Chef Thomas Straker is taking over the kitchen at Old Gore near Cirencester this weekend.
Thomas has designed an awesome menu meant for sharing for the table. His approach to food is honest, uncomplicated and totally produce driven, using the best seasonal produce available.
He has spent the majority of the last decade working in some of London’s top restaurants, The Dorchester, Dinner and Elystan street to name a few.
On Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday lunch, Thomas will be firing up all of the firepits at Old Gore, where he will be showcasing what his food is all about, simplicity, seasonality and conviviality, cooking in the open kitchen and outside on the monster grill and asado pit, expect fire and flavour in abundance.
Old Gore is a lovingly restored Cotswold stone barn situated just out of Cirencester which has recently been opened and will be hosting weddings, parties and private events throughout all seasons.’
Tickets have completely sold out for Saturday night but there are few remaining tables left for Friday night and Sunday lunchtime.
Click HERE for tickets.
Click HERE for the menu
Old Gore by Yard Space
The Scenic Supper’s fine dining experience continues at its winter dining hub, The Stone Barn at Fir Farm, on the outskirts of the village of Lower Swell, near Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire.
The Stone Barn offers a warm, intimate dining space within a beautifully renovated farm building with full-height windows from which to enjoy far-reaching views across the Cotswolds.
The Scenic Supper’s King Stone Gin bar will continue to offer its delicious seasonal, gin-based cocktail menu using homemade shrubs, cordials and mixers alongside a carefully curated selection of English sparkling wines, Old and New World varieties and locally made beers and ciders.
Championing local, seasonal produce remains key to The Scenic Supper’s dining experience with head chef, Samuel Idoine showcasing the finest fresh local produce in accordance with its ‘Paddock to Plate’ ethos, including Fir Farm’s home-reared, grass-fed beef and lamb, poultry and game. Other outstanding Scenic Supper suppliers include Mark’s Cotswold Bakery, Drinkwaters Fruit and Veg, King Stone Dairy, Cotswold Brew Company and Spinners Cider.
For December, the four and six-course menus will have a festive flavour – perfect for celebrating the season with family and friends or business colleagues.
Bookings opened 1st October for either the pre-set, four course lunch menu (£55pp) or the six-course dinner menu (£70pp). The Barn will be open for lunch from 12.30pm – 3pm for tables of two or more and for dinner for tables of six only from 6.30pm – 11.00pm – Wednesdays – Saturdays. All tables for the four or six-course pre-set menus are bookable and payable in advance.
For all the information and how to book, visit thescenicsupper.co.uk/fir-farm
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021 is delighted to reveal a veritable feast of 200 free events and activities from 8 – 17 October, including the Festival’s infamous Lit Crawl and striking new immersive venue: VOICEBOX.
Spilling into the town from the Festival village, people of all ages will find something to enjoy - from spoken word gigs to literary pub quizzes and ghost tours, comedy and music to storytelling sessions, or simply enjoying The Times crossword with a coffee on site.
Exploring themes from mental health to activism, the brand new VOICEBOX in Montpellier Gardens will be a platform for young people to amplify the issues they care about: using creativity as a force for change and turning up the volume on everything from global initiatives to grassroots community projects. From short talks and chats about today’s most important issues, to group artworks, workshops and live music from the best established and emerging talent, this vibrant and completely free programme puts young people at the heart of the conversation.
The line-up features hands-on workshops with leading illustrators Natalie Byrne and Kazvare Made It; intimate chats with activists including Kenny Ethan Jones, Aja Barber, Charlotte Williams and Bianca Foley and writers Caleb Azumah Nelson and Hana Walker Brown; pop-up performances from poets Sophia Thakur, Raymond Antrobus, Nikita Gill and Monika Radojevic; a focus on mental health with Instagram psychologist Dr Soph and TV’s Dr Alex George, MANIFESTO FOR MINDS and Keep Real Mental Health; conversations on the future of key global issues with young advisers from Chatham House; contributions from local artists, performers and comedians including JPDL, Jussara Nazare and Rizpah Amadasun, music from Natalie Oaks, t.e.d., Grove and indie pop duo Muffintops, and a special live episode of Cheltenham’s student-led podcast, Spill the Tea.
Emma Whittle, Programme Manager said: “VOICEBOX is home to unmissable experiences and one-off moments, and we can’t wait to share this brand-new immersive programme with the public. VOICEBOX is a fun and vibrant space for conversation, celebration and debate: a place to soak up the atmosphere, explore today’s hottest topics, discover the freshest new voices and to get your views heard when it comes to the issues that matter.”
There is lots for families to discover at the Festival this year. From a chance to meet favourite book characters in The Wild Wood, to an awesome journey of discovery on the Atlas of Adventures trail, little ones are sure to find plenty to enjoy. There will be stories galore as Winnie the Witch shares her exciting adventures with her black cat Wilbur, and Story Shack is the perfect spot to travel around the world with traditional tales from different cultures. The Den will be the place to visit to make festival hats, flags and maps.
The Festival’s infamous Lit Crawl returns once more (Saturday 9 October from 5pm till late) for the Festival’s …around town programme in association with the Cheltenham BID. A fast-paced evening of comedy, readings, performances, and parties, Cheltenham’s streets, bars, and bookshops will once again burst at the seams with quirky literary happenings.
Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID said: “We’re delighted to support the …around town programme again welcoming people to enjoy the amazing range of events available and everything our vibrant town centre has to offer. The Crawl includes immersive theatre and a literary ghost tour, ending up at The Tavern for a foot-stompingly energetic finale of music, poetry and spoken word. And for families, there’s a We’re Going on a Book Hunt trail with ten favourite characters from children’s books hidden in shops, cafes and venues across Cheltenham.”
Tying into the Festival’s major new ‘Read the World’ 3-year theme, the popular Huddle stage will have a decidedly international flavour this year with a range of free activities designed to help discover amazing writing from around the world. Literary Explorer in Residence, Ann Morgan dispenses reading recommendations, writers including Ruth Ozeki and Graeme Macrae Burnet enthuse about the world writers they love, industry insiders reveal how books have taken them around the globe and a range of publishers including Fitzcarraldo Editions, Pushkin Press and Europa Editions talk about bringing a wealth of international and translated writing to UK readers.
Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp of the #WorldKidLit project will be on hand to recommend books from around the globe to younger readers and their families; the popular Very Short introductions To...series returns, and Festival-goers can continue their literary explorations via dedicated showcases of Dutch, Scottish and Irish writing Meanwhile, one of the world’s most prestigious non-fiction prizes: The Baillie Gifford Prize will have its 2021 shortlist announced live from the Huddle stage by Chair of the Judges and Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate on Friday 15 October at 4pm.
In the new drop-in Costa Space there’s interactive storytelling for pre-schoolers with Winnie the Witch ; inspiration for book-lovers as a different Festival guest will be on hand each day to share their recent favourite reads; the ‘Cheltenham Writes!’ series will showcase the talents of a different local writer each day and at 4pm daily a range of famous faces from the main programme will be dropping by for readings.
Follow this link www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid and 'Filter by Theme' and click 'Free Event' to see the full list.
Keiron Stevens, the former Head Chef at 1 Michelin Star restaurant Adams, will be joining the Cheltenham-based restaurant group JM Socials.
He will be joining the group as their new Executive Chef, heading up the kitchen operations across their six restaurants. Beginning at one of their original Cheltenham restaurants, Prithvi, he’ll be leading the team in enhancing and developing their Indian-inspired menu.
Originally from Cheltenham, Keiron has previously cooked in two Michelin star kitchens, including as a sous chef at Pennyhill and a senior sous chef at Gidleigh Park. He also spent one year training in the illustrious 3 Michelin Star ‘Benu’ in San Francisco.
He’s now moving back to the town his culinary journey began at the then 2 Michelin Star Le Champignon Sauvage while still at school.
Discussing his new position, Keiron said: “There’s massive scope to what we can do at the JM Socials' restaurants. My main focus will be Prithvi to begin with, a fantastic restaurant in my hometown that’s won many culinary hearts. I’m excited to push things forward here and work collaboratively with the team.”
Prithvi has thrived in Cheltenham for nine years, previously being named in the top 10 UK restaurants, amongst a number of other accolades. The other JM Socials establishments, owned by long-term friends and restaurateurs Jay Rahman and Michael Raphel, are a collection of new cuisine concepts, casual eateries and South Indian restaurants.
As well as launching an espresso bar this winter, their expansion plans continue with talks of the duo launching a restaurant alongside Keiron.
Global travel site Big 7 announced their Top 50 Gastropubs list for 2021 which features 3 pubs from here in the Cotswolds.
From London boozers with creative small plates to local country inns boasting a Michelin Star, these places are shining a light on regional British ingredients. Think luxury scotch eggs, house-cured meats, and artisan ingredients... places where you come for a laid back Sunday roast and a delicious date night dinner.
Here's what they say about the 3 featured pubs from the Cotswolds.
THE WILD RABBIT, KINGHAM
The incredible food at The Wild Rabbit all starts with a huge emphasis on sourcing the best ingredients from its own market garden at Daylesford farm. Once that has been done, the dishes they serve to are contemporary and yet exactly what you want in terms of comfort food. The Wild Rabbit is a proper British inn, where you can eat, drink and sleep.
Must-eats include the South Devon beef ribeye with Bledington Blue cheese and pickled walnut, with one of the tempting seasonal soufflés for dessert.
THE CHURCHILL ARMS, PAXFORD
This 17th century inn has chef Nick Deverell-Smith at its helm, who trained under Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. So it should come as no surprise the food here is nothing short of perfection. There’s all the classics such as a pretty-pink Beef Wellington, as well as creative twists using locally sourced ingredients.
THE KILLINGWORTH CASTLE, WOOTTON Nr WOODSTOCK
‘The Killy’, as it’s locally known, has gone from strength to strength since a refurb a few years ago. A beautiful 17th-century coaching inn with barn bedrooms for guests and a menu full of local goodies.
Most of the ingredients are organic and you can taste the goodness in every mouthful. There’s even the owner’s own craft beer to sip: three ales, all brewed in the Cotswolds.
Visit bigseventravel.com/the-50-best-gastropubs-in-the-uk for the full list
We couldn't let Negroni week pass without sharing a classic recipe.
This one has been created for us by Harry (@shakermakers on Insta) at The Tavern in Cheltenham.
25ml Sweet Vermouth
Garnish - Orange Wedge
Photographer: Glenn Dearing (@glenndearing)
Today marks six months until The Festival™ returns to Cheltenham Racecourse.
Enjoy four incredible action-packed days of racing, featuring 14 Grade One races across four seven-racecards as the best horses, trainers and jockeys go head to head.
