The August Bank Holiday is when we Brits traditionally say goodbye to summer. So make every precious minute of this special time count, by spending it in the magical New Forest.

Make this the weekend you tackle one of our five food trails, specially-devised walks to get you out and about, tasting the very best fare of the Forest. Or treat yourselves to Afternoon Tea – there are some award-winning hotels just waiting to serve you.

Enjoy a picnic with a difference AND learn more than you ever imagined about the New Forest itself, when you join the Walking Picnic at Abbots Well. Taking around two hours, the walk sets off from Frogham on Sunday August 27 at 1pm and is accompanied by a guide who’ll help you to spot rare birds, animals and plants, finishing off with a gourmet picnic with hand-baked bread and lots of homemade goodies.

If you’ve little ones to entertain, why not take them on an adventure they’ll never forget – Gruffalo-spotting? Download The Gruffalo Spotter app at home (the data signal isn’t great in the Forest!) and follow the clues along our interactive trail, tracking down signs of the characters from The Gruffalo, on either the Friday, Sunday or Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Or make this the weekend you spend your first night under canvas at one of our Forest campsites (you’ll need to book) or go on your first family bike ride. We have some trails which are perfect for little ones and nervous newbies or, for the seasoned cyclist; the famous New Forest Rattler circuit takes place from Moyles Court School in Ringwood on Bank Holiday Sunday.

The big kid in all of us will find plenty to do at Paulton’s Park, exploring The Lost Kingdom and its dinosaur rides, or take the little ones for their first visit to Peppa Pig World.

Check out the 285 cars on display at Beaulieu National Motor Museum but remember to leave time to visit the Lego Caravan – even the breakfast is made of Lego – and the motorised bathroom suite (yes, really!) courtesy of whacky inventors Edd China and Colin Furze.

There are plenty of family activities at Exbury Gardens on Bank Holiday Sunday, from Bug Hunting to Bush Craft, and for more outdoor fun, why not take the children to Longdown Activity Farm and help feed goats, calves as well as enjoy the indoor and outdoor play areas?

Kick-start your post-summer health kick, maybe with a dip or a paddle in the sea – we’ve got more than 40 miles of beaches to enjoy – or by taking a forest ‘bathe’ – a quiet wander through our tranquil woodlands, listening to the birds, touching the ancient trunks of the trees and practising the best kind of mindfulness.

Or, if you fancy a browse, you’ll be spoiled for choice, with Lymington’s popular street market and Ringwood’s Farmer’s Market both taking place on Bank Holiday Saturday.

Try before you buy something new for lunch or a picnic, or search out a truly local bargain. Whatever you do, make sure you savour it – because there are 17 long weeks until the next Bank Holiday weekend!

 

*For even more great Bank Holiday ideas go to thenewforest.co.uk