11 reasons to love Valentine’s Day in Hampshire
PUBLISHED: 11:36 06 February 2018
This February 14 use your imagination and discover what Hampshire holds for the most romantic Valentine's Day ever
Messing about on the river
There’s nothing like spending some time next to or on the water for romance to blossom. On the picturesque Basingstoke Canal, which runs through the Four Seasons Hotel’s estate, guests have the opportunity to enjoy a memorable experience on a luxurious canal boat. You can hire it all day and the boat offers endless possibilities no matter what the weather, with heating and air-conditioning ensuring a comfortable on-board temperature. This will be just for the two of you, so why not take advantage of a candlelit night cruise? With its log-burning stove and intimate feel, the boat provides a unique setting for an unforgettably romantic evening.
It’s all too easy to just buy a box of Milk Tray for your loved one, but why not go that extra mile and learn the art of a chocolatier at workshops run by Le Salon du Chocolat?
A trek for two
One of the most romantic settings in Hampshire has to be the New Forest. There’s no better place to visit for relaxation and adventure all mixed into one. You’ve seen the movies; when the leading lady and the handsome hero ride off into the sunset. Well you can do exactly the same if you go pony trekking over the forest. Whether you’re a novice or expert rider, a trot along the picturesque bridleways will have you falling in love all over again.
There’s nothing like a spot of adventure to bring you closer together. If skydiving or rock climbing is taking things a bit too far, how about a gentle(ish) Segway tour. Simply nip across the border into Dorset and you can discover your hidden Segway skills at Moors Valley Go Ape. You’ll get all the training required and by the end of the hour exploring the forest trails you’ll both be tuckered out.
In the north of the county you will find Hampshire’s highest point – Pilot Hill. At 286 meters it’s hardly Ben Nevis, but enough to tackle on, what could be, a chilly February weekend. A quick Google search will reveal different routes you can choose across the North Downs. If you don’t fancy making the journey all the way up to the Newbury area, you can also see some fantastic views from Butser Hill. Slightly shorter at 271 meters you can see for miles across the South Downs National Park.
Come fly with me
Imagine what a wonderful surprise it would be to book the both of you on a hot air balloon ride taking in the stunning sites of Hampshire. If you go through Adventure Balloons UK you can choose to see either the north or south of the county. In the south, launch sites include Alton, West Meon and Micheldever. Fly over Winchester Cathedral, follow the River Test and marvel at the county’s rolling hills. In the north, you can be basket bound from Down Grange and War Memorial Park in Basingstoke or at Hartley Wintney. Look down on Tylney Hall, Wellington Country Park and Statfield Saye.
By the light of the moon
On Saturday evenings throughout the spring and autumn the Hawk Conservancy Trust holds its Owls by Moonlight evening when guests can see the owls awake and at their best. These special events get booked up fast. Tickets cost £33.50.
Take to the water
They say that those who play together stay together so why not treat your other half to a day of sailing on the Solent this February 14. The Hamble School of Yachting offers sailing courses for all levels or you can charter a yacht for a bracing trip around the coast without all the hard work. If you’re more comfortable on dry land then how about a windswept walk along the beach at Netley? Fly a kite and keep close for warmth before heading for a delicious winter lunch at one of the area’s dining establishments, such as The Water’s Edge Restaurant.
Experience the New Forest in style, in your own Treehouse at Chewton Glen Hotel. It would be a Valentine’s weekend to remember in the ‘Hideaway’ suite. Marble floors, a wood burner, mood lighting, an amazing separate ‘pod’ accessed by a covered glass walkway and the icing on the cake? A hot tub of your very own to enjoy in among the trees with a glass of something fizzy. There would be no reason to leave the comforts of your romantic haven.
Season of mists
Walk in the footsteps of poet John Keats around Winchester. Perhaps take in the Cathedral first before embracing the charms of Hampshire’s county town. Not much has changed since Keats visited in 1819, the medieval buildings are still “mixed up with trees”, the waters of the Itchen still “most beautifully clear” and the mists rise from the river on the early mornings. Step out and retrace the path the poet took daily through Cathedral Close and the water meadows – the inspiration for his poem.
Say it with flowers
Or rather, Snowdrops. In among the top 10 best places to see the tiny white jewels is Mottisfont near Romsey. Take a stroll hand-in-hand through the estate’s gardens before ducking inside to warm up with a delicious cream tea.