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, 20 October 2012

The Ebrington Arms

I've been feeling a bit guilty lately, as I haven't given this little blog hardly any attention in ages.  I must apologise.  It wasn't intentional- it's only that we've just had baby number four and I've had no leisure time at all these past few months.  Anyways, we're back!  And now for the first of what is planned to be a series of spotlights on some truly exceptional places to visit the next time you're in the Cotswolds.

The star of this post is the lovely Ebrington Arms, a beautifully restored 17th century pub with some of the highest standard food in the area and rooms that place them top of the list in some of the world's most exclusive ratings and review guides.

The hotel is just two miles from Chipping Campden, which should already put it at the top of your list.  Every  ingredient necessary for the ultimate Cotswolds experience is here in spades- a beautiful English village set amongst rolling green hills, friendly and professional landlords, outstanding locally sourced traditional food cooked to perfection, a parade of the finest local Real Ales that changes all the time, roaring firs in Inglenook fireplaces, a beer garden overlooking the Cotswold hills, perfectly decorated guestrooms, endless special events and games, and, essentially, wonderful service.

Just imagine....

  • Waking up to their Full English breakfast (if my doctor would allow it, I'd wake up to one every morning)
  • Going for a long ramble across the hills along The Cotswold Way, or stopping at any one of some of the finest attractions in England- Hidcote Gardens, Broadway Tower, Snowshill Lavendar, Sudeley Castle, Westonbirt Arboretum
  • Then returning to a roaring fire in the colder months or the beer garden in warmer times, a pint of Uley's, then tucking in to... (my choice) Todenham Manor Farm belly of Old Spot pork, stuffed with black pudding, seared scallops, curly kale, mustard mash, cider jus
  • Followed by games in the pub, perhaps some port and cheese by the Inglenook, and finally...
  • Heading up to your room, complete with beamed ceilings, rolltop bath, and a view over the hills. 
Come come, you must be convinced by now!  No?  Perhaps you should read about their awards, then.  Here they are:
  • Featured in The Good Beer Guide and The Good Food Guide four years running
  • Michelin Guide “Eating Out in Pubs” three years running
  • Two AA Stars for food, one of only 34 pubs in the UK!
  • CAMRA North Cotswold Pub of the year Winner, 2009, 2010, 2011, and Runner Up in 2012
  • AA Four Star rating for Guest Rooms
  • Featured in Alistair Sawday’s book “Special Places” Pubs & Inns
  • An excellent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor
And finally, the photos.  Lots of them- they did such a good job of capturing their establishment that it was almost impossible to narrow down the selection at all- so here is a set that I think gives a very solid flavour of what's in store for you in the near future.

Their website is here: http://www.theebringtonarms.co.uk/

And you can do a little virtual exploring of the village from outside the pub here with Google Street View: 

View Larger Map

And, last but not least, I leave you with this quote on the Ebrington Arms taken directly from Alistair Sawday's:

"The glorious gardens at Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court are a ramble across fields from the Ebrington Arms. This is a relaxed and rustic Cotswold stone pub that has been restored and revived by Claire and Jim. Little has changed in the 17th-century bar, hub of the community, cosy with low beams and roaring fires. Bag a seat and share pints of Purity with the regulars, or seek out the fun dining room next door. Worn stone floors, fresh flowers and a delightful mishmash of tables and chairs set the scene for some terrific pub food cooked from mostly local produce. Dishes are simple yet full of flavour, so dive in to scallops with celeriac purée and black pudding, calves' liver with garlic mash and caramelised onion jus, and apple, strawberry and ginger crumble. No need to negotiate the route home when you can bed down here; bedrooms (up steepish stairs) are full of charm, with chunky wooden beds, colourful throws and plump pillows, deep window seats with village or country views, and smart new bathrooms. A properly unpretentious pub, run by the nicest people."

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Autumn at Batsford Park Arboretum

It is Autumn at Batsford Arboretum in The Cotswolds. This is a time when the arboretum is filled with scents and aromas.  The rosy scent of the Clerodenrum mingles with the most unusual aroma of burnt sugar emanating from the Katsura tree.

Many of the trees and shrubs begin to fruit in earnest.  Most attractive are the hips on the specie roses hanging from the branches like red baubles on a Christmas tree.  Sorbus of many varieties have bunches of brightly coloured berries of different hues, deep rosy red, glowing orange, pale delicate pink and bright white. The first signs of autumn colour begin to tinge the leaves of the acres and ash trees giving us a taste of the glories to come.

Batsford is gearing up for an autumn of gorgeous colour - one of the few good things to come out of the bad weather so far this year!

The cold, dry winter followed by the dreadful wet weather this summer means, if conditions are right, the trees should put on an even better display than normal.
Come for a walk and see what we hope will be one of natures most spectacular natural fireworks to date!

Arboretum Opening Times
The arboretum is open every day except Christmas day from 10.00 to 4.45pm.
Admission Prices

Adults £7.00
Concessions £6.00
Children (4 to 15 inclusive) £3.00
Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children £17.00
(Booked groups of 20+ 10% discount on entry price)
Children of 15 or under must be accompanied by an adult
Season tickets:
Single (admit one person only) £35.00
Double (admit two people only) £55.00
*(For those over 65 years 10% discount)*
Children of season ticket holders free of charge.