This year's festival was dominated by the Irish horses with Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead, both having unforgettable weeks.
Tickets for The Festival™ are on sale now.
Cheltenham-based clothing brand &SONS have opened a brand new ‘Experiential Store’ in the town.
&SONS Trading Post is located 60 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3LE and will carry all of their latest garments in every size and colour.
The store is filled with curiosities, original vintage pieces and feels more like a home from home than a retail space. They encourage customers to pop down, grab a coffee and just unwind. They have installed a record player with a collection of vinyls, a coffee machine and even a few musical instruments for the occasional jam.
What’s also unique is that you can browse, try on and get to know the products, and once purchased, they will ship directly to your doorstep. This combines the experience of traditional retail with the convenience of online shopping. The customer will receive a brand new garment, still wrapped and unworn without the need to carry it around whilst they continue shopping.
&SONS was created just over 5 years ago to forge vintage inspired and timeless garments for the modern man, designed by and for craftspeople, artisan makers and creative pioneers in their chosen fields of endeavour. Since then they have seen significant growth and have a handful of stockists around the world.
As they move to become a more sustainable brand and with a strong belief in circular fashion, the principles for the new store will be built around reuse/repurpose/recycle. They will be offering our customers the chance to buy repaired and altered stock along with the old season and discontinued items from their archives at a reduced price to take away.
In the future, they plan on offering repairs as well as one-off screen printed garments mixed with open evenings, live music and get togethers.
Founder Phil James said
“There’s something very special about bricks and mortar stores, a three-dimensional environment where we can interact with customers and they can interact with our clothing. One of the hardest things about being an online business was demonstrating the quality of our clothing and the attentional to detail. Seeing first hand our customers pick up an item, try it on and feedback is incredibly rewarding and insightful.
As a concept, we wanted the space to showcase our existing lines but also to give customers the chance to buy old / repurposed and discontinued stock. This concept will give our garments a second chance and avoid anything going into landfills and as a growing brand we are very aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry so this is our way of helping.
We live and work in Cheltenham so the location was an obvious choice for our first ‘concept store’. We can hang out there, meet our customers and learn so much before opening more stories in the future. If the concept works, we hope to open more across the UK and overseas such as the US and parts of Europe."
The store will be open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021 is thrilled to reveal this year’s unmissable full programme of events, setting the scene for an international literary celebration like no other.
From Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, the world’s foremost writers, thinkers and performers will descend on the vibrant spa town when the Festival village returns to the heart of regency Cheltenham.
The world’s first literature festival continues to blaze a trail with unique experiences and the unparalleled line-up, announced today, is set to create even more unforgettable memories for book lovers this autumn. Showcasing literary legends, fresh new voices and the biggest books of the year, there is something on offer for everyone: from stars of the stage and screen to incisive political debate. The programme spans history, food, travel, poetry and spoken word, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, nature, business and much more.
The lively Festival village is the perfect setting for a family day out with a bumper programme of events, free activities, workshops, and story trails featuring the greatest storytellers and illustrators, sure to inspire a love of reading in children of all ages and stages. The Literature for Schools programme, featuring Cheltenham Festival’s flagship education programme Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils, will also give thousands of school children the chance to meet their literary heroes.
The Festival is harnessing digital technology as part of its drive to create a world in which everyone can explore culture. Cheltenham Festivals’ YouTube channel will broadcast highlights from each day of the Festival, including filmed talks with international writers as part of the Read The World theme. In addition, recordings of over 140 events will be available on demand until 31 December 2021 via the #CheltLitFest Player.
Charging into its 6th year in Cheltenham, for one night only Lit Crawl sees the town’s bars, record stores, cafes, tattoo parlours and barbershops packed with literary revellers until late into the night sampling everything from flash fiction to ghost stories, music to comedy, pop-up readings to spoken word.
An immersive and visually striking new venue and programme lands this October at the Literature Festival. VOICEBOX will bring youth voices to the forefront through a completely free programme of talks, workshops, panels, DJ sets and more, shining a light on the topics and trends that matter to young adults. Events will feature the best established and emerging local and national young writers, artists and creatives and digital audiences will be encouraged to join in the conversation through the Festival’s social media channels, continuing discussion and debate beyond the 10-day event.
Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Friday 3 September and general booking opens on Friday 10 September.
You can find the full listing HERE.
The Scenic Supper have announced their location for the upcoming winter season.
After a hugely successful spring and summer at Todenham Manor Farm, the team will re-locate to a snug Cotswold stone barn at Fir Farm, Lower Swell, just outside of Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Barn at Fir Farm has a warm and intimate feel and boasts just five tables, seating six guests each.
Their brilliant head chef Sam Idoine will again be creating pre-set, seasonal, six-course lunch and dinner menus showcasing the best Cotswold produce available, including game from local estates and locally grown vegetables.
The winter event will be running Wednesdays to Saturdays, starting on Wednesday 10th November and running until Saturday 18th December 2021.
On top of this, Scenic Supper and King Stone Gin founder, Sam Lawson-King, will be creating a seasonal range of delicious gin cocktails made using his own mixers, shrubs and cordials.
Bookings for this exclusive Winter event go on sale at 10am October 1st.
For all the information about The Scenic Super, please visit www.thescenicsupper.co.uk.
After an involuntary one-year hiatus, Cheltenham Beer Week returns to the town this month.
The event starts on Bank Holiday Monday (30th August 2021), running through to 5th September 2021 across many venues around the town and beyond.
