Visiting the Forest of Dean
March 26, 2013 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Looking for travel advice on going to the Forest of Dean. Complication: no car.

My father and I would like to visit the Forest of Dean in May. (We're both American, but I live in London and he's flying over.) I'm starting to do some research, but I'd really appreciate any advice from people who have been there. We don't have any experience driving stick or driving on the left side of the road, so we're not going to rent a car. I realize this may cause difficulties, but I'm hoping we can work around it. We'll be taking the train and are open to other trains, buses, walking, or maybe bikes. We are both pretty active and mainly just enjoy walking for hours, with bonus points for beautiful settings.

We mainly just want to explore the forest, so any suggestions for that or for other activities nearby would be great. I would like to see Puzzlewood if that's possible. Anything interesting and historical would also be good.

Where would be a good place to stay for our trip? Ideally, we'd like a B&B that we can walk to the forest from.

Any other information about the area will be gratefully received!
posted by Put the kettle on to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You probably want to stay around Coleford.

To get to Coleford, take a Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington to Gloucester (or take any train to Swindon and then transfer to a Swindon->Cheltenham train)

In Gloucester, the bus terminal is right near the rail station. If you have time to kill, you can go check out Gloucester Cathedral - also walking distance.

There are a few buses to Coleford. They're operated by Stagecoach.

In Coleford, This site and others will help you find a B&B. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anything specific. We live nearby and drive to the Forest on day trips.

The Forest of Dean has great walking and cycling trails. Make sure to get an OS map such as OL14. The best place in London to get one is at Stanford's bookshop in Covent Garden.

For Cycling, make your way over to Pedal Bike Away near Coleford where you can hire bikes. It might make a lot of things easier.
posted by vacapinta at 7:13 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do NOT buy your tickets on the day for the train, btw. Train travel in the UK is very expensive - it is actually cheaper for me to get a return train trip to France than it is to visit my mother.

Look on or the Virgin Trains site and get your tickets as far in advance as you can - tickets are released about 12 weeks before the date.

Actually, just seen you live in London, so maybe I'm teaching you to suck eggs...
posted by mippy at 9:25 AM on March 26, 2013

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