What’s on in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean this Summer

A guide to the region’s best events, including alfresco cinema, the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ in a stone quarry and a 100% renewably powered festival. 

The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean region is showing that there is no need to venture into the city to experience the arts with a summer packed full of cultural and music events. Head to where the three counties of Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire meet for an eclectic mix of open-air events, family fun days and exciting festivals.

Whether listening to an acclaimed Brass Band perform the last night of the proms in a unique stone quarry venue, enjoying the wonders of Harry Potter under the stars, or rocking out to a local band with a cider in hand, there really is something for everyone for the summer ahead.

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Open-air Events

Proms in the Quarry – 20 July, Nr Coleford, Gloucestershire

On the 20th July within the depths of the largest quarry of its kind in the Forest of Dean, a special one-off concert is taking place. The ‘Last Night of the Proms’ will be performed by Lydbrook Band inside the natural amphitheatre of Barn Hill Quarry. Head to the 10-hectare site for a summer’s evening of classic Proms favourites and new showstoppers. Tickets for ‘Proms in the Quarry’ are on sale now for £10, to book call 01594 860944 or visit www.lydbrookband.co.uk

The Speech House Hotel which is just a 3 minute drive from the quarry is offering a special ‘Concert in the Quarry’ accommodation package for a two night stay over the weekend, including dinner for two in their à la carte restaurant and a picnic to take to the concert. The package is priced at £270 for two people staying in a double room. Find out more at www.thespeechhouse.co.uk

Open Air Opera at Dean Heritage Centre – 04 August, Soudley, Gloucestershire

The beloved Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera, Pirates of Penzance, is being performed in the Forest of Dean this summer to audiences alongside the mill pond at the Dean Heritage Centre on Sunday 4th August at 6pm. The centre which preserves local history is a fitting venue for the opera which was first performed 140 years ago. Tickets available now at £20 for adults or £10 for children, to find out more visit www.deanheritagecentre.com/whats-on/pirates-of-penzance

Al Fresco Cinema at Beechenhurst Lodge – 09 & 10 August, Nr Coleford, Gloucestershire

Open air cinema is heading to the heart of the Forest of Dean this summer. Just part of the events lined up to celebrate the centenary of the Forestry Commission, Beechenhurst Lodge is giving films fans the chance to experience the magic of the cinema amongst the trees and under the stars. Potterheads can swap the Forbidden Forest for the Forest of Dean on Friday 9th August for the screening of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and on Saturday 10th August prepare to be rocked with the Oscar-winning Queen Biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Screenings start at 9pm and tickets are on sale now from £10, to find out more visit www.alfrescofilm.co.uk/event-directory

Bands in the Park – Every Sunday, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

Every Sunday this summer, the Bandstand in the Caroline Symonds Gardens opposite the River Wye will be throwing a free concert for everyone to enjoy. The stand will play host to some of the area’s best brass bands and rain or shine, the show must go on. To check out the line-up and to find out more head to their Facebook page @bandsintheparkross

Summer Festivals

Coleford Music Festival – 13-14 July, Coleford, Gloucestershire

This annual outdoor festival takes over the historic market town of Coleford. On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July, festival goers can enjoy a selection of emerging local artists and national headliners, children’s entertainment and street food. The festival prides itself on being an opportunity for all generations to come together and enjoy themselves. Find out more at colefordmusicfestival.co.uk

The Green Gathering – 01-04 August, Chepstow, Monmouthshire

The Green Gathering is a festival with a difference: the sets are powered by wind and solar energy, the food is strictly vegan and there is a strong emphasis on inspiring festival goers to reduce their environmental impact, an issue which is becoming increasingly relevant. On the outskirts of Chepstow from 1-4 August, the festival will be a place to relax, listen to live music and also learn about alternative technologies and sustainable living. Weekend tickets are priced from £120 adults, £75 for 16-17yrs, £55 for 11-15yrs, £10 for 6-10yrs and free for under 6s. Find out more at www.greengathering.org.uk

Hillside Beer Festival – 09-11 August, Longhope, Gloucestershire

Opening Friday 9 August and running all weekend is the 3rd annual Beer Festival at the award-winning Hillside micro-brewery in Longhope. There is the chance to enjoy a wide range of cask and keg beers to the sounds of local bands. Weekend tickets with camping are £14 and there is free entry for everyone on Sunday where festival goers are encouraged to drink the bar dry while making the most of reduced prices. Find out more at www.hillsidebrewery.com

