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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Party season in Cheltenham

Party 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.

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Comedy cows and illuminated trees

Enchanted Trees

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.

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Jools Holland at Cheltenham Racecourse

Jools Holland

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.

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Spooky celebrations and a Firework extravaganza in Cheltenham

Hilden House Pumpkin

Hilden House Halloween Blog

The October Half Term holiday is upon us and love it or hate it that means Halloween! Each year sees this event grow as it seems set to become as popular over here as it is in The States. This year Gloucestershire will be home to all manner of spooky events: from ghosts and witches to devils and vampires, whether you will be dressing-up in scary fancy dress, carefully carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples or trick or treating! Why not visit nearby farm Primrose Vale – as well as having a bumper crop of pumpkins to pick from and carve, Primrose Vale is hosting a Halloween Hunt for Gloucestershire families throughout the October half term. Elsewhere in the area Halloween happenings can be found at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Sudeley Castle or why not try Cheltenham’s own haunting Ghost Walk in the Town Centre on Thursday 27th October 2011.
That other great Autumn family event is Bonfire Night and here in Cheltenham we are lucky to have a spectacular firework display at the Racecourse. The Round Table display is recognized as the largest is the South West region attracting a crowd in excess of 10,000 people. The racecourse location offers a natural amphitheatre for this colourful extravaganza where street performers and a fun fair also keep the crowds entertained. Gates open 5 pm and fireworks commence at 7 pm.
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Michelin Stars 2012 – Cheltenham a worthy gastronomic destination

The Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2012 has just been released and three nearby Gloucestershire restaurants have been awarded the coveted stars.

The latest edition of this world famous gastronomic guide sees Cheltenham’s Le Champignon Sauvage retain its two-star rating yet again and is just one of 17 restaurants throughout Great Britain and Ireland to be awarded two stars which signify ‘’excellent cooking / worth making a detour’’.  The modern French cooking of Le Champignon Sauvage, which serves such delights as seared scallops with cauliflower puree, cumin veloute and ras-el-hanout caramel, has long been a firm favourite of both local and travelling foodies alike.  This gastronomic sensation is located in The Suffolks within walking distance of Hilden House, making us the ideal place to stay after sampling its delights.  A combination truly worth making the detour!

Elsewhere in the area 5 North Street in nearby Winchcombe and the Lords of the Manor restaurant in Upper Slaughter have again been awarded one Michelin star.

To see a full list of our recommended places to eat out in Cheltenham, please click here.

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Cotswold Way by Day – Cheltenham Hot Spots by Night

Who would think that you could be rambling amongst picturesque hills and autumnal woodlands during the day and then sipping cocktails in an exciting bar or enjoying the theatre that same evening?  A weekend of walking amidst the outstanding Cotswold countryside does not mean you have to spend your evenings with a pint of beer and droopy chips in a sleepy remote pub.  At least not if you choose to take advantage of Hilden Lodge’s Walkers’ Weekend offer of two nights accommodation, breakfast and packed lunches for two people all for £155 (not including Bank Holidays and subject to availability).  Our award-winning breakfasts and our personally tailored packed lunches will sustain you through your day’s walking; and for the evening you can enjoy Cheltenham’s array of fine dining and multicultural cuisines.  Alternatively, many of our rooms have ensuite baths, which the more exhausted walkers can enjoy before selecting a free DVD from our library.

Hilden Lodge’s location on the outskirts of Cheltenham makes it an ideal base for a walking break to explore the picturesque northern part of the Cotswolds. Hilden Lodge is situated within walking distance of the Cotswold Way, the famous walk which starts in the market town of Chipping Campden and stretches along the Cotswolds escarpment all the way to Bath.  One of the most eye-catching stretches of the Cotswold Way is the ‘Leckhampton Loop’, which is just an eight minute drive from Hilden Lodge.

We have been welcoming walkers at Hilden Lodge for many years and are listed on the Ramblers website.

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Celebrity spotting at the Literature Festival

It’s time for another Cheltenham Festival …. The Times Literature Festival takes place 7th – 16th October 2011 and promises to be bigger and better than ever with 500 events and 600 speakers.  An impressive array of famous names will be appearing – including Joanna Lumley, David Walliams, Melvyn Bragg, Jeffrey Archer, Julian Fellowes, Robert Lindsay, Sebastian Faulks, Pamela Stephenson, Sue Johnston, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ed Balls, Terry Wogan who will all be talking about their latest works.

The festival has outgrown its traditional venues and so this year a new ‘literary quarter’ will be added in Montpellier Gardens just two minutes walk from the tented village on Imperial Square.  You’ll also find a huge Waterstone’s book tent and two brand new, unique dining experiences, Spiegeltent Bistro and the Feastfest Food Hall.  Click here for venue maps & visitor information.

Hilden House looks forward to welcoming all book worms and celebrity-spotters alike!

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Children in Cheltenham

The school summer holidays are already upon us again and we can think of no better place than Cheltenham to keep your little ones entertained during a perfect summer break.  There are numerous events and activites being held at The Brewery in Cheltenham over the holiday period from magic shows and science experiments to a 24 feet climbing wall and free mini fun fair.  When the sun is shining then the Sandford Parks Lido is a children’s paradise of water fun and when the weather is not so good, why not indulge your children’s creative side at The Paint it Yourself Pottery Co?

Further afield, we would highly recommend a trip to the Slimbridge Wetland Centre, where throughout the summer holidays you can explore the vast nature reserve via a Land Rover safari out on to the Severn Estuary.  Another firm favourite of ours is the Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury which has an action-packed schedule of events including nature trails, ‘Life beneath our Feet’ and ‘Growing Green’ workshops and their annual Treefest being held Friday 26th August – Monday 29th August 2011.  Furthermore, during the school summer holidays, families have even more reason to visit the spectacular Arboretum, as children go free from Saturday 23rd July to Wednesday 31st August 2011!

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