Cheltenham Beer Week will help get the pints pouring again with a number of beer-focussed events hosted at some of the county's top venues.
In addition, the expertise of nine independent breweries, alongside Brook House Hops, has been enlisted to help produce a limited-edition collaboration beer, ‘New Era ’, a 4.2 % English Summer Ale to be poured exclusively for the week.
With a remarkable number of independent breweries within Gloucestershire, and a great deal of venues that support them, the Cheltenham Beer Festival aims to raise the profile of each and every one and showcase the quality of the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire beer scene, which makes it one of the most desirable locations for beer drinkers around the UK.
The pandemic has brought with it many difficulties for breweries in the county over the last year, but they have all remained resolute in their aim to bring the freshest and best beer they can to the public.
This year, beer drinkers can properly celebrate a return to normality with a selection of events hosted in some of the top venues throughout the county, culminating with 'The Main Event' on 4th September at Stroud Brewery, where guests can join the breweries for a day filled with entertainment, food and, of course, plenty of beer.
The Cheltenham Beer Week will continue to support the National Star College in Ullenwood, who provide education and support for young people with complex disabilities. All profits from the week will be going to them.
For all the information and events during the Cheltenham Beer Week, please visit cheltenhambeerweek.co.uk.
Tickets for Cheltenham Beer Week's ‘Main Event’ are available to purchase here > TicketTailor.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at The Bathurst Arms this week.
The pub is set in an idyllic location beside the River Churn in North Cerney, between Cheltenham and Cirencester, and offers a wonderful organic small-plate and grill menu with 95% of ingredients being sourced from certified organic farmers, producers and suppliers
It felt like we had to wait an age for the Double Red Duke to finally open its doors. After the announcement in November 2020 that Sam and Georgie Pearman had acquired what was The Plough at Clanfield and would launch in February 2021, lockdowns and various restrictions delayed that until May 17th.
Even more exiting was hearing that they had secured the services of Hawksmoor and PittCue's Richard Turner to work alongside Head Chef Richard Sandiford. This could only mean two things, fire and an abundance of meat.
Of course the menu isn't just full of meat. There is a cheese & onion tatin, veggie mixed grill and a trio of salads for the herbivores amongst us, but there's no fun in any of that,
Unsurprisingly, and right up our street, there is a separate menu for steak cuts from where we picked a incredible chunk of medium-rare ribeye. I sat and watched the chefs cooking various ribs and T-bones over the flames from the 14-seater kitchen counter which felt like the front row of the world's best theatre. I always find open kitchens captivating and could sit there all day, especially watching these masters of meat at work.
Away from beef steaks, the "Large Plate" menu boasts wild fish on-the-bone, grilled rose veal chop, fried oysters & egg tartare, spit roast turbot (which looked amazing when it went by to another table) and half a chicken spit roast, as well as the classic fish & chips, pie & mash and the Double Red burger.
The "small plates" menu (nobody does "starters" anymore) is equally exciting and includes some exquisite Wood Roast Sea Scallops with Wild Garlic Butter, Milk & Honey Lamb Chops with Pea & Haggis Salad (I will try this when I go next) and some superb sticky and perfectly charred Apple Glazed Bacon Ribs, Apple, Tamarind & Fennel Slaw.
If you're feeling hungry, which we were, there's also a "snacks" menu at the very beginning featuring some wonderful light and crispy Dublin Bay Scampi and three different flatbreads. We chose the Courgette, Wild Garlic & Mint one to share but you would probably need one each depending on how many other dishes you choose and how big your appetite is.
There wasn't any room for a dessert. If I was staying the night, and home was just a short walk away up the stairs, I would have probably dipped for the white chocolate cheesecake or the sticky toffee pudding. However, if the choice is more meat or leaving room for a pudding, there is only ever going to be one winner.
If staying the night is an option for you, then the nineteen bedrooms are all as heavenly as you would expect. They each, like the whole of the interior, carry the Pearman stamp. There is an abundance of snugs where you can hide away from the world for an afternoon, and the magnificent Downton Abbey-famed Oxfordshire countryside is quite literally on the doorstep. What's not to like?
The Dodo Pub Co. today announced that will be creating a new pub in Witney.
The Part And Parcel will be located in the old Post Office in the market square with work commencing on the site very soon.
This will be the sixth Dodo pub. Their portfolio already boasts The Rusty Bicycle, The Rickety Press and The Up In Arms, all in Oxford, The Bottle of Sauce in Cheltenham and The Last Crumb in Reading.
To celebrate Summer, The Scenic Supper is hosting something a little different for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
"The Long Table" will take place over 2 evenings - Friday 27th and Saturday 28th August at Todenham Manor Farm, just outside Moreton in Marsh.
The Long Table will bring some important things ‘back to the table’ that we’ve all missed over the past 18 months... friends, family and laughter, all served over incredible food from the seven-course menu and cocktails to share at their feasting table.
Visit www.thescenicsupper.co.uk to book.
New to the Cotswolds, Pit Kitchen , is launching on Friday 2nd July and promises exciting menus, inspired by the best of London’s epic street food scene, and served in a beautiful rural setting. This inventive new alfresco dining hub is located on a picturesque hillside, owned by the Cornwell Estate, just outside Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, on a popular walking route just off the A44.
