Cold? Tick. Rainy? Tick. Dark, and foggy? Tick and tick again. We know that winter in the UK can be all these things and, if you’re one of the estimated two million Brits who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, it sometimes may not be the most wonderful time of the year.

So, this winter, why not take the opportunity that the season presents; to dial down, kick back and truly unwind, here in the magical New Forest?

How? Well, you can start by booking a day – or longer! - at one of our world-class spas.

Treat yourself to the Thai-inspired Bangkok Spa Day at Senspa, the super-luxe retreat at Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst. The package lasts from 1pm-6pm and includes a delicious lunch at their Zen Garden restaurant, plus use of the health club and facilities and a 30-minute treatment.

Image - Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa

Cocoon yourself at Lime Wood’s Herb House, where giant windows allow you to appreciate the beauty of the forest, whilst enjoying the excellent facilities, before indulging in one of their signature Bamford experiences. Their calm-inducing Silence Ritual includes a foot treatment, followed by massage with Bamford’s B Silent body oil, a blend of Roman chamomile, cannabis sativa and lavender flower oils.

Nearby Saltus Spa at Balmer Lawn Hotel lets you warm up in style, in their beautiful spa suite. Then it’s time for one of their expert ESPA face or body treatments, guaranteed to melt away stress and tension.

Image - Balmer Lawn Hotel Saltus Spa

Glide through the swimming pool at New Park Manor’s spa, before luxuriating in one of their three thermal rooms. Or sneak into their outdoor hot tub – perfect on a crisp winter’s day. And don’t forget to book one of their sumptuous Elemis treatments to ensure you leave feeling like new.

Other spas to put on your radar include those at Macdonald Elmers Court, near Lymington; and, of course, the ultimate luxury of the Chewton Glen near New Milton, whose facilities and treatments are a truly 5* experience.

Image - Chewton Glen Hotel 

Or why not consider lunch and then some pampering with the marine-inspired VOYA products at The Pig Hotel’s Potting Shed treatment rooms? These cosy, rustic spaces are the perfect place to receive their hot stone and Upper Body Unwind massages.

Another tried and tested way to unwind is by taking exercise outdoors – even on the dullest day, the sun supplies Vitamin D and the natural daylight will raise your spirits.

Image - Walking in the New Forest - Credit: Pete Elliott Photography

We have more than 140 miles of car-free tracks and footpaths - including the coastal Solent Way - where you can enjoy easy-to-follow walking routes, short strolls or long-distance trails through our beautiful woodlands and heaths. Many of these are accessible to cyclists, so bring your bike or hire one from one of the New Forest’s excellent bike hire companies, and tour the forest on two wheels.

Image - Winter Cycling

Either way, no walk or ride is complete without at least one stop for food, maybe at one of our welcoming pubs and inns, most of which will have a roaring log fire to warm your spirits.

If you want to linger longer, why not book a cheeky mid-week mini-break? You’ll find loads of ideas about great places to stay with last minute availability on our website; from cosy B&Bs, to self-catering and glamping, and our most beautiful hotels.

Image - Winter Self Catering - Credit: New Forest Escapes

Brighten your day by spending a chilly afternoon by the hotel fire with your favourite novel – or book an Afternoon Tea. Where? That’s easy, you can check out some of the best Afternoon Teas available on our website.

Look out for the mighty Montagu Arms Hotel’s award-winning offering, or tuck in at The Old Station Tearooms near Burley.