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!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Very Best Sweet Shop in The Cotswolds... and maybe in England

Claiming best sweet shop in England is pretty bold, I know... but this place is the real deal.  Traditional old style sweets from the early days of the sweet shop through the favourite sweeties of the '80s, Hamilton's of Broadway is the absolute best.  Top quality, an enormous range, and all freshly made (unlike so many 'old fashioned sweet shops' that really just sell stale rubbish from the local cash 'n' carry).

You can find Hamilton's right in the centre of Broadway at:

Hamiltons of Broadway
11, Cotswold Court 
The Green
WR12 7AA
Tel: +44 (0) 1386 858560

They also have a shop in Burford, which we haven't been to.  I'm betting it is every bit as good as the shop in Broadway.  It's located at:

HamiltonsChristmas Court
94 High Street Burford
OX18 4QJ
Tel : +44 (0) 1993 824344

If you're travelling through The Cotswolds and want some REAL English sweets, there really is none better.  If you know of any sweetie shops of this caliber in the area, please Comment here so we can all have a taste!

P.S.  If you live in the UK or Europe and crave proper old sweeties but can't make it to Hamiltons, try http://www.aquarterof.co.uk/ for home delivery.  They are outstanding and only sell the best.  No idea how or where they are getting their sweets; but, I suspect a time machine is involved.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Golf & Spa Breaks in The Cotswolds

A while ago I worked for a hotel group in the UK, and we did lots of 'golf breaks' and 'spa breaks.'  The difficulty was that we had to partner with golf clubs that would be happy having lots of hotel guests passing through and had enough empty tee-off slots to give us carte blanche to book people in (everything was sold a s a package)... so the courses tended to be a bit crap.

The deal was the same with Spas- mostly only the not so popular ones would work with large tourist hotels.  Of course, there are some hotels that have their own golf course- and some are incredible- but most are fairly low grade. Spa hotels, on the other hand, can be really outstanding, and the Cotswolds plays home to some of the best in the country.

So, if you're looking for a great Golf Break or a great Spa Break- or a perfect combination of the two, here you are.  First up are the best Spa hotels in the area, and then are all of the golf courses in The Cotswolds.  The ultimate countryside weekend pick 'n' mix...

Cotswolds Spa Hotels
Chipping Campden
Tel: +44 (0)1386 840330
The exclusive Temple Spa range is a total lifestyle brand that beautifully fuses product, philosophy and spa. Temple Spa's passion is professional-standard skin care and body care, aromatherapy and spa treatments, made from natural products inspired by the Mediterranean, that replenish, revive and renew.

Indulge in a menu of refreshing or rebalancing body treatments from expert therapists and including holistic treatments, massages, facials, pedicures, and aromatherapy. Give yourself a boost, have a dip in the pool and, in the summer months, lie back on a sun lounger in our garden with a cool drink in your hand and the sun on your face.

Near Tetbury
Tel: +44 (0) 1666 890 391 

Calcot Spa is a magnificent private leisure complex, with outstanding facilities for health, beauty, fitness and relaxation. Imaginatively designed around a central courtyard, Calcot Spa blends sympathetically with its Cotswold surroundings and features a 16-metre pool, sauna, steamroom, outdoor spa pool, exercise studio, tennis and no fewer than seven treatment rooms. Use of the Spa is restricted to private members and hotel guests, but we also offer a choice of Day Spas for non-members.

Tel: +44 (0) 1242 870 900 

Cowley Manor is a contemporary-chic country house hotel which sits in the glorious Cotswold countryside surrounded by 55 acres of parkland, woods and meadows. The famous gardens feature several natural springs, a series of lakes and Victorian cascades.  Cowley Manor opened in 2002 and its award-winning design and architecture combined to pioneer a new wave of contemporary country house hotels With emphasis on comfort, service and very few rules, Cowley Manor is the ideal place to relax, unwind and indulge in the heart of the British countryside.

The spa has two stunning pools: a 17m green slate lined indoor pool, heated all year round, and an elegant outdoor pool, also heated all year round. in addition, it has four treatment rooms and a separate manicure and pedicure area, enabling the dedicated therapists to offer a full range of indulging and therapeutic treatments, all using Green Spring products.  C.Side also has a gymnasium (personal training can be arranged at time of booking) and a steam room and sauna.

