Magners Irish Cider has today been unveiled as the exclusive sponsor of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and as Presenting Partner of The Festival™, staged annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse.
In a four-year agreement between Magners Irish Cider and Jockey Club Racecourses, from 2019 to 2022, the Jump racing’s showpiece event will become the ‘Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup’. The Festival™ will now be referred to as ‘The Festival™, presented by Magners’.
The Festival™ is the fourth biggest sporting event in the UK, in terms of the total number of visitors, and takes place over four days at the world famous Prestbury Park racecourse here in the Cotswolds.. In addition, The Festival™ has broad and increasing appeal in Ireland, with approximately one third of tickets sold in 2018 going to Irish race-goers. The Festival™ 2018 was another fruitful year for the Irish, with punters witnessing 17 Irish-trained winners during four days of competitive Jump racing.
On Wednesday 1st August, The Wild Beer Co at Jessops House are hosting a 100% sustainable seafood feast with Kingfisher as they internationally start looking at the importance of eating well and looking after one of the eco-systems that has been seriously taken for granted over the years!
Tickets include entree drink and oysters followed by a tapas dinner hosted by their friends at Kingfisher who will also provide a talk on the importance of provenance and sustainability. Tickets also include an automatic name in the hat to be in with a chance to win a sea fishing trip to see first hand how it's all done!
Tickets are now available and we have limited availability so if your appetite has been whetted, get in touch with their reservations team to reserve your ticket!
WEDNESDAY 1ST AUGUST
John Lewis has announced that the popular Cotswold bakery and tearoom business Huffkins, which has been operating in the region since 1890, will open a beautiful tearoom and shop in the retailer’s new shop in October.
Famous in the Cotswolds for its locally sourced, high-quality produce, Huffkins will serve traditional afternoon tea, with a selection of delicate finger sandwiches made with freshly baked bread and tasty handmade scones prepared that day. Customers will also be able to enjoy a glass of prosecco as part of their high tea experience and for those with children, there will be a Huffkins Teddy Bears Picnic afternoon tea experience.
As well as afternoon tea, customers will also be able to enjoy a wide selection of hot and cold foods with new menu choices each day. Customers looking to start their day at John Lewis Cheltenham or meet friends for brunch, can choose from Huffkins’ breakfast menu which includes chilli smashed avocado and poached eggs on sourdough, eggs benedict, in addition to the traditional full english breakfast.
For those with a sweeter tooth, other highlights on the menu will include flaky pastries, cherry bakewell tarts and Huffkins’ signature salted caramel millionaire’s shortcake. Tea room customers will also be able to purchase freshly baked goods from the counter and retail displays will offer beautifully packaged Huffkins brand products including cakes, shortbreads, preserves, loose leaf teas and coffees.
Martin Bundy, Branch Manager for John Lewis Cheltenham, said: “It’s brilliant to bring a local flavour into our new Cheltenham shop. Huffkins has a strong heritage in Cheltenham and the wider Cotswolds area, and we’re proud to be partnering with such a prestigious local brand for our first shop in Gloucestershire. I know our customers will love their delicious food.”
Joshua Taee, Managing Director at Huffkins, said: “We’re thrilled to be opening our sixth tea room in John Lewis Cheltenham, which is already a highly anticipated addition to the region. As a family based Cotswold business we’re committed to using local ingredients to create the highest quality food for our customers and are excited to bring our taste of the Cotswolds to shoppers at John Lewis Cheltenham.”
Located on the first floor of John Lewis Cheltenham, overlooking the main entrance of the shop opening times will mirror those of the department store. The existing ‘Little’ Huffkins that opened in Cheltenham in 2011, will remain in operation and is located opposite Cavendish House on the Promenade.
Oxfordshire-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear has today revealed details of the extensive transformation set to be unveiled when the much-loved The Frogmill reopens its doors with an entirely new look in July 2018, following the brewer’s acquisition of the site in December 2015.
