Places to stay, things to do, good food and drink
With the culinary traditions of both England and Wales to choose from, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean has become a real centre of culinary excellence. From the beautiful orchards and vineyards that produce award-winning cider and wine, to restaurants that garner Michelin stars, you’re in foodie heaven that is the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
Hillside Brewery in Longhope is a top destination for any ale fan. Situated in 40 acres of beautiful farm land, the brewery offers tours, experience days and even the chance to brew your own beer. Big winners at recent SIBA and CAMRA beer awards, their tipples are a true taste of Gloucester.
If wine is more you thing, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Parva Farm. In addition to enjoying their delicious wine and meads, visitors can admire stunning views over the Wye Valley and historic village of Tintern as they tour the vineyard. Of course, we couldn’t talk about drink in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean without mentioning cider. There are several brilliant producers across all three counties, many of them award winners, including the Dabinett from Apple County Cider co, a Gold Medal winner at the 2015 International Cider Challenge. Based at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Apple County Cider co. grows cider apples and blackcurrants in fields looking across the stunning landscape of the Monnow Valley. So why not stop by, take a tipple, tour the orchards and even stay in the new on-site accommodation.
For those happiest cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Harts Barn Cookery School is an absolute must. Based on the site of a hunting lodge first built by William the Conqueror in 1068, Harts Barn offers everything from cookery lessons, pop up-restaurants, ‘A Taste of the Forest’ foraging events and chef demos. A hire-a-chef service is also available where a trained chef will prepare meals for you in your holiday accommodation. Featured on ITV and Channel 4, the site also boasts at 17th Century working cider mill and beautiful bio-dynamic garden.
No day out is complete without a traditional cream team tea from a quintessentially British tea room – something which the region has in spades. Winner of the Best tearoom in Wales in the National Tourism awards 2013/14, the tea room at Old Station Tintern is particularly renowned for its delicious lavender cake. Take a break from the pottery wheel for freshly made scones and cakes Hot Pot Pottery or step back in time to 1897 at Aunt Martha’s tea room where you can partake in a truly Victorian afternoon tradition. If you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience, you don’t have to look far in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
Nestled in a picturesque valley, the Tudor Farmhouse is the proud owner of two AA Rosettes and was recently awarded a Gold in the Taste of the West awards. The picturesque farmhouse include high quality accommodation and beautiful gardens. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are all on offer, as well as tasting menu for those who just can’t decide!
On the other side of the Wye on the edge of the Brecon Beacons lies a real gem of a restaurant in Abergavenny. The Walnut Tree was awarded a Michelin star under head chef Shaun Hill who has forged a unique style with a string of timeless dishes. Try the scallops with lentil and coriander sauce; a dish as distinctive and delicious now as the day he created it. The Walnut Tree has just ranked 14th in the National Restaurant Awards list of the Top 100 restaurants in the UK.
To get a true taste of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean visit the Forest Showcase of Food and Drink. The recipe for the weekend? ……..well take over 80 top local and artisan producers, a big serving of stunning hot food. Add a dash of real ale and wine, kids’ cookery lessons, lots of children’s activities and top chef demos. Stir in a design your own ale and cake competition, with lashings of excellent live music,celebrity chefs and arts & crafts. Mix together and you have a lovely foodie family day out.
For more ideas on things to do (and eat), visit http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/