The Sip, Snack, Snooze Collection
Introducing the Sip, Snack, Snooze Collection – bite-sized foodie breaks in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean, perfect if you’re short on time and wanting to cut to the chase on the best places to enjoy a break combining stylish accommodation with sampling the best local produce.
Here’s some ideas for taking a couple of nights away to enjoy local food and drink and some deep sleep to feel refreshed, nourished and inspired.
The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is packed with friendly producers whose doors are open for visitors to come and sample their wares. Choose from cheese and cider picnics in an orchard, vegan baking courses and Welsh Cake gelato and even a hands-on experience blending your own gin, the options are endless.
And, after all that sensory activity, matched with lashings of fresh air, snuggle down under the stars in a vintage van, in a safari tent with hot tub, at a boutique hotel with its own vineyard, or maybe check in to a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms. We have it all!
Around the Forest
Sip classic craft ales at Hillside Brewery, a family owned brewery which is very much part of the community and welcomes visitors. The number of experiences on offer here makes it fun for all. Choose to spend the day with Head Brewer, Will, to create your own beer or combine a brewery tour and tasting with archery or Pilates. Serving all day means a late lunch is possible down the road at Longhope where the Farmers Boy Inn’s gourmet pies will satisfy meat, veggie and gluten-free diners. Sleep in peace at Tudor Farmhouse, a boutique retreat, named country house hotel of the year in 2018, in the quiet village of Clearwell, after a dinner of ingredients sourced within a 20-mile radius of the kitchen tucking into a six course tasting menu. Wake up to a breakfast that includes local apple juice and eggs from their own hens before joining their resident forager gathering tasty finds in the forest.
Along the Wye
Sip a sparkling, white or rose, or even try mead in the farm shop tasting room at Parva Farm Vineyard between Tintern and Brockweir. The farm is open year-round and there are guided vineyard tours, or you can explore on your own. Then, head into Tintern itself for coffee and cake at The Filling Station, or cross the river and hike a few miles along Offa’s Dyke to Brockweir & Hewelsfield Village Shop & Café which is a non-profit making community enterprise selling freshly baked bread and local produce and home to a cafe which also hosts exhibitions of local artists works. Loop back for lunch on the River Wye with views of Tintern Abbey at The Anchor Inn or drive north to the The Ostrich Inn on the edge of the Forest of Dean at Newland to experience a ‘Forester’s Feast’ – a hearty take on a Ploughman’s with three Welsh Cheeses. Retire to ‘UP’ a nearby wooden cabin with to-die-for views where you can take a bath under the stars and make bread over the fire pit.
Sip ciders at Apple Country Cider near Skenfrith with traditional brews straight from the vat, plus load up with homemade jams, local Welsh ales and farm honey in the barn shop. As well as orchard tours, they offer picnics with local cheeses, charcuterie and a chunk of bread. For dessert it’s just a few minutes’ drive to Green & Jenks for gelato made from Monmouthshire milk and Herefordshire fruit in the heart of Monmouth itself. Flavours range from avocado to Welsh cake and jammy dodger. For hands-on food experiences choose from Bread Making with Hobbs House Bakery, Sausage Making and more at Humble by Nature, a working farm near Monmouth with a variety of food and rural skills courses taking place every week. End the day just a few miles up the road at the The Whitebrook - a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms where Chris Harrod, of Great British Menu fame, cooks up a storm and the rooms are sleek and spoiling.
Lydney and the Severn
Start the day with coffee and sweet treats at Taurus Crafts near Lydney, where artisan businesses have gathered. Sip an espresso with a side order of award-winning chocolate from The Chocolate Bar. This resident artisan maker had both the Pistachio and Lemon and Pecan Praline Caramel favours win gold in the 2018 Taste of the West Product Awards. When it’s time to hit a savoury note head 20 mins up the River Severn estuary to Severn & Wye Smokery Barn for a mixed smoked platter for lunch which include the famous Severn & Wye smoked salmon. Less than 10 minutes away is five-star B&B Blaisdon House, with walking trails from the doorstep it’s easy to head out for a pre-dinner stroll before dining close to ‘home’ at The Red Hart (1-minute walk) on local Wild Boar sausages or opting for the vegan menu.
Sample Welsh cider at Ty Gwyn Cider located between Abergavenny and Hereford where they have been growing cider apples for 60 years. Stop by and enjoy the cider barn and shop and drink a draft cider outdoors on the sun deck. Take a peek at the cider shed and view the cider-belt-press and mill (which is one of only two in the country). Head for lunch (or dinner) 15 minutes away at The Walnut Tree for Michelin starred food in a rural setting before sleeping in comfort at The Angel Hotel in the heart of Abergavenny. Or, if your idea of heaven is a cider under the stars in a hot tub and some cooking outside then go glamping at Seven Hills Hideaway which is 5 miles outside Abergavenny and a 3 minute drive from The Walnut Tree.
Breakfast on local apple juice and pastries with a riverside breakfast spread on the Wye. Pick this up at Truffles Deli in Ross-on-Wye packed with local produce including Herefordshire crisps with compostable packaging, gin, homemade cakes, pastries and quiches. Six miles downriver (15 mins in the car) and The Saracens Head is an idyllic pub right on the river perfect for a pint, fish and chips and refuelling before the climb up to Symonds Yat Rock. Gin lovers might want to book onto a Gin Experience and learn how to blend their own gin at Foxtail Distillery a few miles away and just outside Ross. Your bed for the night whether you choose a hotel room or glamping is less than ten minutes’ drive. At Brooks Country House you can drink wine from their vineyard and eat a Herefordshire steak before bed while, happy glampers will relish Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans with their ‘Van Service’ where home-cooked meals (curries, chillies and crumbles) are hand delivered.
Start the day at Forest Deli in Coleford and stock up on local cheeses, homemade sausage rolls and fresh bread to take on a Forest of Dean picnic. If you need some help honing your cookery skills sign up for a course at Harts Barn Cookery School where all tastes and abilities are catered for, from vegan baking to how to recreate your Chinese takeaway favourites and lots of kids courses for family foodie forays. For lunch or dinner one of the oldest pubs in the Forest of Dean, The Butchers Arms in the village of Clearwell is a classic British pub serving good beer and hearty food. Sleep in the heart of the Forest of Dean at The Speech House, a country house hotel near Coleford for the full forest and fodder experience. This former 17th century hunting lodge still has many original features including fire places, paintings and carved oak chairs and is a scenic spot for afternoon tea or Sunday lunch.
The All Seasons Deli in Newent is a great spot for a morning coffee and cake, or for grabbing a homemade sausage roll for the road. Fuelled up, head up May Hill for a spectacular view of seven counties from the top. Now you’ve built up an appetite head down to The Kilcot Inn for lunch. They’re famous for their Scotch egg bar snacks, grow all their own herbs and cater well for vegetarian and gluten-free diners. Inside its cosy with fires but if the sun is shining the garden is gorgeous too. End the day just up the road watching the sun go down over 75 acres of south facing vines at one of England’s oldest vineyards - Three Choirs Vineyard sampling their delicious award winning Cuvee. Stay for dinner, sample the wine flight, all their own wines, and if you can’t bear to leave stay overnight in one of the luxury vineyard lodges.