There's no better way to get into the festive spirit than The International meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December 2019.
Don your Christmas jumpers on both days that will boast 14 thrilling races, including The BetVictor Handicap Steeple Chase and Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Friday and The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and The Unibet International Hurdle on Saturday.
Racegoers will have the chance of winning on the spot prizes for the most fun and festive jumper and prizes will include a pair tickets to any of the forthcoming race meetings including The Festival™, presented by Magners.
Alongside the racing, racegoers will also get the chance to browse the stands in The Shopping Village, useful for those last minute Christmas presents.
Gates open at 10am on both days, with the first race at 12.10pm.
David Gray is coming to The Great Court at Blenheim Palace on June 18th 2020 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the seminal 'White Ladder' album as part of the Nocturne Live series.
Featuring the hit singles ‘Babylon’, ‘Sail Away’, ‘Please Forgive Me’ and ‘This Year’s Love’, ‘White Ladder’ is one of the top 10 best-selling albums of the 20th century in the UK.
Joining him will be The Lighthouse Family. Having recently released their first new album in nearly two decades, the duo will perform new music as well as their classic hits including ‘High, ‘Lifted’ and ‘Ocean Drive’.
Completing the bill is storied singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot playing highlights from her two-decade long career.
You can save up to 21% on your Cheltenham Festival tickets if you purchase before 10:59am on Monday 2nd December.
The most prestigious and unmissable Jump racing event of the year. The Cheltenham Festival is a bucket list event that captures the nation and produces extraordinary moments to last a lifetime.
The Cheltenham Festival welcomes the finest horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers to battle it out for the highest racing honours, their reputations and over £4.5 million of prize money.
Enjoy an extraordinary day out with friends and family. From shopping, to live music, to a variety of bars and restaurants available, we are sure you'll have a day to remember while watching world class racing and history being made.
We live in a very weird world, and that's not to mention anything to do with politics. Just this week I found myself defending the presentation of The Swan's pie on twitter to a "chef" who told me that the mash should have been quenilled [sic] with a little jus around the plate and some fresh watercress. I told him he was very wrong, and it's not the 90s anymore. Nobody puts watercress on top of food nowadays do they?
It's been a couple of years since I visited The Swan and lots has changed in that time. Most importantly it has been taken over by Sam and Georgie Pearman, the original founders of The Lucky Onion, with pubs like the brilliant Chequers at Churchill which they still own and the delightful Wheatsheaf at Northleach which they don't.
The pub has changed a bit too. Thinking back it was slightly disjointed but certainly not unpleasant. There was an odd little room if you entered the pub through the door on the road. That has gone has become an extension to the bar area with a few nice tables. The dining room which once had outlandish green walls, green wallpaper, and lots of flowers (the former owner was an interior and floral stylist) now boasts more subtle blues and looks more like a restaurant than someone's living room. There was a roaring fire in the other bar surrounded by the best seats in the house and a lovely room, perfect for celebrations and shoot parties leading out onto the courtyard garden which I imagine would be a nice spot in the summer. The pub has a warmer feel throughout.
It's very rare I order bread, or ever bother to talk about it when I do. However, the Chipping Norton sourdough came with horseradish and dripping butter which is very much worth shouting about.
I'm always torn between dishes and usually leave up to the waiter or waitress to decide for me. It was between the BBQ native prawns, English peas, Chipping Norton nduja and mussels. Without any hesitation, the prawns won. They were huge, messy (the water bowl and napkin both turned the colour your fingers go after eating a packet of Wotsits) and brilliant. I've never had peas with prawns before but it worked, and the nduja-fueled juice at the bottom of the copper bowl was incredibly good to for dipping the spelt toast in.
I wasn't torn for my main. It was 3 degrees outside and I wanted a pie. Chicken and leek or ox cheek and smoked bacon, and choosing the latter wasn't a difficult choice. It arrived standing wonderfully unpretentious on a bed of mash and gravy. It was a thing of beauty and yes Mr Angry Twitter Chef stuck in a different decade, there was no need for spooned mash or watercress. If anything, it could have done with an extra small jug of gravy as the mashed soaked it up like a sponge. The side of squash and cavolo nero, curly kale to you and me, was a decent addition.
This was some of the best pub food I have eaten in quite a while. I have a lot of time for places who have a one main menu fits all for lunch and dinner too.
