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A beautiful dining experience

October 2020: On this dark and cosy October evening, we settled in for a lovely dinner at the beautiful restaurant at Cowley Manor. Head Chef David Kelman’s new autumn menu was beautiful too. Full of warm autumn hugs in fine dining form, like roast tomato soup, baked cauliflower, honey baked carrots, slow roasted pork belly and game pie. Robin chose the pork belly, it was absolutely delicious. I chose the pie… it was like a big autumn hug in a pie.

Let’s talk more about that pie

You know when you’re in a restaurant.. you’ve ordered what you thought would be the very best dish to suit your particular culinary mood.. you wait.. your food is placed in front of you.. you dig in………. and then, your hopes for the dish are more than met, as it turns out to be so delicius, so mouthwatering, it makes you so happy. That is exactly what happened to me last night.

As I looked over the wonderful menu, I realised that I was in a pie kind of mood. So I ordered the game pie with parsnip potato mash, red cabbage and game jus, and it was one of the very best pies I have ever had. The parsnip potato mash was smooth and light and the red cabbage was like my grandmother back in Denmark used to make it (you’ll never know, of course, but that’s a compliment like no other!). The game jus was incredibly flavourful and balanced perfectly to accompany the hero of the dish: Ahhhh, that pie!

The game pie was unbelievably delicious. It was just the right amount of “gamey”, if that makes sense. The meat was tender, the pie crust was thin and just right. I would go back to Cowley Manor and eat that game pie again and again… definitely one I won’t forget any time soon.

A beautiful menu

But enough about the pie. All the food we had last night was amazing. Robin had the slow roasted pork belly and it was delicious too. For dessert, he had the sticky toffee pudding, the perfect autumn pud… and this really was perfect, scrummy and sticky. My dessert choice was the ‘Blonde Bombshell’, a completely fabulous sweet dish consisting of a white chocolate sphere aand orange parfait with orange jelly, orange puree, orange shortbread and a warm orange vodka & white chocolate anglaise.

As it should do, dessert finished off our dining experience beautifully.

Autumn inside

Beautiful Cowley Manor has always been one of my all-time favourite hotels. We’ve been there so many times and always had the best times, the best service, the best food… the best everything. But for all the “bests”, the reason it’s one of my favourites, is for the atmosphere. I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling at Cowley Manor. It’s like the scene is always set to perfectly suit my mood and last night was no different.

As we walked through the doors, we were met by all the beautiful new autumn colours throughout the hotel. Dark reds, various burnt oranges, deep purples… it was like stepping into autumn.

A starlit dinner

The dining room at Cowley Manor is beautiful in itself, but what makes it is the wonderful, warm sphere lights that fill the ceiling. These lights always make me feel like I’m having dinner under the stars, they set the scene for a romantic moment indeed.

A beautiful experience

Dinner at Cowley Manor last night was truly a beautiful experience. The food, the service, the feel and the atmosphere… Cowley Manor is a thing of great beauty, inside and out.

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Ritual Roasters ∙ Cafe and Coffee Mecca in Cheltenham

In the heart of Cheltenham lies a haven for coffee afficionados and curious cafe-goers alike: Ritual Coffee Roastery, Brew Bar & Kitchen. It’s more than just a cafe and coffee roastery; it’s a sort of temple to the humble bean and a fantastic cafe.

Step inside, and the intoxicating aroma of freshly roasted coffee washes over you. This isn’t a samey coffee chain; it’s a community hub, a vibrant space created for and by baristas with hearts as warm as their espresso machines.

The magic of Ritual Coffee Roasters unfolds in the brew bar, where beans sourced from the world’s finest origins are transformed into wonderful cups of coffee. Forget syrupy concoctions and milky shadows, here, coffee takes centre stage, its nuanced notes celebrated in meticulously crafted pour-overs and espresso shots. 

So, next time you find yourself in Cheltenham, check out Ritual Coffee Roasters and discover a world where coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s an experience, a conversation, a journey of the senses.

Enjoy your coffee with a delicious piece of cake or a lovely lunch, lovingly created by the super star chef in the Brew Bar’s kitchen.

Let the warm embrace of the cafe envelop you, let the aroma of roasted beans guide your way, and savour the taste of passion poured into every cup. It’s a taste of the Cotswolds.

Address: Unit 31-32, Lansdown Industrial Estate, Gloucester Rd, Cheltenham GL51 8PL.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am-4pm (note that the kitchen closes 3.30pm).

