Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Christmas Dinner at The Green Dragon

Christmas dinner should be one of the nicest meals of the year.  For me, as much as I love cooking it, I have no love for the clean up afterwards nor for the hours of roasting and prep.  On the big day, I like to be firmly planted in my chair with a glass of Scotch in one hand and a mince pie in other.  However, more often than not, I am found sitting on the floor assembling Legos and playing dolls.  Either way, it is nice to have a meal out, provided one is guaranteed of it being something truly special.  So, for this Christmas, my recommendation is The Green Dragon pub in Cockleford near Cowley.

Tucked away in a quiet hamlet surrounded by woods, a pond, and the best countryside, this 17th century pub is well known for it's outstanding local food, great pints, gorgeous location and it's mice (more on these later).  Food is local, usually organic and often is freshly caught that very morning in the case of pheasant and venison.  The chefs are of an extremely high standard- this is not 'pub grub' but the height of English country cuisine.  There are three roaring fireplaces and the beauty of the old, traditional country pub has been carefully maintained throughout.  

For the drinkers, real ale abounds, there is an excellent wine list, as well as a fine selection of malt whisky.

The Christmas Day (2010) Menu, £59.95 per person and £39.95 under 12’s, is as follows:

Eggs Benedict (Toasted English Muffin with Home Cooked Ham, Poached Egg & Hollandaise Sauce)
A Salad of Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries with a Sweet Onion Dressing
Smoked Trout, Smoked halibut & Smoked Salmon Terrine with a Tomato & Lime Salsa
Leek & Potato Soup with Crispy Lardons of Smoked Bacon

Champagne Sorbet

Traditional Roast Breast of Turkey with Chestnut & Cranberry Stuffing, Bacon wrapped Chipolata, Cranberry Sauce & Gravy
Pan Fried Baby Lamb Fillets in Rosemary Butter served with Cauliflower Puree and Pear & Mint Salsa
Whole roasted Partridge filled with Pork Sausage meat & Granny Smith Apples wrapped in Pancetta with a rich Merlot Jus
Monkfish Tails marinated in Moroccan Spices with a Sweet Pimento & Red Pepper Fondue & Tempura King Prawns
Arborio Risotto with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips in a Rosemary & Black Pepper Cream
All served with Roast Potatoes, Buttered Carrots, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts & Honey Glazed Parsnips

Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce
Tian of Rice Pudding cooked with Nutmeg & Thick Double Cream served with a Fruit Compote
Cheese & Biscuits
White and Dark Chocolate Marble Cheesecake with Champagne Cream

Coffee & Petit Fours

Sounds alright to me!  Please do make sure to call in advance and book, as The Green Dragon is very popular and will fill up fast.  Contact details are:

The Green Dragon Inn
Cockleford, Nr Cowley, 
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 9NW, 
Tel: +44 (0)1242 870 271, Fax: +44 (0)1242 870 171
Email: green-dragon@buccaneer.co.uk
See it & Explore the Area on Google Street Map: http://bit.ly/eLHUha

As for the mice, I was referring to the those carved into various bits of furniture, all of which was made for the pub by famous craftsman Robert Thompson, "The Mouse Man of Kilburn." 

Friday, 3 December 2010

Cotswolds Markets Guide

The Ragged and Old Morris perform at the Stroud farmers' Market
This is an attempt at a 'Markets Guide' for the Cotswolds.  Market can mean a lot of things.  In this case, it means Farmers Markets, Weekly Retail Markets, and Markets held by the laudable WI (Women's Institute).  Local Farmers Markets offer outstanding food at an exceptional value, typically all locally grown/produced/reared and almost always organic.  There are many producers whose food can only be bought in local markets and small shops, so a visit to one of these markets is sure to give the traveler a true taste of the Cotswolds (sorry).  The weekly Retail markets are great for finding bargains and unusual local crafts, and the WI markets are ideal for all manner of homecraft with a very high level of quality.  Finding and offering details on every market in the area was no small task and I am sure there are plenty more out there- so please 'comment' on this post if you know of a great market that should be listed!
Farmers' Markets
A visit to one of the many Farmers’ Markets in the Cotswolds is an ideal way of sampling the region’s produce. The list below provides information about when these local Farmers' Markets take place.
First Friday in the month, 8:30 am – 1:30pm
Third Saturday in the month, at the Town Hall, 9am – 12:30pm
Fourth Sunday in the month in the Countrywide Stores, 9:30am – 1:30pm
Second and last Friday in the month, located by the Long Gardens on the Promenade, 9am – 3pm
Chipping Norton
Third Saturday in the month, Market Square, 8:30am – 1pm
Chipping Sodbury
Second Saturday and the last Thursday of the month and located by the Clock Tower in the town centre, 9am – 2pm
Second and fourth Saturday in the month, takes place in the Market Place, in the centre of the town, 9am - 1pm
Second and fourth Saturday, at the Town Hall, 8:30am – 2pm
Every Friday at The Cross and Southgate Street, 9am – 3pm
Every Third Thursday in Market Square, 8:30am - 1pm.  Country market every Thurs in church cottage, next to st lawrence church on the market place.
Fourth Saturday in the month in Mortimer Gardens in the town centre, 9am – 1pm
Second Thursday in the month in Market Square, 9am – 2pm
Every Saturday in the town centre, 9am – 2pm
First and third Thursday in the month at St Mary Centre, 9am – 1pm
Third Saturday in the month in the back lane car park, town centre, 9am – 2:30pm
Third Thursday in the month, Market Place, 8:30am – 1:30pm
First Saturday in the month, in front of Town Hall, 8:30am – 1:00pm
Weekly Retail Markets

Weekly retail markets occur in the following towns during the days indicated:

Banbury Market
Thursdays & Saturdays
Held at Market Place.  Banbury has a historic Charter Market in the town centre square market with 100 stalls. You'll find a wide variety of products including fruit and veg, clothing and footwear, tools and carpets and garden plants.  Open 8:30am - 4pm.