Open until late October, Pit Kitchen will offer both a takeaway service and on-site dining. Pit Kitchen is the brainchild of brothers, Adam and James Thomas. Originally from Worcestershire, the brothers have 15 years’ catering industry experience between them. Formerly based in London, the brothers hit on the idea of bringing London’s incredibly popular street food scene out to a rural location. “We’re looking forward to introducing the locals to some of our favourite things; top sarnies and Middle Eastern cuisine! All cooking will be over an open fire surrounded by views to die for!” says James Thomas.
The family team (with help from consultant chef, George Uren of River Cottage, Axminster and The Pony & Trap at Chew Magna) has created small, seasonal yet budget-friendly, street food style menus prepared fresh each day at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
The Pit Kitchen’s mantra is ‘a few things done really well’ with a focus on showcasing the finest fresh, local ingredients from the surrounding countryside (wherever possible). Count on a small, but delicious range of bold artisan sarnies made using Pit Kitchen’s own recipe focaccia, plus soups as well as first class coffee and sweet treats during the day. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the menu will be inspired by Hackney’s rich Middle Eastern heritage with a modern Cotswolds twist, meat and veggies cooked on open air wood fire pits for ultimate flavour, plus a handful of delicious sides. Vegetarians and vegans will also be well-catered for at every sitting and all dietary requirements including gluten intolerant and nut / dairy free are a given.
Other local suppliers include; Meat from Todenham Manor Farm, breads by Marks Cotswold Bakery, dairy from Ampersand Dairy and Cacklebean Egg Company eggs.
Drinks will include a top notch offering of a select choice of ever-changing artisan London beers available by the can; from brands including Small Beer Brew Co. and Gipsy Hill Brewery, as well as a selection of wines, and coffee from Adam & Oliver Coffee Roasters of Chipping Norton.
All drinks and dishes will be served from the counter ‘street food style’ in a refitted shipping container kitchen clad in reclaimed timber. For those choosing to eat on-site, long, communal tables are positioned to make the most of the views and edged by a wildflower meadow. In the evening, diners will be warmed by open fire pits, sheltered by sailcloth awnings hung with festoon lights.
From Friday 2nd July until late October on Fridays 12pm - 10pm and Saturdays 9am - 10pm Sundays from 9am - 6pm for breakfast, brunch and lunch with further days to be confirmed.
It will be walk-in only, no bookings and the takeaway service is also walk in only.
Visit www.pitkitchen.co.uk for more information,
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to reveal a selection of early highlights appearing at the world’s oldest literature festival for its highly anticipated return to physical events this autumn. From Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, the award-winning Festival will welcome audiences to all its venues across the heart of regency Cheltenham, as the vibrant spa town comes alive for a literary celebration like no other.
Welcoming over 1000 of the world’s very best writers, thinkers, and performers, the Festival continues to lead the way in showcasing the written and spoken word with something for everyone on this year’s unmissable programme. From the biggest new book releases to up to the minute political debate, there will be events covering history, poetry, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, travel, nature, business and much more, plus a packed family programme that will inspire a love of reading in children of all ages.
READ THE WORLD
The Festival’s 3-year theme – Read the World – will showcase the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers from around the world. The full Read the World programme will be announced in the summer.
This year’s Fiction programme celebrates the biggest names writing today alongside inspiring new voices winning the hearts of readers. Early highlights include award-winning Maggie O’Farrell, who will reflect on the six books that would accompany her to a desert island; Torrey Peters will be talking to Elizabeth Day about her Women’s Prize-shortlisted Detransition Baby; and Elif Shafak discusses her new novel, which deals with belonging and identity, love, and trauma.
Jeanette Winterson will tackle the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the ways we live and love, Colm Tóibín takes audiences on a breath-taking journey through the eyes of the literary titan Thomas Mann, Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead will discuss his new book Harlem Shuffle as well as the miniseries adaptation of The Underground Railroad, and Guest Curator Bernardine Evaristo will chair a panel featuring Mary Jean Chan, Paul Mendez, Andrew McMillan, and Richard Scott in a celebration of queer writers.
For crime aficionados, Pointless star Richard Osman will reflect on the phenomenal success of his debut as well as introducing the Festival audience to The Man Who Died Twice; Mick Herron joins a special event honouring the great John Le Carré to mark his final novel Silverview; Ann Cleeves will discuss the latest in her Two Rivers series, and Robert Peston introduces his explosive new thriller.
CLASSIC LITERATURE & MEMOIR
For fans of classic literature, Hamilton’s Giles Terera will explore the linguistic similarities between Shakespeare and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Countdown’s Dictionary Corner doyenne Susie Dent will be sharing a history of the English language, and the mighty Sebastian Faulks joins other writers to reflect on the literary life of Paris.
The leading American activist and scholar, Rebecca Solnit, discusses her new book Orwell’s Roses with Deborah Levy, as the two consider how the author influenced their own works. Deborah Levy will also be in conversation with Guest Curator Joan Bakewell about her celebrated trilogy of ‘living autobiographies’.
For readers looking to learn more about their favourite writers, Richard Coles will be offering insight into life, death, religion, and community; presenter Anita Rani will recall growing up as a second-generation British Indian woman up north while Nikesh Shukla considers the world into which his young daughter, as a mixed-race girl, is growing.
POETRY & OFF THE PAGE
Giving a taster of the Festival’s legendary Poetry & Off the Page events, are the award-winning and bestselling poetry anthologist, Allie Esiri, who will be championing the hidden gems of poetry as well as the much-revered poets who shaped us. The taboo-busting, poetry and prose prodigy Hollie McNish holds up a mirror to our everyday existence, and Dylan Thomas Prize winning Kayo Chingonyi will present his dazzling second collection exploring inheritance.
