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Gloucester Comic-Con has moved to a new venue

Posted on 19th July 2017

The venue for Gloucester Comic-Con has changed with the event now moving to the Kingsholm Stadium.

Kingsholm Stadium

The event, which is to take place on September 9 and 10, needed to be relocated as it had outgrown its city centre venue.

Moving proceedings from its old venue of the GL1 Leisure Centre to the Kingsholm Stadium will allow the organisers to now show movie cars and other large outdoor exhibits.

Fans have been reassured that the tickets purchased for the old venue will still be valid at Gloucester Comic-Con’s new location.

While the venue may have changed, the date and guests will remain the same, with the event ready to entertain all those in attendance and visiting while on holiday at a Forest of Dean cottage.

Guests at this year’s event include The Honky Tonk Man, professional wrestler Wayne Farris, stand-up comedian Norman Lovett (known for playing Holly in Red Dwarf) and actor James Mackenzie from the children’s series Raven.

Tickets are available from Skiddle.

Image Credit: Nicholas Mytton

The Legacy of the Dymock Poets

Posted on 16th February 2017

This year is the centennial of the death of Edward Thomas, who was killed during the battle of Arras on the 9th April 1917. Prior to his military service, Edward Thomas was part of the Dymock Poets, and though he never resided in the village itself, he held a firm friendship with famous poet Robert Frost. In fact, ‘The Road Not Taken’, Frost’s most famous poem, is based on Thomas’ indecisiveness on their walks together.

Daffodils near Dymock

The village of Dymock sits in The Forest of Dean area of Gloucestershire and rose to fame between 1911 and 1914 when it became the home of the literary group that inherited its name. The group’s members were Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, all of whom lived around or visited the village during that period and contributed to their own quarterly named New Numbers.

It was an advance copy of ‘The Road Not Taken’, a friendly satire of Thomas’ character that led to his enlisting in the military, though Frost had not meant it to have such an effect. After Edward Thomas’ death two years later, the community went their separate ways. The group, while thriving in Dymock and after their parting, found much inspiration in the landscape of the Forest of Dean, as it continued to influence their work.

While staying in a holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean, visiting Dymock and the surrounding areas that these literary giants once walked is a beautiful way to spend a day. Relax and take an afternoon to revel in a countryside that inspired some of the most famous poetry of its time.

“The Sun Used to Shine” by Edward Thomas

The sun used to shine while we two walked

Slowly together, paused and started

Again, and sometimes mused, sometimes talked

As either pleased, and cheerfully parted


Each night. We never disagreed

Which gate to rest on. The to be

And the late past we gave small heed.

We turned from men or poetry


To rumours of the war remote

Only till both stood disinclined

For aught but the yellow flavorous coat

Of an apple wasps had undermined;


Or a sentry of dark betonies,

The stateliest of small flowers on earth,

At the forest verge; or crocuses

Pale purple as if they had their birth


In sunless Hades fields. The war

Came back to mind with the moonrise

Which soldiers in the east afar

Beheld then. Nevertheless, our eyes


Could as well imagine the Crusades

Or Caesar’s battles. Everything

To faintness like those rumours fade—

Like the brook’s water glittering


Under the moonlight—like those walks

Now—like us two that took them, and

The fallen apples, all the talks

And silence—like memory’s sand


When the tide covers it late or soon,

And other men through other flowers

In those fields under the same moon

Go talking and have easy hours.


Image Credit: P J Photography (Shutterstock)

Where to spend New Year’s Eve in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 21st December 2016

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to celebrate the coming of the New Year. The Forest of Dean may be more famous for its wild woodlands than its wild parties, but there are plenty of exciting events to enjoy for the New Year, whether you live in the area or are on a Forest of Dean cottage holiday. So, take a break from the last-minute Christmas shopping and check out these New Year’s Eve events in the Forest of Dean, from parties to plays.

New Year’s Eve parties

Toasting drinks

If you’re looking for a classic New Year’s Eve party with a twist whilst avoiding the rush of the capital city, then Gloucester is the place to be on December the 31st. Various events ranging from pub quizzes to club nights will be occurring across the district, so whatever your style, there’s sure to be a soirée to suit you.

