Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bibury Duck Race on Boxing Day

This Boxing Day event takes place in the pretty village of Bibury.  The ducks can be sponsored or you can just watch the activities from the banks of the River Coln – there’s no charge for watching.  The winner selects the charity to receive the proceeds of the days event.
There is also usually some mulled wine and mince pies to enjoy whilst soaking up some festive spirit!
Thousands of plastic yellow ducks will race down the River Coln on Boxing Day in what has become a famous Gloucestershire tradition.
The banks of the river will be lined with thousands of spectators for the annual event organised by Bibury Cricket Club.

First started around 20 years ago, duck racing is now as much part of Gloucestershire’s calendar of madcap sports as cheese rolling, shin kicking and football in the river.
Club secretary Steve Turner remembers the first race.
“There were a couple of hundred people there.  So, to see what it has grown in to now is incredible,” he says.
“Last year’s event raised more than £1,000 for the club and over £2,200 for charity.”
Each yellow duck costs 50p to buy and that money goes to the club. Larger decoy ducks cost £10 each and that money goes to charity.
“The owner of the winning decoy duck gets to nominate which charity receives the funds,” Steve explains.
“Last year £1,700 went to Cotswold Care Hospice and £500 went to Bibury Village Hall.”
Ducks sell out fast on the day every year.  Steve said people should arrive by around 10am to snap one up for the 11.15am race.

“It’s a strange thing where we’re looking round in the morning each year worrying that nobody is going to turn up,” he said.
“Then suddenly coach loads arrive and you can hardly move for people.
“Duck racing is an essential event to keep the Cricket Club going and it’s become a real Gloucestershire tradition.”

Of course, Bibury is one of the truly unspoilt gems of the Cotswolds and is well worth a visit any time of the year.  But if you're up for a taste of what makes this part of England truly unique, a visit is highly recommended.  nearby Inns and pubs are, as always, outstanding.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmastime in The Cotswolds

Just thought I'd post some nice photos of The Cotswolds at Christmas- if you have some nice ones, please share on our Facebook page.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Christmas Cheer, Real Ale, and a Roaring Fire in Chipping Campden

Even though I'm not there at the moment, I can actually smell Christmas at The Ebrington Arms after having heard about it.

This outstanding village inn won North Cotswolds Pub of the Year this year from CAMRA and their chef is in this year's Good Food Guide.  It's a proper 17th century village pub just outside Chipping Campden, complete with open log fires, and even has three bedrooms in case you'd rather stay the night (and sample all their delicious local brews).  The inn also has beautiful views across the Cotswold hills.  My experience there has never been anything less than perfect and, maybe most important of all, the owners and staff are some of the nicest people around.

As for that Christmas smell... here's a little snippet, in their own words, about Christmas at their pub:

"The Cotswolds are stunning all year round but no time is quite as magical as Christmas and New Year...  With thatched cottages billowing smoke from their chimneys and the open countryside covered in a crystal-like frost, it is a beautiful time to explore the Cotswold villages. Even better when you return home to our welcoming pub to sample our delicious homecooking in front of our roaring log fires. Not to mention the odd pint of real ale (lovingly looked after by landlord Jim) or a homemade glass of spicy mulled wine...

The Ebrington Arms is the true hub of the village community at Christmas and New Year - with carol singing, impromptu live music and a fair bit of liquid celebration! It is indeed the most fun place to be during the festive season for miles and miles around – an you too could be part of it..."

I've already got my coat on...