The weekend’s snow is melting and revealing again the many flowers that have appeared early this year due to unseasonally mild weather. By the end of January we had already spotted daffodils, crocuses and camellias signalling that spring might not be far around the corner. Of course the main attraction at this time of year are the striking white carpets of snowdrops which are now in full bloom. Apparently the recent mild weather means it is a good year for snowdrops – or galanthus, which means ‘milk flower’.
Close to Cheltenham we are lucky to have the famous Rococo Gardens near Painswick, which has one of the largest naturalistic plantings of snowdrops in the country and has a wide variety of snowdrops on display. Furthermore, every Wednesday and Friday throughout February they are holding a series of snowdrop lectures. For further information visit www.rococogarden.org.uk
A little further afield, further down the Cotswold Way, we can also recommend a winter walk amongst the delicate snowdrops in the private gardens of Camers, Old Sodbury, which for the first time shall be opening in winter in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The Camers Snowdrop Week is being held from Monday 20th February until Saturday 25th February, every morning from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm with coffees, teas and cakes on sale in the beautiful Elizabethan farmhouse. For further information visit http://www.camers.org
Hilden House and Hilden Lodge are offering some great new deals for February 2012.
The 16th Cheltenham Folk Festival will be taking place at the Town Hall and several other venues over the weekend of 10th-12th February 2012. Expect the usual array of new generation folk bands and singers performing concerts together with workshops, ceilidhs, children’s activities and an indoor market.
We have a Folktastic Weekend Offer at Hilden House and Hilden Lodge with special rates for festival goes which include free tickets to our very own real ale tasting at Hilden House. See our special offers pages for more details.
Valentine’s Day is also approaching and this year we shall be running our Valentine’s Special offer from Tuesday 14th February up until Saturday 18th February at both Hilden House and Hilden Lodge. Our Valentine’s Offer also includes the option of a late check-out, so you can really make the most of our romantic rooms! See our special offers pages for more details.
Farmhouse Breakfast Week is under way and our guests have been enjoying, among other things, locally made Gloucester Old Spot sausages, full Scottish breakfast and poached haddock.
Breakfasts at Hilden Lodge and Hilden House are always excellent, but this week we’re shaking things up further. Even the local press have heard about it – see attached article in Friday’s Gloucestershire Echo.
Farmhouse Breakfast Week
Here at Hilden House and Hilden Lodge breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and we have always firmly believed that you will struggle to find a better breakfast in Cheltenham! This year we shall be further celebrating our breakfasts by participating in Farmhouse Breakfast Week during 22nd-28th January 2012.
Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an annual campaign set up by HGCA to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and show the variety of breakfast foods available in the UK.
At Hilden Lodge you will find Scottish manager, Garry, exerting his influence over the breakfast offerings, as guests staying with us during the Farmhouse Breakfast Week can enjoy a ‘Full Scottish’ breakfast including tatty scones, black pudding and buttries. A definite must for all those Burns Night revellers! You will also find poached haddock and poached eggs on the menu along with porridge served with crème fraiche and a local compote.
At Hilden House, Shelley and Aidan will be promoting the delicious wares of our local butchers, Browns Butchers, in nearby Winchcombe – incuding Goucester Old Spot sausages, black puddings and bacon which will feature on the Farmhouse Breakfast Week menu along with all their usual tempting freshly-prepared breakfast options.
- The countdown to Christmas is well under way here in Cheltenham, as evidenced by the bustling shops and general merriment. There is still plenty of time to take advantage of our Christmas Midweek Madness Special offer running at both Hilden Lodge and Hilden House and complete your Christmas shopping at the fine selection of shops here on our doorstep.
The Christmas Market may now have gone, but The Promenade still remains one of the top Christmas shopping destinations and indeed was recently voted one of the top five best shopping streets in Britain in a poll for Google Street View, which is easily understandable given the huge array of big High Street names which can be found there.
However, we love Cheltenham for the wonderful choice of independent shops we have. You are sure to find original Christmas presents in the independent hot spots of Montpellier and The Suffolks, which play host to a fine array of 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 and you are sure to find the ideal present for the domestic gods and goddesses in your life at Cook’s Kitsch-in!
For the opportunity to purchase something really original and local we also recommend the Arts and Crafts Market on The Promenade Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December, which has proved very popular in recent years.
When it comes to stocking up your Christmas larder then 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 9th December and Friday 23rd December between 9 am and 3 pm.
If you miss the Farmers Market then we recommend Cheeseworks – 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!
Here in Cheltenham we are lucky to have a sparkling array of Christmas party venues all across town. Many of Cheltenham’s fine restaurants are already tempting smaller groups with their fabulous festive menus – our favourites include The Langton and The Storyteller restaurants. Why not avoid the taxi ride home and take advantage of our Party Time Special Offer and receive a specially reduced rate on one night’s accommodation for parties of 6 or more people either at Hilden Lodge or Hilden House?
At the other end of the scale the larger office parties can be found popping their corks in the various function rooms of the larger hotels across Cheltenham. Why not avoid sharing your breakfast and hangover with fellow revelers by retreating to the relative calm of Hilden House or Hilden Lodge for a good night’s sleep?
Whatever your accommodation needs over the festive period, we feel sure that Hilden House and Hilden Lodge can offer you a good night’s sleep and restorative breakfast.
We know that Christmas is upon us when two of our favourite seasonal events return: this Friday 25th November 2011 sees the opening of Jack and the Beanstalk at The Everyman and the switching on of the magical lights at Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas.
The Everyman’s annual traditional panto runs from Friday 25th November 2011 until 8th January 2012 and this year sees Dynasty actress Emma Samms taking to the stage in the family-friendly production of Jack and the Beanstalk, which promises the usual array of songs, laughter, slapstick, a giant and a comedy cow! Why not take advantage of one of our Christmas Special Offers here at Hilden House and Hilden Lodge and enjoy mulled wine and festive nibbles prior to the show?
Another firm favourite of ours is the Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury. This spectacular annual event impresses children and adults alike and runs from Friday 25th November 2011 until 18th December 2011 between 5.00 pm and 8.30 pm. This year not only will you be able to walk along the stunning illuminated trail of towering trees, but children will also be able to enjoy the delights of a new winter wonderland of crafts being held at their education centre.
Last month we blogged about the endless walking possibilities amongst the outstanding countryside here on our doorstep in Cheltenham and Hilden Lodge’s Walkers’ Weekend offer of two nights accommodation, breakfast and packed lunches for two people all for £155. We are pleased to say that this has proved to be one of the more popular offers we have run, as many keen ramblers have taken advantage of our mild Autumn and come and stayed with us. This particular package even got picked up in last week’s edition of My Weekly Magazine who featured it in their Travel News section.
Watch out for more tempting seasonal offers for both Hilden Lodge and Hilden House coming very soon.
Whilst Cheltenham is bracing itself for another three days of fantastic racing at The Open this coming weekend, we’d also like to draw your attention to another popular event at the Racecourse this month. Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will be entertaining music-loving crowds at The Centaur again this year on Friday 18th November 2011 as part of his new national tour. The music legend shall be performing his unique brand of blues and boogie-woogie alongside guests including Sandie Shaw and Shane Macgowan at an event which has proved highly popular with audiences in the past.