Things to do in the New Forest area over the summer holidays
Comprehensive guide of things for children and families to do in the New Forest and surrounding areas.
The school summer holidays have arrived! Whether you are local to the New Forest area, or visiting on holiday, you'll find lots to keep you busy this summer.
Here is our guide of things for families and children 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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Get out on the water in Lymington and the New Forest...
Lymington Sea Water Baths are open throughout the school holidays from 10am to 6pm each day, whatever the weather. Inflatables, hot tubs and SUPs are waiting... great fun, whatever the weather - and let's face it, once you're wetsuited up and in the water the rain doesn't matter! Wetsuits available for hire. Lifeguards on duty. Snacks and drinks available at the kiosk.
Durlston Court Prep School are holding intensive swimming lessons between 22-26 July. ASA stages 1-7, dive workshop, tumble turn workshop and life-saving skills workshops.
Ballard School Summer Camps include Junior Swim and Sports camps from 27-30 August (afternoons) for children in years R to 4. There are also private swimming lessons for beginners (children in years 3-5) to gain water confidence and for intermediates (children in years 3 to 8) on stroke work - from 22-26 July and 27-30 August.
Kayaking, Canoeing and SUPing
Kayak or paddle board with the New Forest Paddle Sport Company at Keyhaven near Milford on Sea - it's a great family activity! Kayak taster sessions and paddle board taster sessions available at just £20 for 1 hour, as well as tours to Hurst Castle along the beautiful Keyhaven coastline. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
New Forest Activities in Beaulieu offer kayaking and family canoeing along the beautiful Beaulieu River - and throughout the summer, combine kayaking with cycling in the New Forest on a Family Adventure Day.
There are also Evening Paddle to the Pub sessions and Ladies Only Paddles on dates throughout the summer. 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 in 2.5 hours.
Get sporty in the Lymington and New Forest area...
Lymington Tennis Club are running holiday tennis days and half days during six weeks of the summer holidays, Monday to Friday. Mornings 8.30am - midday. Afternoons midday - 4pm. Full days 8.30am - 4pm. Book online (Lymington Tennis Club members get 10% discount)
Durlston Court Prep School have tennis activity days running at the school on 16 and 17 July for children in years R to 8 with Durlston Tennis Coach James Lilley and his team.
James Lilley will also be running Tennis Camps at Hale Gardens Tennis Club throughout the summer holidays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Netball and Basketball:
On Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August, Future Ball Stars are running Netball and Basketball Camps at Ballard School for children in years 5 to10.
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.
New Forest Hockey Club have summer holiday camps on Monday 6, Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 August at the Astroturf pitch next to Lymington Health & Leisure for children aged 7-15. 9am to 3pm each day, discount for siblings.
Durlston Court Prep School in New Milton will be running Summer Holiday Activity Days on 24, 25, 26, 30 July and 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23 August for children in year R to year 8 - all children welcome, not just Durlston families!
Park Run takes place at Woodside Park every Saturday morning at 9am and also in Brockenhurst every Saturday morning at 9am. Register online and remember to take your bar code with you each time! Please note no dogs allowed at Brockenhurst College.
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.
Watch a T20 match! On Wednesday 17 July, see Hampshire CCC vs Dorset CCC at Bashley Cricket Club.
For more sports holiday camps and clubs, see our Holiday Childcare article...
Learn something new 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 profit on the shores, and where boat-builders and salt-makers developed their trades.
Improve your biking ability! Ballard School are running Cycling Proficiency courses from 5-9 August and on Monday 12, Wednesday 14 and Friday 16 August. Levels 1, 2 and 3 for children in years 3-9. Limited availability - book soon!
The Mad Science Wessex Camp will be running at Ballard School on 6-8 August and 13-15 August, offering a daily combination of in-class discovery and exploration, games and hands-on activities.
Learn lots about coding and film-making in a fun and educational environment. ‘Lights, Camera and Code’ will be at Milford on Sea Primary School on 24-26 July and 29 July - 2 August and at Ballard School from 19-23 August.
For budding chefs, Durlston Court Prep School have a Cookery Workshop on 7 August and Ballard School have a Cookery Workshop on Friday 30 August.
Lime Wood hotel has 'Little Nippers' cookery classes on 2, 9 and 16 August.
Discover the Arts in the New Forest area...
Art, Crafts & Literature:
Durlston Court Prep School has an Art Workshop on 18 July for children in years 4-8 (make making your very own Parrot artwork to take home) and a Ceramics Workshop on 5 August for children in years 5-8 (learn how to structure, build and decorate your clay birds).
At St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington, come along to one of the popular 'Buzz Days' with a selection of craft and interactive activities. Wednesday 24 July What is Archeology, Wednesday 31 July The Underwater World, Wednesdays 7,14 and 21 August All At Sea.
