Because nothing says romance more than wrapping up and taking your beloved to a beautiful place, or discovering a new landscape together.
On and around February 14, why not do just that? Order a gourmet picnic from the award-winning The Forest Foodie, who’ll sort you out with a fully prepped hamper, complete with plates, cutlery and glasses.
Image - The Forest Foodie
Then set off to one of our most romantic spots. Try Bolton’s Bench near Lyndhurst with views across the village. Or throw your tartan blanket down on lonely Calshot Beach, with fine views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. When the tide’s out you can sneak along to Tanners Lane Beach, near Lymington, and set down at the scrap of sand at the bottom – one of the Forest’s best-kept secrets. With over a mile of beach, pine-fringed cliffs, wildflower meadows, woods and historic D-Day remains, Lepe Country Park is the ideal place to enjoy a romantic stroll.
Or why not resolve to hike a trail you’ve only ever read about? The Solent Way is 60 miles long but you can do it in sections, so try the start, at Milford on Sea, or the section from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard.
Image - New Forest Ponies
The National Trust’s Northern Commons are beautiful places for a romantic ramble, as are the woodlands near Minstead, in the forest’s east. If you go at dusk (but take a torch) you can watch the sun go down and then marvel at the heavens above - we have some of the darkest skies in the south of England which means they’re perfect for star-gazing. And, because sundown is so early, you’ll still be in time to enjoy dinner out.
Many of our pathways can also be used by bikes – and what’s more romantic than pedalling along together on a bicycle made for two? We have some top-notch bike hire places, including Cyclexperience, The Woods Cyclery, New Forest Bikes and New Forest Cycling, who can sort you for a tandem – and many other types of bike, too.
Image - New Forest Cycling
If you fancy spending quality time outdoors, you can nail the Cupid-thing by booking you and your partner in for an archery taster session with New Forest Activities or Insight Activities, where tuition and equipment will be provided. Or jump into a canoe for two and enjoy a gentle paddle along the stunning Beaulieu River. The New Forest Paddle Sport Company can also sort you for a paddleboard lesson or trip a deux.
Prefer the Great Indoors? We’ve got plenty of that, from cosy hotels like The Pig at Brockenhurst, which has plenty of roaring fires and deep sofas to sink into, to our wonderful pubs and inns. They’re the perfect place for a pitstop lunch or cup of freshly-brewed coffee. Try The Trusty Servant at Minstead, which has three fires and a hearty menu, or The Waterloo Arms, at Lyndhurst.
Don’t forget, too, that you can book anything from a thatched cottage to a cosy cabin from one of the many holiday home options we have in the New Forest. From the magnificence of the Chewton Glen’s treehouses or the ultimate fairy-tale cottage of Undercastle Cottage to a humble Shepherds Hut, you’ll find plenty of inspo of romantic places to stay on our website.
Image - Undercastle Cottage
Or why not book yourselves a stress-free afternoon or even a stay at one of the New Forest’s amazing spas?
SenSpa, the Thai-inspired, super-luxe retreat attached to the elegant beauty of Careys Manor Hotel, is a top choice, along with the Saltus Spa at the Balmer Lawn Hotel and the Herb House at Lime Wood.
All our spas have their own, individual character and treatments and many offer therapies for two, so make sure you ask when booking.
Image - SenSpa at Careys Manor Hotel
And, finally, for extra Valentine’s Day points, take your loved one to Lover – yes, there really is such a place!
Britain’s most romantic village is just across the New Forest border in Wiltshire. We have to admit, it’s actually pronounced Lowver, but no one will tell if you don’t. And, if you visit the week before Valentine’s Day, a special post office pops up specially to place Lover’s own, beautiful stamp, on letters posted there.
*Find details of all out pubs, inns, spas and great places to get outdoors at thenewforest.co.uk