Miles of trails perfect for walking and cycling, ponds and meadows strewn with the area’s unique wildlife, a village literally named after the L word… the New Forest is the perfect place for creating romantic memories.
The region’s beauty makes for the perfect backdrop for cosy getaways, dates or proposals, which is why we’ve compiled a guide to the New Forest’s loveliest locations, perfect for spending time with your better half:
Go on a bike ride
We start with a classic date idea; a bike ride. The New Forest is the perfect place to enjoy a scenic bike ride, with gorgeous trails showing off the beauty of the area and, if you’re lucky, the unique wildlife of the region. Burley is the perfect place to start for this, with cycle hire shops including Forest Leisure Cycling. It’s right by the huge network of National Park trails – and they even have tandem bikes to hire!
Whether you’re an active couple seeking a challenge to conquer together, you’re on the search for a leisurely pedal among the towering trees of the Forest, or you’re partial to a stop off at a pub (or seven) en route, not only does Forest Leisure Cycling boast a variety of sizes and style of bike, they also have mapped-out routes that range in length and difficulty. There’s something for every couple of every ability, and regardless which path you take, you can still cycle happy in a romantic setting of sublime beauty.
Enjoy some Winter Paddling:
The beautiful Beaulieu River shows some of its more stunning views on a cold, winter’s day – and there’s no better way than getting up close and personal with that beauty than by being on the river itself! New Forest Activities offer lots of fun seasonal pursuits, including Winter Paddling where you get to enjoy an intimate canoe or kayak ride along the river.
There’s also a Paddle To The Pub which rather gets us a little thirsty – but you need a minimum of eight people. Quadruple date, anyone?
Spend time at Hatchet Pond:
How better to spend some peaceful time with your loved one that at a beautiful, wildlife-filled pond? Hatchet Pond, on the outskirts of Beaulieu, is a wonderful place to sit and relax watching the grazing donkeys, ponies and roving cows, while the sounds and splashes of water birds fill the air.
There are plenty of lovely walks in the vicinity, and lots of seating for you to take some time out and rest your feet. If you stick to the tracks around the pond, the walk will be just over 1.8 miles – perfect for a relaxing stroll together hand-in-hand! There’s plenty of parking nearby, and in the warmer months an ice cream van parks up too.
Visit the village of Lover:
One of the most romantic villages in the UK – and for obvious reason! The Lover Post Office used to do plenty of business around Valentine's Day, due to the cards being postmarked "Lover". Sadly, the Post Office, along with the village shop, pub and primary school, has closed in recent years, but the community spirit remains with a fantastic Pop Up Post Office opening at the beginning of February, and an online Valentine’s Day card shop keeping the tradition alive! If you won’t be visiting around February though, a simple photograph with your loved one by the sign will suffice.
Sit on Bolton’s Bench:
Bolton’s Bench, found on the east side of Lyndhurst, is one of the New Forest's most famous “picture-postcard” landmarks, and a hugely popular spot to visit. There’s a lovely bench there available to sit on but, on a dry day, you can sit and relax under the large yew tree, which sits atop a small hill surrounded by a tapestry of grassy lawns.
Expect to be surrounded by New Forest ponies and donkeys; these elegant animals roam freely around the landscape, providing a unique and memorable backdrop to any date – not to mention a conversation starter! If you pay a visit during the summer months, the sound of cricket being played will flow from over the hill, too.
Admire the Knightwood Oak:
Another tree that is well worth a visit with your beau is the Knightwood Oak which, at 600-years-old and more than seven metres round, is known as the “Queen of the Forest”. The wonderful oak tree can be found along the Ornamental Drive, around two-and-a-half miles west of Lyndhurst, emanating an almost ethereal feel – perfect for a romantic date.
In 2006, the Forestry Commission picked branches from the tree to reproduce identical oak trees both close to the original and at New Park, near Brockenhurst – meaning the Queen may soon have some Princesses around her!
Simply enjoy a walk:
With miles and miles of forested trails around the New Forest, why not head out and enjoy your surroundings? We’ve highlighted some of our favourite walks in another blog – head over there to find out our top tips.
Want to treat your other half to a lovely time in the New Forest? We've just the cottage for you! Take a look at our range of romantic properties.