It’s all about the Egg at Stratford Butterfly Farm this Easter!

It’s all about the Egg at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm during the Easter holidays from 13 – 28 April. Visitors can discover the freshly laid eggs from tropical Butterflies and Moths and see the Caterpillars that have hatched out of them and the pupae they turn into. Within the Emerging Case visitors may even see a butterfly hatch from its pupa!

Visitors can also discover the fascinating connection that Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm has to the rainforests of Belize and the ancient Maya civilization. Their artefacts have been replicated and are on display throughout the Farm. The Maya were skilled at growing crops such as maize, chili pepper, beans and squash. Most importantly they discovered the cacao pod giving us the delights of delicious chocolate!

Children and adults can also take part in the popular ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions which take place daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm throughout the holidays with the Education Team. Visitors can hold creatures such as a giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects.

On display are a couple of new residents including a Dragon Headed Katydid, also known as Eumegalodon blanchardi. These ferocious looking creatures originate from the forests of Borneo in South East Asia and have huge chewing mouthparts for eating tough vegetation. The males and females are easy to tell apart as the female has a long sword like ovipositor which is used to lay eggs in the stems of banana plants. The other new resident is an Orchid Mantis, also known as Hymenapus coronatus, which originates from Malaysia and Indonesia. These beautiful pink and white mantis have lobes on their legs that look like flower petals. Although this species does not live on orchids, it does look remarkably like a beautiful orchid flower.

Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm said “Here at the Butterfly Farm you can see the entire life-cycle of a butterfly – the egg, the caterpillar, the chrysalis and finally the adult, which is absolutely fascinating to watch. Come and discover the Maya and their links to chocolate which of course is so popular at Easter! With two new inhabitants to admire and our popular Meet the Mini-beast handling sessions, we have plenty for everyone to enjoy!”

To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am to 6:00pm, last entry 5:30pm. Open every day of the week except Christmas Day. For more information including admission prices and group rates, please visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.

Charlotte’s Trophy

Charlotte’s Trophy is an annual tournament, hosted by Dallas Burston Polo Club, celebrating the life of Charlotte Walter. Charlotte’s family sponsor the event, to raise money for Helen & Douglas House, the Oxford-based hospice that have supported Charlotte and the Walter family before, during and after Charlotte sadly passed away.

The event, which also marks the last tournament of the winter season, is played on the 2.4-acre all-weather SuperArena® and offers guests the opportunity to spectate from the comfort of The Millstone Hare. This year, guests at Charlotte’s Trophy watched from the balconies overlooking the arena as 5 teams faced off throughout the day, in 3 dramatic clashes.

As the teams and grooms prepared their ponies, the clouds began to part, letting the sun pour through, filling the arena with a warm Spring glow. The commentator’s voice started to boom around the estate, introducing the players to the crowd gathering in the arena-side pub. The two teams, Offchurchbury Polo Club and Environmental Energies, made their way on to the surface of the giant arena, ready for battle.

Meanwhile, in the Drawing Room of The Millstone Hare – the hospitality venue for Charlotte’s Trophy, guests were treated to a welcome drink, provided by one of the event sponsors, RK Vodka, and invited to join the commentator, Joe North, on the balcony to watch the first match.

Bartender pouring drink at bar

With their favourite teams chosen, the spectators began to cheer as the goals came thick and fast, with Joe calling each move and providing an entertaining narration of the game. The excitement from each chukka reverberated around the estate like the thundering of hooves on the arena’s sandy surface. As the first game drew to a close, the guests meandered towards the warm comfort of The Millstone Hare. Inside the Drawing Room, the hospitality guests browsed the raffle table, comprising of prizes donated by the supporters and sponsors of Charlotte’s Trophy.

Displayed across the table was a fabulous spectrum of prizes, ranging from vouchers for health and wellbeing treatments contributed by The Health Pod in Daventry and a 4.5 litre bottle of Famous Grouse whisky, donated by Major Richard Carney MBE – Director of Group Operations for the Dallas Burston Group, to a back and shoulder massage with Aromatherapy from Studio53 in Northampton, and tickets to the highly sought-after Christmas party nights at the IXL Events Centre at Dallas Burston Polo Club.

The day’s commentary continued as the second match got underway between CANI and Oxford Polo. Despite the changing weather, the balcony was lined with smiling faces, heads turning as the ponies and players darted around the arena, all eyes locked on to the ball. Above the arena, the clouds had been steadily drawing nearer and were now hanging over the estate, giving the match a more sinister feel. The moody grey sky suggested rain was imminent, but nobody was perturbed by the threat. The buzzer echoed around the arena, signalling the end of the match and the spectators clapped the players as they shook hands and rode away, leaving the arena surface to settle, ready for the final game of the day.

