With the Cheltenham Festival returning this week, we thought we’d put together a travel guide for the area – both Cheltenham and the Cotswolds in general. We’ve exhibited at Cheltenham Festival many times over the years and always had such a great time exploring what that part of the world has to offer. The Cotswolds is renowned for its chocolate box villages and picturesque countryside but we’ve also found it to be abundant in cosy country pubs, delicious restaurants and beautiful shops to browse around. Here are some of our favourites…
Where to stay in the Cotswolds
In the heart of the Cotswolds is this beautiful country house hotel with restaurant and spa. Much of what they serve in the restaurant is grown in their onsite kitchen garden and they also have a pub and spa café for lighter bites. The Meadow spa offers total peace and tranquillity as, in fact, do the rooms. Opt for a garden room and you’ll enjoy a private outdoor area with your own firepit!
No 38 The Park
Situated near to the racecourse, this is the perfect place to stay if you’re in the area to enjoy Cheltenham Festival. A beautiful Georgian Townhouse with bespoke boutique bedrooms, you can return to luxury after an eventful day out at the races.
The George Hotel
Located in the heart of Cheltenham, with 46 design-led bedrooms, this friendly hotel focuses on what’s important with super comfy mattresses, great wifi and luxurious skincare in every room. They also offer a delicious breakfast at their in-house Diner and 24 hour snacks from the pantry.
The Wild Rabbit
Sitting on the Daylesford organic farm, this attractive stone inn offers elegant pub rooms with the comforts you’d expect from the Daylesford group. They’ve retained many of the original features so think Cotswold stone and aged oak beams alongside natural linens and cosy wool. All the products are by Bamford, as you might expect.
Where to eat & drink
The Stump, Cirencester
Located just outside Cirencester, The Stump offers delicious woodfired pizzas within a buzzy, pub atmosphere. They serve a great selection of craft beers and happen to also have rooms, in case the mood takes you to stay!
The Plough, Kingham
The current owners took over in 2019 and have been offering the very best of seasonal, local ingredients ever since. Expect pub classics done really well, such as Fish & Chips or The Plough Cheeseburger, as well as more refined dishes like Pan Roasted Venison Haunch or Confit Roscoff Onion & Rosemary Goat Cheese Tart Tatin.
The Beehive, Cheltenham
Rated one of the top real ale pubs in Cheltenham, this non-pretentious community focused pub is loved by locals and racegoers, young and old, who want to enjoy great food and local ales in a casual setting.
The Tivoli, Cheltenham
This welcoming pub is in the Tivoli area of Cheltenham, away from the busy shopping streets. There are different areas to eat and drink inside, as well as a garden for when the weather allows. Light snacks and heartier pub meals provide a wide range of dining options – we can highly recommend the Sunday roast!
The Brasserie at Calcot Manor, Tetbury
Calcot Manor is a popular country house hotel and this sophisticated yet laid-back space is the perfect place for to treat yourself, whether for their elegant afternoon tea or sumptuous Sunday lunch.
Where to shop
This charming village is known for its low bridges and Cotswold stone houses. We recommend visiting on the last Sunday of the month to catch the farmers and producers market.
Daylesford Farm Shop
This place is well worth a visit. A whole world of food, drink and homewares. They’ve got everything and anything you can think of, from cheese & wine to bakery items, salads & meat, as well as candles, linens & other treats for the home.
We highly recommend a trip to Cotswold Trading. Situated on the High Street in Broadway, they’ve been sourcing unique and beautifully designed products for the last 20 years. It’s the perfect place to browse away an hour or so, with something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a gift or just want to treat yourself.
This traditional market town is full of independent shops, cafés and galleries. Shop around and you’ll find clothing, art, books and antiques.
What to do
The Cotswold Way runs for around 100 miles along the western side of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, starting at Chipping Campden and ending up in Bath. It’s perfect for experienced walkers and takes you through rolling pastures, beech woodland and of course, the honey coloured stone villages of the area.
The Cotswolds is a great place to explore by bike, with both challenging and easier terrain to tackle depending on your fitness level (and beautiful landscapes no matter which you choose).
Visit Blenheim Palace to explore the gardens, nature trails or to picnic by the lake. They have a wide range of events year round so it’s always worth checking out what’s on before your visit.
Gloucester Cathedral & Gloucester
This remarkable cathedral is seen as one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Britain. It’s the burial place of royalty and has also been the set of numerous films. There’s a lovely on site café and numerous exciting events throughout the year.
This week sees the return of the Cheltenham Festival and we can’t recommend a visit enough. The event features 14 Grade One races over four days with the best horses, trainers and jockeys going head to head. As well as the racing, you can shop a range of clothing and accessory brands, enjoy a range of food and drink options and there’s even live music everyday, after the racing.
What to wear to the Cheltenham Festival
While you’ll want to look good at Cheltenham, the key to dressing for the races is to dress for all eventualities. Something smart but comfortable with layers so you can adjust to the ever-changing weather. It can be pretty cold and windy so a cosy cashmere scarf will see you through while also giving you the option to add a stylish flash of colour to your outfit. Combat the rain with the Roscoe umbrella – small enough to fit in your coat pocket if you don’t need it but you’ll be glad to have it if you do.
You can dress up or down but it’s always fun to let your personality shine through – we recommend selecting a pair of our coloured cotton socks to add an instant pop of colour to your outfit. Our coloured cotton shoelaces are another popular choice – match or complement your socks to your chosen pair!
If you’re heading to Cheltenham for a couple of days, our Keating Holdall offers a smart solution and fits the perfect amount for 2-3 nights. Why not travel in style?