Never have I so looked forward to doing nothing … but sweet irony, Hubby, Ang and I feel ill over the Christmas break. It has to be said there is a marked difference between lying in bed ill and lying in bed relaxing. Nonetheless, we dragged ourselves to our staycation base in Cinderford, Gloucestershire for the week of New Years. You may remember we stayed near there for xmas 2017 in Lydney. Gloucestershire is home to spa and market town, as well as a fairytale-like rolling green landscape. It bustles in the summer and hibernates in the winter, so many attractions are shut. Those of us who luv nature don’t mind. Honestly, I was hoping for snow but no such luck. My only regret is that we didn’t have the energy and time to explore more. New Year’s in Gloucestershire with a slower pace was what we needed.
Where we stayed
We stayed in the village of Cinderford. The name reminds me of its mining past. In fact, the name dates back to the 13th Century when it was known as ‘Synderford’ ‘It is believed that iron ore has been mined and smelted in the area since Norman times.’
We stayed not far from the historic market town’s centre at Peacock Holidays cottage . It was a pretty two story two bedroom cottage with a beautiful view of the forest up yonder.
What we did
We luck retail therapy. The best place for that in the area is the Gloucester Quays Outlet, Gloucester City. Sadly it was slim pickings; the Boxing Day crowd had already cleared the best bits. From the shops we walked along the Gloucester Docks then into town. It’s charming on the docks but the town would benefit from regeneration.
On one of the days, we drove to Ross-on-Wye’s town centre. It’s a lovely town on the River Wye located on the northern edge of Forest of Dean and made a refreshing change to Gloucester City. You can expect cute independent eateries and shops. The river view is meant to be beautiful but we didn’t make it down there. Nor did we attempt the film trail (FYI Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game Of Thrones).
Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail & other attractions
We celebrated New Year’s Day by doing the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. We took easier path which meant the walk was just over an hour through the forest. Of the 16 sculpture on site, we spotted 4. It’s a bit of a trek for tiny legs. I observed few families with buggies doing the walk. I’d suggest checking the weather especially if your buggy wheels aren’t meant for of the road. Trail is open dawn to dusk daily, every day of the year. Entry is free.
Just beyond the car park there’s a café, adventure playground, Go Ape. If you’re not up for forest bathing just hang out at the picnic site near Beechenhurst Café.
Other attractions we enjoyed were; King Arthur’s Cave, Herefordshire and the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, Ross-on-Wye. As pretty and delicate as they were, it was unsettling at first to be surrounded by butterflies. I got used to it in the end.
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They are both destinations are fit for enquiring minds and big imaginations. It has to be said that even the drives were a feast for the eyes: rivers, bridges, forests, farmlands, flora and fauna.
In total, we were in Gloucestershire for 6 days. Most days the weather wasn’t ideal but on our last day the sunshine was glorious. We drove to Monmouth, South Wales, which was 30 mins drive away. Monmouth dates back to Roman Britain times. In fact, a roman garrison was located there. The settlement was known as Blestium. This border town is in the heart of the Wye Valley. We explored the town which had many of the popular high street stores. Naturally a charity shop trawl was in order.
Where we ate
On staycations we self-cater. Usually we have breakfast and dinner at home lunch out. In Ross on Wye we lunched at Seven Seas Fish Bar & Restaurant. It was recommended by blogger The Rare Welsh Bit. The service was incredible and the food was scrumptious. It’s located at the bottom of the hill, from the old 17th century Market House.
Wetherspoon’s is our usual go to when we went affordable quick family meal. If there’s a Wetherspoon’s in town we’ll find it. Their buildings have character and history. We dined at The King’s Head, Monmouth. The King’s Head ‘was originally a 17th-century coaching inn. It is said to have been visited by Charles I during the Civil War in the 1640s.’ You can actually stay it’s hotel next door .
We had gelato at Green and Jenks had the best gelato I’ve eaten in ages! Their tiramisu gelato was heaven sent. Before leaving I bought honey from Bees for Development . They stock are variety products such as local honeys, mead and beer, beeswax candles, natural skin-care and so on.
Despite ill health we managed to see some beautiful posts in Gloucestershire and South Wales.
What was your most recent getaway or staycation?