I’ve just got home from a four night break with Forest Holidays in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. We stayed in a luxurious log cabin with its own private hot tub nestled amongst woodland. The weather was perfect for cabin living, bright crisp, chilly mornings and some snow which made a dip in the hot tub even more fun. There was nothing but the rustling of leaves, birds tweeting and squirrels foraging in the undergrowth. It was so peaceful. Matt, Emily and I stayed with our friends Sam and Graham and Emily’s best baby buddy Heidi. Set over two floors our log cabin had four rooms, two doubles, one with an en suite and two twin rooms. We packed our own travel cots for the girls who had a room each. The cabin also had two family sized bathrooms, this meant there was ample room for us all to spread out. A spacious lounge with log burner and a floor to ceiling window overlooking the hot tub was a gorgeous place to relax. Plus a kitchen kitted out with everything imaginable for self catering made our stay a very comfortable one. Our log cabin also had an outdoor decked area with table, chairs and barbecue. We spent our days exploring the local area, followed by a soak in the hot tub and cosy evenings playing scrabble in front of the fire. The Forest Retreat, a café/bar area, reception and a small shop was a short stroll through the woods and across the meadow.
What I liked about Forest Holidays:
Someone checked the water quality and cleaned our hot tub everyday. A rubber duck was placed on top of the cover to let us know it was ready to use.
The hot tub water is changed before each new arrival.
The Forest Retreat was perfect for buying take away drinks, fresh bread and supplies. We also bought wood here for the log burner.
We loved ordering ‘room service’ to our cabin through the menu on the tv.
A small kitchen starter pack containing bin bags, a sponge and enough dishwasher tablets for the duration of our stay was a nice touch.
Ample towels were provided along with some for the hot tub.
We had stair gates for our little ones.
I loved the underfloor heating!
Choosing dates in between school holidays and being low season meant we got a great deal. Check out Forest Holidays for prices and locations.
What I didn’t like:
The table in the kitchen was too large, it was a struggle to move around if more than one person was in the kitchen at same time.
The stair gate wasn’t great. Although it was fixed in place for us, it ended up coming loose and unsafe so we took in down. This is probably something we should have mentioned at check out.
Check-in is at 4pm, for an early check-in from 2pm we had to pay £35. I thought this was a little on the steep side.
There was no ice-cube tray…sounds like a minor issue but ice is very important for a G&T! We got creative and filled egg cups with water. But for such a well equipped kitchen it is something I would have expected to find.
Things to do in the area:
This was my first visit to the Forest of Dean, I hadn’t realised there was so much see and do. From caves to waterfalls and hundreds of hiking trails I definitely need to go back to explore more. Beechenhurst has a café, children’s play area, a sculpture trail, climbing tower and Tree Top Junior. The café does a delicious sausage baguette and cup of tea too. Symonds Yat Rock is a must visit, the viewpoint is set high up above the River Wye and has gorgeous views. Biblins Bridge is fun to cross, the rope style suspension bridge is set over the River Wye. Only 6 people are allowed to cross over on it at once. I must admit I wasn’t overly sure about crossing over, but it turned out to be fun! It’s an adventure in itself getting to the bridge, start at Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint and walk down into the valley. The walk is sign posted and is around 2.8 miles. Jump on the little ferry by the Saracens Head, but double-check it’s running before commencing the walk as I don’t think it operates all year round. Once the other side of the river head for Biblins campsite. For more detail on this walk click here: Symonds Yat Rock to Biblins. We were unable to do the walk as we hadn’t bought our rucksack carrier for Emily, but we had a lot of fun trying to find it in the car. Unable to pinpoint an exact location on google map, I did some research and discovered we could get to the bridge through Biblins Campsite. We drove for a few miles along some very tiny lanes and eventually picked up signs for the campsite. We parked up and walked down a very steep track in the woods for around a mile until reaching the bottom of the valley and the bridge. Matt and I underestimated how steep the walk back up would be, a screaming, over tired Emily and two very sweaty parents pushing a buggy for a mile uphill was not a pretty sight! I found a great blog post from Family Days Tried and Tested about their Biblins Bridge adventure, they have some great images of their day out. If you have time it is worth driving over the border into Wales. We visited Brecon and absolutely loved the views of snowy mountainsides and driving on roads with not a soul around. If you are looking for a good soft play by the way there’s a fab one just before Brecon called The Play Barn.