T: 01386 701441

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tewkesbury Mustard Scandal

This story caught my eye and is something I really think needs broadcasting around the world, so please share with as many friends as you can.  Something simply must be done!

An Outraged Robert Boazman

(April, 2011 - Gloucestershire, The Cotswolds)
WHEN Robert Boazman bought a jar of his favourite condiment, he found its ingredients just didn't make sense.

The 69-year-old, of Upper Lode Lock, near Tewkesbury, was horrified to see that Sarah Darlington's Tewkesbury Mustard contained 85 per cent Dijon Mustard.

He believes Tewkesbury Mustard ought to contain English ingredients and certainly not be made of mostly French mustard. He said: "There are other foreign ones calling themselves Tewkesbury Mustard, but they should be based on the original recipe. The original mustard was made from mustard seeds collected locally and horseradish."

The precise recipe for original Tewkesbury Mustard is said to have been lost but the modern day product normally contains wine, mustard flour, horseradish, honey, lemon juice and sugar.

Sarah Darlington, who is based in Cheshire, said she was supplied with Tewkesbury Mustard made in Glasgow. She said she would look into changing the ingredients as a result of Mr Boazman's complaint.

Follow Up Story
(June, 2011 - Gloucestershire, The Cotswolds)

A FIRM can carry on selling Tewkesbury mustard, much to the disgust of a town resident.

Earlier this year, Robert Boazman, 69, was annoyed to find Sarah Darlington's Tewkesbury Mustard contained 85 per cent Dijon mustard.

He had bought a jar in the town, without knowing about its French ingredient.

He believes the product ought to contain English ingredients in order to be like traditional Tewkesbury mustard and so complained to the Cheshire-based firm.

Now, after seeking advice from trading standards officers, Sarah Darlington has written to Mr Boazman. She said her jars would, in future, make it clearer that Dijon mustard was used.

But Mr Boazman is still not happy, saying: "What gets me is that they can still call it Tewkesbury mustard. It's all wrong but there's nothing I can do about it."

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Chap Launches Petition to Save Savile Row

This may be a little 'off piste' from the usual Cotswolds-themed posts, but the cause is just too worthy to ignore. And we have to do our bit to support our friends over at The Chap and, more importantly, the legendary tailors of Savile Row. Read on....

In response to the appalling news about Abercrombie & Fitch proposing to open a children’s store on Savile Row, The Chap has decided to take a stand.

We have created a Petition, targeted at Wesminster Council, which we will present to them when enough signatures have been collected. We urge you to sign – it takes about three seconds and by doing so, you will be contributing in no small part to preserving 200 years of bespoke tailoring tradition on Savile Row.

A letter has also been written to London Mayor Boris Johnson, in the hope that he will understand how foolhardy this move could be, not only for the future of bespoke tailoring but also for the London tourist industry. Visitors to the capital do not come all the way here, put up with overpriced hotels and an appalling transport system, only to roam aimlessly around the same dull chainstores they can find in any other city in the world. Many of them come to London to see where Beau Brummell had his waistcoats made – which we are pretty certain was not Abercrombie & Fitch.

Honestly, what's next... a bloody McDonald's in The Dorchester?

Sign the petition here: www.petition.co.uk/save-savile-row-from-abercrombie-fitch

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Hobbit House in the Cotswolds

A while ago I posted about this very unusual 'hobbit house' in a secret location in the Cotswolds. Although no one has yet been able to pinpoint the location, I thought people might enjoy some more news on the house.

If you know where it is, please share- I'm sure there are some well-mannered ramblers here that would love a look!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

An update on "The Beast of Stroud"

There have been two very contradictory pieces of news regarding the so-called Beast of Stroud this past week.  Firstly, the DNA that was taken at the site of the deer killings has been analysed and was revealed to be that of a fox (see the article here).  Surprising as it may seem, fox have been known to attack and eat deer (and, hey, why not a wallabe?).

At the same time, a video has turned up in The Sun (certainly the least credible paper in the UK), showing two scientists viewing a "big cat" caught on tape, then verifying that it is indeed some much-larger-than-normal feline.  The video is here.... you be the judge!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Wildcat of Woodchester

For those of you who enjoy tales of the supernatural, or just the bloody weird, read on.  You may recall the old story of The Beast of Gloucester, a legendary big cat that roamed the Cotswolds killing big game (deer, cattle, etc.).  There is a good thread about the Beast here:  http://tinyurl.com/747on65  Anyways, it seems there could be a new big cat stalking the wolds, now being referred to as either The Wildcat of Woodchester or The Beast of Stroud.

 I’m sure these reports should be taken with a grain of salt, but they do make interesting reading.  The past week there have been articles filling up many UK papers about a host of attacks in the Cotswolds that are being attributed to a big cat.  Along with a series of deer kills, there was an incident where three wallabies (held in a private farm) were eaten, despite being kept behind a seven foot fence.  DNA tests are being carried out right now to confirm whether the killer was a cat, so watch this space.

Big cat sightings in the area are rather common, with over 75 sightings being logged by local police between 2005 and 2011 in the areas between Stroud Common and Woodchester (see the list here http://tinyurl.com/73pco5x)  A full article in the Daily Mail is here: http://tinyurl.com/7vyyh8b

The suspicion, as with most big cat stories, is that some fool illegally bought a panther, jaguar, or similar as a pet and then let it loose, or it escaped.  If you have any stories of sightings, theories, etc., please do share them!