The largest project in Brakspear’s 240-year history, the renovation is set to breathe new life into the 16th century inn, transforming it into a boutique destination in the heart of the Cotswolds with delicious all-day dining, stylish rooms and attractive wedding and event facilities.
Tom Davies, Chief Executive of Brakspear, commented: “We’ve always been very mindful of the fact that this is a place with a rich history, close to the hearts of many in the local community. The renovation itself, although creating an entirely new look and feel to the inn’s restaurant, rooms, bar and beautiful outdoor space, will showcase many elements of its heritage alongside thoughtful modern twists; giving a distinctly stylish feel coupled with bags of old-world Cotswold charm. We invite all to come along in July to see it for themselves!”
With Brakspear’s in-house design team leading the renovations, The Frogmill will boast an entirely new bar and restaurant layout alongside 28 plush en-suite bedrooms. Design details revealed for the first time today include:
An entirely new, large bar area has been created at the heart of the inn through clever use of former cellar space, with the site’s former bar area transformed into a cosy snug complete with open fire. Designed to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere in keeping with the building’s longstanding history, the bar itself will have a distinctly traditional feel with timber-clad walls, reclaimed oak beams, flagstone flooring and mismatched vintage furniture, with a beautiful oak bar as its centrepiece.
Much like the bar, the Frogmill’s new-look restaurant area has been extended with a spacious open-plan layout, affording the space with plenty of light for a bright, relaxed dining experience. Classic Cotswold-country hues will give the restaurant a refined, elegant feel in keeping with the locality, with timber-clad walls, sandblasted oak dining furniture and eclectic artwork giving the space plenty of texture and personality.
28 en-suite bedrooms will offer a plush space for travellers to unwind, perfectly positioned to explore The Cotswolds’ numerous towns and villages. Distinctly boutique in feel, the bedrooms will house sink-in Feather & Black beds, statement wallpaper from William Morris and Zoffany, GP&J Baker fabrics and eye-catching light fixtures from Jim Lawrence; as well as vintage Ercol furnishings in several of the larger bedrooms. En-suite bathrooms will carry on the laid-back luxury feel of the rooms, with feature tiling, waterfall showers and beautiful baths in a selection of the rooms.
Wedding and Events Space
Decorated in an elegant, classic French style, The Frogmill’s new-look wedding and events space will feature a minstrel gallery complete with traditional imported French balustrading; ideal for picture-perfect wedding shots. With a capacity of 150, the space will offer generous provisions for weddings, celebrations and corporate events alike.
The Frogmill’s extensive grounds will offer a tranquil place for visitors to sit back, relax and drink in the stunning rolling Cotswold landscape surrounding the inn. Completely re-landscaped courtesy landscape designer Justin Spink, the dog-friendly garden will boast a dining terrace and boules court, as well as a large lawned area; perfect for younger guests wanting to stretch their legs.
Tom Davies continued: “We’re incredibly excited that the opening date for our new-look Frogmill is almost upon us and the site is really starting to take shape. It’s amazing to see the fruits of our labour come together after months of hard work and we can’t wait to reveal exactly what this much-loved inn has up its sleeves for locals and tourists alike.”
The OVO Energy 2018 Tour of Britain will again come through the Cotswolds on Wednesday 5 September, albeit very briefly.
Stage Four will be raced over 183 kilometres – the second longest of this year’s Tour – from Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa and pass through Ilmington, where the King of the Mountain climb will start, and through Ebrington and Charingworth before heading up to Edge Hill.
Visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk/stages/stage-four to see Stage Four and the rest of the tour.
Are you a parent in need of a little inspiration to spend some quality time with your children? Well, double Olympic gold medallist rower, adventurer and father of three, Alex Gregory has written just the thing for you.
DadVentures is the ultimate family activity guide which shares lots of ideas for enjoying time together as a family, in all seasons. Whether you have 30 minutes to do homework up a tree, or a whole day to build an ancient bridge, you can delve in together and be inspired by this practical, easy guide for all ages. Divided into categories to fit whatever time slots work within the day, the book contains chapters such as After-School Adventures, 30-Minute Activities, Two-Hour Missions, Half-Day Experiences, Full-Day Adventures, Overnight Expeditions and Pushing Away from Land.
