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A festive family winter walk at Hampshire’s country parks

The festive fun is well underway at Hampshire County Council’s Royal Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Lepe country parks, where families can follow a new socially distanced Elfventure Christmas Trail and use the clues to help elves Oak and Thistle find the lost Christmas gifts in time for Santa's delivery run on Christmas Eve.

County Council Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “As Hampshire’s children count down the remaining sleeps till Christmas, we know that many families are having to celebrate this year in different ways due to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing restrictions to help prevent further spread of the virus. Our Elfventure Christmas Trail has been specially designed with COVID-secure measures and maximum festive fun in mind, and we hope it offers families an enjoyable and memorable time out.”

The Elfventure Christmas Trail is suitable for children aged two and above and taking place daily, running until 23 December at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and until Christmas Eve at Lepe and Royal Victoria.

Tickets cost £5 per child and must be pre-booked online to support social distancing measures.

Children will receive a Elfventure Trail Pack filled with a trail booklet, stickers, pencils and plenty of fun activities to enjoy along the way, as they use the trail clues to help Oak and Thistle find the missing Christmas gifts hidden between the trees.

The County Council’s Royal Victoria Country Park in Southampton, Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield and Lepe Country Park in the New Forest are among the best in the world, having each been awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag for 2020. These parks offer something for the whole family with activities ranging from cycling and dog-friendly walks to adventure play areas, and are all equipped with cafés where visitors can either be seated or order food and refreshments. The cafés at Lepe and Queen Elizabeth currently offer seated dining and takeaways; Royal Victoria Country Park’s café currently offers takeaways only.

Councillor Heron continued: “We know that time spent outdoors in our natural environment boosts our mood and overall health, as well as being a great way to enjoy time with our families and loved ones. I encourage everyone to spend time in Hampshire’s stunning countryside safely and responsibly, following the Countryside Code by leaving no trace of your visit and taking all your litter home, and consulting the Government website before you visit to understand the COVID-19 restrictions that apply.”

For further details about the Elfventure Christmas Trail and to book tickets, visit where you can also watch a video to find out more about Oak and Thistle’s story.

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