The Faddle Fair – 25 August, Coleford, Gloucestershire

The Summer Faddle Fair will be taking over a street in Coleford on Saturday 25 August to host an eclectic mix of creative crafters, artists, organic & fair-trade retailers, local food & drink producers as well as live music all day long. Hot Pot Pottery will be showcasing impressive smoke-fired designs as well as easy to make products from their taster sessions. Find out more at www.thefaddlefair.co.uk/

Ross Cider Festival – 30 August-01 September, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

At Broome Farm, on the outskirts of Ross, between Friday 30 August- 1 September is the Ross Cider Festival, an event that families have been enjoying for 18 years. There will be three days of live music, high quality locally produced food and ten quality visiting cidermakers. This year is even more cause for celebration with the Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Company winning the BBC Food & Farming 2019 Award for ‘Best Drinks Producer’. Weekend tickets with four nights of camping are available for £55. Find out more at www.rosscider.com

Family Fun

Live Music and Brand-New Aqua Park – National Diving & Activity Centre – throughout July & August, Chepstow, Monmouthshire

Every weekend this summer, the National Diving & Activity Centre are hosting a series of live music acts on the veranda overlooking the flooded quarry and free for everyone to enjoy. With the music kicking off from mid-afternoon until early evening it will be a great way to finish off a day of family fun at the centre. Activities include the brand-new aqua park that is open all summer, where friends and families can race against each other on a giant inflatable assault course that caters for all with multiple levels. Find out more at www.ndac.co.uk

Gangsta Granny in the Castle – 18 July, Chepstow, Monmouthshire

Head to Chepstow Castle on 18th July, for an open-aired slice of mischief and fun. Heartbreak Productions are putting on a live outdoor performance of David Walliams’ bestselling tale of forbidden fun. Remember to bring a picnic, something to sit on and be prepared for a lot of laughs as Ben and his Gangta Granny go on their grandest adventure yet. Tickets are now available from £14 for adults and £10 for children. Find out more at www.chepstowfestival.co.uk

Story Time & Drawing Workshop with Award Winning Children’s Author– 26 July, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

On Friday 26th July, children will have the chance to meet the award-winning children’s author and illustrator of Bear on a Bike and Disgusting Sandwich, Hannah Shaw. There is also the unique opportunity to watch Hannah draw and even learn a few tips. The event takes place at The Gateway cinema in Labels Shopping Centre, Ross-on-Wye. Tickets cost £6 per child with one free ticket for every ticket bought. Find out more at www.labelsshopping.co.uk/events

Family Bushcraft – 28 July, 10 & 31 August, Symonds Yat, Herefordshire

Learn how to survive and thrive in the wilderness with one of three bushcraft sessions being run by Borderlands this summer. The experience days are a relaxed, but adventurous activity for all the family, learn the basics of shelter building, carving, fire lighting and how to find food in the wild and cook it. Experience days are being run 28 July, 10 August, 31 August and are £70pp. Find out more at www.borderlandsoutdoor.com

Hands on History 20th July to 1st September, Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire

Get set for a truly historic summer and discover what it was like to live, work and fight in a real-life castle. Whether it’s learning to sword fight, taking part in pike drills, or transforming into a roundhead or cavalier, there’s plenty of hands-on fun to keep the kids entertained at Goodrich Castle this summer. And once the little adventurers have put their skills to the test, let imaginations run wild exploring the castle walls and spooky dungeon. Prices from £5 per child and £8.40 per adult. Find out more. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/goodrich-castle-get-hands-on-with-history-20-jul-1-sep-2019/

Giant Cartoon Maize Mazes20th July to 1st September, Elton Giant Mazes and Elton Activities Maze, Gloucestershire

Elton Giant Mazes open on the 20th July offering three maize mazes to explore – Giant, Medium and Small, with cartoon themes this year including Michael Mouse Maze, Leg-go Maze and Minions Labyrinth. It is a cross between a Maze, a Rustic Adventure Playground and a Wild Garden with 2.5 km of paths to explore and challenges, look out towers and activities to encounter on the way.

Located between Westbury-on-Severn and Newnham-on-Severn in Gloucestershire entrance is from £7 adults and £5.50 children – www.eltonmazes.co.uk

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