Minimooning is a growing trend among newly weds. Just 1.5 hours from London by train, the New Forest is fast becoming a top minimoon destination and with its stunning landscape, range of activities and beautiful couples’ accommodation, it’s easy to see why. Here, we explore what makes the New Forest so special.
Honeymoons are the perfect remedy to the busy and exciting wedding day. They give couples the chance to getaway and recuperate together and enjoy a well deserved break months, if not years, of planning and organisation.
While traditionally a couple was sent off on their honeymoon straight after the reception, and therefore had no chance to chat with their guests until two weeks later, today’s newlyweds are choosing to postpone the longer break, or to substitute it entirely in favour of a shorter minimoon. The New Forest is a world away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and provides the ideal setting for a romantic break.
Let’s face it, you don’t want your run of the mill hotel for your minimoon. A once in a lifetime event, it deserves accommodation that wows, and there’s plenty of that in the New Forest.
If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all, Beaulieu River View is a gorgeously secluded bolthole for two. Stood on stilts above the Beaulieu River, it certainly has the wow factor and minimooners have been visiting for years, drawn by the Wind in the Willows reminiscent surroundings and the open plan living inside.
Grab a kayak from the local hire shop and take a trip down the river, enjoy walks in the local woodland or simply relax on the cabin’s wraparound balcony and watch the world go by.
For something equally special, couples can now stay on the famous Beaulieu Estate, home to Beaulieu Abbey, in the Old Telephone Exchange. Once the main exchange for the village of Buckler’s Hard and the Estate, today the Old Telephone Exchange is a delightfully renovated retreat for two, surrounded by enchanting landscape and local wildlife.
Or venture a little further inland to Jenny Wren’s, a holiday cottage just for two. Located in an authentic forest setting, with ponies, foals, donkeys and cattle making their daily foraging trips along the hedgerows, it’s the ideal escape to help you relax and rewind.
The New Forest is home to an abundance of stunning holiday cottages, offering something for every taste.
A minimoon in the New Forest gives couples the chance enjoy a wide range of activities together. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a novice looking to try something new, there’s something to suit everyone.
Walking is a very popular pastime in the New Forest, thanks to the miles and miles of exquisite landscape, approved walking route and plenty of wildlife to spot en route. What could be more romantic than rambling through the woodland, chatting away and getting a bit of post-wedding cake exercise thrown in too?
Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, horseriding and watersports like kayaking are also popular and there are lots of activity centres offering rental of equipment and organised trips. Take a look at New Forest Activities for their range of days out and shorter trips, including foraging trails and kayaking.
Minimooners will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in the New Forest. From local markets selling fresh produce for you to cook yourself, through to local tea rooms and lots of AA rosette and Michelin star restaurants, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for a romantic meal (or two!).
Self catering in the New Forest is really easy. Stray away from the supermarket and head to one of the food markets in the area. Setley’s Ridge is popular with locals for it’s food and also its wine selection which comes from its own vineyard, or try Tatchbury Manor Farm for homemade jams and a fantastic selection of meats.
Eating out is also a real pleasure and the New Forest is scattered with foodie gems. There are some lovely pubs which are fantastic as a respite for walkers and cyclists, or book a table to enjoy some locally sourced dishes in the warmth of traditional pub settings. The Royal Oak at Fritham comes highly recommended, as does The Oak Inn at Bank.
The Haven restaurant, set in the heart of Lymington Marina, is another excellent choice – more modern in style than the pubs and with views over the waterfront. If you’re for something extra special, try one of the many Michelin and AA rosette awarded restaurants, which can be found on the New Forest’s official visitor website.
The New Forest offers something to suit all tastes and is the perfect choice for minimooners seeking a romantic break, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Gemma Dalton runs New Forest Living, an independent provider of holiday cottages in the New Forest, with her mum Jude and a team of passionate New Foresters. View their range of cottages for couples, or take a look at their blog for more tips and advice to help you plan your trip.