Priestlands School are running a Sculpture Workshop on Monday 29 July and an Art Activities Workshop on Tuesday 30 July - both for ages 7+ (younger children welcome with an adult). There is also a Mindful Making Morning on Wednesday 31 July for children aged 9-13.
Learn Pyrography - draw and write with fire with wood turner Graham Turner at Keyhaven Scout Hut on Monday 10 August.
Join the Summer Reading Challenge "Space Chase" 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! Starts Saturday 13 July.
Lymington Library is running free craft events on 24 and 29 July, 20 and 29 August.
Construction Club takes place at Lymington Library every Saturday afternoon 2.30-4pm, every Saturday morning at 10am at Ringwood Library and every Thursday evening from 4.30-6pm at New Milton Library. Parents/carers must supervise their children!
Dance, Drama, Film & Music:
Forest Forge Theatre Company near Ringwood have a holiday theatre workshop from Monday 12 to Friday 16 August. An exciting opportunity to emerse yourself in the world of theatre and performance for a whole week.
New Forest Academy of Dance are holding a summer school for children aged 5-12 from Tuesday 6 to Friday 9 August. Come along for a week full of Musical Theatre, Drama, Singing and Dance!
Ballard School summer camps include Play & Drama Week (YR-Y4) 19-23 August. Dance features also in their summer camps on 22-26 July, 29 July - 2 August and 27-30 August.
In East Boldre, come along to fun summer drama workshops on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 July.
Lymington's Malt Cinema will be showing Toy Story 4 (U) on 27, 30 and 31 July at 11am, on 29 July at 2.30pm and on 29 July at 7.15pm. The Queen’s Corgi (PG) will be showing on 9, 10, 13 and 14 August.
Also at the Malt Cinema - a live performance by the RSC of Measure For Measure (12) on 31 July.
Join a Youth Orchestra Workshop at Durlston Court Prep School on Monday 22, Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 July.
Priestlands School are running a Ukele Jam Workshop on Monday 29 July for children aged 7 and above.
Learn more about the environment and the New Forest...
The New Forest and Hampshire County Show will be taking place on 30 and 31 July and 1 August at New Park in Brockenhurst. Discounted tickets: buy tickets online via before Tuesday 23 July to receive a 15% advance ticket discount. Tickets are valid for any one day of the Show. This year all children (5-15) enter the Show for £1. All proceeds from the sale of child tickets will be donated to the Samantha and Florence Bailey Bursary. Children under the age of 5 can enter for FREE and do not require a ticket. Frequent direct shuttle buses will be running between Brockenhurst Station direct to the heart of the Show (free for advanced ticket holders, otherwise £3 for adult return/£2 for child return).
Visit the Countryside Education Trust's home farm in Beaulieu on Saturday 17 August for their 'Countryside on Show' day. There will plenty to see and do for all ages including: tractor and engine displays, woodcraft, sheep handling, dog agility, crafts, refreshments and games. Free entry.
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 28 July, 18 August, 1 September.
Join the Forest School Summer Workshop at Durlston Court Prep School on Monday 22 July, there will be a whole range of Forest School activities from den building, natural tie-dying and cooking on the fire. For children in years R to 8.
Join Shorefield Holidays and Surfers Against Sewage for 'Mission beach clean' on Tuesday 23 July - meeting at Hordle Cliff Beach West.
It's Wild Wednesday at the New Forest Reptile Centre every Wednesday during the summer holidays, with fun activities for the whole family. Quiz trail and ‘making’ activities for children. Come and see the ‘live’ bird on the nest and the reptiles and amphibians. Wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. Booking is not required.
Wild about ponies? There are ranger-led sessions about ponies at various locations in the New Forest on Thursdays 8, 15, 22 and 29 August. See our Events Calendar for specific details.
New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst is holding Family Discovery Days on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 30 July until end of August. Museum entry is free and craft activities are by donation - there's no need to book, just drop in!
Learn more about the New Forest with the family discovery days at Bolderwood. Self-guided trail, dogs welcome on leads. Activities at the Information Unit. There is also a downloadable app. Whilst you're there, cross over the road and see if any deer can be spotted in the Deer Sanctury. A lovely walk on forest paths.
Discover the New Forest with a free ranger-led walk (3.5 miles) from Bolderwood on Thursdays, 8, 15, 22 and 29 August. Learn about the history and heritage of the Forest and its extraordinary diversity of wildlife. Dogs welcome on leads. Book on the day at Bolderwood Information Unit.
At Lepe Country Park there is a summer holiday trail available every day throughout the holidays and become an Environmental Champion!. Plus Wildplay Wander on 14 August, Marine Wonders on 7 and 8 August, Seashore Safari on 28 August, Nature Detectives on 30 August, Bat Walks on 21 and 22 August and Family Bushcraft on 31 August.
