Last year I found the most wonderful, dog-friendly cottage in the middle of the Forest of Dean – complete with cosy bedrooms, log burners, a traditional range cooker, and a huge, decked balcony that’s just begging to be used for al-fresco dining.
But that’s not all. This gem of a place, laid out over five different levels, has also got its own swedish sauna, and an outdoor hot tub which boats the most spectacular views over the Wye Valley and beyond.
From the outside, the ‘retreat’ looks homely and inviting but deceptively small. In all honesty though, you won’t be paying much attention to the house – you’ll be too distracted (as we were) by these incredible views…
The hot tub
Those spectacular views? They’re the same ones you can enjoy from the private hot tub. It sits at the edge of the decking and even comes fitted with speakers so that you can listen to your own tunes while you relax.
If you find yourself getting a bit chilly, you can always nip downstairs into the Swedish sauna on the floor below. As you do!
Inside the house
If you can bear to tear yourself away from those views, that tub, and the awesome sauna, on the bottom two floors of the house you’ll find a couple of cwtchy lounges, all set up with plenty of TV channels to choose from. There’s also a study if you need to get some work done.
A well equipped kitchen leads to a separate, dedicated dining room with bi-folding doors. This is perfect for nippy evenings when eating outside is a bit too much of an ask.
There are three cosy bedrooms to choose from on the upper floors; two doubles and a single with bunk beds.
My favourite room is right at the top of the house and includes this amazing crescent-shaped window offering sweeping views over the valley:
The location of the Wye Valley Retreat is perfect – just a few miles from Goodrich Castle, Tintern Abbey and the picturesque market towns of Monmouth & Ross on Wye.
There are plenty of fabulous woodland walks to enjoy – we borrowed a book from the retreat’s well-stocked bookshelf to find a route we fancied. Symonds Yat is also nearby, so head there for breathtaking views like this:
After all that fresh air, make your way to the Saracen’s Head Inn for a proper pub lunch, and a ride on one of two hand-pulled ferries which cross the water on this short stretch of the River Wye.
By far the most incredible thing about the Wye Valley Forest Retreat is the price. Costs per night start at £147 for the entire cottage, which sleeps six people. This means that each person effectively pays less than £25 per head, per night!
As you can imagine, this little gem gets booked up pretty much all year round, but if you’re OK with booking ahead and waiting for your time to come, I’d suggest getting some dates in the diary as soon as you can. It really is a magical place.