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New things to look forward to in Test Valley, Hampshire, in 2024

The Test is the birthplace of modern-day fly-fishing and famous the world over for its gin-clear waters – that’s why it’s called ‘The Test Valley’.  Enjoy walking and cycling in spectacular countryside; visit historic houses and wonderful gardens, lively market towns and ancient hill forts; discover local arts and crafts and taste delicious local food and drink.  Here are a few attractions and activities to look forward to and enjoy in 2024!

At the Hawk Conservancy Trust, you can start 2024 with a visit to the sparkling Winter Woodland Lights, where their stunning countryside grounds will become even more magical, with beautiful illuminations and a live owl display set in a dazzling, colourful woodland. This year there is a new theme, and you’ll get to explore a brand new self-led trail that will lead you to the woods, where their beautiful owls will take flight for a truly breath-taking new show. Winter Woodland Lights is running from Friday 12 to Sunday 28 January 2024, 6:00pm or 8:00pm (on selected dates). There’s also a new flying display: Masters of the Sky in summer 2024, that includes an incredible display of birds of prey from around the world. You’ll see some of the biggest birds take to the skies soaring overhead in breath-taking flights. And there will be a jaw-dropping finale!

The National Trust property Mottisfont, has several new events taking place in 2024, including an exhibition to coincide with the 80th anniversary of D-Day: Heath Robinson at War (20 Jan to 14 Apr), showing a wide selection of Heath Robinson’s humorous drawings from both World Wars. The exhibition will contain about sixty pieces of original artwork together with books, Christmas cards made for different military units, and letters from the troops and the public thanking him for his morale-raising efforts. In each World War, Heath Robinson demonstrated his ability to counter, by the application of gentle satire and absurdity, both the pompous German propaganda and the fear and depression engendered by the horrors of war. There will be more exhibitions and trails throughout the year, with a family trail over the summer holidays.

Paultons Park will be introducing Splash Lagoon in 2024: a brand-new mini log flume splashing into the Lost Kingdom. The Dinosaur Tour Co are expanding and will soon be offering explorers the chance to take a trip on Splash Lagoon, to spot some of the incredible dinosaurs that live in the Lost Kingdom.

Fishing Breaks is offering a range of fly-fishing experiences. A day on the river with a guide, family days, kids camps, corporate hospitality and more. This year there are two new packages – Women’s Days and Novice’s Days, to ensure that as many people as possible from all backgrounds can enjoy the wonderful experience that is fly fishing.

The Grosvenor Hotel, Stockbridge, is offering a new three-day Country Sports package for residents, in association with Wessex Field and Game and River Guard.  Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxing evening of canapes and dinner before the first day of Game Shooting Experience. This includes shooting drives (pheasant or partridge depending upon season), deer stalking mid-morning drinks and a game related lunch. Day two includes fly-fishing with a River Guard including instruction and guiding, a delicious Grosvenor hamper lunch and a return to the hotel with fish for smoking. Game Butchery on day three provides a Masterclass with skinning practice, primal joint cutting, dicing, mincing, pressing and vacuum packaging of game produce. Group bookings and individuals alike are all welcome.

For more inspiration on places to stay, visit or eat and drink have a browse of the Visit Test Valley website.

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