The Swan will lure locals (there's a special menu in the bar with a £10 dish on every day ) and Londeners alike (there's a station in Ascott where one train a day stops from The Big Smoke). There are also 8 rooms at the pub for anyone wanting to make a couple of days of it which we would obviously highly recommend.
Food pictured is;
Ox Cheek and Smoked Bacon Pie
Crispy Cacklebean Egg
Triple ‘Ham’ Burger, Savoy Slaw, Toffee Apple Sauce, Blue Affine, Tabacco Onions, Alabama Fries
Series 3 of the hugely popular BBC comedy This Country will be aired in February 2020.
The mockumentary following the lives of cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe, played by Daisy and Charlie Cooper is filmed in and around the town of Northleach here in the Cotswolds.
Charlie said to us this morning "We've just finished the editing on series 3 which we think might be the best yet. We can't wait to for everyone to see it when it launches in February. Expect more of the same nonsense from Kerry and Kurtan as well as a few new characters!"
You can catch up on the first two series and "aftermath" on the BBC iPlayer by clicking HERE.
Arizona four-piece Jimmy Eat World are the first headliner announced for next year's 2000 Trees Festival at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham.
The multi-ward winning festival will take place on the 9th, 10th and 11th July 2020.
You can buy early bird tickets with a discount by clicking HERE.
It feels like the season has got properly underway now and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the course this weekend.
I went over to Ireland last weekend to watch some of the pointers, some of which will be going to the sales next week. I went around with Richard Pugh, an auctioneer with Tattersalls which was a great experience and we learned a lot.
I love The November Meeting at Cheltenham. It's the first multi-day meeting of the season, and one where I have happy memories. I rode my first ever Cheltenham winner aboard Palmers Hill in the Conditional's race on the Sunday last year for Mr McManus and dad.
I'm not sure who I will be riding on Friday. Maybe L'Air Du Vent of Colin Tizzard's who is entered in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2m5f trial. I won his bumper in Bangor last year and he's a very nice horse. So if he goes there it would be nice to ride him. He's very much a work in progress but he could be something really nice.
Saturday, we have Prefontaine running in the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. He's a bit of a monkey. He unseated me in his first run and was quite sloppy in his jumping on his second time at Fontwell. He really got his act together at Kempton the next time in blinkers that sharpened him up and won quite nicely having made the running. The horse that came second that day has gone out this week and won, so the form looks good which bodes well. This however is a big step up in grade and we will know where we are with him after the race.
Pop Rockstar is also in on Saturday in the 3m3f Grade 3. He's an interesting horse who is on the way up. He has won his last two races at Carlisle and Chepstow and he's a good strong stayer who jumps very well. He could either go for this race or wait until next weekend at Haydock. He's in great form and dad will make a decision with owner Laura Day later this week. He could have the Welsh National in the back of his mind if he goes well in the next couple of weeks.
I was at Cheltenham on Tuesday morning with Richie (McLernon) schooling over the cross-country fences. The ground was pretty soft and I imagine the main track will also be relatively soft which is to be expected. It could definitely suit Pop Rockstar.
On Sunday, we have a couple of entries in the conditional race. It's a pretty special race for me and it would be amazing to try and win that again.
I'm really looking to getting going again with hopefully no hold ups and a clear run through the season, touch wood"
Lionel Richie is the first headline act to be announced for Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace in June 2020.
The multi-award winning singer, known for hits Dancing on the Ceiling and Hello, will perform on Saturday 20th June.
Tickets on sale Friday 15th at 9am.
Visit www.nocturnelive.com for more information.
Cheltenham Racecourse have announced that Jack Whitehall has added a matinee performance to take place before his sold out evening show on Tuesday 26th November.
The earlier performance will start at 5:00pm in The Centaur at the racecourse and tickets will be on sale on Monday 11th November at 10:00am.
Visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/jack-whitehall for all information.
With The November Meeting at Cheltenham just 10 days away, we have found the best places to go after you leave Prestbury Park.
See the full guide HERE.
After an extensive four-year-long renovation, The Harcourt Arms in in the charming Oxfordshire village of Stanton Harcourt has reopened its doors to the public.
Headed up by Olivier Bonte, former GM of No.131 and Alan Gleeson, previously Head Chef of The Lucky Onion’s No.131 and No.38 The Park, The Harcourt Arms will offer exceptional pub food using the finest produce, ingredients sourced through long-standing relationships with ethical suppliers.
