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The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, a ‘must visit’ in Cheltenham

January 2019: We love all the wonderful eateries in Cheltenham and dining out in this vibrant Cotswold town is just plain fabulous. The Ivy Brasserie in Montpellier had been on our ‘must visit’-list for ages and this Saturday we finally made it there… and what an experience! We had seen pictures of the restaurant and heard only great things, so prior to our visit, our expectations were already sky-high… imagine our delight when we finally went and found that it was even better than we thought it might be.

A magnificent room

When you arrive at The Ivy in Cheltenham, you are immediately met by friendly and professional staff who make sure your reservation is handled, your coats are checked and that you are seated at your table. We entered the restaurant and the staff must be so used to hearing this, of course, but straight away we were marvelling at the magnificently domed room in the grade I listed Rotunda building in the popular town’s trendiest area, Montpellier. We were seated towards the middle of the room, which gives you an even greater sense of the magnitude of the space, because it’s almost impossible to look up and take it all in. It is stunning and words fail you, a truly amazing place.

A private space in a full restaurant

The restaurant was quickly filling up, and in another space this might have become noisy, but here it just doesn’t. We were seated close to several other tables in the buzzing place and still felt like we just the two of us, enjoying a lovely lunch and private conversation.

Sophisticated and relaxed

What The Ivy Collection is aiming for with their group of brasseries is sophisticated and relaxed dining. They have most definitely got that completely spot on. In a beautiful space they welcome and cater for families, large groups, couple and single diners alike. The culinary offering spans from delicious breakfasts and light lunches to dinners and afternoon teas. The common denominator is the highest standard of ingredients and cooking, beautifully presented in an unpretentious fashion, and only the very best in taste… obviously!

A first class culinary experience

Our culinary experience during this lovely lunch was first class. We had the salmon & crab and pumpkin soup starters, both incredibly delicious. Our mains were the avocado Eggs Benedict (oh, wow!) and The Ivy Hamburger… I always say that the sign of a good eatery is an incredibly delicious burger, and if I’m right, then The Ivy is among the very best of eateries, because this particular burger was just that: among the best I’ve had! Pudding was stunning. We went for ice cream and the classic chocolate bomb… sinful, yes, but sooo delicious!

The very best service

Throughout our 2-hour lunch at The Ivy Brasserie in Montpellier, we experienced only the very best in service from all members of staff. Friendly, professional, competent and timely, all things that matter so much to the feel of a place, and at The Ivy they have just got it spot on.

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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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