STAGE & SCREEN
Adding some glitz and glamour to this year’s Festival will be the unapologetic Joan Collins giving a glimpse into the pages of her diary, star of the hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Bimini Bon Boulash will offer a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a drag queen, and the trailblazing frontwoman of Skunk Anansie, Skin will reveal what it is like to have been a global female icon over the past 25 years.
Former politician, TV personality and Strictly royalty Ed Balls will reminisce on his early life and love of food, Gyles Brandreth explores his family history against a backdrop of 1950s Britain, comedian Josh Widdicombe will take a trip down memory lane as he recounts the TV shows that shaped his childhood and its wider impact on British culture, and Festival favourite Bob Mortimer returns to discuss his first autobiography, And Away….
CURRENT AFFAIRS, SCIENCE, FAITH & PHILOSOPHY
For those wanting to make a difference, Ed Miliband will teach Festival goers how to fix the world, while Amika George – founder of the Free Periods movement – and entrepreneur and youth activist Jeremiah Emmanuel share their Activist Toolkit, and Musa Okwonga opens up about his experience as young black man studying at Eton College. Ruby Wax lifts the spirits and finds the positives in every day, Sarah Sands finds a way to de-stress in the modern age, and Richard Dawkins will share an electrifying celebration of science writing and an essential guide to the most exciting ideas of our time.
Critically acclaimed actor David Harewood will share his deeply personal, powerful and provocative exploration of race, identity, breakdown and recovery with the Cheltenham audience; Love Island and government ambassador for youth mental health, Dr Alex George will provide an invaluable guide for both physical and mental wellbeing; actor Evanna Lynch will deliver a raw yet intensely thoughtful account of her recovery from anorexia, and Hassan Akkad – Syrian refugee, cleaner and refugee rights activist – will share his journey of hope and connection.
FOOD, LIFESTYLE, SPORT & ART
For foodie fans, cookery stylist and writer Anna Jones will reveal how one pan can save the planet, Grace Dent and Katy Wix reflect on the central role of food in our lives and Ravinder Bhogal shares her favourite recipes from an immigrant kitchen.
Radio DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac and Candice Brathwaite, founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, share the life lessons they wish they had heard as young girls, and the extraordinary Michael Rosen will offer advice for those navigating the challenges that come when caring for a loved one.
Katy Hessel, art historian and podcaster, participates in a panel of women making waves in the art world to explore the feminist art history revolution in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Linda Nochlin's 'why have there been no great women artists?'; and author and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson and Charlotte Jansen will share some of the most exciting photographers defining the art form today.
Footballing legend Peter Schmeichel relives his career prime at Manchester United, England rugby star James Haskell will share his voyage of self-discovery on retiring from international sport, and boxer and humanitarian Ramla Ali will offer her valuable lessons about what it takes to become a champion.
HISTORY & ANCIENT WORLD
History buffs are in for a treat with this year’s Festival with military historian Max Hastings shedding light on Operation Pedestal, Alison Weir will conclude her sweeping Tudor saga with an introduction to the last of Henry VIII’s sextet of wives, Katharine Parr; and Antonia Fraser is in conversation with Allan Mallinson about her new biography on the nineteenth century pioneering women’s rights activist Caroline Norton. Sathnam Sanghera explores the impact of our imperialist history on modern Britain, and Fatima Manji offers a vital new perspective on Britain and the Orient.
NATURE, TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE
The original Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a farmer in all seasons, and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and Sam Lee will explore the nightingale in folklore, poetry, and song. Nepalese mountaineer Nimsdai Purja and former Royal Marines sniper turned adventurer Aldo Kane will share their stories of making the impossible possible.
This year’s bumper Family programme, invites children and young adults on an unforgettable literary adventure around our own world and beyond. Festival favourite Lenny Henry unveils his first book for children, Victoria Hislop returns to the Greek setting of her international bestseller The Island in her debut children’s book Marias’ Island and the nation’s favourite storyteller Michael Morpurgo introduces his first new novel in two years, When Fishes Flew.
Further highlights include magic, mayhem, and mishaps galore from current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and Tom Gates’ creator Liz Pichon.
This year, the non-fiction programme is bigger and better than ever, including four special events curated by Guest Curators The Week Junior. Sports icon Clare Balding presents ideas on how to develop resilience in the face of tough situations; CBeebies presenter Maddie Moate shares some mind-boggling facts about the stuff we use every day; and the original QI Elf, Molly Oldfield will be providing the answers to the most curious questions.
Poets and performers pop up across the programme. Word-play maestro Jonny Fluffypunk performs his new show, The End of the Pier Show, complete with poetry, puppetry, story, song, and a healthy dose of ramshackle anarchy; James Mayhew’s musical production Once Upon a Tune tells stories from the orchestra and stand-up poet Joshua Seigal performs from his new collection Yapping Away!. Spoken word poets Tongue Fu and Chris Redmond will showcase the power of poetry and music in the fight against climate change.
Little ones will be in for a treat with events from the extraordinarily talented Spanish author-illustrator Anuska Allepuz, Meet the Oceans with Caryl Hart, the award-winning illustrator and designer Dapo Adeola, plus blockbuster Supertato creators Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet will be bringing the laughs with their spooky new read Supertato: Night of the Living Veg. With live drawing, props and live music, author and illustrator of the brilliant Big Bright Feelings series Tom Percival shares the craft of creating picture books and shows that even little people can have big feelings.