The drinks menu will feature beer and wine from small but talented producers across the world with amazing brands such as Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, William Chase Rose and Chateau Musar alongside Hook Norton Beers, Butcombe and Timothy Taylors Landlord. They will also be serving up delicious cocktails such as Negroni with a twist, proper Espresso Martini and their very own Bloody Mary, allowing guests to order an old favourite or try something new.
Since the renovation, there are an additional 10 individually style en-suite bedrooms, making this 17th-century pub with rooms ideal for both leisure and business needs.
With the local community at its heart, The Harcourt Arms have created The Harcourt Stores, which will offer luxury, artisan produce alongside healthy everyday essentials. A one-stop-shop for locals, there will be fresh coffee, cured and smoked produce,sweet treats and everyday essentials.
The ultimate village pub with a home away from home feel makes it the perfect place to visit.
Jump season is full speed and it's just 2 weeks until The November Meeting takes centre stage at Cheltenham.
It's the biggest meeting at the course outside The Cheltenham Festival and takes place on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November.
The highlight on the track across the whole weekend is the iconic BetVictor Gold Cup, a Handicap Chase over 2m4f with a prize to the winner of over £90,000.
Recent winners have included locally trained Taquin Du Seuil for Jonjo O'Neill and the hugely popular Splash Of Ginge for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Alongside the action on the course, there is a host of awesome things taking place throughout the weekend.
Friday is Countryside Day and lots of country themed events including Sir Anthony McCoy receiving a lesson from double Olympic medal-winning dressage rider Laura Tomlinson in the Parade Ring at 11:45am, as well as a parade by a local hunt and live music from The Lucky 15's in The Guinness Village for Club/Tattersalls Racegoers.
After racing from 4pm-5.15pm, The Wurzels will be taking to the stage in The Centaur. This is free for Club/Tattersalls ticket holders,
Saturday features more music with The Wickermen playing in The Guinness Village and after racing, Club and Tattersalls racegoers can enjoy live music from The Wandering Wings in The Centaur who will get your Saturday night started with upbeat acoustic versions of classic pop, rock and soul hits.
Sunday will see the finale of the Pony Racing Authority Racecourse Series, sponsored by Charles Owen. There have been 25 fixtures throughout the season, across a variety of racecourses around the UK, starting at Aintree Racecourse in May. The jockeys are aged between 11 and 16. The first race will be at 12pm.
There is a host of family themed activities to enjoy throughout the day and more live music with The D-Day Darlings performing live in The Centaur after racing, free for Club/Tattersalls racegoers.
Other things of interest:
For tickets and further information, please click here.
It's very rare that food blows your mind. I'm always seeing that someone had "the best meal they have ever eaten" followed by an #ad in the hashtags, hidden enough that some people will miss it and mistakenly believe that they genuinely had their best ever meal.
After seeing much hype and happening to be in Cheltenham, I booked a table at Bhoomi Kitchen. It's the same old Bhoomi but with a much more relaxed feel, new Indian BBQ dishes and Thali to the menu and no white tablecloths. If I'm honest I wasn't a fan of the white tablecloths in the old style Bhoomi. If I'm even more honest, I'm not a fan of white tablecloths full stop. I find it a little uncomfortable in restaurants when someone in white gloves starts brushing the cloth in front of you between courses. I kind of get it, but I feel like those days have gone and it's something my grandparents would have would have appreciated. Anyway, they have gone. Also the walls have changed colour. You know that lovely bluey, greeny grey colour that everyone uses? It probably has a trendy name at Farrow and Ball. Evidently I'm no expert, I just know it looks nice.
The Thali is served between 6pm and 6.45pm every evening (bar Monday as the restaurant is closed) and lunch time on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. There was already a trickle of the after work crowd when we arrived just after 6. How bloody clever to capture that audience with a silver tray of pleasure for a tenner or £12 if you opt for the Butter Chicken or Kerala Lamb. Either way, it's a bargain.
I never eat at 6pm. I don't trust people who do. They must be the ones who go to bed at 10pm when I'm just about to sit down to eat my dinner. With a mix of naivety and fear of having to eat twice in a night, we treated the Thali as a starter and ordered three of the Indian BBQ dishes for our main; Tharavu (Duck breast, rubbed with south Indian
gunpowder spice blend then barbecued in charcoal tandoor), Chicken Reshmi Kebab (Marinated breast in hung yogurt, ginger, garlic, cream, ground peppercorn, ground cashew nuts, skewered and tandoor roasted) and Barbecued Prawns (marinated in lime juice, chilli, cumin, coriander tandoor baked).