Cotswolds Golf Courses

Sutton Lane, Lower Brailes, Nr. Banbury OX15 5BB
B4035 between Shipston and Banbury
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1608 685 633
• Website: www.brailesgolfclub.co.uk
18 hole. Visitors welcome at all times. Delightful rural location with Sutton Brook featuring on 5 holes. A relaxed but challenging course with a welcoming clubhouse. Ring for a tee time.
Cheltenham Road, Churchdown GL12 9QF
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1452 859 444
• Fax: +44 (0) 1452 859 333
• Website: www.brickhampton.co.uk
‘Spa Course’ 18 hole, par 71 parkland course featuring lakes, streams and white sand bunkers. ‘Glevum Course’ 9 hole par 31 intermediate course. 28 bay floodlit, covered Driving range and Golf School. Professional tuition available. Clubhouse, restaurant and bar. Two golf shops. Flexible conference facility. Visitors and societies welcome – advance booking recommended.

Willersey Hill, Broadway WR12 7LG
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1386 853 683
• Fax: +44 (0) 1386 858 643
• Website: www.broadwaygolfclub.co.uk
• Email: secretary@broadwaygolfclub.co.uk
Uniquely located on a Cotswold escarpment with exceptional views over the Vale of Evesham, this link style golf course provides a challenge for golfers of all abilities. It offers holes that with their natural and artificial hazards require drives that are skilfully placed, approaches carefully judged and the greens expertly read. Visitors are welcome and societies by prior arrangement. The excellent renowned catering and bar facilities will enhance the golfing experience. Buggies, club hire and driving range available.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
18 hole Par 72
Pipers Way, Swindon SN3 1RG
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 495 761
• Fax: +44 (0) 1793 433 255
• Website: www.swindon.gov.uk/golf
18 hole parkland course with water hazards. 9 hole course. Floodlit driving range. Bar and restaurant. Tuition available. Visitors welcome at all times.
Burford, OX18 4JG
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1993 822 583
• Tuition: +44 (0) 1993 822 344
• Email: admin@burfordgolfclub.co.uk
• Website: www.burfordgolfclub.co.uk
18 hole flat, parkland course. Bar and Restaurant. Visitors welcome by appointment, please ring for availability. Handicap certificate required. Tuition available.
Southcombe, Chipping Norton OX7 5QH
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1608 642 383
• Website: www.chippingnortongolfclub.com
18 hole dry downland course. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome on weekdays. Tuition available.

Cheltenham Road, Cirencester GL7 7BH
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1285 652 465
• Tuition: +44 (0) 1285 656 124
• Fax: +44 (0) 1285 650 665
• Email: info@cirengolfclub.co.uk
• Website: www.cirencestergolfclub.co.uk
Situated in the heart of the Cotswolds, Cirencester Golf Club offers a traditional, welcoming atmosphere. The historic James Braid course dates from 1910, with undulating terrain offering a picturesque panorama over the surrounding countryside. Built on free-draining limestone, the course remains playable all year round. A six-hole academy course, covered driving range and pro shop complete the golfing facilities, and buggies are available. Bar snacks and excellent home-cooked meals can be enjoyed in the comfortable clubhouse.
Handicap requirements: None; dress code applies.
18 holes Par 70/72
Nr. Cheltenham GL52 3PW
• Club House: +44 (0) 1242 672 025
• Pro shop/tee times: +44 (0)1242 672 592
• Website: http://www.cleevehillgolfcourse.co.uk
Enjoy the warm friendly atmosphere of our municipal Golf course, bar and restaurant. We offer an 18 hole course with spectacular views, professional golf tuition, golf societies, skittle alley hire and private functions. Please contact for further information.
Ullenwood, Nr. Cheltenham GL53 9QT
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1242 515 264
• Fax: +44 (0) 1242 515 317
• Email: contact.us@cotswoldhills-golfclub.com
• Website: www.cotswoldhills-golfclub.com
A superb gently undulating Cotswold country course just five minutes from junction 11A of the M5. The course provides a challenge for every level of ability, is maintained to an exceptional standard and the greens are renowned to be among the best in the country. After your game enjoy our excellent bar and restaurant food in our very comfortable clubhouse. Our professional provides excellent tuition and a well stocked shop selling a wide range of equipment. Societies and visitors are welcome.
Handicap requirements: preferred. Usual dress standards apply.
18 Holes Par 72/75

