Exciting Line Up for the Cheltenham Science Festival

Excitement is hotting up for this years Cheltenham Science Festival from Tuesday 3rd to Sunday 8th June 2014.

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon and wildlife expert and CBBC Deadly Pole to Pole presenter Steve Backshall have been named as Guest Directors. Other speakers at include Richard Dawkins, Robin Ince, Alice Roberts, Greg Foot, Steve Mould, Matt Parker, Kevin Fong, Sean Carroll, Tanya Bryon and Robert Winston.

There are a huge range of events to attend, from serious debates to family fun. All areas of science are covered from dinosaurs to the future, covering amongst others medicine, engineering, weather, even games programming.

My personal highlights are in the Experitent, where Roger Kneebone and Fernando Bello will be demonstrating open heart surgery with their simulated operating theatre. I also liked the look of the hands-on science for under 7′s and the ipads and lego mindstorms for the over 11′s.

To book tickets and see what’s on click here.

Hilden House offer discounts to guests who are attending the science festival, please call Shelley for further details.

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The story behind Rodin’s Kiss at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum.

The newly extended Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham was opened six months ago. The extra space has enable visitors to explore highlights from the museums collections that were previously locked away in vaults.

The most exciting exhibition so far has been the Return of Rodin’s Kiss.  Auguste Rodin, the famous French sculptor, who visited Cheltenham in 1914 to visit his biographers’ sister and during his stay he came to see the Art Gallery and Museum. Then in 1933 Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum replied to an offer from the owner’s executors to have Rodin’s world famous sculpture on display in spite of the fact it had caused much controversy and had hardly been on display before.

The Kiss depicts the 13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalised in Dante’s Inferno who falls in love with her husband’s younger brother. Having fallen in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, the couple are discovered and killed by Francesca’s husband. In the sculpture, the book can be seen in Paolo’s hand. The lovers’ lips do not actually touch, suggesting that they were interrupted and met their demise without their lips ever having touched.

This impressive exhibition continues until the 10th August. Several of our guests at Hilden House have been to see it and continue to be fascinated by the story.


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Did you know that Cheltenham are twinned with Winter Olympics 2014 host town – Sochi in Russia ?

Cheltenham have been twinned  Sochi in Russia since the 1950′s, at a time when the government were keen for towns and cities to form links with former allied countries. Sochi was judged a good match with Cheltenham because both are spa towns.

As you can see from the map below Sochi is on the Black Sea. It is a major international tourist centre where visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Caucasus mountains, or relax on the beach.

View Larger Map

World attention is going to focus on Sochi from the 7th to the 23rd February 2014 during the XXII Winter Olympic Games. There will be 98 events in 15 winter sports disciplines. 12 new competitions have been introduced this year including women’s ski jumping, figure skating mixed team and luge mixed team.

The run up to the games has been overshadowed by concerns over security, but the stage is now set for the opening ceremony on Friday.

Great Britain could be set for a record breaking medal haul having only won 1 gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. There are great hopes for our Womens’s skeleton team and for our curling.

We wish all those taking part the very best of luck and we would love to welcome in return Russian visitors from Cheltenham’s twin town.



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Hilden House wins Gold in prestigious Cotswold Tourism Awards

Cotswold Tourism Gold AwardHilden House are delighted to announce that they were awarded Gold in the Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation category of the Cotswold Tourism Awards, This gives them automatic entry into the Visit England National awards and a chance to win a prize nationally.

The 2014 Awards highlight the successes and achievements of Cotswold tourism businesses throughout the last year in 15 categories: Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year, Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year, Large Hotel of the Year, Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year, Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, Taste of England Award, Tourism Pub of the Year, Tourism Experience of the Year, Tourism Event of the Year, VIC Provider of the Year, Access for All Tourism Award, Sustainable Tourism Award and the final award sponsored by Cotswold Life is the Business Tourism Award.

Shelley McGonigle, manager at Hilden House said “We hope that the judges were impressed by our customer service and attention to detail. It is good to see Cheltenham recognised as integral to the Cotswolds”

For further information on the awards and the winners please visit the Cotswold Tourism Website

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Heritage Open Days – Your once a year chance to explore local landmarks for free.

From the 12th to the 15th September 2013 Heritage Open Days arrange for thousands of interesting buildings and gardens are open to the public for free.

The Heritage Open Days website has a fascinating list of options from the earliest surviving football grandstand in England which is in Great Yarmouth, to Wine tasting in a 13th Century Crypt in Chester.

