  • New Forest Wildlife Park - animal encounters, keeper talks and a wonderful wooden play area with picnic tables. Meet owls, otters, bison, deer and even wallabies and wolves...


Days a little further afield...

  • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. HMS Warrior 1860, HMS Victory, the Mary Rose, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, Royal Marines Museum and Action Stations. Book online and save 20% off standard ticket prices. An 'all attractions' ticket lasts for one year with unlimited entry.
  • Spinnaker Tower is an interesting excusion with trail for the children. Save 15% when you book online. 
  • Fort Nelson is open 10am - 5pm (last entry 4pm). This imposing Victorian fort is home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery – The Big Guns. Strategically positioned atop Portsdown Hill, with panoramic views across the Meon Valley and Portsmouth Harbour, Fort Nelson is an historic monument, restored to how it would have been in the 1890s. Visitors can access most areas of the fortifications and see how the Fort would have operated.
  • Monkey World is open from 10am - 6pm every day in the summer holidays. 
  • Bournemouth's Aviation Museum provides a wonderful opportunity to climb in and out of aircraft. A truly hands-on experience. From the famous English Electric Lightning to the mighty Westland Wessex Helicopter.
  • Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park and Rescue Centre - Heavy horse farm park with horse drawn wagon rides, pony rides, children's play area, tractor rides and more, something for everybody. Stay a while in the stable block and learn all about the working life of the beautiful heavy horses.
  • Rockbourne Roman Villa in Fordingbridge - visit the remains of the largest Roman villa in the area.
  • Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in Ringwood - meet the birds up close, watch daily flying displays and handle some unusual reptiles, you can have great fun learning about them too. Open daily 10am - 5pm
  • Visit mysterious Stonehenge and discover Britain’s greatest prehistoric monument. With a 3500 year history, the mighty monument stands the test of time as one of ancient man’s greatest and logic defying triumphs of architecture.
  • Farmer Palmer's Farm park offers fun for young families, with animal encounters and play areas.
  • Marwell Zoo has hundreds of animals, including giraffes, tigers and penguins in a 140 acre park, train. 3 adventure playgrounds and daily talks and animal feeds.
  • Adventure Wonderland is open 10am - 6pm daily throughout the summer. Check online for summer special events. Book online and save 10%.
  • Paultons Park tickets are cheaper if you purchase online. 60 rides and attractions, including Peppa Pig World.
  • Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey. Delightful gardens with play areas, set in 180 acres.


Rainy Days

  • Solent Sky Museum showcases the history of aviation in Southampton and Solent area. Geographically this area was the most important area in the country, if not the world, for aircraft experimental and development work between 1908 and the late 1960s, the most famous being the Spitfire. 18 aircraft of various types, including the Spitfire and S6b. 
  • Bournemouth Oceanarium is open daily from 10am. Save up to 30% when you book online.
  • Seacity Museum in Southampton is open daily from 10am. The Dino Encounter is open throughout the summer holidays.
  • Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium has a range of summer holiday activities planned and makes an excellent rainy day activity. Arrive early in case it gets busy! Open 10am - 5pm from 23rd July - 31st August.
  • The Tank Museum will be holding their Tanks In Action displays at 1pm every day throughout the summer holidays. Other summer holiday activities on offer are craft activities, vehicle rides (additional fee) and tank museum modellers (Mon-Fri) Open 10am - 5pm daily.
  • For soft play on a rainy day, head either for Monkey Madness in Christchurch or Jungle Jeans in Southampton. Monkey Madness has slightly more for older children.


Holiday Clubs and Activities

  • Ballard School are running a range of holiday camps from 20th July to 21st August from 9am - 5pm. 
  • Sway Playscheme will be running at Sway Village Hall from 3rd - 7th August and 10th - 14th August. 9am - 12pm & 12pm - 3pm. There will be lots of fun things to do: cooking, painting, 3D modelling, sports on the field or just chill out with your friends! 
  • Kidzsupersports will be at Lymington Health and Leisure / Boldre Memorial Hall, offering a range of sports and the ever popular 'nerf war' throughout the summer holidays. 9am - 5pm at Boldre, 8.30am - 5pm Lymington Health and Leisure. Check availability online.
  • Kidz Camps UK have a range of summer camp dates at Lymington Health and Leisure and other venues in the area. 
  • Lymington Tennis Club have a range of summer actitivity camps throughout the summer holidays for non-members as well as members.
  • Freesytle Combat Karate are running a summer camp at Ashley Junior School from Monday 3rd - Friday 7th August, 10am - 1pm each day. For more information and to check availability, contact Collin Rudkin on
  • New Forest Soccer are running camps throughout the summer holiday. Contact coach Niall and his team for more information
  • Lymington Junior School's Stay & Play club will be operating throughout the summer holidays. For information or to book a place please call Danielle on 07867534398
  • Avon Tyrell activity days are available during the school holidays with sessions for 3 age groups; 5-8 years, 8-12 years and 12-15 years. We have recently extended our Funday hours for 8-15 year olds, now starting at 09:30 and finishing at 17:15 (drop off is at 08:30 and collection is by 18:00.) The new price for these is now £25 per day. 12-15 year olds can enjoy our more advanced and specialised activity days which provide a more focused experience on one particular area. This could include Mountain Biking, Climbing, Lifesaving and First Aid! The Fundays are action packed and challenging to reflect the energy of each age group
  • Hengistbury Outdoor Centre have a range of activity days and courses available over the summer holidays, including multi-activity days. 
  • For horse riding try Burley Villa and Flanders Farm in Hordle. Both offer activity days and lessons/hacks.

Do you have other ideas to add to this list? Get in touch with details and we wil do our best to incorporate!


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