Visit the Fairweather's Wholesale Nursery in Beaulieu on 20 and 21 July to see their display of Agapanthus. See the plants that were judged and awarded and AGM (Award of Garden Merit) by the Royal Horticultural Society. It will include the award winning Agapanthus Fireworks (pictured), which received 3rd place for the Best New Plant at the Chelsea Flower Show and crowned Best in Show for the New Plant Awards at the HTA National Plant Show.
New Forest Activities hold Adventure Days for children aged 8-14 years in Hartford Woods near Beaulieu. The day includes learning bushcraft skills such as foraging and shelter building, plus archery and the ropes course. Click here for Adventure Days during the summer holidays, including Thursday 25 July, Thursdays 8, 15, 22 and 29 August. Can’t make these dates? For 1-3 children get in touch to register your interest in another date. If you already have 4 or more, call now to organise!
Throughout the holidays, hop on a New Forest Tour bus to visit new places around the Forest - there are now 3 routes and plenty of buses every day.
Family Fun Days Out in the New Forest...
Head to Beaulieu for a fun-filled family day out this summer, as a fascinating programme of living history brings Beaulieu to life with the sights and sounds of the past this Summer from 20 July to 1 September. A great opportunity to witness amazing historic traditions with falconry displays.From medieval monks to Victorian butlers... delve into over 800 years of history as you chat to costumed characters, get hands-on with traditional games and see historic motors in action. Plus, don't miss Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years, the fantasmagorical new exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the family-favourite film. All of these living history inspired activities are included in your general admission ticket, which includes The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House and World of Top Gear.
Lymington.com top tip! Save money by buying your tickets for Beaulieu online in advance. You can visit again for free within 6 days (there's so much to do, you'll have great fun twice!)
Come along to Beaulieu's National Motor Museum on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August for the 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.
Just down the road from Beaulieu is Bucklers Hard. Discover the Maritime Museum and Bucklers Hard story, brought to life by living history characters.
On Saturday 27 July, head for Lime Wood near Lyndhurst for the Smoked and Uncut Festival - a fabulously family-friendly festival with Sister Sledge and The Wailers headlining! Come along for a relaxed day of al fresco feasting, day-long drinking and lazing listening to great music!
Pick your own strawberries at Goodall's Farm (plus raspberries, cherries...and more!) Afterwards enjoy a delicious cream tea with homemade cake (and freshly picked strawberries) - they really are the best strawberries in the world. A great activity combined with New Forest Adventure Golf right next door.
Head for The Bell Inn in Bramshaw on Saturday 17 August for a family-friendly Sausage and Cider Festival! Also a great spot to explore more of the New Forest.
In East Boldre, the legendary Beer Festival at The Turfcutters Arms will be taking place from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 August. The Turfs has a fabulous children's play area and based so close to the Forest makes a super place to combine walk with food, drink and fun!
Visit the Summer Spectacular at Woodside Park in Lymington on Sunday 4 August. Enjoy the fun and excitement of a show that has activities for all ages, including live music, food, craft fair and a Classic Car Show with over 280 cars (one of the biggest in the South of England)!
On 10 and 11 August don't miss the Lymington Seafood Festival at Bath Road Park! Following its immense success and popularity in 2017, the Lymington Seafood Festival is gearing up for a weekend of gastronomic delights with over 85 local artisan producers attending this year’s event. There'll be cookery demonstrations, great food and excellent live music, it promises to be an excellent day out.
Also on 10 August is the family friendly Ellingham and Ringwood Agricultural Society annual show, with show jumping classes throughout the day, heavy horse displays, cattle displays, donkey show and heaps of agricultural charm.
The Bournemouth Air Festival provides a great finale to the summer holidays, from Thursday 29 August to Sunday 1 September, and is easy to reach by train from the New Forest.
Rock The Pier 2019 on Saturday 27 July is a family music festival based around Hythe Pier.
Other great things to do locally...Lymington Charter Market is every Saturday 8am to 4pm on Lymington High Street - come and explore the wealth of different stalls! Find out more about Lymington's famous market...
Explore the bargains at the New Forest Car Boot Sale on Sundays and now Wednesdays too. A great way to find some different pre-loved toys and games!
Learn more about Lymington! Lymington Town Tours provide walks with an interesting insight around the local area on Wednesdays and Sundays. For full details of forthcoming tours, look in our Events Calendar.
Discover Lymington's playgrounds! Find out more about where to play from some intrepid experts...
There is a Fun Dog Show in Milford on Sea on Sunday 21 July.
Things for preschoolers during the holidays
School holidays can be soul-destroying for parents whose children have not yet reached school age as many clubs, drop ins and classes only happen in term time. Thankfully the following are on during half term to help you retain some structure and sanity!
Open throughout the summer holidays, little ones will love to visit Furzey Gardens, part of the Minstead Trust, and hunt for the fairy doors!
At Hythe Library there will be Baby Rhyme Time and Toddler Rhyme Time on Monday as usual, plus Friday Story Time. Take a look at the Babies and Toddlers section in our Events Calendar to see what else is on!
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.