The daffodils are in full bloom. The bees have returned. The call of the cuckoo echoes through the trees and great swathes of wild garlic and bluebells carpet the forest floor. It can only mean one thing. Spring has arrived in the Forest of Dean.
The Forest is waking up from its wintry slumber and preparing for the influx of visitors who come to experience the exquisite landscapes, vistas, woodland and hidden valleys on offer, especially during the Easter holiday. Whether it’s Easter themed events, family activities, craft experiences or peaceful walks through forests and fields, there is something for everyone at this time of year. Come and see us at the Tudor Farmhouse; take advantage of our Forest Awakens offer and spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful corner of the world.
Here are just a few of the diverse range of activities on offer to keep you, your friends and your family entertained over the Easter break.
Over Farm is a working farm and farm shop just outside Gloucester that put on exciting events for the whole family throughout the year, and Easter is no exception. From the 9th -24th April they will be hosting their Easter Extravaganza.
If you have a young family, this is an ideal day out that will keep the kids entertained for the whole day. There’s so much to do. This includes their classic egg hunt, mini-golf, jumping pillows, play area and tractor-trailer rides to name but a few. As it is a farm, there is also a range of farm animals for you to enjoy. Tickets are priced at £16.50 for adults and £13 for children but there is a discount if you book online. Ticket entry includes a go on each of the attractions, a schedule of activities, and a chocolate egg to take home. Egg-citing or what? (sorry – I couldn’t resist)
The Dean Heritage Centre, located just outside the picturesque village of Soudley, about 15 minutes from the hotel, is the ideal place to explore the art, culture, history, and traditions of the Forest of Dean. It has a range of activities on offer all year round, and Easter is no exception.
For the kids, there is the popular Gruffalo Trail which takes you meandering through ancient woodland, and an outdoor Easter egg trail. If that’s not enough, during the two weeks Easter holiday (8th – 19th April), they are offering a range of spring-themed craft activities. There’s something for everyone: you can make bird feeders and seed bombs, learn about animal homes or even craft your own Easter crown.
It’s a great day out for all the family. If you don’t fancy any of the activities, there are some lovely walks through the woods, the museum to explore as well as the miner’s cottage and the Victorian schoolroom. There is also a café on-site offering a range of meals and refreshments. Entry is £8 for adults, £6 for children or £25.50 for a family ticket.
Beechenhurst is the perfect base to get outdoors and explore the Forest as it comes to life. Centred around a large visitor centre in a large clearing in the middle of the forest, it has a Go-Ape, a climbing wall, a great playground, a lovely café and an abundance of picnic and barbeque spots. From Beechenhurst you can access one of the many walks through the beautiful woodland, including the famous Sculpture Trail and you can pick up the Family Cycling Trail from here as well.
Over the Easter holidays, families can enjoy the Superworm Trail (we do love Julia Donaldson). Trail activity packs are available to purchase from the café or ranger hatch and they cost £3.50. This includes a Kraft bag to colour in, a Forest superhero mask, 7 creature fact cards, an activity sheet, stickers, pencil and crayon and a trail leaflet.
The trail itself is a gentle 2kn walk through the woods where the children can spot the different characters from the book, as well as look for mini-beasts on the way. It’s the perfect way to get the kids out and about, exploring the woods and all the nature that is on offer.
If cars and vintage vehicles are more your thing, then you should definitely visit the Coleford Carnival of Transport. Based in Coleford town centre, only 5 minutes from the hotel, the Carnival of Transport has been running since 1998. Every Easter Monday, the town is closed off and there are hundreds of vintage and classic cars and vehicles on display for you to enjoy.
Free to enter, there is something for all the family as Coleford town centre is awash with classic cars, vintage cars, custom and street rods, military vehicles, commercial vehicles and motorcycles on display. There are normally in excess of 500 vehicles to see. There is also an auto-jumble where you may find that part you’ve been looking for, entertainment throughout the day, rides for the children as well an art exhibition a craft show and a model railway exhibition. To keep up your energy levels after all that, there are plenty of food and drink outlets offering a range of street food and meals. Even if you are not that interested in cars, it is worth checking out as Coleford comes alive and there is always a real carnival atmosphere.
Just a mile up the road from the hotel is Clearwell Caves. Less of a natural cave system and more of a chronicle of thousands of years of mining on the site, Clearwell caves offers a fascinating insight into a bygone era, steeped in history and tradition.
As you leave the natural light behind and plunge into the dark depths of the caves, you can marvel at the eerie rock formations and evidence of iron mining. During the Easter break, from the 8th – 24th April Clearwell will be running a post the egg competition. As you explore each unique chamber, you just need to spot all of the eggs to be entered into a prize draw. It will keep the children entertained while you explore the Frozen Waterfall Churn and the Skeleton Pool.
It’s a unique day out for all the family. Adults get in for £9.50, it is £7.50 for children or you can buy a family ticket from £32.
Taurus Crafts is a vibrant visitor centre that houses a range of craft stalls, workshops and little cottage shops set on the lovely Lydney Park Estate.
On Sunday 17th April, from 10am – 4pm they will be hosting an Antique and Vintage Fair. Free to enter, you can browse the 25 stalls to see if you can pick up a few rare gems. There will be traders selling everything vintage: vinyl records, glassware, fossils and minerals, historical local books and prints and French Vintage.
Take your time and soak up the vintage atmosphere, enjoy the vintage entertainment provided by the ‘Chepstow Big Band’ and ‘Blitz Time Sally’, watch an old film in the pop-up cinema or just relax with a coffee and a slice of cake from one of the onsite cafes.
The Forest of Dean has so much on offer this Easter. There really is something for everyone. And what better time to enjoy a visit than when Spring is in full swing and the forests and valleys are bursting with life. If you still want more, you could try one of the hidden walks available or just enjoy lunch in the restaurant at the hotel and enjoy the views across our peaceful little valley.