Back in the vibrant atmosphere of the Drawing Room, the hospitality guests had returned to find that the food, served by The Millstone Hare team, was ready and laid out on the buffet table. Before long, the sound of knives and forks provided the soundtrack to the event, whilst the guests guests filled up on the warm wintery dishes.

Figures watching polo match

The final fixture began with the Beavan Polo team facing off against the youthful Oxford Polo team. Before entering the arena, Huw Beavan said “The relaxed atmosphere at this event creates the perfect conditions for new players to experience tournament polo. My team, Beavan Polo, is made up of young players that come to me for lessons and tournaments like Charlotte’s Trophy allow them to grow in the game.”

Guests of the hospitality package, now fuelled by the warmth of the food, had assembled once more along the balcony to enjoy the last match of the day. An incredibly gripping contest saw 12 goals scored in the first 2 chukkas, creating a 9 – 3 score line in Oxford’s favour. The 3rd chukka stunned spectators as Huw Beavan, Polo Manager at Dallas Burston Polo Club, scored an astonishing 6 goals, bringing the teams level for the final chukka. Joe North called the teams back on to the sand for the final section of the game and the spectators clung to the railings in anticipation. The next 7 minutes of polo were a test of endurance and will.

As both teams fought to lift Charlotte’s Trophy, Oxford Polo mustered an impressive wave of last-minute energy, running Beavan Polo out 12 goals to 9. The polo teams made their way up to the Drawing Room, to resounding applause from the spectators. Charlotte’s Trophy was presented by Major Carney, to Oxford Polo, amid cheers and camera flashes. Following the polo prize-giving ceremony, Sue Walter, Charlotte’s mother, began to draw tickets from the raffle. The Walter family were thrilled and overwhelmed to see £1,000 raised for Helen & Douglas House, in raffle tickets alone.

Adam Walter, Charlotte’s brother, said “My family and I are always so grateful to the polo club for hosting this very special event. Helen & Douglas House were so incredibly supportive to my sister before she passed away and have continued to support my family since. We were extremely happy to have raised such a great amount for the hospice, it’s nice to be able to give something back.”

World Vegan Day in Shakespeare’s England

For the past 24 years, November 1st has been celebrated around the globe as World Vegan Day (WVD).

With more than 3.5 million British people now identifying as vegan in the UK alone*, it is a lifestyle choice that is more popular than ever before.

WVD first began back in 1994 when Louise Wallis, then Chair of The Vegan Society, wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the society’s formation in the UK and the conception of the term ‘vegan’.

Fast forward to now and we want to show our support for World Vegan Day and the fantastic vegan food offerings in our region.

So with that said, here is our very own guide to some of the best vegan food spots in and around Warwickshire. Bon Appétit!

Boston Tea Party

Since starting out in Bristol in 1995, Boston Tea Party (BTP) now have over 20 cafes dotted around the UK. The ones to mention in and around Warwickshire and the West Midlands include:

  • Solihull
  • Birmingham Corporation Street
  • Edgbaston, Birmingham
  • Harborne, Birmingham
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Worcester

The local BTP in Stratford-Upon-Avon is a much-loved lunch spot that is popular with both locals and visitors. What we love about their menu (apart from the fact that everything on there is served all day) is that nearly every dish can be adapted to be vegan or vegetarian.

Why not give the aptly named ‘Vegan Boss’ a try? A plant-based breakfast feast of scrambled tofu, sweetcorn fritters, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, spinach, hash browns and toast.

The Vegan breakfast at Boston Tea Party Cafes
The Vegan Boss

For a lighter start to the day, they also have the Brown Rice Porridge. A winter warming combination of coconut milk, vanilla, maple syrup, blueberries, mango, and cinnamon.

If it’s a hearty brunch you’re after then the Vietnamese Banh-Mi should catch your eye. A colourful bowl of goodness filled with BBQ pulled jackfruit, pickled vegetables, vegan mayo, coriander and Sriracha chilli sauce, all served with a toasted baguette and pickled coleslaw.

All of their coffees can also be made vegan plus there’s a range of fresh smoothies to choose from. Trust us when we say you’ll be spoilt for choice!

The Green One Smoothie at Boston Tea Party cafes
‘The Green One’ smoothie. Spinach, cucumber, banana, chia seeds, apple juice and lime.

 

Vegan coffee at Boston Tea Party

 

RSC Rooftop Restaurant, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Hidden atop the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the RSC Rooftop Restaurant offers much more than just panoramic views of Stratford-Upon-Avon and beyond.

Whether you’re going to a show or just visiting for the day, the menus here are bound to impress any vegan guest.

