What better way to spend the day than with your friends and family bouncing, hopping, jumping and diving all over the incredible floating Atlantis Aqua Park. There are over five floating zones to choose from and each zone has an increasing intensity, so you can challenge yourself and your friends and family to an experience like no other.
Just a reminder you will get wet… very wet!
You can find The Atlantis Aqua Park at the National Diving Centre just outside Chepstow. The National Diving & Activity Centre itself also has other facilities for visitors to the Atlantis Aqua Park, with a licensed View Café bar, changing rooms, toilets and free car parking.
Given as a present to the ‘inhabitants of Lydney and Aylburton’ by the Bathurst family in 1920, Bathurst Swimming Pool in Lydney is considered to be one of Gloucestershire’s best kept secrets. This 38 metre outdoor pool in the Forest of Dean is run by volunteers and open for at least ten weeks during the summer each year. It costs £3 for adults (including Spectators, OAPs and Students) and £2 for children (Under 16). Under 3’s entry is free. Check before you go – 01594 84 26 25.
Beechenhurst lies in the heart of the Forest of Dean, and offers a wonderful day out. It is the starting point for the famous Sculpture Trail, plus there are three additional waymarked walks to choose from. If cycling is more your thing, there is easy access onto the Family Cycle Trail. The main play area has a newly installed zip wire and picnic area and there is a separate toddler area too. When playtime has finished you can eat at the Beechenhurst Cafe which provides a range of wholesome food. There is also a climbing tower, with 36 different routes and 2 vertical abseils, and an archery teaching centre. What more is there to be said? A grand day out for all the family!
Berkeley Castle is an ancient fortress home where the Berkeley family have lived since their ancestor, Robert Fitzharding, completed the Keep in the late 12th Century. Considered a jewel in the crown of British history, the history played out within the castle’s walls make it one of the most remarkable buildings in Britain. Once you have toured the castle you can visit the Butterfly House which is located within the old walled kitchen garden at Berkeley Castle, adjacent to the Yurt Restaurant.
Well worth a visit, in particular Big Pit National Coal Museum. A visit to Big Pit includes a 300ft descent into the old colliery, where a former coal miner will take you on a fascinating and personal tour with the sights, sounds and smells of the mine creating an impression of what working life was like at the coalface. The best part is nearly everything you can visit here is free!
The remains on view at Caerleon provide you with a vivid picture of life in second-century Roman Britain. There are remains of the fortress wall, a large amphitheatre which would have seated an entire legion ie 6,000 spectators, and the finest remains of Roman barrack buildings in Europe. The Roman Baths are now in a museum which uses modern technology to demonstrate the grandeur of these Baths in their time.
An archaeologist’s paradise, this was the tribal capital of the Silures (Venta Silurum) with impressive fourth-century walls standing up to 17 feet (5.2m) high. Excavated houses, forum-basilica and a Romano-British temple also remain.
Visit Caldicot Castle in its beautiful setting of tranquil gardens and a wooded country park. Founded by the Normans, developed in royal hands as a stronghold in the Middle Ages and restored as a Victorian family home, the castle has a romantic and colourful history.
Opening days and/or hours may vary for special events or as a result of private bookings, please check the website.
Hire canoes or kayaks and make your way down the stunning River Wye either with or without a guide. There are three excellent providers: Monmouth Canoe, Forest Adventure and Adventure River
Caving (also known as speleology, or in some cases pot-holing) is the exploration of natural underground passages and chambers, usually formed where water has dissolved away limestone, or other similarly soft rock. Forest Adventure will take you caving in Symonds Yat – you’ll be fully equipped with hard hat and head torch and given instruction on caving. Once you get going, you’ll see wonderful underground rock formations and you’ll discover the fascinating history of the area you’re caving in. Suitable for all levels.
