In a previous post on coping with Christmas and an expat, I mentioned getting away from the madness of the season.  We tend to take a family break over the Christmas holiday. It’s our tradition, now. We love going to places with wide open spaces and give the opportunity to explore the landscape. Christmas 2017 we went to Lydney, Gloucestershire. Hubby found a lovely first floor flat via Sykes Cottages’ website. Sans the animals, like another family of olde we stayed in a stable for Christmas. We had a fabulous time away from the madness; a Christmas is Lydney was just what we needed.


Where we stayed


Hubby is good and scouting holiday break deals. He found Highbury Coach House, on the Sykes Cottages website, just after Christmas 2016. We feel in love with it at once so he booked it. In our excitement we didn’t, until we were due to leave that was actually a first floor flat! Nonetheless, we arrived on the Friday before Christmas. We were not disappointed. It was a beautiful flat! From the master bedroom there was a gorgeous panoramic view of hills and valleys.  Sometimes a Dean Forest Railway train passed within view.  The entire flat was tastefully decorated for Christmas; it was  our home away from home.  During the cold nights, the fire place in the living room was a treat. The only downside was because the flat’s pet-friendly, hubby and I suffered with allergies due pet hairs. I hoovered every day and aired out the rooms for some relief.

What we did


Hubby and I are like a tag team especially on family breaks. He scouts and books the accommodation. I research and plan our activities. I tend to use a combination of Trip Advisor and locally managed tourist websites. For our Lydney stay I used the Trip Advisor and the Royal Forest of Dean website. However, we were having such a lovely time at the Stable, Highbury Coach House, we didn’t venture out as much. We also had the bonus of a couple days with snow!  The kids played in the garden but we couldn’t venture down the hill. We were not prepared for snowy weather.

More on attractions and where to eat


Chepstow Town Centre – (25 mins from Lydney) there’s a castle within walking distance from the town centre. We didn’t visit. We mainly food shopped and browsed in the charity shops.

Whirlikidz– (10 mins walk from Chepstow town centre) the staff were nice and helpful, good food, lovely soft play space with a layout that allows clear visibility of the children.

Weeks Fish & Chips – so yum! Good batter, tasty fish, nice portions.

Gloucester Quays– it’s a retail Outlet that has a mix of high street and designer labels. We founds good deals.

Bathhurst Park, Lydney– beautiful a public park with children’s play are complete with swings, slides and merry-go-round, well as an outdoor gym, bandstand, coffee shop, and pond. There’s a car park and disability access.

Forest of Dean- it’s a large area in fact Lydney and Chepstow are in the District Forest of Dean.  It’s an amazing area for adventure-seekers. There are mountain biking and cycle tracks, walking trails and more. I wanted to visit Puzzlewood but it was closed during our stay.  Due to rain and snowfall some roads were flooded, so we stopped at a picnic site for the kids to play in the snow.

It’s quite popular to fly to somewhere hot for Christmas but is possible to have a special time in the UK. Although, I love swimming in the ocean, I really enjoy country breaks at Christmas. Huddled together we bond and create special memories. If you ever decide to try it, book early to get the deal that’s best for you.

You can also find more photos of our staycation and other adventures on Instagram.

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