Known for its high-calibre crop of food and drink producers, the Forest of Dean is a hotspot for gastronomic experiences – and local hospitality venues are pulling out all the stops this Christmas with festive food and drink experiences for discerning foodies.
From Christmas dinners with all the trimmings to baking in the kitchen with Santa, there's sure to be something for even the fussiest eater in SoGlos's selection of festive food and drink experiences in the Forest of Dean.
Festive afternoon tea at The Speech House Hotel
For a traditional afternoon tea experience with a yummy yuletide twist, The Speech House Hotel is armed with indulgent festive themed sweets and savouries, served in the historic hotel's impressive restaurant or dining rooms. Diners can pour a cup of fine specialty tea or add on a glass of prosecco for that extra special sparkle.
Festive afternoon tea costs £17.50 per person, with the option to cuddle up in one of the cosy Garden Dens.
Christmas cookery classes at Harts Barn Cookery School
Harts Barn Cookery School in Longhope is hosting a sack-full of Christmas cooking classes and activities throughout December 2022.
Little ones can bake and decorate gingerbread men and reindeer alongside Santa, or get crafty and make edible Christmas presents, including snowflake pretzels, honeycomb bites and chocolate jazzies. Not leaving the grown-ups out, there are also sessions on festive breadmaking and Christmas confectionary, as well as bringing Christmas outdoors with a festive-themed 'cooking with fire' class.
Festive treats at Hips Social
Lydney's welcoming community café, Hips Social, is spreading festive joy with its Christmas menu – bringing back its famous Christmas toastie, filled with roasted turkey breast meat, sage and onion stuffing and smoked bacon; along with a veggie version that's stuffed with sage-roasted butternut squash and brie; and homemade, mince pie-flavoured sweet yeasted buns.
Take a frosty walk to its outpost, Hips Harbourside, at Lydney Harbour for more of the same, with a waterside view.
Festive Sunday lunch at Bells Hotel and Country Club
Recently refurbished and all decked out for the festive season, the Bells Hotel and Country Club in Coleford is getting merry with its festive Sunday lunches throughout December 2022. Diners can expect all the tasty components of a traditional roast dinner, with some special seasonal extras.
Opt for a hearty single-course for £15.95 per person, or go all out with three-courses for £23.95 per person.
Festive lunches at Forest Hills Golf Club
Taking bookings for its Christmas lunch menu throughout December 2022, Forest Hills Golf Club is cooking up a festive storm – with dishes including a Santa-approved smoked salmon with herb cream cheese to start; and a main course of traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings, including those all important pigs in blankets.
Diners can choose to upgrade to three-courses for £24.95, with the classic Christmas pudding and Brandy sauce on the dessert menu. Or if two-courses is enough to fill you up, satisfy your sweet-tooth with a complimentary mince pie and a coffee.
Festive quiz nights at The Red Hart Inn
The award-winning Red Hart Inn in the heart of Blaisdon is as traditional as a countryside pub can get. With a cosy log fire, and a selection of locally produces real ales, it's the perfect place to warm up after a bracing family walk in the stunning surrounding woodland.
This holiday season, it's taking group bookings for Christmas parties, where guests can challenge each other to table top games, followed by a Christmas quiz that's sure to get heads scratching. It's also open for lunch on Boxing Day, giving folk the chance to kick back and relax with a hearty pub lunch after the chaos of Christmas Day – tasting all the better after a wintery walk around the Blaisdon woodland.
Christmas specials at Café on the Hill
A vibrant hub in the village of Tutshill, Café on the Hill is going all out for Christmas, with its pig in blanket-topped toastie, festive vegan falafel wrap and gooey cheese melt, served with a side of cranberry sauce for drizzling. Not forgetting a special Christmas cocktail menu, which includes a super-sweet candy cane martini, frozen blackberry margarita and the Snowstorm – Baileys, vodka and vanilla ice cream blended into a dessert-cocktail hybrid.
Book in for Christmas-themed afternoon tea, served with a glass of bubbles or a Baileys on ice, or visit with the kids to party on Christmas Eve, dancing to the resident DJ's tunes from 2pm onwards.