Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism members gear up to welcome toll-free May half term fun seekers
Looking forward to the shift from spring into early summer, as well as the liberation brought to many by the lifting of the Severn crossing tolls, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is gearing up for a bumper May half term.
Outdoor activities range from an affordable family festival on the River Wye to archery sessions, while crafty indoor activities include children’s cookery classes and creating fairy or dragon wings. Also, proof that family fun doesn’t have to break the bank, there are free craft activities and a weekend camping festival where under 12s are free and the grown-up tickets cost just £12!
Plus, the region has so many accommodation options for those looking to stay longer with plenty of stylish hotels, B&Bs, glamping, camper vans and cottages to rent, still with availability over half term. Prices start from £330 for a family of four for 2 nights glamping on a self-catering basis.
Further details can be found below, with more information on what’s going on in the Wye Valley & Forest of Dean here: http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/whatson
May Half Term Events and Activities
Live on the Wye – Music and Creative Festival Fun – 31 May-1 June
Head to Redbrook, a beautiful village in the Wye Valley for a high-quality community music event set against the stunning backdrop of the Wye Valley and bordering the beautiful Forest of Dean. There’s riverside camping and incredible music – from Brazilian afro beats to rootsy folk and reggae with festival circuit bands from Bristol, Wales and London. Little folk are well looked after here with the return of the popular ‘Imaginarium’ – a dedicated all-weather area and a new quiet area – the Cwtch – for story time and chill out. There’s kid’s yoga and African drumming workshops as well as a bouncy castle and fancy dress.
Details: Tickets are required for the Saturday festival line-up only. The Friday night line-up is free to attend. Friday night camping only – £5; Saturday Adult Ticket – £7; Saturday Ticket + 1 night camping – £12; Saturday Ticket + 2 nights camping – £16. Children under 12 are free. To book visit http://liveonthewye.co.uk.
Harts Barn Cookery School Kids Cookery Courses – 28 & 29 May
Cookery School isn’t just for grown-ups, it’s also a great opportunity for kids to get messy and develop new skills. Over half term, Harts Barn Cookery School is hosting a number of cookery workshops including a Kids Cooking Day, making a two-course lunch and decorating cupcakes on the 29 May. There’s also the Spring Kids Puddings workshop on the afternoon of 28 May where junior gourmets will learn how to create fun seasonal puddings.
Details: The courses take place on 28 and 29 May, 10am-3pm or 1.30pm-4pm and cost £25- £45 per child. Soft drinks and aprons provided. Recipes to take home. For more information visit www.hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk or call 01452 831719.
Family Archery Session with Borderlands Outdoors on Bank Holiday Monday – 27 May
The whole family can combine fresh air with learning a new skill with this fun family archery session. For those looking to unleash their inner Robin Hood there’s a chance to hone bow and arrow skills and receive helpful hints and tips from the qualified archery leader to help get on target.
Details: The Family Archery Session are runs on 27 May and priced from £20pp (suitable for 6+). To book visit www.borderlandsoutdoor.com
Taurus Crafts Nine Days of Half Term Creativity Sessions – 25 May- 2 June
Taurus Crafts, near Lydney, are putting on an exciting non-stop creativity programme for families every day of the half term holiday. Creative drop-in workshops include Slime Making, create your own dragon or fairy wings, Reptile Handling, Chocolate Painting, Magic Show, Crown & Wand Making, Fossil Hunting, Puppet Show, Face Painting and Rain-stick Making. Families can get creative and ‘make together’ with all the materials, tools and experts on hand. Some activities are free, prices otherwise vary from £2-£10 per child.
Details: 25 May-2 June, 10am until 4pm at Taurus Crafts, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15 6BU. Some of the activities are free, most typically cost around £4 per child. For more information visit www.tauruscrafts.co.uk.
Abergavenny Steam, Veteran and Vintage Rally – 26-27 May
This two-day event offers something for the whole family. As well as the mighty giants of steam and vintage cars, lorries and motorcycles, the show has a children’s funfair, a food village, birds of prey, rural crafts and handicrafts and a wealth of stands selling everything from auto jumble to garden plants and a lot of other stuff in-between.
Details: 26-27 May, at Bailey Park, Abergavenny. Adults £7, Secondary School Children and OAPs £4. Younger Children Free. For more information visit http://www.abergavennysteamrally.co.uk
Half Term Family Breaks
Slumber under starry skies at Seven Hills Hideaway
This luxury glamping experience is located in Monmouthshire on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. With ensuite bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, comfortable beds and wood burners, the canvas lodges have all the comforts of home in a field. In a secluded rural location, families can enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside in acres of space with a tree swing and den building area or from the warmth of the hot tub for those really looking to recharge their batteries! A short drive away is the market town of Abergavenny, where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants, or for those looking to get away from it all, there are miles of walking and cycling trails nearby and the river Wye is perfect for canoeing and kayaking.
