According to Alfred Wainwright and millions of outdoor enthusiasts who repeat his words at any given opportunity, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. Well Alfred clearly didn’t have children in tow or curly hair that turns to frizz in the rain. Much as we love getting out and about whatever the weather, any excursion is only as enjoyable as its most miserable participant. So if you’ve got someone in your group who doesn’t want to get wet, what can you do in the Forest of Dean when it’s raining? Quite a lot actually. Whether you’re visiting as a couple or a family, we’ve brought together a list of adventures you can get up to and still stay dry. Hopefully you’ll find something for everyone.
1. Go underground and visit Clearwell Caves
Clearwell caves is an old Iron Mine with ten caverns, nine of which are open to the public. Visitors can travel underground and explore the caverns that were mined for hundreds of years. The site is of significant local historical interest with many examples of tools, weapons and machinery made using the iron that was mined there . The caves are also home to many species of Bats. In 1998 the caves were designated as an area of special scientific interest because of the growing number of Lesser Horseshoe Bats who hibernate in the caves during the winter. The caves have also provided a backdrop for a number of TV shows including Dr Who.
As well as a general visit, you can also venture deeper, with a semi-deep and deep level caving experience. They also run a number of special events all year round. The caves are just up the road from us in Clearwell and Adult tickets are just under £10. It’s important to note that the Caves are real mine workings and may not be suitable for some people with walking difficulties. See the website for further information. Dogs are welcome above ground but not in the caves.
2. Get creative with a Flower Arranging experience
Ever wanted to try your hand at flower arranging? Flower arranging is often one of those things that we feel should be a lot easier than it is. Wye Valley Flowers supplies the Tudor Farmhouse Hotel with unique and quirky flower arrangements using vintage and natural flowers locally grown on their flower farm in St Briavels.
Workshops run throughout the year at the flower farm, as well as here at the hotel for our popular Christmas Wreath & Garland workshops that run through November and December.
3. Perrygrove Railway Adventure
Perrygrove Railway Adventure is perfect to keep the children entertained. Not only can you enjoy multiple train rides but there are also extensive play areas, aimed at children under 10. There is one indoor play area, and one of the outdoor play areas is under cover, meaning that the children can run, play and stay dry! They are also a dog friendly attraction. Perrygrove is open every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday all year round and daily in local, (Gloucestershire), school holidays, plus bank holidays. You can enjoy many events throughout the year including Meet the Tractors, Teddy Bears Picnic, Halloween free in October, Christmas at Perrygrove in December.
4. Jewellery Making workshop
Our silversmith in residence is Chris Lewis, a local jewellery artist. Chris runs workshops for visitors and the general public from right here at the hotel. Perfect for a rainy afternoon. Join Chris from Chris Lewis Jewellery Design to make a bespoke silver ring. The workshops usually last around two and a half hours, and are followed by a fresh baked afternoon tea. We get started at 11am and by the time you finish you’ll be more than ready for a cup of tea and a scone (or two). Places on the workshops are from £95 and include all the materials you need and your afternoon tea. For more details, visit our website.
5. Dean Forest Railway
The Dean Forest Railway in Lydney is a heritage railway run by volunteers. The train runs through beautiful scenery taking you right through the heart of our stunning woodland. There are 5 stations along the line each offering different walks and a short walk to many local pubs. Keep an eye out for special themed events throughout the year like visits from Thomas the Tank engine, Bygone Branchline days and Santa Specials at Christmas. All the profits from the station, cafe and gift shop are reinvested into restoring heritage rail travel.
The Dean Forest Railway has a station in Lydney and the cost for an adult ticket is £7. All the stations and steam trains are fully wheelchair accessible. Contact the operator before booking to ensure they know you require the space, and also to get information on the carer’s discount. You can even take your four legged friend on the railway if you want to, you just can’t take them in the Cafe or the restaurant cart.
6. Enjoy Floating
Floatation (or ‘floating’) is a type of relaxation therapy. We are lucky to have our very own floatation centre in the Forest of Dean, Float in the Forest.
You float on the surface of warm water saturated with Epsom salt, in a comfortable environment where sound and light are minimised. Imagine relaxing in a giant bathtub that you can sleep in with peace of mind.
Float in the Forest provides a wonderful floatation experience, with the added benefit of emerging into a beautiful natural environment.
7. Go Shopping
The Forest of Dean has a lot of small independent shops. Too many to mention here but these are a few of our personal favourites:
Taurus Crafts is a vibrant visitor centre where you can see a wide range of arts and crafts, juts outside Lydney.
Also located just outside Lydney you will find Living by Velvet Estates for all your home decor needs, and almost next door, Teri Chance Boutique, offer an extensive range of women’s clothing, beautifully fashioned jewellery and stylish accessories.
For local produce and great cheese, head to Coleford and the Forest Deli.
8. Time Machine Museum of Science Fiction
“A visit to this permanent Museum is an absolute must for fans of Television Science Fiction with items from lots of different shows all under one roof” The Forest of Dean has provided an atmospheric backdrop for a wide variety of film and TV productions.
Puzzlewood in particular has been used as the location for big screen movies including Star Wars, The Secret Garden and Harry Potter. With Dr Who filmed in nearby Clearwell Caves, so it’s only right that fans should be able to get up close to lots of actual screen used props and costumes from TV shows like Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Star Wars, Star Trek,Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet in our local Museum.
You will find the museum in Bromyard, Herefordshire and the cost of an adult ticket is £8. Unfortunately the museum is not accessible to wheelchair users at this time.
Hopefully that’s given you plenty of ideas to enjoy a day out in the Forest of Dean whatever the British weather throws at us. There are of course lots more places we could have included in this blog and we’re always happy to provide guests with ideas and recommendations for things to do and see and places to eat. If you’re looking to book a break in the Forest of Dean check our accommodation and keep an eye on our Offers page which you can find here.