Common Hill, Cricklade SN6 6HA
• Telephone: +44 (0)1793 750 751
• Website: www.crickladehotel.co.uk
9 hole parkland course. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome on weekdays. Tuition available.
Robinswood Hill, Gloucester GL4 6EA
• Hotel Telephone: +44 (0)1452 525 653
• Club House: +44 (0)1452 411 331
• Fax: +44 (0)1452 874 809
• Email: gm.gloucester@ramadajarvis.co.uk
• Website: www.gloucestergolf.com
Championship course has been designed to obtain the greatest possible benefit from the natural form of the hillside - the varying undulations as the hill falls from a height of 600ft to 200ft at the base of the course. The resort includes a 9 hole course and a 12 bay floodlit driving range.
Handicap requirements: None - knowledge of etiquette required.
18 holes Par 72
Swindon Road, Highworth SN6 7SJ
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 766 014
• Website: www.swindon.gov.uk/leisuresport/golf/highworthgolf.htm
9 hole undulating course. 9 hole pitch and putt. Vending refreshments. Visitors welcome. Pay and play course.
Cirencester Road, Cheltenham GL53 8EG
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1242 526 785
• Fax: +44 (0) 1242 256 880
• Professional: +44 (0) 1242 525 201
• Email: secretary@lilleybrook.co.uk
• Website: www.lilleybrook.co.uk
A rolling parkland course designed by Mackenzie, offering stunning views over the Vale of Cheltenham to the Malverns and the Black Hills. A challenging course with many trees. Facilities include bar, restaurant, professional's shop; trolleys and buggies available.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
18 holes Par 69

Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9BE
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1453 833 866
• Fax: +44 (0) 1453 837 360
• Email: secretary@mgcnew.co.uk
• Website: www.mgcnew.co.uk
Set high on the Cotswolds both Cherington and Avening courses offer scenic countryside and outstanding tests of golf. The Cherington is a testing inland links course and an Open Championship Regional Qualifying venue from 2002 to 2007. In 2006 it hosted the South West Championship and the ELGA 'Brenda King' Foursomes. The Avening Course is a parkland course offering a different but no less challenging experience. The superbly appointed Cotswold stone Clubhouse offers comfort and good food. Visiting golfers welcome and groups by arrangement.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
Avening 18 holes Par 70 Cherington 18 holes Par 71
Minchinhampton Common, Stroud GL6 9AQ
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1453 832 642
• Fax: +44 (0) 1453 832 642
• Email: alan@mgcold.co.uk
• Website: www.mgcold.co.uk
Situated in the delightful Cotswolds on Minchinhampton Common, an unspoiled Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of the earliest clubs to be formed in the West of England. It is an open grassland inland links course. The initial impression is that the course is 'wide open' but after a few holes it is evident that the 'St Andrews' factor applies and that positional play is important. A warm welcome awaits you at this friendly old club.
Handicap requirements: None
18 holes Par 71
Nr. Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 3AE
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1451 850 090
• Shop: +44 (0) 1451 850 092
• Fax: +44 (0) 1451 850 091
• Website: www.nauntondowns.co.uk
18 hole picturesque course. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome at all times. Booking essential. Pro shop, tuition available, equipment hire. Tennis course available.

Oaksey, Nr. Malmesbury SN16 9SB
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1666 577 995
• Website: www.oakseypark.co.uk
9 hole parkland course. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome at all times. Tuition available. Function room.
Painswick GL6 6TC
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1452 812 180
• Website: www.painswickgolf.com
18 hole course on Painswick Beacon. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome except Sundays.
Nr. Frogmill Hotel, Andoversford, Glos
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1242 890 237
• Website: www.shiptongolf.co.uk
9 hole pay and play course. Refreshments. Tuition available. Club/trolley hire. Families welcome.
Pennyhooks Lane, Nr. Swindon SN6 8EX
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 783 853
• Website: www.shrivenhampark.com
18 hole meadowland course with stream. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome at all times. Tuition available. 10 holes also available. Dress code.

Northmoor Lane, South Cerney, Near Cirencester GL7 5QD
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1285 861 001
• Website: www.southcerneygolfcourse.co.uk
18 hole pay and play golf course and driving range. Visitors welcome. Tuition available.
Dursley GL11 6AQ
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1453 542 015
• Fax: +44 (0) 1453 549 545
• Website: www.stinchcombehillgolfclub.com
• Email: secretary@stinchcombehill.plus.com
18 hole flat, hill-top course with splendid views. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome weekdays and weekends. Booking necessary. Tuition available.
Tewkesbury GL20 7DN
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1684 295 405
• Fax: +44 (0) 1684 292 386
An attractive 18 hole par 73 parkland course with sweeping views of the Malvern Hills and Gloucestershire countryside. Equipment hire, driving range, putting green, 6 hole par 3 course. The hotel features around an 18th century manor house with 80 comfortable en-suite bedrooms, complemented by full use of all leisure facilities. Beautician and sunbeds – fee payable.
Westonbirt School, Tetbury GL8 8QG
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1666 880 242
9 hole parkland course. Visitors welcome at all times.
Lyneham, Chipping Norton OX7 6QQ
• Telephone: +44 (0) 1993 831 841
• Fax: +44 (0) 1993 831 775
• Email: info@thewychwood.com
• Website: www.thewychwood.com
18 hole course. Bar and restaurant. Visitors welcome. Tuition available. Equipment hire. Driving range.