Closer to home there are 30 venues open in the Cheltenham area, amongst them churches, synagogues, hospitals, colleages, theatres, museums and artists studios.

This is a chance to see, for free, private buildings and parts of public venues that are not normally open to the public. The everyman for example is doing a 40min tour taking in the auditorium and back stage.

There are 6 walks. Heather Atkinson is leading a walking tour through Cheltenham General Hospital giving a history of the buildings concentrating on its funding before the NHS. There is also a walk through the town centre celebrating the life and achievements of Cheltenhams Antartic explorer Edward Wilson.

Gloucestershire has 141 open venues. One of the more unusual ones is the Gloucester Spa Walk. In the early 1800′s it was not only Cheltenham that had a spa. Gloucester too had a thriving spa and the walk takes in some of the fine buildings that it generated.

The Heritage Open Days website is a tremendous resource. You can search for venues by date and by activity type and print out a useful sheet with all of the details.

We hope that some of our guests will be able to take advantage of this whilst they are staying with us. Shelley and Aidan are happy to advise the best places to visit to suit all tastes. Call 01242 515181 or click here to book.


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What better place for a wedding that the Pittville Pump Room ?

We get a stream of guests every year who are attending a wedding at the Pittville Pump Room. Not surprising because it is a magnificent Grade 1 listed building set in beautiful Park Land, only 10mins walk from our doorstep.

There are so many photo opportunities both inside and out for those romantic wedding album shots. Pittville Pump Room is a licensed venue for weddings and you can be married in the Main Hall which accommodates up to 400 guests for the ceremony and 220 for the wedding breakfast. If you would prefer a more intimate venue then there are the Oval, West and East rooms. Pittville Pump Room is managed by the Cheltenham Town Hall and much more information is available on their website. 

Pittville Pump Room are very experienced in making your day as special, whilst as relaxed as possible. Their standard package includes red carpet on arrival, a two hour wedding consultation with a wedding planner, a dedicated event manager to plan your special day, exclusive use of the Pump room from 2pm until Midnight as well as tables, chairs, cake stands etc

If you do not want a civil ceremony then Pittville Pump Room can host your reception following a church, mosque or other religious ceremony. As so many of our bed and breakfast guests are attending weddings we try to keep an up to date list of venues on our website.

We also list cake makers, florists, wedding car hire, bridal shops and photographers as we are often asked for recommendations.

On the 12th Sept Pittville Pump Room are hosting a wedding open evening giving brides and grooms a chance to see the venue dressed as it would be on your wedding day. There is also the opportunity to meet their professional wedding team and a collection of hand picked suppliers.

Why not drop by and see us as well.  We have 12 ensuite rooms for your wedding party as well as a choice of 4 poster beds for the bride and groom. We can provide refreshments before and after the wedding so that the day passes as enjoyably as possible.

Call Shelley or Aidan on 01242 515181 or click here to check availability and book.

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Perfect timing for the Cheltenham Open-Air Theatre Festival

The Cheltenham Open-Air Theatre Festival runs from Tuesday 16th July to Saturday 27th July, perfectly timed to catch this unexpected Summer Heat Wave.  Live performances range from Dotty the Dragon, a show featuring puppets for the 3 to 7 yr olds to Dracula the classic gothic horror show. There are also open air cinema showing of Shaun of the Dead the Sapphires. The festival climaxes with a Jazz, Blues and Boogie evening.

We’re happy to note that The Daily Telegraph have listed the Bacon Theatre as one of the 20 best outdoor theatres, cinemas and concerts in the country.

Details of all of the events are on the what’s page of our website.

Why don’t you book a stay with us whilst the festival is on. Our two boutique Bed and Breakfasts Hilden Lodge and Hilden House both offer excellent bases for a few nights in Cheltenham.

At Hilden House you could do it in style and upgrade to one of our four poster rooms. If the weather holds then you may be able to enjoy a drink in our delightful courtyard garden, which is looking particularly good this year.

At Hilden Lodge our in-house chef could provide a delicious home made pre-theatre meal. Key favourites on the menu are mussels, sea bass, sirloin steak or authentic thai curry and don’t forget Melissa’s signature cheesecake.

For full details and reservations please contact Hilden House on 01242 515181 or Hilden Lodge on 01242 583242.

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Hen Night? Make it a Summer Cheltenham Hen Weekend!