You can purchase the book now by visiting www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008283704/dadventures/
There is an official beer for the Cotswold Olympicks that takes place on Friday 1st June.
Created by Brotherhood Brewery, established by three Chipping Campden siblings, Shinkicker has been created using a two row English malt and a base hop of U.K. cascade. The outcome is a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic.
You can find the 3.8% Pale Ale behind many bars in pubs around the town including The Eight Bells, The Volunteer, The Plough Inn at Stretton, The Baker's Arms in Broad Campden and the Noel Arms.
All profits from the sale of each cask are going back into raising money for this and next year's Cotswold Olimpick Games.
Moody's has opened in Cheltenham on the old Bierkeller site and we took a visit to try it out.
The menu is full of "sharers "n" starters", hot dogs, salads, 6 options of loaded fries, sides and of course burgers... lots of burgers, 14 in fact, including The Moody (pictured below).
Could you demolish it?
1 x Beef Burger Patty
1 x Pork & Chorizo Patty
1 x Buttermilk Chicken Fillet
Cheese, Burger & BBQ Sauce
and topped with...
4 x Chicken wings
4 x Onion rings
1 x Pig in Blanket
The brioche bun did its best to hold up this stack but finally succumbed but all in all it was a seriously good burger and perfect for anyone who likes a little challenge.
Check them out here - www.moodyburgers.co.uk
The wonderful Cotswolds Distillery have opened their first ever off-site shop on the high street in Bourton on the Water.
The small satellite store will stock their award-winning gin, the first ever Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky and the delightful cream liqueur, as well as miniatures, glasses and of course some tonic water to enjoy with your gin!
We are just 100 days from the start of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm in Kingham.
Tom Odell, Paloma Faith, Craig David, Clean Bandit, Professor Green and James Arthur will all be headlining the main stage over the three days while Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Gizzi Erskine and local favourites Tom and Henry Herbert can be found in the food and drink area.
A firm favourite with all the family, The Big Feastival 2018 is one of the best weekends in the Cotswolds calendar.
The Cotswolds has been crying out for a decent fish restaurant for years. We have been relying on Purslane in Cheltenham for far too long for our seafood fix so when The Farncombe Estate announced that they were creating a seafood inspired restaurant by Culinary Director Martin Burge in the newly refurbished Fish Hotel, it was music to my ears.
First stop was the bar for a couple of pre-dinner drinks. This has been transformed into a stylish space with lots of fine spirits and a cocktail menu that included a Cotswolds Gin Martini... when in Rome! The bar has its own lunch and dinner menu and is also dog friendly. If you have your pooch in tow, you can also enjoy the Hook à la carte menu in the bar which is pretty cool.
The dining room follows the laid-back Scandinavian style with an open kitchen and plenty of soft furnishings. The menu offers, in their words, " the finest, freshest responsibly sourced fish, sustainable shellfish and a few timeless classics from the land" and I couldn't agree more so don't be put off if you're not the biggest seafood fan.
The Fowey Mussels with smoked bacon, garlic & Cotswold cider were absolute monsters and one of the best starters I have had for a while. If you love mussels then this is a must. They are also available with white wine and parsley, and as a main course which includes fries, but the bacon, garlic and cider is definitely the way forward and there are lots of them too!
I rarely order Lemon Sole due do the bones and my lack of patience when having to work for my meal but this was recommended to me and served with shrimp and capers, and it looked amazing on a picture I saw on Instagram (see below), so I couldn't really back out. The bones were a pain, they're always a pain, but it's worth it in the end. The extra side of fries is highly recommended too! Would I order it again when I go back?, probably not as I saw a picture of the Bouillabaisse on twitter this week which looked incredible and tells me that I probably need to spend less time on social media.
