In search of idle days and indulgent nights? If you’re someone who craves peace and relaxation, it's likely that a hot tub is top of your list when selecting a holiday home.
The New Forest National Park appeals to those who enjoy outdoor living in a serene setting due to its unique connection with the wildlife and its beautiful landscape - if you want to read about the villages where ponies, donkeys and cattle wander the streets as they please, then enjoy our blog on the quaintest New Forest villages.
Before you journey to this unforgettable part of the UK, you need to pick out the perfect accommodation for you and your guests. Take a look through our top five New Forest cottages with hot tubs below.
Best for: Young families and their pets
Dog-friendly: 3 welcome
In the village of Sway, you can uncover this pretty family-sized retreat that welcomes up to three canine companions. The décor reflects classic New Forest style with stylish furnishings, rustic wooden furniture and exposed brick exuding charm and reminding occupants of the village’s long history.
Speaking of heritage, you could walk to see what is believed to be the tallest non-reinforced concrete structure in the world. If it sounds a little peculiar that’s because it is. Sway Tower is a structure built by an eccentric Yorkshireman after his travels to India. He based it on the follies that he saw out there, they are buildings built primarily for decoration and today Sway Tower is a Grade II listed building.
Back to our family-friendly property. We’ve picked Laurel Bank as it’s got a lovely old table and plenty of seating for a group of four to six to gather around and play board games or cards together. For energetic kids there’s a wonderful lawn with plenty of space for running and playing a game of tag, dogs can run around out here too, and there’s a swing set so little ones can see how high they can get.
For families with tiny tots, you can request a travel cot, highchair, safety gate and child locks. There’s also a BBQ, cosy outdoor family seating and the essential hot tub where mum can relax while dad entertains the kids during your hot tub break.
This luxury property has a whole range of fantastic family-friendly amenities so everyone from the littlest family member up to bigger kids can have a great time.
Best for: Explorers and adventurers
Dog-friendly: 2 welcome
Glimpse the sea when you arrive at your cottage and get a taste of what awaits during your holiday when you stay at this coastal escape in Milford-on-Sea. The surrounding landscape is a mix of countryside and coast with the Keyhaven only a mile’s walk from the village and a 4-mile drive into the port town of Lymington.
You can cycle or hike the area with a coast to discover and plenty of routes throughout the beautiful New Forest National Park. Venture out on one of your days here to the Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes where, although it's recommended you don’t walk on the reserve so as not to disturb the birdlife, there is a network of footpaths you can roam, including a trail that leads past the seawall with views of the marshes. Birders will love the opportunity to spot the Brent geese, dunlin, black-tailed godwit and grey plover that roost here at different times of the year. While exploring you could visit Henry VIII's coastal fort, Hurst Castle, and take in views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.
If you’re itching to get out on the water, the area is excellent for water sports and coastal activities, head out across the sea on a paddleboard, head out on a dive from Lymington (5 miles), get active with windsurfing or kitesurfing, or try surfing with one of the surf schools over in Bournemouth (17 miles).
After all this activity, collapse onto the big corner sofa in this cosy holiday cottage. The hot tub outside will be a well-deserved indulgence after hiking all over the region, and the outdoor furniture and garden lodge provide further opportunities for relaxation.
Best for: Friendship groups to hang out
Dog-friendly: 1 welcome
Hidden in the countryside, close to Dorset’s busiest stretch of coast, you’ll find this beautiful property and its luxurious hot tub. Rockhaven is the perfect place for groups to use as a base while exploring the wider area.
The exciting seaside town of Bournemouth is just 6.5 miles away, while Poole is 11 miles, and they boast a whole range of fun activities for you to try out. Wander the galleries and museums, have fun at the amusement arcades and with a round of crazy golf, rent out a beach hut for those days by the seaside and make a trip to Bournemouth’s aquarium.
When evening comes, head to one of the comedy clubs, theatres, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs or find a venue where you can catch live music. In our opinion, the perfect evening out with friends consists of dining at a stylish Bournemouth restaurant, then walking to the beach to watch the sunset, ending the night at a local gig.
Inside the property itself, there’s a study/playroom with a pool table, desk, and TV with Sky sports and movies package, so plenty of entertainment for your mates to get stuck into. There’s also a Sonos system that can be connected at various places throughout the house and a striking dining area with huge patio doors providing a great area to dine or discuss the days ahead.
A charcoal BBQ can be found outside in the enclosed garden where there’s outdoor furniture offering further space to gather together and chat about the holiday, as well as that fantastic hot tub where we have no doubt that you’ll be found most nights.
Best for: Walkers with dogs in tow
Dog-friendly: 4 welcome
Up to four of your canine companions are welcome in this cosy holiday home, so you don’t have to leave the pack at home. Instead take them with you for long walks across beautiful countryside, past coast and through woodland. The garden outside provides space for the doggos to run around while you relax in the hot tub, while inside, there’s a wood burner so the whole family can curl up around a roaring fire after days exploring the surrounding area.
A whole range of walking routes lead from the unassuming village of Sway, hidden in the south of the New Forest, and out into the surrounding landscape. Walks include everything from a short route around the village, giving you the chance to stop by local shops and take in the pretty houses, to a 9-mile trail you could attempt to conquer that leads up to Brockenhurst, where a range of pubs provide a relaxing end to your travels.
The journey from Sway to Lymington is 5 miles, so not too long for the dogs to be in the car, and once in town you can wander around the centre, pop into one of the dog-friendly pubs and head down to the harbour to watch the yachts come and go.
If you’re looking for more things to do with the pack while in the New Forest, Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu (10 miles) is dog-friendly as are parts of the Beaulieu Motor Museum. There are also a few dog-friendly pubs in the village so you can dine out with the pups each evening and, during your trip, make sure you also visit Sway Tower, a huge concrete structure mentioned earlier in this post that was built by an eccentric traveller.
Best for: A sophisticated retreat
Dog-friendly: 1 welcome
This traditional thatched cottage is bursting with charm and luxury both inside and out. Indulge in relaxing soaks in the hot tub, already a special extra when booking a holiday cottage, and you can also take a couple of laps each morning in the outdoor swimming pool during the summer months, challenge your friends to a round of table tennis, unwind in the summer house or let the kids loose on the trampoline.
The beautiful dining room provides the perfect space for a special dinner (have an anniversary or birthday coming up?) and just take a look at that kitchen – beautiful worktops, light décor and a pretty kitchen island make it a delightful space to cook in while chatting to guests.
The true bonus with this property is that it is so close to Lymington, 3 miles from the centre, yet like most our properties it still maintains that sophisticated, tranquil air of privacy. If you decide to head into town you could explore the museums and galleries, St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery is particularly popular; walk around Spinner’s Garden or Apple Court Garden; walk along the harbour watching the boats float by and, if you have kids, rent inflatables and splash about in the Lymington Open Air Sea Water Baths.
One evening, why not dine at one of the stylish bars or restaurants down by the harbour? There are plenty of delightful eateries you could pick from and, after dinner and drinks, you can return to your holiday cottage to step into the bubbling hot tub for relaxation before bed.
Unwind while immersed in the beauty of the New Forest National Park by booking your own private New Forest holiday cottage, lodge or cabin now.