Aside from creative activities, biking, canoeing, rope courses and much more there are lots of other venues with activities specifically for kids (and adults!). Here are a selection.
Do you like steam train rides? Then visit Perrygrove Steam Railway and Treetop Adventure. A wonderful day out for children, grandchildren (and grown-ups too!) and at Christmas time Father Christmas actually comes down the chimney!!
At Easter there are Easter Egg Hunts and Easter Bunny spotting and at Halloween there is a steam train ride through the Witches Wood spotting pumpkins on the way and everyone is encouraged to dress up!
Perrygrove is about 10 minutes drive from The House of Bread, just the other side of Coleford on the B4228 heading towards Chepstow. Call: 01594 844991 or visit www.perrygrove.co.uk to find out what is happening during your stay.
Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland site, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. The site shows evidence of open cast iron ore mining dating from the Roman period, and possibly earlier. There is an enchanted woodland walk, lots of animals to meet and greet and a children’s play area. Merlin was filmed here too which makes for great Merlin searching. And of course Star Wars has recently been filmed here!
Clearwell Caves is an interesting place to visit, especially when the weather is not so good!
For thousands of years iron ore has been mined at Clearwell Caves. It is possible to still meet a Free Miner here; men whose ancient birthright entitles them to dig for minerals locally.
Clearwell Caves are a working mining museum where you can see impressive caverns with geological and mining displays. Iron ore from the Caves has been used over many centuries to make tools, weapons and machinery. Some forms of the iron ore occurs in powder form, red, yellow, purple and brown ochre; they are highly valued as pigments and still mined at Clearwell Caves. Also visit The Blacksmiths Shop and Café.
Clearwell Caves are just outside Coleford. From Coleford town centre follow the B4228 to St Briavels and Chepstow. After approximately 1 mile, turn right for Clearwell village (immediately after the Lambsquay Hotel). The car and coach park is on the left after a few hundred yards.
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 www.deanforestrailway.co.uk for information on current events, offers and activities.
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.
Every year, Elton Farm grows a giant field of maize to produce three themed GIANT maize mazes.
There is also a trivia quiz, look out towers & hidden objects to find.
The Activities Maze is self-contained with loads of fun activities like The Monkey Ropes and The Log Walk.
This is suitable for the whole family, all ages, and is pushchair friendly. There is a picnic site, snacks and a games area. This is a great place for Birthday Parties and Works parties with a BBQ.