AN AUTUMN GETAWAY TO WYE VALLEY

There’s something nice about being a tourist in your own country. We love exploring our local area but also heading off on short weekends away to other places in the UK.

This autumn, we decided to spend some quality time together on a quick yet cosy weekend in Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. Located in the English county of Gloucestershire, this is one of the best places in the country for leaf peeping so given the time of year I was instantly attracted.

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We flew down direct from Aberdeen to Bristol with flybmi - a quick and comfortable flight - and then hired a car for the one hour drive. We arrived late afternoon on a perfectly crisp autumn Friday and so it was so lovely to see the low sun shining through the trees covered in deep colours along the way.

As usual, I was really keen to stay in the countryside. I grew up almost in the middle of nowhere so love getting back to the quiet. For that reason we chose to stay at Brooks Country House - an award-winning beautiful Georgian manor house set between Hereford and Ross on Wye overlooking the valley.

After a swift check in we settled into our room. Antique furniture married with modern finishes made this the ideal home-from-home for the weekend.

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That evening we ate in the hotel restaurant, enjoying steak and plenty of good wine, before challenging each other to a game of scrabble. Unsurprisingly I lost - board games have never been my strongest point.

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Well-rested after a long week at work we woke up the next morning ready for a country adventure. Fueled with a good breakfast, we jumped back in the car and headed to Monmouth - a historic county town.

It might have been a slightly rainy Saturday but the town is still extremely pretty, full of cobbled streets, unique shops and traditional architecture.

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We wandered in and out of gift shops, craft stores, old fashioned sweet shops and delicatessens for just over an hour before heading to a cute cafe for a hot chocolate and little warmth.

We had booked Tudor Farmhouse for lunch earlier in the week after reading rave reviews online. A boutique retreat, the drive to this lunch spot was exactly what I had hoped for when arranging this trip. There were so many amazing colours and quaint villages it was like something from a film.

Knowing we were dining out that evening, we both ordered a sandwich - mine with my favourite of cheese and pickle - whilst enjoying the surroundings of the countryside and the cosy interior of the restaurant.

Our final stop that day was Ross on Wye, a location suggested by Wye Dean Tourism Similar to Monmouth, we were spoiled for choice with shops and architecture so again wandered until the sun started to set.

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A little tired and cold from our day out we headed back to the hotel where the log fire was roaring and drinks were being served in the lounge. Making the most of our room, I enjoyed a long soak in the bath with a glass of bubbly before getting ready for the evening.

We took a taxi to The Lough Pool Inn - somewhere I had come across myself whilst looking on Google Maps and I’m so glad I did. This has got to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The combination of a warm welcome, the country pub feel and great food made it an evening to remember.

Booked on an early flight with flybmi back to Aberdeen the next morning, we were up and out first thing. At first I wasn’t sure about leaving so early on a Sunday but in fact it ensured we made the most of the day and got us home to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

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If you’re looking for a weekend getaway I can’t recommend a trip to Wye Valley and Forest of Dean enough, especially if you’re in Aberdeen. The flight direct to Bristol is comfortable and quick and there’s such a great range of places to visit in the area including the Cotswolds, Hereford and Gloucester.

Thank you to flybmi, Wye Dean Tourism and Brooks Country House for sponsoring and supporting this trip.