Cefn Mably Farm Park is a huge all weather family farm attraction & softplay in one. Set in rolling countryside between Cardiff and Newport, they offer a wonderful mixture of farm animals and softplay areas – the ideal place for action packed days out with the children. The fun begins as you enter the indoor soft play barn where the children can let off steam. Once everyone is worn out from feeding the animals on the farm and playing on the electric go-carts and real diggers, you can relax with a coffee and a slice of home made cake on a comfy leather couch.
Beautifully preserved Chepstow Castle is a history lesson in stone. From around 1067 through to 1690, the castle, almost chameleon-like, changed its appearance as fashions changed in military architecture. If you think modern doors are long lasting, think again. Chepstow boasts the oldest castle doors in Europe. All wood and all of 800 years old. The oldest building is the Norman great tower but building work continued well into the 17th-century as medieval battlements were replaced by stronger musket-friendly parapets. Bows and arrows were so last century!
Clearwell Caves are natural caves, extensively mined for iron ore to make some of Britain’s most complex and oldest mine workings. The mine dates back well over 4,000 years, when early miners dug for ochre pigments to make paints.
This is definitely a different way to spend an evening! Join Dark Wales Tours for exclusive night time access to some of the most historic and haunted sites in the area, including the renowned St Fagan’s Museum and the majestic Cardiff Castle in the capital, alleged to be among the most haunted sites in the country.
All tours are professionally conducted and explore the History, Myths, Legends and Ghostly phenomena of the various sites. The tours can’t always guarantee anything paranormal will happen of course but they do aim to give a historic and atmospheric insight to the venues they visit. But then again a number of strange occurrences have happened on the tours over the years, so you never know what may happen…….
Dean Forest Railway has a 4 1/2 mile line which runs through beautiful woodland and countryside giving you the relaxing pace of a typical country branch line. There are 5 stations along the way for you to explore the local area, taking in woodland walks and country pubs or venturing down to explore Lydney Harbour with its fantastic views across the Severn Estuary.
Imagine discovering a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes buried under thousands of tonnes of soil for over 50 years. That’s what happened at Dewstow gardens.
The 3 Maize Mazes are planted each year in April and reach ‘Maze’ height in mid July. Each year the Mazes have a new theme and are great for families and children. They also hold several special events throughout the season culminating with a Late Nate Special where for one night only you can explore the mazes by torchlight.
The Activities Maze is a permanent Maze. The Activities Maze has plenty of space for children and adults who want to run, hide, shout, climb, crawl, swing and work together as a team to get their group over, under, around or through the various activity areas, all within a protected countryside setting.
Established in 1986, this 4.5 mile long Sculpture Trail was one of the first to open in the UK. The trail features sculptures created by artists to interpret the forest environment and the history of this very unusual landscape. Perfect for all ages and abilities, you don’t need to know about art to enjoy what you see. Highlights on the trail include a 15ft high stained glass window suspended from the tree canopy enabling visitors to walk underneath and a giant chair made of sweet chestnut, which enjoys picturesque views. Walk it in one go or explore in a series of shorter distances.
If you’ve ever dreamed of swinging through the trees like Tarzan, this is your chance! Fly down zip-wires, rope swings and cross over obstacles in the tops of trees. You are briefed on safety beforehand and are always attached by a safety harness. Go Ape also offer a Segway adventure through the forests. Make sure you get directions from the website. SatNav doesn’t work in their very rural area!
This award winning family run bicycle hire centre offers the perfect starting point to get out and explore all the Forest of Dean has to offer. They cater for everyone – beginners to experts, families to race teams, mountain bikers to roadies. Hire a bike and take a leisurely ride through the glorious Forest of Dean.
View the countryside and landscape like never before by taking a hot air balloon ride with friends and family. You can take off from Tintern, but there are also optional sites to choose from so please visit their website for more information.
If you want an amazing day out with more than 250 incredible birds of prey the International Centre for Birds of Prey is perfect for you. Believed to be the UK’s best bird of prey centre, it has 12 acres of enclosures, glorious gardens, field and woods to explore. You can do a simple visit or book one of their many courses, including an Owl Half Day Experience where you can get hands on with these beautiful creatures.