Liquid Gloucester Masquerade Ball

On the evening of the 31st, Liquid-Diva Gloucester will be hosting a full-blown New Year’s Eve party at their Masquerade Ball. If you fancy heading out with a group of friends to dance in 2017, look no further. Expect a champagne bar, performers and dancers, a full club transformation to recreate the theme and professional photographers ready to capture your best moments all night. In Liquid, dance to club anthems of 2016 with laser lighting, Co2 cannons, stilt walkers, pyrotechnics and confetti cannons. In Diva, expect iconic tunes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, plus retro giveaways.

Café Rene

For something a little more traditional, Café Rene is the perfect place to visit on New Year’s Eve. Nestled in the cobbled Southgate Street in Gloucester, this venue offers a spirited setting for the evening, with two floors providing revellers plenty of space to dance all night, or enjoy a casual drink if you prefer. As SoGlos report, past New Year’s Eve themes at Café Rene include musical genres spanning from house beats to indie anthems, so this is set to be a great place to be come midnight!

Eating and drinking


As well as a variety of fantastic local pubs and restaurants spread throughout the Forest of Dean area, several venues are hosting specialist themed nights for the festive season. So, if you’re not a party-goer, yet would still like to indulge in a tipple or a delicious meal, the Forest is a fantastic place to spend your New Year’s Eve.

The Grand Tour Dining Experience at Aunt Martha’s

Possibly the most unique food and drink experience in the Forest of Dean area for New Year’s Eve is to be found at The Grand Tour Dining Experience at Aunt Martha’s. This Victorian-themed venue is set to undergo a transformation on the 31st, transporting guests into three unique time periods like no other in one immersive dining experience. Aunt Martha’s has created three exclusive dining areas – the ‘Oriental Tea Pagoda’, an ancient Egyptian temple and the imperial Indian palace anti-room. Complete with original artefacts and unique dishes, this is set to be an unforgettable experience for the taste buds and the imagination alike!

Family events

Clearwell Caves

Image Credit: Penny Mayes (Wikimedia Commons)

Of course, New Year’s Eve isn’t all about the adults, and so if you’re in search of the perfect family activity, the Forest of Dean is full of opportunities. With acres of fascinating woodlands and plenty of family-friendly attractions, there is something to keep everyone happy here!

Evie’s Aeroplane Christmas Fantasy at Clearwell Caves

Spark the imagination and creativity of the little ones this New Year’s Eve with ‘Evie’s Aeroplane’ at the Clearwell Caves. This delightful fantasy creation is a charming story about a little girl and her toy aeroplane, following their adventures during the Christmas season. Track the displays telling the enchanting story of ‘Evie’s Aeroplane’ created through nine impressive caverns, all designed by children’s book illustrator Heather Holland. The adults can also enjoy an underground Christmas market selling seasonal gifts and decorations and an underground Café as the kids explore.

Whitemead Winter Woodland

Situated at the heart of the ancient Forest of Dean, Whitemead Forest Park is the perfect place to spend a few hours during the day of the 31st, in a classic countryside setting. Between strolling through the enchanting woodlands, take a spin on the synthetic ice rink and visit craft stalls for trinkets and artisan dishes. There are also several adrenaline-pumping activities to sample, such as archery, fencing, body zorbs, snorkelling and much more, plus a children’s indoor play area. To toast in the New Year, a bar is open daily, and if you decide to visit on New Year’s Day, you can even enjoy a delicious Sunday carvery.

Outdoor activities

Ice skating

For many, New Year’s Eve means champagne and Auld Lang Syne, but for others, the best way to welcome in the New Year is by ending 2016 as you mean to go on. If you’re a fan of outdoor activities and trying new things, why not sample these slightly more unusual activities on the 31st?

Ice skating at the Gloucester Docks

Head to the Gloucester Docks on New Year’s Eve to show off your skating skills on the ice rink for the evening. Perfect for anyone ages three or above, ice skating is a fun and festive way to celebrate the New Year. Plus, until the 2nd of January, skaters receive a special reduced price admission to the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester, which has recently been renovated and shares the history of Britain’s canals and rivers with boat trips and more.

