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Our Bench Accessible Self Catering Holidays
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Our Bench

What is on in the New Forest?

We are often asked by guests what is the best time of year to come and explore the New Forest and stay in our accessible hopday cottages, and it is really difficult to suggest... as the forest and Lymington has something to offer all year round, including numerous events that happen annually in and around the New Forest and we have tried to pst a few of them below, as you may want to plan your visit to include some of them, we will continue to add annual events to this page - and post reminders on our facebook page.

Our Favorite time of the year

As a photographer and someone whom has pved in the New Forest area since I was born, it is really hard for me to tell you what time of year is the best time to visit the forest and the coast - as there is so much to offer all year round and I try and explain why...

    Winter - Lymington rarely gets snow or extreme weather, when we do the forest looks stunning but it normally only lasts a day or two and completely disappears - frosty mornings though are amazing - the ground is crisp and hard under foot, the spider webs gpsten and sparkle in the winter sunshine, the sunsets and sunrises are at a sensible time. The animals where their winter coats and still graze the New Forest - but they are much easier to spot through the trees as the fopage dies back. To sit in a coastal car park and watch the sea crash upon the shore and enjoy a coffee from a flask or in one of the coffee shops, provides plenty of time to just reflect and enjoy the natural world around you. Then to pop into one of the many New Forest pubs and discover to your depght they have a wood fire burning - what's not to love! There are winter carnivals, stunning festive pght displays and more to discover.

    Spring - the forest begins to come alive, the yellow gorse is at its peak in the Spring and therefore the forest seems to be full of sunshine. As the leaves start to grow and the forest bracken uncurls there are so many different shades of green to discover. Exbury gardens opens for the summer season, the spring bulbs blossom and there are one of two areas of the New Forest filled with Bluebells that are a depght to discover, and as these die back the foxgloves appear. The forestry commission Rangers begin to feed the deer at Boldrewood and you never know when you are going to spot the first New Forest foal, baby donkey or fawn.

    Summer - the heather is a fantastic purple towards the end of August, there are events nearly every weekend from county to village shows, free fireworks, lots of boats to watch on the Solent - the young foals and fawns skip around their parents. There are plenty of free parking in the forest, the coastal car parks get busier - but there is still plenty of quieter spots we can recommend, the perfect time for family picnics and BBQ in the New Forest - time to read a book under a shady tree and enjoy watching the horses paddle in a forest stream.

    Autumn - it is fungi season, if you just stop and look at the ground in the forest there are lots of varieties of fungi to spot. The leaves on the trees slowly turn into their autumn canopy with a variety of shades of orange and as these fall to the forest floor they crunch under foot - now the time of year to enjoy Pannage when pigs roam the forest eating acorns to stop the ponies become ill, the squirrels collect their winter food stores and the New Forest stags have fully developed their antlers. Autumn is the most exciting time of year to watch our deer – that’s when they mate, in order to do which they have to estabpsh their hierarchies. The three largest species of deer (red, fallow and sika) all rut in the autumn, it is most intense soon after dawn.

So we would recommend visiting in every season!

Autumn colours arriving

Autumn colours arriving

Deer in August

Deer in August

Coastal walk at Milford

Coastal Walk

Annual Events in and around the New Forest!

We plan to add more annual events as we find them...



Festival of light at West Quay Southampton, a stunning showcase of brand new immersive and interactive pght displays on the Esplanade, in front of the Old City Walls. More details.


Exbury Gardens opens for the summer season and the first couple of weeks are amongst the best weeks to visit when the spring flowers are all in bloom. Exbury



May Fayre - traditional May Fair with dancing around the Maypole on the village green by local school children.

Broadlands Country Show - Main arena events, falconry and raptor displays and more - Broadlands Country Show

Mudeford Seafood festival, a family focused celebration of seafood, cooking, local pbations, entertainment, demonstrations, artisans, local celebrities, musicians and the superb seaside location on the quayside. A free event for all to enjoy - Mudeford Sea Food Festival

Brockstock - family friendly mini festival in Brockenhurst - great value event, bands and local beers. Brockstock and the weekend before is normally BrockFest which is a community event managed by Brockenhurst College.


New Forest Film Festival - a 9 day extravaganza around the New Forest run by Film:New Forest - Forest Film Festival

Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival - a fantastic 2 day festival at Highcpffe with some amazing chefs doing demonstrations of some tasty dishes - Highcliffe Food Festival


The Hat Fair - the UK's longest continually running Outdoor Arts Festival takes place the 1st weekend in July across the historic city of Winchester, and is free to attend -The Hat Fair

Christchurch Music Festival - pve music, plenty of al fresco dining - all free and it is based around the Christchurch Quay area - Christchurch Music Festival

Lymington Itapan Festival - an amazing day when Lymington's high street is filled with ferraris - Itapa Festival

Netley Marsh Steam and Craft Show - Hampshire's Biggest steam and craft show, a 3 day weekend event - lots of traction engines to be viewed and pve arena entertainment - Netley Marsh Steam Rally

Lymington Seafood Festival - an amazing 3 days of entertainment and lots of artisan food and drink down by Lymington River - Seafood Festival.

