Skip to main content


View All Adventures

Book Now

Redeem a gift voucher



The Best Things to Do in The Forest of Dean

Published on: 25/08/23

Nestled in the heart of Gloucestershire, England, the Forest of Dean is a favourite tourist destination with so many visitor attractions, activities and things to do.

Spanning about 110 square kilometres (42 square miles), the Forest of Dean, is known for its ancient woodlands, diverse wildlife and long history. Did you know that the forest has been inhabited since ancient times and even has Roman ruins?

Get ready to discover a place where the towering trees tell stories, and every step leads to a new adventure.

1. Go Ape Forest of Dean




Discover not one, but two Go Ape sites in the Forest of Dean! Uniquely split across two locations, which are just fifteen minutes apart, prepare for four unique adventurous experiences.

At Go Ape Forest of Dean, Mallards Pike enjoy some of our most beautiful adventures from the treetops or the forest floor. The Treetop Challenge course is for the bold and brave with super-long zip wires and sky-high platforms. If you enjoy your fun closer to earth, zoom away on our all-terrain electric Forest Segways.

Meanwhile Go Ape Forest of Dean Beechenhurst, is the perfect peaceful (but definitely not boring) site for younger families. Treetop Adventure is designed for mini explorers over 1m tall and families looking for high ropes adventure. Then, Treetop Adventure Plus is a step up for those looking for more height, fun and freedom.

With great views and adventures galore, our Go Ape Forest of Dean locations are the ultimate family day out – if we do say so ourselves.

2. Puzzlewood



Photo credit: Gemma Osborne


Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland site and tourist attraction near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. A magical place to visit for the whole family, you can explore this temperate rainforest environment and spot familiar backdrops from the silver screen, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and British TV favourites like Merlin.

Bring along your walking boots and let your imagination go wild as you wander through bluebells and wild garlic in the forest that inspired JRR Tolkein, author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

3. Dean Forest Railway



Photo credit: Gareth Pitt


Step back in time on this 4 ½ mile classic steam engine ride through beautiful woodland and countryside. The Dean Forest Railway runs along the old Severn & Wye Railway lines, a tramroad which was built over 200 years ago!

There are five stations along the line, where you can hop off and explore picturesque local villages, woodland walks and cosy pubs.

The Dean Forest Railway run their steam train services on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from mid-March to early November as well as a Santa special in the lead up to Christmas. All aboard!

4. Clearwell Caves



Photo credit: Andy Dingley


Step into the secret world below the forest in the impressive Clearwell Caves, where ochre and iron ore have been mined for over 4.5 millennia. Discover the long history of the caves, from the stone age to present day as you discover the show cave - and even deeper to the lower levels of the mine!

The caves are home to a variety of stunning stalactites and stalagmites, as well as underground lakes. The Caves are also an important part of the Wye Valley SAC (Special Area of Conservation) and many species of Bats roost in the cave in winter.

5. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail


Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

Photo credit: Forestry England 

Woven into the ancient forest, the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is in Beechenhurst and is a 4.8 mile trail filled with inspiring art, which will spark the imagination of all ages. There are also shortcuts for those that prefer not to walk the full trail.

The trail seamlessly merges nature and art, featuring a collection of sculptures by diverse artists that harmonize with the surrounding environment.

Visitors will encounter a whimsical and thought-provoking sculptures, which can be engaged with in their own distinctive way.

6. Dean Heritage Centre



Photo credit: Dean Heritage Centre 


The Dean Heritage Centre is an immersive experience, which brings to life the Forest of Dean’s rich industrial, social, and natural history.

With five museums and galleries, outdoor displays and arts and crafts demonstrations, this gallery has something fun for the whole family.

With its dedication to preserving and sharing the local heritage, the Dean Heritage Centre provides a fascinating journey into the stories and traditions that have shaped the Forest of Dean over the centuries.

Nearby the Forest of Dean

1. Raglan Castle




Located 30 minutes away from the Forest of Dean, Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales, is known as “the grandest castle ever built by a Welshman”!

This mighty fortress was built back in 15th century and is a fun day out for the whole family. Discover the long history of the castle and let your little ones run wild in between the castle walls.

Raglan Castle hosts seasonal events and interactive exhibits like falconry days, knight schools and more.

2. Tintern Abbey


Tintern Abbey


Just 30 minutes away from the Forest of Dean, in Monmouthshire (Wales), Tintern Abbey, is a national icon and hauntingly beautiful Cistercian monastery dating back to the 12th century.

Known for its stunning Gothic architecture and serene natural surroundings, the abbey is a masterpiece of British Gothic architecture.

Wander through the ancient ruins, explore the on-site exhibition and don’t forget your walking boots for a scenic stroll along the River Wye.

Wild walks

1. Symonds Yat Rock


Symonds Yat

Photo credit: Forestry England


Discover the ancient hill fort, waymarked trails along the River Wye and look out for birds of prey at this picturesque and popular location. Symonds Yat Rock is located between the border of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in England and is renowned for its stunning viewpoints overlooking the River Wye.

2. Cannop Ponds


Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean

Photo credit: Forestry England

These ponds were originally used to supply a waterwheel at Parken Ironworks but are now a hub for fishing, birdwatching and cycling.

The calm waters and the natural beauty of Cannop Ponds make it a favourite spot for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a quiet escape in the heart of the forest.

3. Lydney Harbour


Lydney Harbour Boats

Photo credit: M J Richardson


Once a bustling industrial port, Lydney Harbour is now a natural escape for visitors in the Forest of Dean. Explore the remnants of Lydney Harbour’s maritime past while taking in views across the Severn Estuary.  

Lydney Harbour is a place where history, nature, and maritime charm converge, creating a unique and enjoyable experience for those who visit.

Other activities to consider



Home to numerous rivers and lakes, the Forest of Dean is an excellent place to go fishing. There are a variety of different fish species to catch, including trout, salmon, and pike. Fishing licenses may be necessary depending upon the location.  




Home to countless bird species, The Forest of Dean is a great place to go birdwatching. Some of the birds that can be seen in the forest include woodpeckers, owls, and warblers.


Wildlife watching


The Forest of Dean is home to a variety of other wildlife, including deer, foxes, and badgers. It is a great place to go wildlife watching and learn about the animals that live in the forest.


Find Adventure in the Forest of Dean

Find Out More