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Cotswolds

Discover what to see and do in the Cotswolds

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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Indian Cookery Masterclass: Street Food

Amritsari Fish at East India Cafe

When I was invited along to East India Café’s Indian cookery masterclass afternoon, I couldn’t believe my luck. It sounded to me like a perfect Sunday afternoon – eating, chatting and learning new recipes.

East India Café sits on The Promenade in Cheltenham. It’s not your usual Indian curry house; it serves Anglo-Indian food with cuisine harking back to the days of the Raj. Being an Indian Summers fan, and having enjoyed the trials and tribulations of Ralphie, Cynthia, Afrin et al, I was keen to understand more about the food of the times.

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Shinrin-Yoku in the Forest

Shinrin-yoku forest bathing

A small group gathered mid-morning in the car park at Cranham Woods to meet our guide Karan for a ‘Yoga in Nature Walk’. A trained Dru Yoga teacher, Karan has based the idea of her yoga walks on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, literally translated as ‘forest bathing’.

Scientific researchers in Japan have concluded that spending time in the forest has significant health benefits. Shinrin-yoku is prescribed in Japan for preventative health care. Its benefits reportedly include reduced blood pressure and stress levels; improved sleep and energy levels and a boosted immune system. I was keen to try it out and see what affect forest bathing had on me.

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