Now we've all had duck chicken and prawns before but this was on a different level. The duck and the chicken more so than the prawns which were seriously good, just not as good or a memorable as the other two. The flavours were immense, compelling and fiery all at the same time, and the meat was like butter. It was simply brilliant.
I'm not here to say that my meal at Bhoomi Kitchen is the best I have ever eaten, but it was some of the most exciting food I have eaten for a very long time.
One of Bristol’s brightest star chef’s is coming to take over the kitchen at Tetbury’s The Priory Inn.
New head chef Tom Bannister has worked at some of Bristol’s best eateries including a head chef role at The Souk Kitchen.He is planning to introduce a new, more casual approach to dinning focusing on the social side of eating, using the charming dining space at The Priory.
The Arkell’s Brewery hotel has undergone a management makeover since Greg Heath took over the reins of the hotel in July.
The Cotswolds Distillery have introduce their own twist on the classic Old Tom Gin.
Dating back to the 18th century, at a time when gin was consumed in copious amounts, this juniper spirit was traditionally sweetened with sugar or liquorice to conceal the astringent qualities of the substandard spirit. Thanks to the thriving craft cocktail scene, Old Tom Gins based on traditional recipes have made a comeback in the past few years.
The Cotswolds Old Tom has sweet, woody notes from liquorice root balanced with zesty orange citrus and light spice from the ginger.
We enjoy our Old Tom neat, garnished with fresh orange peel, or why not try a Tom Collins cocktail by adding lemon juice, soda and sugar syrup.
It's available now in-store and online.
500ml | 42% ABV | £29.95
50 restaurants in the Cotswolds have made it into the Michelin Guide 2020 that was published this week.
We have done the honourable thing and listed them all for you so you don't have to to go on a wild search.
You can find the whole list by clicking HERE.
The Royal Oak in Whatcote has been awarded a Michelin Star.
The menu showcases high quality local, organic, wild ingredients and game often 'shot to order' by gamekeepers on local estates, while keeping the local pub ethos throughout.
Chef Richard Craven has been a well-know name in the culinary world in the Cotswolds after the success of The Chef's Dozen in Chipping Campden and said on twitter "We’re still reeling from last night but we would like to sincerely thank our little team and incredible part timers for all their hard work. Thank you Michelin for taking the time to visit us and for awarding us this absolute honour."
The National Hunt horse racing season starts this week, and there's just 17 days until the first meeting at Cheltenham Racecouse.
The Showcase, a 2-day meeting on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th October, kicks off the season for many racing enthusiasts here in the Cotswolds.
In addition to great racing, why not celebrate the start of the season in style with the first ever Cheltoberfest on both days of The Showcase meeting, including live music from The Bierkeller Boys, a range of local real ales, and tips from a racing tipster before racing commences.
For more information and tickets, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-showcase
The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power opened its doors again after its shock closure in July.
The famous 17th century Cotswolds racing pub has been taken over by The Lucky Onion Group, which is owned by Julian Dunkerton.
Obviously we went to have a look. The pub's interior looks and feels warmer, and there is still a racing theme throughout. There is, of course, Dunkertons Cider of draft as well as other local ales and lagers.
We also had a bite too. The Ham, Egg and Chips is immense with an orange glazed whole ham hock on the plate.
The Cotswolds Distillery have added a new whisky to their range with the launch of the first-ever whisky matured in peated casks in the Cotswolds.
The peated cask release is hand-crafted in small batches using 100% locally grown barley, and has been matured exclusively in ex-peated quarter casks from Scotland. The result is a wonderfully-balanced rich and fruity whisky with subtle notes of peat smoke.
They began making this single malt using 100% locally grown, floor-malted barley which is mashed and then fermented for more than 90 hours before a double distillation in their bespoke copper pot stills, resulting in a light and fruity new-make spirit.
After being diluted to 63.5% ABV, they then filled ex-peated quarter casks from Scotland with the new-make spirit and left these to mature, allowing the rich and fruity spirit to take on a light smoked peat flavour. The whisky has been fully matured in these casks and bottled at cask strength (59.3% ABV), non-chill filtered and with no added colouring.
Nose: Vanilla with light charring and a touch of dried fruits and spice.
Palate: Creamy peat smoke layered with light fruits and tannin-rich wood.