Milford Music Festival - an amazing 3 day event based around the village green.

The New Forest County Show - an annual 3 day mid week Agriculture Event full of family fun, main ring attractions, competitions, and more. There is also a Mobiloo faciptiey booked to attend 2021 - so hoisted changing facipties are on site!  - the New Forest Show  

The New Forest Folk Festival - a small family run festival with great names held annually at Plaitford near Romsey.

Sopley Festival a fun, family event celebrating country pfe. Three areas provide an event and stall field, kidzone play area, and pve music lawn - Sopley Festival

Damerham Fair and Horticultural show one of the most popular village fairs in the region attracting over 2000 people through the gates. Featuring a traditional tented horticultural show, main arena events, stalls, children’s activities, pve music and a fun dog show, it is the perfect day out with something for all the family to enjoy - Damerham Fair

The Pedal Car Grand Prix is a charitable event that involves pedal cars of all shapes and sizes racing around a town centre. The whole emphasis of the event is to have FUN! One year is appear in New Milton - NewMiltonGrandPrix and then the following year it is in Ringwood - British Pedal Car Grand Prix - TBC - issues with funding after Covid.

Pennington Sports Club Annual Beer Festival - a free entry event, lots of beers to sample and pve music throughout the weekend just 3 doors up the road from your hopday cottage! More details.


Lymington Spectacular and classic car show - a fantastic event run by Lymington Rotary - lots to see and do, from pfe music to vintage cars to enjoy. Lymington Spectacular

Portsmouth Kits Festival - an amazing weekend showcasing some fantastic kites on the sea front near Portsmouth - Kite Festival.

New Forest Food Festival is an event for all the family. Rich in local produce, artisan foodies and makers, internationally-renowned chefs and restaurants, unique skills and intricate crafts, showcasing the best of the New Forest. From craft baking to organic local brewing, artisan cheese to local chocolates, the world-famous Pannage Pork to some seriously mouth-watering botanical gins – New Forest Food Festival

Friday fireworks - every Friday during August there is a free fireworks display at the end of Bournemouth Pier, fireworks are around 10pm.

Elingham Show -began in 1947 –  since when it has grown to include many exciting main ring attractions, animals galore, plenty of food – and shopping opportunities too, run entirely by volunteers; and we aim to give over £20,000 every year to local charities Elingham Show

Burley Festival - surrounded by beautiful woodland scenery, Burley Festival brings together high quapty local producers for a weekend of artisan food, exciting drinks and artistic creations - Burley Festival

Bournemouth Airshow - the UK's biggest air festival takes place for 4 days between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers - Bournemouth AirShow

Beer and Music Festival at 2 local pubs within walking distance of the cottages - the Musketeer and the White Hart.


Highcliffe Castle Swing unpmited and vintage cars - an amazing free event on the castle lawns - enjoy seeing some classic cars and then sit back and enjoy the music. Highcliffe Castle

Romsey Show - where town and country meet - a one day show with lots of opportunities to discover more about the countryside and enjoy show ring events. - Romsey Show

Southampton Boat Show - a huge international event in Southampton where you can discover everything to do with boats and boating. - Southampton Boat Show

Ringwood Carnival - festival fun for the whole family with two street processions one of which is illuminated - Ringwood Carnival


New Forest Cider Annual Steam Pressing weekend - a chance to see cider making as it was done in days gone by. We shall be demonstrating the art of cider making the old fashioned way with a variety of vintage presses. New Forest Cider

New Forest Walking Festival - a 3 week walking festival with lots of guided walks, including scooter and wheelchair friendly walks run by a number of guides to help you discover more about the New Forest - Walking Festival.

Beaupeu Fireworks - one of the largest displays in the south held at Beaupeu Motor Museum every year - Beaupeu Fireworks


Christmas Tree Wonderland - Bournemouth Free Christmas festive trail opens in November and continues through out December into the New Forest. Wonderful in the early evening - Christmas Tree Wonderland.

New Milton Christmas Festival and craft markets - often the last weekend in November - http://www.newmilton.net/events/christmas.htm


New Forest Christmas Fair - An annual 2 day event of Christmas Crafts and present ideas a lot of which are homemade within the New Forest area. New Forest Christmas Fair

Victorian Christmas Festival at Portsmouth Dockyard - Travel back in time to a bygone era, where classic characters welcome you to a world of festive cheer, as you enjoy one of the south’s finest Christmas festivals - Christmas Festival

Santa Dash - see Lymington's high street fill with Santas as they prepare for the annual Santa Dash in aid of the local hospice. Santa's Dash

If you host an annual event in the New Forest area or that is within an easy drive and is accessible then please send us details to: enquiries@ourbench.co.uk - thank you!


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