That period between autumn half term and the Christmas holidays is always a tricky one for families. So start it on a high, by treating your little ones to a Mad Hatters’ Tea Party in The New Forest.
As part of the first New Forest Food and Drink Festival, Beaulieu Hotel invites the young and young-at-heart to tumble down the rabbit hole into Wonderland and the wonderful world of tea with the Mad Hatter on Saturday November 5.
For a magical, make-believe party – in fancy dress if you want – children will be entertained by characters from the famous well-loved children’s story while indulging in an eclectic and colourful selection of cakes and pastries, drink-me potions and all things Alice in Wonderland.
A fantastical feast of sweets includes strawberries and cream, homemade marshmallow mushrooms, a Tick Tock Victoria sponge clock and a trip to Jelly Wonderland.
A former coaching inn, surrounded by the beautiful open heathland and New Forest wildlife, Beaulieu Hotel is child-friendly and easily accessible by train.
The New Forest itself is just 89 minutes from London Waterloo and less than a minute from the end of the M27 motorway.
So why not make a weekend of it with a visit to Peppa Pig World and The Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park, or Beaulieu National Motor Museum, where they have more than 200 historic cars. Or take the little ones to Longdown Activity Farm where they can help feed the kid goats and calves, hold a chick and – weather permitting – enjoy a tractor ride.
With more than 143 miles of track, there are more than enough New Forest places to explore on foot. Start off with the way-marked walks at Bolderwood, Blackwood, Knightwood Oak and Wilverly Plain, or marvel at the giant Redwood trees on Rhinefield’s Ornamental Drive.
For families who prefer two wheels there’s CycleExperience at Brockenhurst or Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley – both offer the chance to get out across the autumnal countryside on a bicycle, from £17 for a standard bike and £25 per day for an electric version. Helmets and a mobile back-up service is provided.
Daredevils should try Go Ape at Moors Valley Country Park, where they can take to the skies on the zip-wire adventure of a lifetime. Or launch into the Forest’s waters by canoeing or kayaking with New Forest Activities, which also offers archery and a Family Rope Course, or book onto the stand-up paddleboard and kayaking trips down the Keyhaven River to Hurst Castle with the New Forest Paddle Sports Company.
All in all, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party offers a great reason to get the family immersed in The New Forest this autumn…
For more information, visit our ‘For The Kids, Our Future Foodies’ theme page.
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