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“Lovely place brilliant for teaching adults/children about the forest”

Dean Heritage Centre
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Soudley
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Dean Heritage Centre is one of Gloucestershire's leading attractions. Set across a stunning and fully interactive five acre site, the centre protects and preserves the unique history and heritage of the beautiful Forest of Dean. With a wide range of things to do and see, including five onsite galleries exploring the history of the Forest from the Ice Age to the present day; a reconstructed Victorian cottage; a charcoal burner's camp; an adventure playground; chainsaw carving demonstrations; a variety of animals, an onsite gift shop and cafe there's always something new and exciting to interest, inspire and surprise you.With a full programme of special events, exhibitions, art shows and educational workshops across the year, it's a great day out for all the family.
Reviewed October 12, 2013

If you are looking for a theme park or fast thrilling rides this is not the place for you..try a theme park.

The center is charity funded and has a really friendly atmosphere, staff all very helpful from those in the cafe to the ladies working on reception.

For adults there is a a really interesting museum about the history of the local area plus beautiful scenery, outside displays and the animals.

For children there is a stunningly crafted gruffalow trail, the Victorian school room, lovely walks , animals and a big opportunity to teach your children about the forest and nature. When I say there are animals its not like the discovery cove in Florida where you can pay for children to be entertained by dolphins and to have photos taken with them. For most of the year there are pigs on site and also ferrets which are walked around the park and interact with visitors at regular intervals through out the day. The animals are there to be enjoyed and respected so they may sleep in the day and not be visable in there cages.

We felt the entire essence of the place is not about pretentious marketing or cheap thrills but about respecting, learning about and appreciating the forest .

The lovely home cooked food in the cafe finished the day of, we had a yummy salad and a piece of cake. It was made from decent ingredients and well cooked.

I really can not fault the place and I thought all the staff were brilliant but then I guess it depends on your expectations!

Thank polly8468
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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183 - 187 of 230 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2013

Nice Autumn morning...looking for a coffee and slice of cake. Also looking for a picture of a Forest of Dean Miner. Thought this would be the ideal place. Front of counter in tea shop was filthy and glass all smeared. As for the cakes they all looked like they had been there for weeks. Just walked straight back out...

2  Thank 94Sharon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

I liked the external displays, especially the old two-up-two-down miners cottage with period furnishings and a lovely garden. The internal exhibits of flints, old tools and stuffed animals etc were okay though a bit dusty. But I guess the key word here is 'heritage'.
For kids the 'gruffalo' trail seemed a bit over-contrived to me but I guess a 5 yr old would like it!
The charcoal-making exhibit was very good, though the mine-shaft frontage was a bit boring.
Cafe was good. A nice stop on our journey through the Forest of Dean, and not expensive at under £11 for the two of us. See the pics attached.

Thank GaryWong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

We visited the centre while camping in the Forest. I don't know if we would have bothered if I'd read a lot of the reviews on this site, but I must say that I don't agree with most of them. We went with our 2 children aged 4 and 5 and we all loved the Gruffalo trail. The wood carvings were beautiful and very true to the illustrations in the book. We have done a Gruffalo trail elsewhere which was actually a walk of a mile or so with the exhibits spread over a much longer route. The only reason this trail was so short was because they were close together - for my kids that was a bonus! I thought it was a bit unneccesary to charge for the quiz sheet - it was only a single page that could easily have been included in the entry price. The charcoal area was really interesting, and the Victorian house etc was also really good as well as being educational for all of us. We happened to go round to the ferrets at the time they were walking them and this was good fun. It would have been useful to have been told the ferret walking was at a specific time when we arrived, as we would have been very disappointed to miss it. The kids were also disappointed that the pigs weren't there. We kept finding new things to look at - there's actually a lot more there than you think when you first arrive, so keep hunting round. It's a really pretty place and we found the staff very friendly. We had a cup of tea and cakes all round in the cafe and we all enjoyed the cakes and I thought they were a reasonable price for huge slabs of cake! Overall, this was one of the best days out of our holiday and I would recommend it as a low key but very enjoyable day out.

Thank Joanne P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013 via mobile

We were so looking forward to doing the gruffalo trail but I was left disappointed. We took our time on the trail but it still only lasted 15mins. I think it could be made a lot longer with a few activities along the way. We even did the challenge but it still was very short. We did see the harvest of the charcoal burn which was very informative but overall very disappointing!

1  Thank Louise H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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