-experiences ranging from falconry fun, off road driving skills to beekeeping and foraging-
With 2019 being heralded as the year that exiled single use plastic, more emphasis than ever is being placed on giving ‘stories and not stuff’ this Christmas. With that in mind, Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism has created a new Christmas Gift Guide featuring plenty of memorable and unique experiences to make the perfect clutter-free gift. Choose from adrenalin-pumping off-road driving adventures or even the challenge of taking to a giant 3G swing suspended over a quarry, or maybe opt for something a little more sedate such as a beekeeping or wild foraging weekend break.
Divided into five sections: Gifts for Foodies, Top Tipples, Arts and Crafts, Action Packed Activities and Experiences and Attractions, the guide has plenty of choice to delight even the trickiest recipient, with a wide choice of e-vouchers that can be purchased online right ‘up to the wire’ for those leaving their shopping a little late.
The region, spanning parts of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire is bursting with independent traders, crafters and activity companies. The guide features the best of these including a new distillery where you can make your own gin, as well as pottery workshops, wildlife safaris, cooking courses, floatation experiences and even cider making.
Treat mum to a relaxing Raku pottery class, surprise dad with a 700 metre zipline ride, or gift the whole family a falconry experience to remember. Check out the highlights below or view the full Christmas Gift Guide here: www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/ChristmasGifts
Here are some highlights from the guide:
Falconry Flying Experiences – Forest Barn Falconry, just outside Littledean in the Forest of Dean is offering a choice of Falconry Flying & Feeding Experience Vouchers from £50. Choose from an introductory handling session to get up close to owls, kestrels and hawks, half day experiences where participants can fly the birds, or more extensive multi-day courses that provide in-depth knowledge and experience for those with a strong passion for falconry.
Gift vouchers are available from £50, which allows two adults to feed and handle birds for one hour. Or for £70pp, you can get a half-day of falconry. To book, visit www.forestbarnholidays.co.uk or call 01594 827311.
Rural Skills and Crafting – Humble by Nature is a working farm on the outskirts of Monmouth with vouchers available for a diverse range of rural skills, craft and cookery experiences – perfect for outdoorsy types, cooks and animal-lovers alike. Choose from forest foraging and wool spinning workshops to cider making and even beekeeping for beginners.
Gift vouchers are available from £5 and can be used towards any of the courses, events or accommodation at the farm. For example, courses start from £50pp for Weaving a Willow Heart or an Introduction to Raku Pottery. To buy and find out more visit www.humblebynature.com or call 01600 714595.
Off Road Driving – Whitecliff 4×4 has vouchers available for a range of thrilling off-road driving experiences suitable for everyone from beginners to professionals at a disused quarry in the Forest of Dean. 14-17 year olds can even join in the fun with a junior driving experience that allows teens to get behind the wheel of a Land Rover and take it for a spin through mud, water and up tricky inclines.
Vouchers start from £130pp for a half-day introductory course and Junior 4×4 sessions are £150pp. To book and find out more visit www.whitecliff4x4.co.uk or call 01594 834666.
Zip Wire, Giant Swing and more… The National Diving & Activity Centre is based within a flooded rock quarry near Chepstow in the Wye Valley and offers special experience vouchers that make the perfect Christmas gift for adrenaline junkies. Choose from a 700m long zipwire, a g-force inducing giant swing that launches participants 75m over the quarry edge or a session on the new aqua park; an inflatable assault course on the lake, which goes as deep as 80 metres.
Gift vouchers are available from £19pp for the zipline and giant swing or £30pp for an aqua park session. Or, book an introduction to scuba with a try dive from £35 per person (1.5 hours). To buy and find out more visit www.ndac.co.uk or call 01291 630046.
Gin Distillery and Tasting – Silver Circle Distillery opened in the Wye Valley in July and handcrafts its own gin using crystal-clear local spring water and botanicals that grow wild in the area to create a fresh, crisp gin full of leafy, forest flavours. It also produces speciality small batch gins (including blackberry liqueur flavour) that make the perfect Christmas present with prosecco or drizzled over dessert. Gins and liqueurs can be ordered from their online shop, with the option to gift wrap for Christmas. Or, purchase a gin distillery experience as a gift giving someone the opportunity of creating their own unique gin.
A 70cl Wye Valley Gin is £36, or £39 if gift wrapped. Gin Experience is £110 for a 2.5 hour session for one or £140 for two. To order and find out more visit silvercircledistillery.com
Dining and themed weekend breaks – Many hotels in the region also have vouchers for a wide range of mini breaks, from boutique Tudor Farmhouse in Clearwell which offers vouchers for wildlife safaris, foraging weekends and soothing forest bathing breaks. Plus the historic Speech House in the heart and The Angel on the doorstep of the Brecon Beacons in Abergavenny both offer gift vouchers redeemable against dining and accommodation.