Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary Festival

This summer Sudeley Castle is celebrating 500 years since the birth of its former resident Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of the notorious King Henry VII. This six month festival started 11th April 2012 and celebrates the life of the former queen, who is buried at St Mary’s church within the castle’s gardens, with a series of historical, literary and musical events.

There will be various tea party events hosted by Lady Ashcombe as well as lectures by noted historians including Dr David Starkey. On this coming Saturday 28th April the screenwriter Michael Hirst, best known for the film ‘Elizabeth’ with Cate Blanchett, will be talking about his awarding-winning series ‘The Tudors’

The new Queen Katherine Parr exhibition at Sudeley Castle will also be displaying rare memorabilia such as original books written Katherine Parr herself and her love letters to Thomas Seymour.

The festival will culminate in the re-enactment of Katherine Parr’s funeral where Dr David Starkey will be providing live commentary. Her funeral was the first protestant funeral ever to be held.

For more information on these events please see www.sudeleycastle.co.uk.

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Diamond Discounts over the Jubilee Weekend

Cheltenham will be playing host to all manner of events over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Weekend. We particularly like the look of the brand new Hullabaloo Festival which will be taking in place on Burley Fields Lake in Leckhampton. This 3 day family music and arts festival promises to be a celebration of Gloucestershire and will have a large performance tent hosting music, poetry and children’s entertainment as well as craft workshops and food and drink stalls. For full details visit www.hullabaloofestival.co.uk.

Hilden House and Hilden Lodge are looking to entice even more visitors to our beautiful city over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend with ourDiamond Jubilee Offers. Hilden Lodge’s £60 for 60 years special offer signifies an unbeatable 30% discount on our double rooms. Meanwhile at Hilden House you can toast Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne with a free bottle of champagne and a 20.12% discount on our superior rooms. See our Special Offers page for full details.

Watch this space for more up-to-the-minute details of Jubilee celebrations in Cheltenham or visit our Whats On page.

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Extraordinary Easter Events and be an Extra at the Everyman

There are so many eggshilarating events in the area to choose from this Easter … meet the Gruffalo himself on the Forest of Dean’s Easter Woodland Trail, take the Easter Challenge at Westonbirt Arboretum, try a canoe safari or wigwam building at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre. Take a look at SoGlos.com’s eggcellent Easter guide for more details on these events as well as Easter Egg trails at Pittville Park and Sudeley Castle! Alternatively check out the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s Easter activites, such as their Easter Eggspress steam train event. Children get to travel free on all their trains throughout the month of April.

Have you ever fancied treading the boards alongside professional actors? The Everyman Theatre is looking for extras (note how we resisted saying ‘Eggstra’!!) for the upcoming production of ‘An Inspector Calls’ which comes to Cheltenham Tuesday 10th – Saturday 14th April 2012. Participants won’t get paid, but this will be a rare opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at theatre life.

If none of the above is enough to tempt you to Cheltenham, then check out Hilden House and Hilden Lodge’s Easter Special Offers.

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Shrove Tuesday … the best pancakes in Cheltenham!!

Did you know that ‘Shrove’ comes from the old English word ‘Shrive’ which means ‘to confess’?  On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.  Pancakes were traditionally eaten on this day as they contained fat, butter and eggs, which were forbidden during Lent.

This year Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day falls on Tuesday 21st February 2012 and to celebrate pancakes will be featuring on the breakfast menus at both our B&B’s.  Hilden Lodge and Hilden House shall be serving pancakes with blueberries, bacon and maple syrup or the traditionalists can choose the classic combination of lemon juice and sugar.

As for the best recipe for the pancakes themselves – Hilden Lodge prefer the American style (see attached Faecbook link for recipe http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hilden-Lodge/122893867741485), while Aidan at Hilden House believes buttermilk is the secret to the perfect pancake!

Hilden House and Hilden Lodge really are the places to be for some pre-Lent breakfast indulgence!

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Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2012 line-up

Hot off the press … The line-up for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2012 has just been revealed and the May Bank Holiday weekend of 2nd-7th May promises a series of incredible shows.  Paloma Faith, Jamie Cullen, Candi Statton, Imelda May, as well as Jazz legends Marcus Miller, Chris Potter, Bill Frisell and John Taylor are among some of the talents confirmed so far.

Also, new for 2012, the organisers are promising a new outdoor venue at Montpellier, screening rooms cinema, the Verve Lounge together with a free music stage.  The 2012 Jazz Festival certainly promises the usual standard of show-stopping excitement we have come to expect!

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Winter Walks and Snowdrops

Snowdrops

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

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Valentine’s Day and Folk Festival – New Special Offers

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.

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Farmhouse Breakfast Week under way …

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.

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Local-produce-help-people-lose-weight/story-14984335-detail/story.html

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Shake up your Wake Up!!

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.

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Christmas Shopping – our last minute guide

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!

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