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The top 7 museums in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 20th March 2015

If you are heading to the Forest of Dean on holiday this year and are someone that likes to find out about a region’s history then there are plenty of museums in the area that will suit your needs.

Here we guide you through what we think are the top seven museums in and around the Forest of Dean.

Dean Forest Railway

The Dean Forest Railway should be on the itinerary of most holidaymaker’s visits anyway, as not only does the steam train take visitors through some of the most beautiful parts of the forest, but the train stations are close to many popular holiday cottages in the area.

Steam Locomotive

Image Credit: Gareth Lovering Photography (flickr.com)

The Dean Forest Railway has its very own museum, which has a number of railway artefacts on show as well as other information about the Forest of Dean.

The museum is located at the railway’s Norchard station and is great for visitors who are looking to find out more about how the railway was built and details about the railway’s history.

Abergavenny Museum

Located in the grounds of an ancient, ruined Norman Castle, the Abergavenny Museum guides visitors through the story behind the historic town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire.

The museum is set in an old hunting lodge that was built by the Marquess of Abergavenny and visitors can not only browse through the museum, but can also enjoy a number of great walks around the castle’s ruins.

Caldicot Castle Country Park

For visitors on holiday in the Forest of Dean a visit to the Caldicot Castle Country Park is a must; although it may not be a traditional museum, the castle explains to visitors what life was like in medieval times.

Visitors can explore the Welsh castle and walk to the top of the castle’s battlements as well as see the famous HMS Foudroyant Cannon.

The Caldicot Castle is surrounded by a 55-acre country park that offers visitors a number of scenic walks.

The castle opens its doors to the public on 1st April and will be open six days a week until 30th September.

Littledean Jail

This historical visitor attraction, which has been dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Forest’ by locals, is not to be missed.

The Littledean Jail museum has a number of really interesting exhibitions such as the ‘Crime Through Time Collection’. This exhibition has a number of rare and historic items within its collection, such as the noose that was used to try and hang John “Babbacombe” Lee or “the man they couldn’t hang”, the skull of the last man in Britain to be hung, as well as the tools and items of infamous serial killers from across the UK.

There are a number of other interesting displays available, such as the Kray Twins, Mafia and Gangsters exhibition, the Freaks of Nature exhibition and the Quadrophenia Collection.

Weston’s Cider

Weston's Cider

Image credit: Bernt Rostad (flickr.com)

The Weston’s Cider Visitor Centre offers families and other visitors a great day out.

There are tours of the cider mill and demonstrations about how cider is produced as well as visitors being offered free samples of Weston’s Cider.

This family-friendly attraction has a children’s playground, a gift shop, and a restaurant and tea room as well.

Chepstow Museum

Another great museum that is close to the Forest of Dean is the Chepstow Museum, which shares the history of this ancient town.

Displays focus on the history of the town’s wine, salmon fishing and shipbuilding trades as well as showcasing photographs of the town from years gone by, and paintings and prints that date back to the 18th and 19th century.

Nature in Art

This is the world’s first museum and gallery that is dedicated to fine, decorative and applied art that has been inspired by nature.

Based in a Georgian mansion, the museum has a collection that reflects the diversity of work that has been produced by artists that were inspired by nature.

The Nature in Art museum’s collection spans 1,500 years and has items from over 60 countries by more than 600 artists. This museum is certainly worth the visit, especially for nature lovers.