Where better for your pre-wedding Hen night celebration this Summer than Cheltenham, an elegant regency town in the heart of the Cotswolds the home of style, great shopping, restaurants to suit all tastes and more wonderful pubs than you’ll ever get to visit…

We’ve hosted some memorable hen weekends recently at our luxury Bed and Breakfast in Cheltenham and received some really lovely reviews from our brides and their guests. On sunny days the hen weekend guests have loved sitting out in the the pretty courtyard garden at Hilden House  enjoying afternoon tea with homemade sandwiches, local scones and jam, and a few glasses of Pimms and Champagne as they discussed their plans for that evening and the next day.

And of course, that’s the beauty of Cheltenham as a hen weekend destination, there’s so much to do and enjoy, and all within an easy walk from our two luxury b&b’s.

What’s more our Summer special offer means it’s even better value to extend your hen celebrations from just the one night to a longer break to fully sample everything that Cheltenham has to offer.

So, here’s the challenge, what’s it to be, shopping, a night at the theatre, dinner and drinks? Or maybe a meal out and then back to enjoy our own licensed bar. And then, maybe, tomorrow a few hours relaxing at one of Cheltenham’s luxury spas? There’s a great choice, and it’s all yours.

For the more adventurous there are a wide range of other activities available in the local area including polo, horse riding, clay shooting, dryslope skiing or snowboarding.

Even better, why not make it an extra special hen weekend by having the exclusive use of either Hilden Lodge or Hilden House for your stay? Your guests will love the freedom, and so will you.

You can find out more by calling us now to check availability, we’ll be happy to help you plan the perfect Cheltenham hen weekend whatever you want to do!

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Christmas shopping in Cheltenham

Cheltenham is the ideal destination for a spot of Christmas shopping and for those who fancy combining shopping with some evening fun in Cheltenham there is still plenty of time to take advantage of Hilden Lodge’s sparkling Christmas Special offer.

Alternatively why not make a break from all that shopping and head to Hilden House for their delicious Winter Warming Afternoon Tea?  Our beautiful Georgian dining room is just 5 minutes from the bustling shops and the perfect place to treat yourself to homemade sandwiches and cakes.

Let us remind you of our favourite Christmas shopping destinations in Cheltenham:

(1)   Head for Montpellier and The Suffolks for the wonderful choice of independent shops selling jewellery, gifts and homeware such as Milly B’s on Great Norwood Street.  More independents can be found on Bath Road including Rosa Blue selling beautiful homewares.

(2)   Cheese works – certainly one of our favourite shops in Cheltenham and one of the best 50 food shops in the UK according to the Independent.  Selling a wide range of cheeses, hampers, hams and chocolates, Cheeseworks is sure to satisfy all your epicurean desires for the festive season!

(3)   Cheltenham’s Farmers Market is your one-stop destination for organic and free-range meat from traditional breeds, fresh and smoked fish, wines, ciders, apple juice, chutneys, vinegars, fruit syrups and an abundance of fresh produce.  The last ones of the year are being held on The Promenade on Friday 14th December and Friday 21st December between 9 am and 3 pm.

(4)   Dottie Chic – a recent discovery for us and a real treasure trove of original womenswear and accessories.

(5)   The Promenade – still a firm favourite with its huge array of High Street names.

Cheltenham is the perfect destination for a Christmas shopping and our Managers at Hilden Lodge and Hilden House are on hand to offer further advice on the best shops both here in our beautiful Regency town and also further afield in the idyllic villages of the Cotswolds.


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Cheltenham spa breaks at Hilden House and Chapel Spa

Congratulations to nearby Chapel Spa for recently being awarded Best Spa in the South West 2012 in the Good Spa Awards 2012. Make Chapel spa your destination for a Cheltenham spa break.

Many of Hilden House’s guests have enjoyed being pampered in the unusual luxurious surroundings of this former Calvinist chapel and have taken advantage of the 10% discount that all our guests receive on all treatments at Chapel Spa.

Cheltenham is the perfect destination for a weekend break and we suggest combining a visit to Chapel Spa with some time spent wandering around the beautiful Regency town or doing some Christmas shopping from the large selection of boutiques and independent shops.  In the evening you can enjoy a wonderful meal from the huge range of restaurants.

We pride ourselves in providing a truly personal service for our guests to ensure their visit to Cheltenham is as relaxing as possible.  Contact the team to find out more about arranging a weekend spa break in Cheltenham – we can book your treatments and make restaurant reservations on your behalf.

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