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Discover what to see and do in the Cotswolds

Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle 2017

Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light

We went to see this year’s Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle on the freezing night that later saw the Cotswolds being covered in snow. Getting all wrapped against the cold only added to the festive atmosphere. This is one sure-fire way to give yourself some extra seasonal sparkle.

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Indian fine dining at Prithvi

Tandoor-baked salmon, Indian fine dining

I hadn’t been to Prithvi, on Cheltenham’s Bath Road, since it first opened. Quite probably because I’m a spontaneous sort of diner, and you have to book a table here weeks in advance, due to its immense popularity. This restaurant doesn’t purport to be your usual style of curry house, but offers Indian fine dining.

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Vegetarian Cookery Course at Foodworks

Red lentils with coconut cauliflower on the vegetarian cookery course

Do you like the idea of eating less meat in your diet? Whilst I am not a vegetarian, I have definitely been cutting down on my meat intake over the last few months, so I was keen to learn some new recipes. Read on to find out about the Vegetarian Cookery Course offered by The Foodworks Cookery School, near Cheltenham.

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Best Breakfast Cheltenham Race Week

The Cosy Club, breakfast Cheltenham Race Week

Going out for breakfast on race day has become a tradition. It’s something I look forward to every year. While I like to think of myself as being spontaneous, I actually like to do my research. Using my local knowledge, I’ve put together my Top 7 list of where to eat breakfast Cheltenham Race Week, for all tastes and budgets.

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Best Bars Cheltenham Race Week

The Cosy Club, best bars Cheltenham Race Week

Like putting on your lipstick and donning a pair of heels, the town of Cheltenham dramatically changes its image from day to night during Cheltenham Gold Cup week. Whilst this usually sedate town empties during the day, the tide of racegoers floods back in late afternoon, to celebrate or commiserate their day at Prestbury Park. To help you decide where to go, I’ve used my local knowledge to put together my list of best bars Cheltenham Race Week.

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The Howard Arms in Ilmington

The Howard Arms

Rescued by two local families, who took the decision to give a fading pub a new lease of life, The Howard Arms in Ilmington has only recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment. I was lucky to be given the opportunity for a Saturday-night stay.

Dating back to the 16th century, this pub with rooms overlooks the village green in the peaceful south Warwickshire village of Ilmington. I’d never heard of this village before, but quickly discovered it’s a great location for exploring the north Cotswolds. The quintessentially beautiful villages of Broadway and Chipping Campden, and historic Stratford-upon-Avon, are all within 10 miles.

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Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle

The Queens' Garden at Sudeley

I was lucky to be invited to the launch night of the Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle this week. Despite the freezing conditions, the sub-zero December temperatures only added to the festive atmosphere.

Sudeley Castle is near Winchcombe, in the heart of the Cotswolds. It is the only private castle to have a queen buried within its grounds. The 15th century chapel is the final resting place of Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII. Now a private home, opening to the public, the castle has a royal history dating back 1,000 years.

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Visiting Westonbirt Arboretum

Following the seasonal trail through the Silk Wood

This year I managed to make my autumn colours pilgrimage a little earlier than usual. I did this by visiting Westonbirt Arboretum at the end of October, rather than chancing it to the middle of November. I’m glad I did, as, according to our guide at the arboretum, this particular weekend was deemed to be one of the best.

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Indian Cookery Course in the Cotswolds

Making sag aloo on the Indian Cookery Course

I’ve enjoyed a couple of cookery courses this year, and when I saw the range of classes on offer at The Foodworks Cookery School, it was an Indian cookery course that caught my eye. The cookery school is located on the edge of the Colesbourne Park Estate, between Cheltenham and Cirencester, in the Cotswolds.

It’s the first time I’ve been to The Foodworks and it was fairly easy to find. The converted barn was brightly lit and welcoming on a dark October evening. I was warmly greeted at the reception desk with a glass of wine and a Foodworks apron, then ushered through to the kitchen.

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Visit to Cotswold Lavender

Cotswold Lavender Farm

Seeing Carol Kirkwood, from BBC Breakfast, giving her weather forecast under grey skies at Cotswold Lavender this morning, I realised how lucky I was to visit the lavender farm last week on the hottest day of the year.

I made my journey that day as I knew it was close to harvest time and didn’t want to miss the lavender at its peak.

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