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Easter Afternoon Tea Picnic at Cowley Manor

March 2020: At Cowley Manor we’ve had some of the best, most fun, most wonderful times we’ve had as a family in all of the Cotswolds. And our Easter Afternoon Tea Picnic was one of those times. Matthew, Noelle and I rocked up on over Easter last year and thought we were in for a scrummy afternoon tea treat. And we were, sure, but little did we know that the always amazing staff at Cowley Manor had decided to work their magic and make our afternoon tea experience extraordinary… we should have known, of course, because they always go above and beyond.

On this beautiful and warm 18th of April in 2019, the Cowley staff suggested we enjoy our Easter Afternoon Tea outside… on the lawn… picnic-style! Well, we needed no convincing, we were absolutely game so off we went to a take on a fun afternoon in one of the most beautiful and exciting gardens in the Cotswolds. As our afternoon tea was being prepared, we went for a walk… we started at the oversized swing, went on the little stream and the lion heads, then we walked past the big lake and on to the secret garden where it is believed Lewis Carroll was inspired to write Alice in Wonderland.

The gardens surrounding Cowley Manor are magnificent. You can spend hours and hours here exploring and walking and enjoying nature, something we have done on many, many occasions. On this day, at the end of our garden “expedition”, we went to the amazing hammocks on the lawn just outside the hotel, a perfect spot for relaxing, having a little snooze or just enjoying the spectacular views of the garden.

Then it was picnic time. A blanket was laid out and our Easter Afternoon Tea was served in a lovely picnic basket and then beautifully laid out for us. We chose our picnic spot, the left corner of the large lawn in front of the hotel, the perfect spot, we thought, as here we had a view of both the stunning hotel, the lake, the woods and whole of the garden. Wonderful!

The afternoon tea was so delicious. We’ve had quite a few themed afternoon teas and we love them… it’s always such fun to find out what special treats we’re being offered on any theme, and the Easter aspects of this afternoon tea was a super-delicious simnel cake, scrummy hot cross buns and a fun take on eggs and soldiers (a delicious tropical mousse being the egg, a thin shortbread being the soldier). It was delicious… all of it. And we enjoyed this Easter Afternoon Tea Picnic so much, we can’t wait to go back again every year at Easter time.

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Al Fresco Dining at Ellenborough Park

Summer of 2021: It’s so interesting to see what all the restaurants, hotels and pubs in the Cotswolds are doing to create outdoor spaces for dining and drinking this Spring. So many of them have created some wonderful seating areas, and we’re enjoying trying them out. So, when we were on our way to enjoy an al fresco dining experience at Ellenborough Park this week, we were talking about what they might have done, knowing only that they had these fabulous round pods and that it would no doubt be amazing… because everything they do at Ellenborough Park is just plain amazing.



Completely, Totally Fabulous

As we arrived and walked up towards the hotel, we realised that we had greatly underestimated how fabulous this brand-new outdoor seating area was. It’s spectacular. It’s wonderful. It’s completely, totally fabulous. And as it gets darker, all the lights make it magical.

As Great As Always

The best in service and comfort is a given at Ellenborough Park, and while moving everything inside out, they have not skipped a beat in service and comfort levels. We were greeted warmly, and all members of staff were lovely and super professional, even though their walk from the kitchen to tables was four times longer than normal, and a new part of their job was now keeping guests warm with a steady flow of blankets and fire heaters. They were exactly as great as Ellenborough Park staff always is, just outside.

A Great Night

We were seated, and everyone ensured we were warm and comfortable. We ordered drinks and food from the new menu; our personal fire pit was lit, and a great night had taken off nicely.

Best Burger Ever

The food from the new menu was lovely. We ordered the mushrooms and the calamari to start. Absolutely delicious. For our mains, we had the pork and the burger. For Robin, the mushroom starter was his dish of the night; for me, it was the burger, which was right up there with the very best I’ve ever had.

The Perfect Finish

And as we all know, nothing finishes a lovely evening off as a sticky toffee pudding. So that’s what we ordered from the dessert menu, which was perfect. The sticky toffee pudding was the perfect way to finish a wonderful evening, along with coffees that doubled as hand warmers (it was getting a bit nippy as the sun had gone down).

NOTE: We had this experience in the summer of 2021 when dining outdoors was being explored by hospitality businesses all over the world due to the pandemic. You’ll be pleased to know that Ellenborough Park has kept their amazing AL FRESCO DINING option. Book your outdoor experience HERE.

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