Finish: Lasting finish of smoking embers, floral honey and woody sugars.
It has been announced that The Hollow Bottom will officially reopen on Monday 7th October.
The popular horse racing pub in Guiting Power closed suddenly in July before being bought buy The Lucky Onion Group, owned by clothing brand Superdry's co-founder Julian Dunkerton.
Check out the new menu below.
The McCoy Awards return to Cheltenham Racecourse on Friday 27th September to celebrate the outstanding contribution to jump racing at all Jockey Club Jump Racecourses during the 2018/19 season.
The awards, named after Sir AP McCoy, the record-breaking 20-time champion Jump jockey who retired from race riding in April 2015, reflect on the triumphs and the highlights of the season and appreciate all the people within the sport, from the unwavering support of owners to the often unsung dedication of stable staff. The McCoys exist to recognise the individuals without whom this sport would not prosper as it does.
Last year's winners included Harry Skelton for leading professional jockey, Nicky Henderson was leading trainer with over 40 horses, and Tiger Roll picking up the Judges Choice Award for his incredible victory in the 2018 Grand National.
Jump Racing returns to Cheltenham for The Showcase on Friday 25th & Saturday 26th October 2019 and will feature the first ever Cheltoberfest, with live music from the Bierkeller Boys a racing tipster, and Real Ales and Magners Cider will be available in The Centaur.
Keep up to date with everything at Cheltenham Racecourse on our dedicated horse racing page, The Roar.
Watch the highlights from last year's awards below.
The shortlist for the 2020 National Fish and Chip Awards has been announced – and a Cotswolds restaurant has made the cut.
Malt & Anchor in Cirencester will now compete for the chance to take home the coveted title of the ‘UK’s best fish and chip restaurant’ which will be announced in January 2020.
Established in 2017, Malt and Anchor describes itself as having a 'traditional chippy menu with a twist', including their speciality fish and chips, panko coated calamari, locally sourced award-winning pies, butcher sausages and Malt & Anchor’s own fresh fish specials. The restaurant also offers a takeaway service as well as an array of fine wines, cocktails and boutique beers to compliment their menu.
The King's Head Inn in Bledington has been named 'Inn of the Year' for 2020 in the latest Good Pub Guide awards.
They were one of 14 pubs awarded and follows up being named Good Pub Guide 'Pub of the Year' in 2017.
Other winners from around the UK include;
Pub of the Year 2020
The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe, Lancashire
Dining Pub of the Year 2020
The Assheton Arms in Downham, Lancashire
Licensee of the Year 2020
The Wyvill Arms in Constable Burton, Yorkshire
New Pub of the Year 2020
The Swan in Marbury, Cheshire
Value Pub of the Year 2020
The Dipton Mill Inn, Diptonmill, Northumbria
Unspoilt Pub of the Year 2020
The Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk
Country Pub of the Year 2020
The Harp , Old Radnor, Wales
Town Pub of the Year 2020
Babbity Bowster, Glasgow, Scotland
Inn of the Year 2020
The Kings Head, Bledington, Oxfordshire
Beer Pub of the Year 2020
The Fat Cat, Norwich, Norfolk
Own Brew Pub of the Year 2020
The Beer Hall, Hawkshead Brewery, Cumbria
Wine Pub of the Year 2020
The Woods, Dulverton, Somerset
Whisky Pub of the Year 2020
The Bon Accord, Glasgow, Scotland
Gin Pub of the Year 2020
The Cholmondeley Arms, Cholmondeley, Cheshire
The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power is the latest addition to The Lucky Onion portfolio and will reopen its doors in October 2019.
The pub has always been a huge favourite of the horse racing community and was the scene of celebrations both after Bindaree won the Grand National and when Imperial Commander landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup for nearby trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Away from racing, the pub's charming rural setting is perfect for a quiet lunch and supper, with The Lucky Onion's lovingly-cooked good food, and the finest ingredients from the around the UK, at the heart of the menus. There's an extensive beer and wine list too.
A beautiful 17th-century Cotswold stone building with excellent country views, The Hollow Bottom will feature The Lucky Onion’s signature design touches around its already existing deep recessed windows, low ceilings and exposed stone walls and timbers.
In the winter, expect a roaring wood-burning fire in the bar. In summer months, you can soak up the sunshine with drinks and food on the terrace.
The Lucky Onion took over ownership after the property closed in July 2019.
Below is the new Hollow Bottom logo.