Culture & History
PLEASE NOTE – DUE TO COVID-19: Many local activities and attractions may be closed or have significantly changed what they offer & times/days/prices. Please check with venues directly before visiting and check out this handy Responsible Visitor Guide and the local Tourist Association also have a useful Business Re-Opening page.
Absorb Our Heritage & Culture
For a bit of culture and history during your stay there are a number of local theatres and cinemas and local heritage and history sites too.
The Savoy Theatre And Cinema – Monmouth
The Savoy is a beautiful old theatre and cinema in Monmouth (just 10 mins drive or an easy journey on the local bus) and has a wide range of plays and comedy, plus great screenings of new films often with good matinee or opening week sessions.
Find them at The Savoy Theatre, Church Street, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, NP25 3BU or phone them on 01600 772467 or visit http://www.monmouth-savoy.co.uk to find out what’s on.
The Blake Theatre – Monmouth
The Blake Theatre plays host to live drama, music, dance, renowned speakers and live broadcasts by the National Theatre and Met Opera in New York.
Find them at The Blake Theatre, Almshouse Street, Monmouth NP25 3XP. Or phone them on 01600 719401, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.theblaketheatre.org to find out what is during your stay.
In addition to the Savoy Theatre and Cinema in Monmouth, there are two cinemas close to us in the Forest of Dean, one in Coleford and one in Cindeford. They are both good value and have a number of different current films showing. The films are always listed in the local papers.
Studio Cinema Coleford – 14 High Street, Coleford, Tel: 01594 833331.
Palace Cinema Cinderford – Belle Vue Rd, Cinderford, Tel: 01594 822555.
The Forest of Dean Male Voice Choir are well worth seeing if they are performing while you are here. Look in The Review (local paper) or visit http://www.forestofdeanmalevoicechoir.co.uk to find out what they are up to during your stay.
Drybrook & District Male Voice Choir are the longest established male voice choir in the Forest of Dean and do quite a few performances per year. Visit http://danddmvc.org.uk/ for more information.
Berry Hill Band
These guys are also worth seeing if they are doing a concert while you are here.
Visit http://www.berryhillband.co.uk/events.php for their events listing to find out what they are up to.
Dean Forest Railway
Step back to the era of steam and travel on the Dean Forest Railway. A great way to see the forest and to get to Lydney and Parkend and other stops in between. It’s a lovely atmosphere as you trundle along. They have Thomas The Tank Engine days and you can dine on the train and they often do a fish and chip evening session which is good fun.
They also do Santa Days and you can get 10% off in some local pubs with a valid ticket. Generally dogs are welcome but not on Santa or Thomas days though.
You can catch the trains from Parkend, Norchard Steam Centre (where there is a café and museum as well), Lydney (and St Mary’s Halt – just outside Lydney) and at Whitecroft Station and as many of these stations are on family friendly cycling routes through the forest it is a great day out to combine the two activities.
There is a bike hire place just next to the station in Parkend or you could start your day at Cannop Cycle Centre and cycle to Parkend to have a trip on the trains before you head back again! Phone 01594 845840 11am-4pm or visit http://www.deanforestrailway.co.uk for information on current events, offers and activities.
Goodrich Castle – Ross-On-Wye
Goodrich Castle is a now ruinous Norman medieval castle situated to the north of the village of Goodrich in Herefordshire, England, controlling a key location between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. Well worth a visit and includes a shop and café.
Approximately 15 minutes drive from The House of Bread. Goodrich is also a nice little village to visit with a good local pubs. Phone 01600 890538 for opening times and prices at Goodrich Castle.
Dean Heritage Centre
Based in Soudley (GL14 2U), the Dean Heritage Centre is about a 15 minute drive from The House of Bread and has a range of activities and exhibits and is well worth a visit.
The centre has something for everyone including history, culture, art and a variety of interesting and unique attractions all in a lovely setting,
There are 5 galleries, a Forrester’s Cottage, a Victorian schoolroom, an adventure playground, indoor and outdoor activity trails, animals and ferret walking, chainsaw wood carving and if you want to take a picnic there are picnic and BBQ sites.
There is also a great little café and it is a great place to start a walk and visit the nearby woodland for a picnic or enjoy one of the nearby woodland walks and trails.
The centre has a visitor information point and helpful, knowledgeable staff.
Gruffalo’s Child Trail!
The Dean Heritage Centre has also recently opened a woodland trail based on the children’s book, The Gruffalo’s Child. The trail includes fun sensory boxes and you can also tuck into the cafe’s Gruffalo menu!
In addition to the usual exhibits the Dean Heritage Centre also has many one off special events, exhibitions and art shows so there’s always something to see.
Visit http://www.deanheritagecentre.com/ to see what is on offer or call 01594 822170.
Tintern And Tintern Abbey
If any village has been shaped by its natural environment, it’s Tintern.
Twelfth century Cistercians recognised the beauty of the Wye Valley then they founded an abbey here in 1131. Only for Henry VIII to destroy it 400 years later, creating one of the most iconic ruins in the whole of Britain. Which, in turn, became a must-see on the Picturesque Wye Tour, made popular by the Rev. William Gilpin’s 1782 book Observations on the River Wye.
But Tintern hasn’t always been a place of refuge and tranquility. It’s river links and natural resources contributed in the 16th-18th centuries to the growth of industry on a scale that’s hard to believe today. Britain’s first brass was produced at Tintern. And the valley filled with wireworks while flat-bottomed barges navigated the river upstream from nearby Brockweir.
A surprising amount of Tintern’s industrial and monastic heritage remains, if you look beyond the beautiful wooded valley setting. A working water wheel is in situ at the Abbey Mill shops complex. An ancient vineyard has been replanted and now produces award-winning wines.
And the former railway station, which brought Victorian visitors to Tintern, is now a popular countryside attraction with a tearoom, shop, woodland walks and a Wye Valley exhibition, telling the complete story of the Wye Tour.
Three rivers, the Trothy, Wye and Monnow, meet at Monmouth. It’s from the latter that the town and county take their name.
History has left many traces. The 13th century Monnow Bridge is the only gated bridge of its type in Britain. And Monmouth Castle, now a regimental museum, was the birthplace of Henry V, the victor of Agincourt.
But today Monmouth is largely a Georgian town. The elegant Shire Hall dates from 1724 and, in 1840, saw the famous Chartist Trial. And just outside the town, on The Kymin, the Round House was built in 1794 as a banqueting house for the town’s menfolk. Not that it was exclusively male; Lady Hamilton visited in 1802 with Lord Nelson. The town’s Nelson Museum celebrates the life and loves of the naval hero, with many personal items and memorabilia.
Another famous son made his mark at the turn of the 20th century, when aviator Charles Rolls of The Hendre achieved the longest single flight in a hot-air balloon and the world’s first non-stop double Channel crossing in an aeroplane.