From tree top adventures to animal encounters, the Forest of Dean has something for the smallest explorers, leisurely strollers and even furry friends.
Handpicking 13 of the most fantastic places to visit in the Forest of Dean, SoGlos has included something for everyone in this hot list sponsored by Dean Heritage Centre – an incredible attraction in Soudley.
For more information, see deanheritagecentre.com directly.
With acres of beautiful grounds to explore and an impressive selection of interactive exhibits, Dean Heritage Centre is bursting with things to see and do.
Head back in time in the Victorian school room or take a trip down the mine to see what traditional coal mines in the Forest of Dean would have been like.
For younger visitors, there’s a lovely opportunity to explore the magical woodland on The Gruffalo trail too.
The perfect place to start the famous Sculpture Trail, Beechenhurst has a great café for a much-need pit stop as well as an impressive play area for kids. Delve in the magical forest for a beautiful walk anytime of the year.
Visitors can head inside the tropical biome at Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo in Symonds Yat for the fascinating chance to be immersed in the world of these beautiful creatures. Expect to see a variety of butterflies fluttering around and maybe even catch a glimpse of a chrysalis transforming into a butterfly right in front of your eyes.
For fans of food, a visit to Severn & Wye Smokery in Chaxhill is a must. Featuring a seriously tasty array of artisan treats in the deli and gift shop, Severn & Wye also has an onsite restaurant serving exquisite fish and seafood.
Big and little daredevils can test their nerve and take on the heights of the tree top adventure at Go Ape at Mallards Pike. Set amongst a canopy of trees at Mallards Pike Lake, the activity centre also offers a novel Segway experience, which is great for taking in the views and enjoying some family fun.
Another highlight for budding Nigellas in the Forest of Dean is Harts Barn Cookery School, where visitors of all ages can attempt to become culinary geniuses during a hands-on cookery class. There’s dedicated activities just for children, and supper clubs too.
For a free day out, head up to the top of Symonds Yat Rock to soak up the panoramic views of the valley and River Wye below. What’s more, there’s the chance to spot the peregrine falcons who nest nearby, and you can also grab a bite to eat at the café hut too.
Explore some of the UK’s oldest underground mine workings at the fascinating Clearwell Caves. The natural caverns are a spectacular must-see, steeped in history. The caves were also once home to some incredible creatures as well as being mines!
Beer lovers can taste a locally-produced craft ale or two on one of Hillside Brewery’s tours in Longhope. There’s also the chance to conjure up your own concoction under the expert eye of the master brewer. What’s more, get a gang together and take on the thrilling zorb football and archery tag in one of the group activity sessions.
A setting for scores of films including a major Star Wars production, explore the enchanted woodland and twisting tree trunks at Puzzlewood in Coleford. Visitors can look out for tiny beasts while they walk through the whimsical woods and kids can try out the racing track and outdoor playground.
Running through rolling countryside and beautiful woodland, Dean Forest Railway begins in Lydney and includes five stations along the way, finishing up at the Severn Estuary. Make the journey even more memorable with a delicious cream tea when you’re on board.
Definitely not for the fainthearted or even for the kids, Littledean Jail promises to intrigue the darkest of minds. The gruesome and fascinating exhibits covering the Nazis and Holocaust years, the infamous Kray Twins, ‘freaks of nature’ and even a murder victim’s skeleton!
Say ‘ahoy captain’ at Pirate Island with 12 themed holes offering fun for all ages in Newnham. Fully accessible and packed with plenty of shipwreck obstacles to putt around, the attraction is suitable for everyone. Ahargh!
By Sophie Bird
Monday 15 October 2018
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