Wild bird feeding at Slimbridge Wetland Centre

The perfect pastime for families with young children, or a day out with elderly grandparents, the Slimbridge Wetland Centre is hosting a special wild bird feeding session on the 31st December. Relax in the comfort of the heated observatory and learn from the warden’s commentary as he feeds the thousands of wild birds and hundreds of Bewick’s swans that have flown all the way from arctic Russia to Slimbridge for the winter. You can also take a walk around the reserve, getting up close to rare and exotic birds, mammals and the largest collection of amphibians in the entire county. From canoe safaris and an outdoor water play area to otters and flamingos to see, this is the perfect activity for all.

Mince Pie Special at Dean Forest Railway

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve event that is truly local, the Mince Pie Special at the Dean Forest Railway is for you. Take a relaxing stroll through the surrounding forest to spot deer and wild boar, before enjoying lunch at the railway café. The main event, though, is a trip on the traditional steam engine train, where every passenger will receive a complimentary mince pie.


Tour of Britain to help celebrate cycling in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 02nd September 2016

The Tour of Britain passing through a town brings excitement and entertainment to a location. With this year’s race making its way through the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean, local officials are planning a celebration of cycling.

Bicycle in the Forest Of Dean

There will be food, live entertainment and a creative art trail of bicycles to celebrate the annual event. It will all coincide with Stage Five of the race being held on 8 September. The 127 mile-portion takes riders from Aberdare to Bath. The Gloucestershire route will take an international field of cyclists over the Bigsweir Bridge and past Tintern Abbey and Puzzlewood.

A highlight of the region’s enjoyment of cycling, local leaders have commissioned the creation of a cycling-inspired art trail. Over a dozen bikes will be decorated by members of the local tourism association and will find a home at local tourist destinations.

Maureen McAllister, executive director of Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism, spoke to local media about the bike trail.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome the Tour of Britain to the area,” she said. “We wanted to showcase everything visitors to the area can discover and enjoy.”

“Something about the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean sparks creativity – everyone from Turner to JJ Abrams have drawn inspiration from the stunning landscapes and landmarks,” she continued. “The decorated bike trail captures this and combines it with our love of everything cycling.”

For those looking for an active and fun cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean, the region is the perfect destination for cyclists. There are 44 miles of marked cycling trails in the area.

“As a destination, we are very proud of what we have to offer cyclists,” said Ian Officer, chair of Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism and owner of Pedalabikeway. “From cottages to cafes, the area is bursting with cyclist-friendly attractions and accommodation.”

“The trail is a great way to celebrate this whilst we prepare to cheer on the cyclists of the Tour of Britain,” he said.

Image Credit: shirokazan (flickr.com)

Chepstow Festival captivating summer crowds in Wye Valley

Posted on 30th June 2016

The Chepstow Arts and Community Festival is a month-long celebration of theatre, music and creativity in the town. The event brings together the entire Forest of Dean community, with over 80 events being staged over the course of the festival.

Chepstow Festival

The festival began on June 24th and will come to a spectacular conclusion on July 24th. Many of the festival’s theatrical and musical productions will be staged at Chepstow Castle and held under the protection of an audience rain cover in the case of rain.

The festival draws in some of the country’s best professional theatre companies.

There will be a murder mystery production – the “Murder on the Terrace” – at the castle. There will also be productions of Shakespeare’s classics including Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other great stories will take to the stage, such as Sense and Sensibility and Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World. For the full event programme, please visit the festival website.

With help from Chepstow Town Council, there will also be a number of musical performances held at the town bandstand. Held on each Sunday until the end of the festival, Monmouth Big Band, The Don Fox Scandal, Twysted River and the FB Pocket Orchestra are scheduled to appear at the festival.

If spending time in any of our fantastic holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean, the Chepstow Festival is a great way to enjoy your holiday in the county.

Image Credit: Nic Trott (flickr.com)