Carterton Market
A weekly market is held on Thursdays in Black Bourton Road, 8:00am – 4:00pm

Cheltenham “Thursday Market”
Henrietta Street Car Park, Lower High Street.  Fresh local fruit and vegetables can be found as well as clothes, cds and plants. 

Cheltenham Racecourse Market
Flea Market Items and Antiques, plus House Clearances, 9am – 2pm

Cirencester's Charter Market

Mondays & Fridays
Held in the Market Place on Monday and Friday each week.
This market is one of the oldest charter markets in the country, having been mentioned as early as 1086 in the Domesday Book. It forms a vital part of the Town Council's policy of fostering a thriving town centre. It is a shopping experience not to be missed. That it is particularly attractive seems to be proved by its regular selection by film crews looking for a typical country market as a backcloth for advertising on television.  The Cirencester Market usually runs from 9am to 3pm.

Evesham Market
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Evesham Central Market, 9am-5pm, 81 High Street
Fairford Market
The Market is open every Wednesday from 8.30 am - 11.30 am in Fairford Community Centre.  Items sold:
  • Sponge, fruit cakes and cookies
  • Savouries like steak and kidney pies
  • Local honey, homemade marmalade, jams and chutneys
  • Fresh seasonal vegetables
  • Farm fresh Free Range eggs
  • Plants, bedding plants, seasonal flowers, herbs
  • Cards which can be made to order for any occasion
  • Crafts including handmade soft toys, knitted baby clothes
  • Beads and Jewellry
  • Special Events Table
Gloucester – Cherry & White Market
The Cherry & White market is held in King's Square in the heart of Gloucester.  There's around 40 stalls selling the freshest fruit and veg, meat, household goods, clothes, jewellery, plants and lots more.  King's Square is a large pedestrianised area with seats surrounded by shops and stores so it's a great place to go to grab yourself a bargain and then sit and watch the world go by.  9am – 4pm.

Moreton-in-Marsh Market
Moreton-In-Marsh market is Gloucestershire's biggest market with around 250-300 stalls located in this pretty historic town in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Visitors come from miles to visit this market with its fantastic range of goods on sale from the friendly traders. Well worth a visit

Stroud – The Shambles Market
Wednesdays, Fridays & SaturdaysLocated in The Shambles, off the High Street in Stroud, The Shambles Market is held on Fridays and Saturdays from 8am-4pm and on Wednesdays from 8am-3pm. There are two sections: the outdoor market which has food stalls selling fruit and veg (including organic), cheese, pet supplies, greetings cards, wrapping paper, olive oil, war gaming and fantasy figures, children's clothes and toys, wooden gifts, bric-a-brac, plants and fresh fish.
The indoor market is held in the adjoing St Laurence Church Hall. Here you'll find second hand books, comics, CDs, DVDs, watches and jewellery, vintage clothes, hand made clothes and jewellery, antiques and collectables, sweets, candles and old local photographs. Both markets have both regular and casual stalls, so whichever day you visit you never know quite what you'll find!
Tewkesbury Market
Wednesdays & Saturdays
An open air Market is held twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The main shopping areas are on High Street, Church Street and Barton Street. Very popular town market with 60-80 stalls.

WI Markets

Women's Institute markets started in 1919 to provide a place where surplus homemade and home grown produce could be sold to the public.

WI markets are worth looking out for, as they stock delicious home-grown and home-made foods. Days vary, but usually  held on Thursday or Friday mornings. Contact the local Visitor Information Centres for full details or the Gloucestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Cheltenham:Thurs 10.15 - 11.45,   The Foyer, Everyman Theatre, Regent Street
Cheltenham (Warden Hill): Fri 9.00 - 10.30,   United Reformed Church Hall, Salisbury Avenue, Warden Hill 
Chipping Campden: Fri 9.00 - 11.00,   Lower Room, Town Hall
Cirencester: Fri 8.30 - 11.30,   Bingham House, Dyer Street
Coleford: (closed Jan & Feb) Fri 10.00 - 11.30, Coleford Community Centre
Fairford: Wed 9.30 - 11.00, Palmer Hall, Fairford
Gloucester: (closed for 2 weeks after Christmas) Thurs 8.30 - 1.00 Wheatstone Hall, (City Museum Building), Bunswick Rd
Greet & Winchcombe: Thurs 9.45 - 10.30,   Conservative's Men's Working Club, Abbey Terrace, Winchcombe
Lechlade: Thurs 9.00 - 11.00,   The Methodist Church Hall, High Street
Minchinhampton: Thurs 9.00 - 11.00 Market House, The Porch Room
Nailsworth: Fri 9.30 - 11.00,   Mortimer Room, Old Market
Newent: Fri 10.00 - 11.00,   Newent Memorial Hall
Northleach: Thurs 9.45 - 10.30 (Mid May to end June 9:45 - 11:00), The Cotswold Hall
Painswick: Fri 10.00 - 11.00,   Painswick Town Hall