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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.


Welcoming back the Wyedean Rally to the Forest of Dean!

Posted on 02nd November 2016

November will be a big month for motorsports lovers in the Forest of Dean, as the Wyedean Rally returns to the area with exciting new offerings. After many years of being hosted at Chepstow Racecourse, the brand new Wyedean Rally will now be held exclusively in the Forest, with the start and finish line located at the Vantage Point business village in Mitcheldean.

Rally car

The event is set to be a significant one, featuring six specialist stages, 40 miles of the finest gravel roads in the UK, and up to 120 cars taking part. In addition, this year’s rally sees a new date on the calendar. The event will be called the ‘Winner Garage Skoda Wyedean Stages Rally’, taking place on November 12th 

According to the Wyedean Stages Rally website, Winner Garage Skoda are this year’s sponsors for the new event, which forms part of the qualifiers for numerous contests including the Welsh Forest Rally Championships, Welsh Clubmans Forest Rally, the Mixed Surface Rally Championship, the Loose Stage Rally Championship, the Forest Stage Championship and the Gwynne Speed Rally Challenge. The rally offers the opportunity to “scrutineer” on the Friday night, with three stages run twice and eight championships occurring over the course of the rally.

After losing its place in the national rally championships last year, after 32 seasons, the Forest of Dean Motor Club have moved the occasion back to its traditional November date, and retained its status in the Welsh championships. The exciting event has been open to all for competitor applications, and features drivers from locations ranging from the Forest of Dean Motor Club itself to Redditch District Car Club and Hereford Motor Club.

As The Forest Review reports, Paul Loveridge of the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs, has said the event is “attracting a lot of attention”. He explains, “The Forest tracks are in the best condition they have been for years and people are supporting the event”.

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)

Monmouthshire Show set to entertain Forest of Dean

Posted on 12th August 2016

The Monmouthshire Show is ready to welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy the best the Forest of Dean region has to offer. Labelled as the “Biggest One Day Show in Wales” by organisers, it is a chance to enjoy the agricultural heritage around the River Wye.

Horse galloping at Monmouthshire Show

Scheduled to happen on the 25th August, the show is a perfect destination for families enjoying a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean. The event includes farm life events and demonstrations. There will be equipment, livestock competitions, horse jumping competitions and more.

In the main ring, there are some unique and exciting events to keep the crowds entertained. The Stampede Stunt Company will stage a medieval jousting tournament; ponies will race pulling scurry carriages in a fast and exciting event. There will be an appearance by the Monmouthshire Fox Hounds and Inter Hunt Relay.

A highlight of the day will be the Grand Parade. In the Main Ring, all of the prize-winning animals will be brought out for display to those in attendance. The champions from each section will be presented with their trophies and awards.

The grounds for the Monmouthshire Show are right on the banks of the River Wye – located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The event includes horticulture displays, dog shows, and a tremendous locally made craft and shopping marquee. The event will feature a food and drink hall as well.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Monmouthshire Show website.

Image Credit: Keith Moseley (flickr.com)

Thomas the Tank Engine to visit Dean Forest Railway

Posted on 01st August 2016

The Dean Forest Railway will welcome one of the country’s most famous tank engines in August as Thomas and his friends will make an appearance at the Gloucestershire attraction.

Thomas the Tank Engine

On the weekend of 19-21 August, Thomas the Tank Engine will pull into the historic train depot. During the event, visitors will be able to ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with the well-known Fat Controller, as well as experience a whole host of activities at the Thomas-themed “Imagination Station”.

The Day Out with Thomas is sure to be a hit with the little ones. For those enjoying a cottage holiday in the Forest of Dean, a trip to the railway may be the perfect day out.

The tourist attraction offers a 4.5 mile track through the beautiful woodlands of the Forest of Dean. The railway line includes five stations that allow visitors to jump off and enjoy a variety of guided walks, country pubs, as well as access to Lydney Harbour and the Severn Estuary.

You can book tickets for the event at www.dayoutwiththomas.co.uk/deanforest.

The ticket affords you entrance to the event and more. The kids can take Brake Van Rides with Thomas. Take some storytelling train rides on Daisy and The Big Steam Train. There will be re-enactments of famous scenes from Thomas & Friends as well.

Attendees will receive stickers, a certificate, and feature a miniature railway display. For a bit of tradition, there will also be Punch & Judy Shows and on-train entertainers.

Image Credit: Henry Burrows (flickr.com)