Details: 3x nights from 31 May based on a family of 6 plus 1 infant staying in a canvas lodge costs from £599. Book via www.sevenhillshideaway.co.uk.
Heritage hotel heaven at The Speech House, near Coleford, Gloucestershire
The Speech House Hotel is a former 17th century hunting lodge set in the heart of the Forest of Dean and has 35 rooms, several with impressive antique four-poster beds. For dining there’s the informal Orangery, or à la carte Verderers, the historic beamed restaurant – the original courthouse for the Forest of Dean.
Built in 1669, the hotel has many original features including fireplaces, paintings and carved oak chairs. Perfectly located bang in the centre of the forest for active families there’s cycling, Go Ape and forest walks on your doorstep plus the hotel is dog friendly and serves a pretty good Afternoon Tea, perfect for refuelling after an active day in the forest.
Details: 2 x night break from 25 May is priced from £272.50 which includes two nights B&B for family of four. Book via https://www.thespeechhouse.co.uk or call 01594 822607.
Forest lodges – Forest Holidays, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Set in the Forest of Dean amongst the trees and meadows are 120 cabins, surrounded by a maze of forest walks, trails and meadow. The cabin accommodation includes Silver Birch, Golden Oak, and amazing Golden Oak Treehouses. At the heart of the location is the Forest Retreat, with a shop, café, and bar. Here you can also meet the Forest Ranger, book activities such as night-time wildlife rambles and hire bikes. There is also a children’s play area.
Details: 3 x nights from 24 May are available from £795 based on a family of 4 in a 2 bedroom Silver Birch Cabin. Book via https://www.forestholidays.co.uk/forest-of-dean/ or call 03330 110 495.
Uniquely restored van accommodation in the Wye Valley – Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans
In a small wildflower meadow within the Wye Valley rests 4 vintage vans that have been carefully restored and lovingly converted into bespoke glamping hideaways, each with its own quirks. Gertie is a Cheltenham Gnu sleeping 4 and a very rare lady indeed, believed to be from the 1930s and one of only two in the country. Incredibly well preserved, she still boasts all her original features including handmade oak furniture and gas lamps. There are well-equipped and maintained communal cooking areas and washrooms. Cooking over the open fire is encouraged at the firepit, although each van does have its own BBQ and small stove. Just a short walk down the farm track is the river Wye, where it is often shallow enough to paddle in or skim stones.
Details: 2x nights from 31 May based on a family of 4 staying in Gertie costs from £330. Book via https://maddogsandvintagevans.co.uk/
Family ‘set jetting’ camper road trip – Wanderlust Campervans
Wanderlust Camper Co has a fleet of three glamping-style vans – Sally, Lula and Amelia – making a road trip round the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean easy to arrange. Custom designed by the thoughtful owners the vans are comfortable with flexible living accommodation. All have high tops (avoiding the fiddly pop-tops) which means guests can stand up and move around freely in their little home-from-home, a real luxury! The small kitchens are well-equipped, and all campers have heating, and mood lighting.
Follow the region’s ‘set-jetting’ trail checking out the many film and TV filming locations such as Puzzlewood and Symonds Yat which is sure to delight the kids with overnighting at a wide choice of camping spots. Pick up is from the pretty village of Dymock, with easy access from Gloucester or Ledbury train stations.
Details: Sally the family friendly camper travels 5 and can accommodate 2 adults and up to 2/3 children and is available for 7xnights from Friday 24 – 31 May for £650 or for a 4x nights half 27-31 at £450, or as a weekend trip 3xnights from 24 May at £415 which includes a printed film and TV locations map and recommended camping spots. Book via https://www.wanderlustcamperco.com
Benhall Farm B&B weekend family escape
On a working dairy and arable farm this Georgian farmhouse B&B provides a wonderful base for a family. Ross on Wye, with its wonderful independent shops, cafes and riverside setting is just a mile away. Wake early for a chance to see the cows being milked or lie in and enjoy owner Carol’s delicious homecooked farm breakfast. And after a busy day exploring the local area come back to a slice of Carol’s homemade cake.
Details: 3x night break from 27 May is available from £504 per family of four for a double and twin room with bed and breakfast. Book via https://benhallfarm.co.uk or call 01989 563900.