Set in the beautiful, rolling landscape alongside the Usk Valley the Visitor Centre has stunning, panoramic views over the water from the Lakeside Café. Just along the path from the Visitor Centre you will find the modern, purpose built Watersport Centre. Here they offer paddle and sail sports for all ages and abilities plus organised Open Water Swimming. With an array of land activities and events on offer, they are also a great place to fish, walk, picnic and watch wildlife. Open all year round and free to enter.
The Forest of Dean is one of the best locations in the UK to go mountain biking, it has trails for all levels of group and provides a fantastic adventure. Adventure River offer both bike hire and guides.
Otherwise known as Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), this is a great way to discover the River Wye whilst mastering a new sport! A session usually lasts two hours.
Perrygrove Railway runs through farmland and woods on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Passengers can ride on the train to use activities including a Treetop Adventure, a covered picnic and play area at Foxy Hollow, an Indoor Village with secret passages, and a den-building area in the woods.
Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean. Explore a mile of meandering pathways, with its fantastic tree and rock formations. It has an atmosphere quite unlike any other wood you have visited. Puzzlewood also has a willow maze, indoor mazes and an out door playground.
A stunning statement of wealth and power. Everything’s impressive about this place, from its great tower, which evokes memories of earlier fortresses like Caernarfon, to the great gatehouse, which ‘wows’ the visitor just as its owner intended. If, as they say, an Englishman’s home is his castle, then William Herbert’s Raglan is the Welshman’s equivalent.
Set in the beautiful rolling countryside of Monmouthshire, Raglan Farm Park has something for everyone. Whether you wish to spend time in the barns, with over 7 play zones for all ages, simply wander around the paddocks and feed the animals, try the zip wires or take a tractor ride, the Williams’ provide the warmest of welcomes at their family run farm…
Take on the cliffs of Symonds Yat Rock with fantastic forest surroundings and lovely rock formations.
St Fagans National Museum of History is often called St Fagans after the village where it is located. A fantastic open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people this is the perfect place for a great day out. The museum is also part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. There are more than forty re-erected buildings from various locations in Wales, and it is set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house. Previously named the United Kingdom’s favourite visitor attraction, the museum has so much to offer. Well worth a visit!
Experience Weightlessness 245 feet in the air for the ultimate adrenaline-pumping blast!
You’ll be strapped into the Giant 3G Swing, hoisted 50ft up into the air and slowly pulled back to the release point…Then it is down to one of you to pull the ripcord! After the initial terrifying drop, you’ll launch into the air, feeling the G-force as you swing up into the sky and you will then be momentarily weightless before accelerating through double gravity as you level out at the bottom. NOT for the fainthearted!
You can find The 3D Swing at the National Diving Centre just outside Chepstow. The National Diving & Activity Centre itself also has other facilities for visitors to the Atlantis Aqua Park, with a licensed View Café bar, changing rooms, toilets and free car parking
It is open most weekends, Bank Holidays, selected dates during School Holidays and occasional mid week dates.
The Glade Tea Rooms is an exciting new location to relax and enjoy homemade locally-sourced food in the heart of Wentwood Forest. It is family-friendly giving children the opportunity to freely play enjoying all that the woodland offers as well as offering activity packs and forest school activities.
Opened in 2016, The Royal Mint Experience is one of South Wales’ top rated attractions. From how coins are made, to rare pieces on display, the Experience brings a 1,100-year history to life. They make coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year and can produce 90 million coins and blanks a week – almost five billion coins a year! On a visit to this fascinating site you’ll learn more about the history of The Royal Mint, and you will be able to see all the special coins and rare historical memorabilia that the exhibition holds. You will even have the chance to strike your very own coin!
