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Starbucks will soon be returning to Gloucester

Posted on 04th August 2017

Coffee lovers won’t have to wait for much longer as Starbucks will soon be returning to the land of Gloucester.

Starbucks GloucesterGloucester has been without the American coffee brand ever since the closure of the city centre branch, leaving many visitors to Forest of Dean cottages looking to get their coffee fix elsewhere.

But those longing for their favourite caffeine facilitator won’t have to wait much longer as Starbucks is building a new branch on Eastern Avenue.

There is no official date for the grand opening at this point, but by looking at the building’s progress things shouldn’t be too far off.

According to Gloucestershire Live, a source has said that the chain was intended to be open this summer, but there has since been a delay.

The building is now on track to be finished this month, and then depending on how long fitting takes, the new Starbucks could be open as soon as September.

The new Starbucks will also offer a drive thru service for holidaymakers looking to grab a quick coffee on their way to a family day out in the area.

 

 

 

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

Canapes

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)

Baking in your holiday cottage

Posted on 31st October 2015

With the latest Great British Bake Off finishing earlier this month many of us have been inspired to have a go a baking a few things ourselves.

Whilst many of us may not be as skilled as Nadiyah Hussain, who wowed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood to win this year’s Great British Bake Off, anything cake related makes our mouths water.

Baking on holiday often gets overlooked, but as many of us are too busy to bake during the week due to work commitments or at weekends because the kids need looking after, it is actually the perfect time to test out your baking skills as you have more time on your hands.

So if you are planning on going on cottage holidays in the Forest of Dean this autumn or winter then check out some of the things you could make.

Salted caramel brownies

The BBC Good Food Guide shares the method of making these gorgeous fudgy chocolate brownies that have a slither of salted caramel in the centre of each one.

The guide says that it takes approximately 20 minutes to prepare this light-bite and another 30 minutes to cook as well as several minutes for the brownies to cool.

The recipe from the BBC Good Food Guide says that the ingredients you buy will make roughly 16 large brownies or 32 bite-sized brownies.

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 100g chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  • 100g chocolate, 50% cocoa solids
  • 397g can Carnation caramel
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt, plus a little extra for the top
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 130g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder

Salted Caramel Brownie

Image Credit: allisonmseward12 (Flickr.com)

Party fairy cakes

Another fairly simple treat to make on holiday are fairy cakes, which are ideal for all occasions but especially should your holiday happen to fall on a family member’s birthday.

The Great British Chefs website has a recipe that provides three different frosting flavours; blackcurrant, vanilla cream cheese or maple syrup.

Ingredients

–           Sponge mix

  • 225g of butter, softened
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 225g of self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs

–           Frosting base

  • 190g of butter, softened
  • 500g of icing sugar

–           Blackcurrant frosting

  • 40ml of blackcurrant cordial

–           Vanilla and cream cheese frosting

  • 100g of low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

–           Maple frosting

  • 50ml of maple syrup

–           Decorations

  • 200g of marzipan, at room temperature
  • red food colouring
  • blue food colouring
  • green food colouring
  • yellow food colouring

Almond Cupcake

Image Credit: F_A (flickr.com)

Chocolate chip cookies

Who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie? They are surprisingly quick to make and if you want to bake some treats to take with you on a walk then a chocolate chip cookie is a really great option.

All Recipes shares a typical classic American-style chocolate chip cookie recipe, which according to them are “the best chocolate chip cookies”.

Ingredients

  • 225g (8 oz) butter, softened
  • 200g (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 225g (8 oz) dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dessertspoon vanilla essence
  • 375g (13 oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 dessertspoon hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 350g (12 oz) dark chocolate chips
  • 125g (4¼ oz) chopped walnuts

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image Credit: Dave See (flickr.com)

Nutella chocolate cake

If you love Nutella then you will love a Nutella chocolate cake. Good to Know say the cake is a “delicious, gooey chocolate cake” as well as saying that vanilla ice cream is great to go alongside the cake.

The recipe on the Good to Know website says their recipe will serve up to eight people and takes just 20 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook.

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 100g Nutella
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • Nutella

chocolate cake with nutella frosting

Image Credit: Gail (flickr.com)

Food and drink festival in Forest of Dean attracted hundreds of food lovers

Posted on 11th October 2015

Food lovers descended on the Forest of Dean over the weekend as the popular Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival took place.

Poached Eggs on Toast

Hundreds of locals and people staying in holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean near Coleford flocked to Speech House to attend the weekend-long event and see MasterChef co-presenter Gregg Wallace.

The Forest Showcase Food & Drink Festival had more than 80 local and international food producers in attendance and they were serving a number of hot food dishes to visitors.

Internationally recognised chefs wooed crowds with their cooking demonstrations, a number of talks from chefs and even a “Fruits of the Forest dessert” competition.

A spokesperson for the festival told the Gloucester Citizen, “The Festival showcased the best the area has to offer in food and drink producers with their offerings in the best local, seasonal and speciality food and drink.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get a real taste of the best of the Forest of Dean.”

Image Credit: Katherine Lim (flickr.com)