The Upper World, soon to be a Netflix film produced by and starring Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya, Alex Wheatle will share his powerful historical novel based on the true stories of the eighteenth-century slave uprising, and Holly Jackson will unveil the final instalment in her killer A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy.
FULL PROGRAMME & BOOKING
The full Festival line-up will be announced on 12 August at cheltenhamfestivals.com. Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Friday 3 September and general booking opens on 10 September.
The Big Feastival, proudly presented by M&S Food, today announces even more additions to its incredible line-up of music, food and family entertainment, plus a brand-new stage for 2021, as the festival returns for its 10th anniversary, bigger than ever! For the very first time, the Bank Holiday Weekend extravaganza, taking place 27-29 August 2021, will be hosting the BBC Music Introducing Stage, championing the very best in new music and artists, alongside the festival’s unrivalled programme of music, family fun, world class chefs and award-winning street food. Weekend, Camping and most day tickets are already sold out, only Friday Day Tickets remain, available at www.thebigfeastival.com.
Joining Sigala, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Rag’n’Bone Man, Zara Larsson, Tom Grennan, All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and many more on this year’s main stage line-up are Scottish rising star Rianne Downey and brand-new bedroom pop act Lucy Blue, who has been making waves with her heart-stopping single See You Later. For the little festival-goers, YolanDa’s Band Jamare hitting the main stage on Friday, and are sure to get everyone to bop, bounce and boogie along.
Other musical treats will come from one of the festival’s most beloved destinations, Alex James’ Cheese Hub, which will be hosting some very special guest DJs sets across the three days. These include DJ and producer Lottie, the legendary Norman Jay MBE, electronic music icon Danny Rampling, superstar DJ Fat Tony, Krafty Kuts, one of the key pioneers in the UK breakbeat and bass movement, mixing maestro A Skillz, as well as special sets from Alex James and friends.
The Big Feastival has also today announced a plethora of rising stars that will be playing the brand-new BBC Music Introducing Stage across the weekend, showcasing the very best in new music. On Friday, taking to stage are singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Campbell Sibthorpe, captivating songwriter Ruth Kelly, alternative dance collective Pandapopalypse, emotive Folk singer Izzie Derry, Ramptom Prom and their unique mix of choppy beats, poetic lyricism and quirky analogue arrangements, infectious indie rock band Candid, as well as rising electronic pop artist ENY.
Fans of new music will be treated to a breath of fresh talent on the Saturday, including electro and disco-fuelled sound by Zkeletonz, alternative folk singer songwriter Dolly Mavies, energetic pop rock band Chasing Deer, singer songwriter Laura Christopher, dynamic and multi-talented performer Reece Bahia, soulful Jules Rendell and band Easter Island Statues, who have never been to Easter Island.
Joining the BBC Music Introducing Stage’s Sunday line-up are R&B and soul singer-songwriter Jen Berkova, Premium Leisure, the solo project of songwriter/producer and guitarist Chris Barker, Americana-infused pop/rock band The Rising, Wandering Wires and their contemporary Jazz, singer Chikaya, with her unique flows and futuristic, dreamy sound, as well as space rock band junodream.
To top it all off, The Bandstand will make a jam-packed welcome return this year, and will feature guaranteed giggles by comedy trio The Yoko Mainwaring Experience, a melodic set by singer-songwriter Joe Hicks, child friendly block party anthems by FUN DMC – Naughty & Nice, festival favourite DJ BBQ, Indie-folk / Americana band The Dunwells, a DJ Battle by Dick and Dom, Drum and Bass, as well as 80’s Power Ballad Workouts, Hula-Hoop workshops, an 80’s themed pub quizand much more.
The Big Feastival, which has become renowned for delivering music of the highest calibre, world class chefs, award-winning street food and an unrivalled programme of family entertainment, is pulling out all the stops for 2021, including an exceptional line-up of culinary stars taking to the stage, such as Nathan Outlaw, Mark Hix, Ching He Huang MBE, Theo Randall, Ping Coombes, Giz & Greens, Matt Tebbutt, Candice Brown and Ralph Rolle. The festival will also be bringing the very best of family entertainment, including Children’s TV Megastar Justin Fletcher, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Five, Andy and the Odd Socks, Aardman Animation with more live entertainment to be discovered across the weekend.
For full information on the music, food and family programmes and to purchase tickets, visit: www.thebigfeastival.com
A new cocktail lounge is set to be unveiled in Stow-on-the-Wold next month, replacing the Old Stocks Inn’s Little Stocks Coffee Shop.
The boutique hotel and restaurant is transforming its coffee shop into a sumptuously furnished 24-seater cocktail lounge, serving up a new menu of creative and unique drinks.
Charlotte Tuck, business and brand development manager at the Old Stocks Inn, said: “We’re so excited to be putting the finishing touches to our new cocktail lounge, which is expected to open early July.
“Over the six years we’ve been in business, we’ve built up quite a reputation for our cocktail menu and so this felt like a natural progression, expanding the space we have available for our cocktail lovers, both from here in the Cotswolds and travellers from further afield, too.”
The lounge, overlooks The Square in Stow, will be decorated in the signature Old Stocks style, combining luxurious fixtures and furnishings with a relaxed and comfortable feel.
Both hotel residents and locals will be welcome, with cocktail and canape packages set to be available for overnight guests.