The appeal of this exceptional Cistercian abbey remains as enduring as ever. An area of outstanding beauty complemented by this outstanding beauty in stone. If only the walls could talk! The chants of countless monks echo through the masonry here.
Built as a Victorian country railway station, the Old Station, Tintern is a charming site to visit for a quiet relaxing day out or to start your walk through the beautiful Wye Valley. The site features a pleasing riverside walk and meadows to explore, a children’s adventure play area with equipment suitable for 2 to 12s, a wide picnic site with barbecues for hire or tearoom if you prefer.The signal box houses changing exhibitions from local artists and crafts people so there’s plenty to look at. The Circle of Legends wood carvings which are hidden around feature local mythical or historic characters, forming a series of trails throughout Monmouthshire with delightful surprises where one least expects them.
Tredegar House is one of the architectural wonders of Wales and one of the most significant late 17th-century houses in the whole of the British Isles. For more than 500 years the house was home to one of the greatest Welsh families, the Morgans, later Lords Tredegar.
Enchanting, romantic ruins overlook the small town of Usk, and the wide river valley beyond. Within a natural and peaceful setting, the ancient walls are covered with creeper, and old stone towers invite you to explore. This is a medieval castle that fell into disuse 500 years ago, waiting to be discovered.
In the picturesque and historic riverside town of Usk is a museum run by dedicated volunteers with “one of the best collections of its kind in Britain”. Housed in an ancient malt barn with adjacent buildings, Usk Rural Life Museum has 5000+ exhibits collected by local enthusiasts over the past 50 years in order to preserve the heritage of the life and work of country people in the Welsh Borders, from Victorian times onward. The museum houses a unique collection of artefacts, from the smallest hand tools and household items through to large agricultural machinery and vintage tractors.
White Castle is one of the most well preserved castles in Monmouthshire, with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside.
The Wire is one of the UK’s longest, tallest and fastest zip slides, running the 700 metre length of the spectacular National Diving and Activity Centre Quarry just outside Chepstow.
Launch yourself from the 70m high cliff edge and speed along the length of our 80m deep flooded quarry. Reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour this exhilarating ride will take your breath away!
You must be aged over 12 years, taller than 1.2m (3ft 11″) and shorter than 2.0m (6ft 7″) to ride The Wire Zip Slide.
Wye Valley Archery is a family friendly, custom built field archery course located in the beautiful setting of the Wye Valley between the ancient market town of Chepstow and the City of Newport. Experience levels range from those who want to “have a go”, through to master bowmen. They welcome individuals, families and groups with ages ranging from 6 to 70 years old. They are also available for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and stag / hen parties and for team building and corporate events.
Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo are passionate about butterfly conservation, supporting sustainable butterfly farming worldwide.
At the zoo you can walk with butterflies from around the world. It is indoors, it’s tropical and it’s teeming with exotic butterflies which fly around as you discover their fascinating lives in close-up. See for yourself every stage of their life-cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis of some of the world’s most beautiful butterflies.
Running along the disused Wye Valley Railway the Wye Valley Greenway trail offers walkers and cyclists a relaxing way to visit the beautiful lower Wye Valley. This family friendly, traffic free trail winds its way 7 km along the Wye Valley from the start at the National Dive and Activity Centre (NDAC) to the beautiful Tintern Abbey, via the spectacular 1km Tidenham tunnel. Although most of the route can be used 24 hours a day 365 days a year, the tunnel is open in the daytime from 1 April to 30 September. There are signs for the alternative winter routes for walkers and cyclists over the top of the tunnel. If you want to cycle this glorious route there are a variety of bike hires in the area. Why not try www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk?
Date: 7th - 24th October 2021
Forest and Rivers Open Studios, farOpen, first established in 1995, is a collective...
Date: 10th - 24th October 2021 - Selected Days
Spend an unforgettable morning with all sorts of birds of prey! This half day...
Date: 22nd - 25th October 2021
Spot the pumpkins that have been hidden around Clearwell Caves… some are trickier...