The kids have gone back to school, the crowds have all gone home – which means that now is the perfect time to grab the last of the summer sun, wind down, and book a romantic New Forest break.

Late summer means the best of all worlds – warm, sunny days, perfect for idling away on our 40 miles of coastline, or walking and cycling through our magical heathlands and forest. And cool, dark evenings - perfect for getting dressed up and dining out at some of our amazing hotel restaurants.

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a little ‘twogetherness’, the New Forest can’t be beaten at this time of year. We’re a zip down the M3 and a hop from Bournemouth, Salisbury or Southampton. Or take the train from London Waterloo and 89 minutes later you’ll be here.

And, with so many places to stay in to choose from, you are certain to find something that suits your tastes and your pocket.

Lime Wood near Lyndhurst offers a overnight stay with full English breakfast for two, a romantic dinner a deux in their acclaimed Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant and use of their Herb House Spa from £485 for two.

Their sister hotel at The Pig is nearby and is ideal for those who want to be somewhere there are plenty of places to sit and read, or natter by the fire, or enjoy a cocktail or sample some new gins at their hotel bar. The relaxed, country house feel will set you up for a few days of walking and talking, or exploring somewhere new, perhaps the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, or the late summer beauty of Exbury Gardens.

And talking of pigs…did you know that late summer and early autumn is Pannage season? The porkers are let loose in the forest to Hoover up the acorns at this time of year and make brilliant photographs, as well as being fascinating to watch.

With this in mind the Balmer Lawn Hotel offers a delightfully-named "Pigs In The Forest" break which includes dinner, bed and breakfast in a standard room, a complimentary upgrade, cream tea for two for two upon arrival and a dinner allowance of £30 per person plus 25 per cent off all pre-booked spa treatments. The offer is available until October 20.

For the chance to explore different regions of the forest, book your weekend or midweek break with Bartley Lodge, Beaulieu Hotel, Forest Lodge or Moorhill House hotels. These sister establishments are perfect for walking – some even let you bring your dog – as well as a base for exploring the Forest’s pretty and historic towns. A short break at Moorhill House, near the village of Burley starts at £235. A similar break at Bartley Lodge in Cadnam is £305. The hotel also offers a bespoke walking break, with guides by Fuzzacker, or a cycling break where your bike can be organised for you. It's a great way to round off the summer by taking up a new activity.

For total relaxation, book yourselves into Careys Manor at Brockenhurst and make full use of their SenSpa. With Thai-inspired, world-class treatments you will not only unwind but return feeling ready to tackle the busy autumn and run-up to Christmas. A ‘Fall Into Senspa’ break costs from £159 per person and includes full use of SenSpa  and health club facilities, overnight accommodation, a full English breakfast and a luxurious 60-minute treatment worth £80.

If food is your thing, check out Careys’ sister hotel, The Montagu Arms. Bang in the centre of pretty Beaulieu and close to the historic river – you can even hear the waterbirds from the hotel’s exquisite garden – it’s renowned for the quality of its food and the innovative menu. Well, who wouldn’t want to sample a cider lolly or basil sorbet?

The Montagu’s last-minute deals include luxury overnight accommodation for two, the full English, a complimentary newspaper delivered to your room and full use of the SenSpa facilities, just six miles away.

Still in the Beaulieu area –and overlooking the water, too - The Master Builder’s Hotel at Buckler’s Hard has two restaurants for relaxed or more formal dining. Spend your days out exploring this beautiful spot and your early evening sipping a drink on the terrace, watching the boats go by. They have a host of deals, including one where you can bring your dog and he’ll get free dinners!

If you’re escaping from the kids for a few days, consider Burley Manor – they have a no children policy for overnight stays and their food is based around the best dishes of the Mediterranean, many cooked in their wood-fired oven. How better to prolong your summer than swimming in their outdoor pool and then tucking into a plate of their delicious tapas?

New Park Manor at Brockenhurst, a former Royal Hunting Lodge, welcomes kids – even your newborn baby – and their Midweek Autumn Special deal means you can purchase dinner-inclusive, two, three or four-night breaks from £329. Best news of all? The break includes breakfast and a two-course candlelight dinner each evening for two adults.

If you like the home from home feeling, don’t forget, New Forest Cottages has more than 100 properties, many with short-stay offers, throughout the New Forest and beyond. Which means you can lose yourself in classic cottage or stay in a luxury apartment close to the action or away from it all.

And if you want to rev it all up a bit and you fancy a break bursting with activities and entertainment, plus on-site swimming pools and fitness gyms, try one of our top-rated holiday parks. Some of the accommodation even includes your own hot-tub!

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