Charlotte added: “Our cocktail lounge will bring a new dimension to Stow’s hospitality and tourism offering. When we refurbished the hotel back in 2015 we shook up the local market by creating a truly unique hotel that combines quirky design and Cotswolds charm with luxurious touches – and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the new lounge, too.
“We’re proud to be shaking things up once again and we can’t wait to welcome in our first customers very soon.”
Drinks featured on the Old Stocks’ new cocktail menu include ‘Fool’s Gold’ – a mix of Aperol, vodka, pineapple and cream of coconut; ‘Fog’ – combining IPA and rum with brandy, gin, almond syrup and lemon; and the ‘Notorius F.I.G’ – which brings together gin, fig syrup and fig liqueur.
In 2019 the Old Stocks released the first edition of its own cocktail recipe book: The Old Stocks Little Book of Cocktails.
ARTIST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW COCKTAIL LOUNGE
It was announced today that The Ebrington Arms has been sold to the Barkby Group.
In a statement on Instagram, Ebrington landlady Claire Alexander said;
"After nearly 15 years, we’re finally ready to hand over the reigns at The Ebrington Arms.
We were approached a while ago and it felt like the right time so we can focus on @thekillingworth (our other pub just up the road!) & our family.
Going to miss everyone who has helped us achieve more than we ever dreamed of at The Ebrington Arms. While the locals were aghast when we rocked up from London in 2007 having never had a pub before, I think we’ve built a sustainable business to be proud of and put our corner of the Cotswolds on the map. We’ve met characters from all over the world and some have become lifelong friends. The Yubby is where we learned the trade, brought our kids into the world, started brewing @yubbybitter and created a pub that foodies and beer lovers kept coming back to.
Jim and I are SO very thankful for that. A pub is just walls without its people & atmosphere after all.
New owners, Barkby Group, are no newcomers to the trade. With a heritage in maintaining character in their unique Cotswold properties, they’ve told us little will change and we hope you give them a big, famous Yubby welcome.
While it feels like the end of an era to us (ref all my nostalgic ‘before & after’ posts of late!) the team will largely remain the same but our Head chef, Adam Brown, has moved to The Killingworth Castle with us.
Bottoms up darlings, it’s been a pleasure and an absolute blast.
Love, Claire & Jim"
The Barkby Group boast The Five Alls at Filkings, The Bull at Fairford and The Plough Inn at Kelmscott in their portfolio of pubs and hotels in the Cotswolds.
The line-up for the 2021 Wilderness Festival was announced this morning.
Jamie xx, Loyle Carner and Rudimental will headline the festival that takes place at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire from 5-8 August.
You can see the full line up and buy tickets on the Wilderness website - www.wildernessfestival.com
Following the launch of The Wild Rabbit in 2013, Carole Bamford will open her second pub with rooms at the beginning of next year. Keeping true to its original heritage, The Fox will remain a welcoming pub for the community, and pitstop for country walks.
Continuing the legacy of its previous owners, the traditional inn will serve a hearty menu with classic pub dishes such as burgers, fish & chips and Sunday roasts, made with local organic ingredients. Seating up to 90 covers inside, a spacious terrace will accommodate a further 40 people.
The pub will house eight bedrooms, all decorated in Daylesford’s signature style and opposite, The Coach House offers a self-catering alternative ideal for larger families or parties of friends.
Daylesford Farm is set in over 2,500 acres of idyllic rolling organic countryside. Recently awarded a Green Star by the Michelin Guide, the farm is home to the flagship farmshop, Bamford Wellness Spa and three restaurants: The Old Spot, The Trough Café and The Legbar. The Cookery School offers a range of courses to suit different levels and a busy schedule of events such as floristry courses, gardening workshops and market garden tours provides plenty to do.
The first trailer for Welcome to Flatch, the US remake of This Country, has been released.
The sitcom is based on the BBC3 mockumentary created by Daisy and Charlie Cooper and based here in the Cotswolds.
Instead of Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe, we are introduced to cousins Shrub and Kelly Mallet, played by Sam Straley and Chelsea Holmes. We also get to see their version of the Vicar, Father Joe who is played by Seann William Scott.
The Welcome to Flatch synopsis reads: "When a documentary crew sets out to explore the lives of residents in a small American town - their dreams, their concerns - they stumble upon the midwestern town of Flatch, which is made up of many eccentric personalities.
"It's a place you want to visit and maybe even stay. If there was a decent motel. Which there is not."
The series is billed to air on American network Fox in early 2022.
For one night only, The Scenic Supper will be celebrating the end of their spring menus by creating an incredible 7-course "Spring Harvest" menu, celebrating the very best of British.
The menu will be available on Saturday 29th May, and will include some mouth-watering dishes in their stunning glasshouses overlooking the glorious Cotswolds countryside at Todenham Manor Farm near Moreton in Marsh.
The menu costs £90.00pp, with an optional wine flight to compliment for £55.00pp.
You can find the menu below and book now by visiting www.thescenicsupper.co.uk.
From Friday 21st May, Cheltenham-based wine bar The Grape Escape will take up residency at Baker & Graze.
The Grape Escape @ Baker & Graze will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm -11pm, offering a weekly changing by the glass selection, wine flights, 100+ bottle wine list and their cheese and charcuterie boards.
There will also be some special evenings where the team at Baker and Graze will be serving up their superb small plates,. You can find the sample menu below.
Visit www.bakerandgraze.com for more details and booking information.