If you have a sweet tooth then the pudding menu offers some treats as well as some dessert cocktails. An espresso martini was enough for us but were were very tempted by Banana caramel cheesecake.
Farncombe Estate have a knack of getting things right. The Dormy House and Foxhill Manor both offer brilliant dining experiences and now The Fish Hotel, after failing to reach its full potential in its first few years, has now created a superb celebration of seafood and something the Cotswolds should really embrace.
À la carte
Cotswold Farm Park owner and BBC Countryfile star Adam Henson is backing a campaign by local farmer-founded not-for-profit Happerley to make all school dinners 100% traceable from farm to fork.
The project which is called “Please Sir! Feed Me Truth” launches today and aims to educate the next generation of consumers with where their food comes from.
He said: “The appreciation and understanding of food starts with children simply knowing how and where the ingredients on their plate were produced. But they don’t.”
“They have no idea. Every school dinner has a story to tell – a journey. It leaves a footprint. We need every child to explore it and be inspired and learn from it.”
Adam hopes every school in the country will commit to making their food supply chain transparent, using technology to deliver into school dining rooms the journey of every plate of food.
Happerley founder, farmer Matthew Rymer, explains: “The food industry remains one of the least transparent and we are not told the origins of most of the ingredients in our food. Children are particularly susceptible to buying into brands and clever marketing because they do not know or understand better.
“By working through the food chain to deliver the full story of the ingredients that make their school dinners, our hope is we can create a seismic change for the future that impacts positively on their health and nutrition, the environment and sustainable food production.”
Happerley was established by two farmers on a mission to empower the consumer to know the journey of their food while creating a level playing field for all food businesses to validate and protect the provenance value of their food production.
This summer our provenance team has started signing up restaurants, retailers, butchers, bakeries etc. willing to become Provenance Champions and have their supply network audited and published online. Meaning you, in an instant, can see their ingredient supply chains down to the farmers and growers.
Are you a business, restaurant, retailer who would be interested in becoming Happerley certified? Visit happerley.co.uk today!
If, like us, you can't start the day without a good coffee this news will be music to your ears.
To celebrate the launch of their new, unique blend of coffee, you can enjoy your first coffee on us every day at a Lucky Onion destination of your choice throughout May.
Here is where you can enjoy a cup.
No.131, Cheltenham – before 10am
No.38 The Park, Cheltenham – before 10am
The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach – before 10am
The Wild Duck, Nr Cirencester – before 12pm
For all the T&C's and a Q&A with the founder of UE Coffee, the only artisan wood powered coffee roastery in the UK, visit theluckyonion.com/whats-on/coffee-on-us/
From 1st June, Boston Tea Party are banning disposable coffee cups in their cafes.
This is just another change that the family owned independent small café chain have made to move away from plastic. They have already switched to paper straws and replaced all their plastic water bottles to glass ones.
They have currently been offering a 25p discount to people bringing their own coffee cup to takeaway but the take up of this offer is painfully low, at around 3% which is why they have taken the move to ban disposable coffee cups in all of their cafes.
People will now have to bring their own cup. They will be selling the wonderful Ecoffee cups at subsidised rate which are made using the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop – bamboo fibre.
We are regulars to BTP Cheltenham and absolutely love and support this move. Let's change a habit of a generation and start #makingthingsbetter.
You can find out more on the Boston Tea Party blog here - bostonteaparty.co.uk/blog
We absolutely love the new treehouses at The Fish Hotel.
These are no ordinary treehouses though, these are grown-up treehouses which sleep up to 4 people (a double and a twin room) and include ensuite bathrooms, underfloor heating, Nespresso machines and a remarkably well stocked minibar.
Did we mention that one is dog friendly all of them have two outdoor bathtubs too?
They are available from May 1st.
Fear not folks, BBC Three has commissioned both a one-off special and a third series of the award-winning This Country.
Series 2 ended on a cliff-hanger as we were left wondering if Kerry was going to take the blame for that nasty bastard Martin Mucklowe's crime.
Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, said “Once in a while a show lands fully formed and audiences take it to their hearts immediately. Daisy and Charlie’s characters and world have struck a chord with viewers of all ages as their sharp writing delivers a winning mix of heartfelt moments and punchy belly laughs, all performed to comic perfection.”
Filming will begin on the 40-minute special this summer, with a six-part series to go into production next year.
The Big Feastival has added more acts to its line-up for the festival in August.
Tom Odell, Rak-Su, The Bluetones and The Undertones were announced on the bill today.
It's not just about music though as the food and drink side of the festival is just as popular. Chefs Pierre Koffmann, Gizzi Erskine and local bothers Tom and Henry Herbert are all appearing.
The festival takes place at Alex James' Farm in Kingham from 24th-26th August.
Tickets are available here thebigfeastival.com
We were up bright and early this morning to watch Chris Hughes on the gallops at Jonjo O'Neill Racing.
Chris is taking part in the Macmillan Cancer Support "Race of their Lives" at York Racecourse on June 16th and is training at Jackdaws Castle here in the Cotswolds.
To support Chris in the race you can donate by clicking the link below.
Local artist Jeremy Houghton is the new Artist in Residence at The Lygon Arms in his home village of Broadway.
His work is available to view in his studio inside the hotel.
He will also be holding talks at The Lygon Arms covering many topics including Broadway's art history and the story of the Lygon family, as well as taking tours of the village.
Pop by and take a look. Jeremy will be working there at various times so you might be lucky see him at work.
Let's face it, the weather is pretty crap at the moment and the only thing that cheers us up is food and alcohol, correct?
Last Wednesday was no different, rain in the morning, grey skies in the afternoon. The only thing keeping us sane was an evening with the Cotswolds Distillery taking place that night at The Churchill Arms in Paxford. If you are familiar with the pub then you will know that the food is always of the highest quality. If you have never been then we suggest you try it soon.
Chef and proprietor Nick Deverell-Smith had created a menu featuring some of the distillery's finest tipples. For starter there was Cornish Pollock cured in Cotswolds Dry Gin, grapefruit and black pepper salad and some grapefruit bitters. I really don't like grapefruit. I thought it was just it was just my immature palate as a child but I have tried and tried and still find it utterly repulsive. Luckily there were some orange segments on the plate whose sweetness worked perfectly with the slight sharpness of the fish. There was also a slug of the gin to wash it down with which again, if you have yet to try it you are really missing out. You can always tell a good gin when you can drink it on its own over some ice. This is one of those gins.
The fact I love beef meant that I was looking forward to the main course. Local Todenham Farm beef, local broccoli, broccoli puree, Cotswolds single malt whisky oat crumb. The beef was perfectly pink (unless you wanted it a little more well done) and the crumb was packed with whisky notes. This was "The Cotswolds" on a plate with all the ingredients being sourced within a 10 minute drive of the pub. The whisky is the first ever single malt made here in the Cotswolds and if you don't think you like whisky then give this one a go. With notes of butterscotch, apricot and a hint of treacle, it is a fabulous introductory dram and truly exceptional for a 3 year-old.
For dessert there was The Churchill's take on an Affogato served with the distillery's Figgy Liquor. Now this stuff is the difference between remembering your night and not. It's made in small batches and sold exclusively at the distillery, apart from 4 bottles that are at The Churchill. It's 41% ABV and absolutely delicious. It literally is, as described, a "figgy fruitcake in a bottle". It should however have a warning on the bottle like you get when you go on long-haul flights to take a lap of the pub every now and again to make sure your legs still work. The dessert was light with one scoop of ice cream. We were recommended to pour our figgy liquor into it but that would have been a waste!
When you're passionate about supporting local, it is wonderful when two fantastic businesses come together to create something special. The Churchill Arms is the only pub to stock a full range of Cotswolds Distillery spirits and liquors. You can also try these on a tour of the distillery that you can book on their website. If you are thinking about doing either of these, we highly recommend getting somebody else to drive!