Last weekend was a welcomed escape, as I drove off to the Wye Valley with a few friends for a surprise birthday getaway. We staying in the quaintly named Old Dairy, a cosy cottage and my first Airbnb. Arriving late on Friday night, we tucked into a cheeky Chinese takeaway, whilst becoming acquainted with our new surroundings. However, the real fun began the next day, with a competitive round of mini-golf.
Having enjoyed a luxurious morning of our own leisure, we made off in the cars towards Symonds Yat – where fun and games awaited. The birthday boy won with little dispute, before we wandered on to attempt the intriguing Puzzle Maze. It was boys vs. girls and after many dead ends and wrong turns, the girls naturally had it, with a quaint vintage rotunda awaiting us in the centre.
Having enjoyed a home-cooked breakfast late morning we skipped on lunch and continued onward towards Chepstow, to view the ruins of Tintern Abbey. Instantly the sheer scale was evident and we wandered round for what felt like ages, uncovering the history of the once ancient monastery. The crumbling remains still maintain a lot of their past grandeur and were quite majestic to behold from the interior walls. There was an almost magical vibe, with Harry Potter immediately springing to mind.
Having exhausted the site until closing time, we sat down to a cream tea in the neighbouring café and savoured out time spent thus far. The evening saw us enjoy a private celebration and was a welcomed relief from the daily grind.
Sunday allowed for a lie-in, but as the clocks sprung forward it didn’t feel like it for all. Our first adventure consisted of a visit to the inquisitive Puzzlewood. Here us adults returned to our childhood, as we joined families in enjoying the petting farm , indoor maze and of-course the sacred woodland itself…
Where to start! Rumoured to be the inspiration behind many famous film franchises, Puzzlewood lived up to it’s name with it’s heavily forested circumference, twisted roots and earthen ground. Strolling beneath the sprawling canopy of green, I felt transported to another realm. Like many others and authors before me, I was inspired by the natural tableau, winding pathways and effervescent scenery. I was truly enchanted!
After an elongated walk through the ‘other world’ we had planned to go for a carvery, but ending up in Ross-On-Wye and settled for an alternative instead. After a quick pint (for me at least) and a well-earned rest we upped sticks one last time and made back through the Forest of Dean to Symonds Yat Rock, where we enjoyed a long walk through a forested mountain park.
It seemed like we were made to part ways to soon, but alas Monday called, but it was a wonderful weekend filled with fun, friends and frivolous adventure – an experience I hope to replicate in similar style again soon.