As the festive season rolls in, the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley transform into a winter wonderland, brimming with events that capture the magic of the season. From artistic exhibitions to nostalgic train rides, here are some handpicked events happening this December that you simply can’t miss.
farOpen Christmas at the Picture House Gallery Cinderford: 2nd – 17th December
Begin your December with an artistic flourish at the Picture house Gallery in Cinderford. This farOpen Christmas event is a treasure trove of local art, offering the chance to meet artists and perhaps find that perfect, unique Christmas gift. More details can be found on the farOpen website
Tintern Abbey Lantern Event: 2 Dec 2023 17:45- 20:00
Experience a night of serene beauty at the historic Tintern Abbey, illuminated by lanterns. This event is a perfect blend of history and magic, creating an unforgettable winter evening. With a procession by torchlight from The Anchor Inn into Tintern Abbey, before a night-time carol service with the Wyedean School Choir.
Twilight Trains at Perrygrove: 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd December
Cherish the festive season with the Twilight Trains at Perrygrove Railway. Watch the musical arrival of the steam train, then embark on a journey through illuminations to meet Father Christmas. With hot chocolate and gifts for children, this evenings will be a delightful family experience that will leave your hearts aglow with the spirit of the season.
Stargazing Safari at Tudor Farmhouse Hotel: 9th December 6pm-8pm
Join star storyteller Jim Bell for a unique outdoor experience, exploring the universe through the beautifully dark night skies of the Forest of Dean. From the hilltop vantage point in the grounds of Tudor Farmhouse, you’ll observe stars, constellations and planets, and discover the fascinating science and stories behind them. Book here.
Christmas at Clearwell Caves: Every day apart from Monday and Tuesdays throughout December
Step into a magical Christmas story at Clearwell Caves. Follow Bernard’s adventure with a baby polar bear and meet Father Christmas along the way. This enchanting outing is complete with Christmas stalls, delicious cakes, and an underground café for a heart warming experience.
Father Christmas at the Dean Heritage Centre: 9th, 10th, 17th, 19th December
Celebrate the holiday season with a visit to Father Christmas at the Dean Heritage Centre. This festive event, running on select dates in December, is a delight for the entire family. Not only can you meet Santa in his enchanting grotto, but the centre also hosts a Christmas Bazaar featuring gifts from local crafters and businesses. Enjoy Christmas crafts, a fun elf on the shelf scavenger hunt, festive food at The Heritage Coffee Shop, and yuletide music. It’s a perfect blend of holiday cheer and cultural enrichment
Santa Specials at Dean Forest Railway throughout December
Embark on a festive journey with the Santa Specials at Dean Forest Railway. This delightful event offers families the chance to ride a steam train through the scenic Forest of Dean with Santa onboard. It’s an experience filled with holiday cheer, perfect for creating lasting memories. Be sure to check their website for specific dates and ticket information to plan your magical railway adventure with Santa.
Christmas Markets at Taurus Crafts 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th – 17th December
Step into a festive paradise at the Christmas Markets at Taurus Crafts. Held on select dates in December, these markets are a showcase of arts, crafts, gifts, and seasonal delights. Wander among independent traders offering unique and distinctive products, perfect for your holiday celebrations. Enjoy the festive atmosphere with local choirs and bands, and perhaps select your ideal Christmas tree from a variety of fresh, locally grown options. Complemented by onsite craft and artisan businesses, a gift shop, farm shop, and café, it’s a delightful way to spend a day in the spirit of the season.
Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow Racecourse: 27th December from 10am
Experience the thrill of the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow Racecourse. Join the crowd for this historic racing event, featuring some of the finest long-distance chasers. The event is always a special occasion. The crowd of many patriotic welsh racegoers, a prestigious race and lingering Christmas cheer ensures that it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for things to do, or a family fun day out, straight after Christmas and before New Year!
So from creative workshops, to festive markets, December in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley really is filled with events that cater to all tastes, and what better place to stay and experience these events than the Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, where comfort and warmth await you after a day of winter adventures. Click here to see what’s available and book your stay.