Places to stay, things to do, good food and drink
With the Rugby World Cup officially kicking off this week – we’ve got over a month of exciting matches, many of them being held a stone’s throw from the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean in Gloucester and Cardiff. Not only that, the Scotland and USA squads based in Hartpury College.
For those travelling for fixtures, there’s a wealth of events and activities to keep the whole family entertained once play finishes.
Autumn brings the harvest and with it a wealth of world class foodie events. On the 10th and 11th October The Monmouthshire Food Festival returns to the glorious surroundings of Caldicot Castle with a busy programme of demonstrations, talks, tutored tastings, children’s workshops and lots of food and drink to try. The finest chefs from local hotels and restaurants, between them bosting a Michelin star and AA Rosettes, will be cooking in the demonstration tent with fresh, local produce while The Children’s Quarter will keep our young foodies busy with lots of food related workshops. Bring along an adult to share in the fun.
Across the border in Gloucester on the 4th October, The Forest Showcase will be hosting more than 70 local producers,
plus hands on children’s activities, live music, expert talks, arts & crafts stalls, community stands and TV’s Gregg Wallace in the beautiful surrounding of the Speech House Hotel’s gardens. Whether you are a serious food fanatic or someone who just appreciates good food and drink there’s more than enough at our showcase to ensure that you, and your friends and family, have a great time. There’s a wonderful festival atmosphere – and you’ll certainly be able to taste the difference.
For an autumnal tipple to toast your team’s victory, look no further than The Big Apple. Celebrate English apples and cider – a real opportunity to enjoy the autumn countryside in this corner of Herefordshire in and around Much Marcle. In this unique event, farms and orchards, cider mills and barns will open for you to visit.
If beer is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Hillside Brewery. Touch, smell & experience the brewing process up close, before sitting back to taste a well-earned ale overlooking some of Gloucestershire’s most stunning landscapes. During the tournament, there will be 10% off brewery tours and games will be shown on a projector so you won’t miss a single play. They’ll also be holding a delicious food and beer pairing evening alongside Hart’s Barn Cookery School on the 25th September.
Take in the changing colours of the forest on the 7th October during a foraging expedition in one of the UK’s richest habitats for fungi. Hunt for over a hundred different species including a total of 38 edible varieties, many which are highly sought-after including large numbers of Cep or Penny Bun, Parasol Mushrooms, Cauliflower Fungus, Beefsteak Fungus, Charcoal Burners, Blushers, Saffron Milk Caps, and many, many, more.
2015 is not just a landmark year for rugby. 600 years ago, a king born in Monmouth led England to victory on the fields of Agincourt. Join the Plantagenet Medieval Society at Caldicot Castle on the 24th and 25th October to relive that remarkable day of British history with a thrilling tournament of fully-armoured knights in battle, precision archery displays, graceful dances and accomplished musicians.
The Forest of Dean is a naturally magical place. See it brought to life from 28th September – 2nd October with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The boughs and pathways of Puzzlewood are the stage and your follow fairies through this much loved comedy.
Look to the stars at Chepstow Museum on Friday October 30th. As part of the nationwide Museums at Night weekend the Museum is opening its doors at night and combined with the Drill Hall will turn into a space to explore out-of-space with the Usk Astronomical Society. They will be bringing experts and instruments to explore and discover the night sky and unlock its mysteries.
While all eyes are on the rugby pitch, don’t forget to glance at the River Severn.
Autumn brings higher tides and with it the Severn Bore. One of Britain’s few truly spectacular natural phenomena. A large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet (approx. 15.4m). A thrilling experience for seasoned surfers, you can keep dry and view this incredibly event from a number of places along the river throughout October.
Or you can explore the River Wye with Way2Go Adventures. With 50% off guided canoe trips during the Rugby World Cup, you can take in an Area of Outstanding Beauty as you meander down the river bank. For the even more adventurous, make the most of Inspire2Adveture’s Gorge Scrambling Experience at a special discounted price. Climb waterfalls, scramble over rocks and venture through tunnels with the help of a qualified instructor.
There’s a thrilling month of rugby ahead, and loads more activities and events to enjoy in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean, so why not make the most of your time in the region and enjoy everything this World Cup Playground has to offer.