Make the New Forest your Valentine’s Day escape

Looking forward to Valentine’s Day?

For you and your special someone, the day is a celebration of your love and affection. It should be the perfect time to escape your daily lives to spend some much-needed time together. For those seeking something special this year, a Valentine’s Day cottage escape to the New Forest is the ideal way to spend a romantic adventure together.

With access to dozens of well-marked trails in the New Forest, proximity to the coastal towns of Southampton and Portsmouth, and the never-ending supply of exquisite Hampshire-based spa retreats, the region is truly a couple’s paradise.

Here are our top tips for creating the ultimate cottage holiday this Valentine’s Day:

Breakfast for two

A quiet breakfast for two is the ideal way to start your weekend. An advantage of self-catering holidays is that you and your partner can wake up when you want, and eat what you want. With an amazing day in front of you both, a hearty breakfast, and tea and coffee in the cosy confines of one of our cottages is the way to start your weekend adventure.

From breakfast in bed, to tea and toast on the terrace, the choice is yours. The BBC’s Good Food Guide offers other ideas as well.

- wonderlane

A walk in the woods

The New Forest is one of the country’s most desired locales. The solitude of the forest in the winter will give a fine time to reflect and enjoy while walking hand-in-hand in nature. For all who visit, February in the New Forest is a worthy winter adventure.

A protected woodland area, it was established as a royal forest and hunting ground. It covers 145 square miles, and is a mixture of deciduous and coniferous forest to make it a premier destination for nature lovers. It is also full of wild ponies and other amazing creatures like fish, birds, and frogs.

For more information and a definitive set of walking guides, the New Forest National Park was set up to help visitors.

- davidgsteadman

Pampering for the both of you

With so many places to choose from, a spa treatment in the area is the perfect way to unwind. After a long week of work, or childcare, and life in general, a variety of spa treatments will help you and your partner melt into relaxation. Many spas offer special Valentine’s Day packages to enjoy.

From couples’ massages, to facials, saunas and whirlpool therapies, there are so many options available to visitors. If hunting for the perfect pampering deal, here is a helpful guide to spa days in Hampshire.

- Nick Webb

A romantic meal

After you are both relaxed and sufficiently rested, the only thing you need is a nice meal to cap the day off. A takeaway back at your cottage is always an option, but you may want to get some fresh seafood in Southampton, or visit a quaint village pub in the New Forest.

One top choice is The Black Rat in Winchester. This 18th century pub has been converted into a foodie’s paradise with a cosy country feel, and an amazing menu. Look for traditional favourites with a bit of flair and sophistication. Another fine choice is the The Terrace at The Montagu Arms. Named in the Sunday Times as one of the nation’s best, this restaurant makes its home in an expansive country house on the Beaulieu Estate in the New Forest.

For other suggestions, visit Britain’s Finest guide of Hampshire restaurants.

- Public Domain

Cottage bliss

Of course, the advantage of a cottage escape is that you can enjoy all the great things the local area can offer, but you will also be so close to your home away from home. For a special Valentine’s Day touch, maybe have some lovely flowers delivered to your temporary address. You can sample and bring back some delicious local chocolate from places such as The Beaulieu Chocolate Studio.

When finally ‘home’, you can stoke a nice fire, have the candlelit enjoyment of a bottle of wine or chocolate-covered strawberries – the rest of the evening is up to you. The only thing that matters is spending Valentine’s Day with someone you love, and taking full advantage of all the promise of a romantic cottage holiday for two.

- Steven S.

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