As well as the vegan high tea menu which incorporates a selection of sweet and savoury delicacies including sandwiches, cakes and scones served with soya cream and jam, the restaurant also provide vegan pre-theatre and dinner menus. You can view them all here.

The a la carte vegan dinner menu is available from 7.45pm Monday to Saturday and has three tempting courses including a mushroom, spinach and chickpea masala curry accompanied by lime and coriander rice.

No matter what menu you order from, the kitchen at the Rooftop Restaurant will make your dish from scratch using ingredients from independent sources.

The Rooftop Restaurant also offer gluten-free dinner and afternoon tea menus.

 

The Stag, Redhill (Alcester)

Set in a charming 500-year-old coach house, The Stag at Redhill is a historic hotel, restaurant and bar just 3 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon.

With traditional beamed ceilings, an open fireplace and stylish decor, the Stag’s restaurant is the place to be if you’re looking for a cosy atmosphere and some hearty vegan dishes to keep the chilly November days at bay.

To celebrate WVD, the team have been busy preparing some exclusive specials including the Beetroot Risotto and Red and Puy lentil Cottage pie (pictured below).

World Vegan Day at The Stag, Redhill
Beetroot Risotto with parsnip crisps.
Red and Puy lentil Cottage pie topped with sweet potato mash.

 

The Bell, Alderminster

One of Warwickshire’s hidden gems! The Bell is a former eighteenth century coaching inn turned country pub with a multi award-winning restaurant and boutique B&B on the historic Alscot Estate.

With 97% of their produce coming from the surrounding areas and vegetables grown in the Alscot Estate’s garden kitchen, you can rest assured knowing the team have got you covered when it comes to great tasting, locally sourced vegan food.

To celebrate World Vegan Day 2018, the team have pulled out all the stops to offer some irresistible WVD specials on both their a la carte and prix fixe menus. These include:

The Nourish Bowl (pictured below). Quinoa Salad, Marinated Beetroot, Chickpeas, Carrots, Mouli, Avocado & Salsa Verde Dressing;
A chickpea & courgette burger served with spicy indian vegetable chutney, salad and sweet potato fries.

The Nourish Bowl, endorsed by personal trainer & lifestyle consultant Darren Putt based at Motus Training on the Alscot Estate.
Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa & Butternut Squash.

The chefs here are happy to cater for other special dietary requirements and requests, including gluten free.

Last month, The Bell were runners up in The Observer Food Monthly Awards 2018 for ‘Best Place to Drink’ and ‘Best Sunday Lunch’.

Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Here at Shakespeare’s England, we believe that there’s always room for dessert so when you can get sorbet and ice cream that’s this good, it’s not to be missed.

Hooray’s sell over 10 different vegan gelato/sorbet flavours including mango, kiwi, chocolate, coffee and pink grapefruit just to name a few!

With an ever-changing menu and new vegan recipes, who knows what dairy-free delights await your visit but what we can tell you is that you’ll get unique flavours and fresh ingredients.

Mother and daughter team, Sara and Sasha Young opened the Hooray’s shop in 2013 and have supplied Stratford-Upon-Avon and the surrounding areas with delectable delights ever since.

Proudly independent and now regarded as one of the best gelaterias in the UK, the Hooray’s team make over 38 flavours of artisan gelato and sorbets, all from their on-site kitchen at the back of the shop.

Purity Brewing Company, Alcester

Established in 2005, Purity Brewing Company is an award-winning award craft brewery based on a working farm just 20 minutes drive from Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Lawless Lager, winner of the World’s Best Pale Lager at the 2015 World Beer Awards.

With five delicious vegan-friendly AND gluten-free beers, each with their own distinctive taste, character and brewing process, there’s something for everyone.

• Lawless Lager – Brewed with Eldorado hops, unfiltered and unpasteurised then matured for 40 days for a smooth full flavour and citrus kick.
• Longhorn IPA – A full bodied Rye IPA with enticing hop aromas, sweet rye malt and decisive bitterness.
• Bunny Hop – This one truly lives up to its name! An extra pale, extra hoppy beer with pronounced bitterness
• Saddle Black – A returning favourite from Purity, this Black IPA delivers roasty malt flavours and a bitter bite.
• Session IPA – This unfiltered IPA is infused with real grapefruit peel and brimming with tropical fruit notes and hop aromas.

Longhorn IPA, International Beer Challenge Medal Winner 2015.

Purity were recently named Brewery of the Year 2018 by The Good Pub Guide. Join them on one of their award-winning brewery tours every Saturday at 11am and 2:30pm.

The FarGo Village Vegan Festival, Coventry

Later this month, FarGo Village will be hosting a vegan festival with over 20 confirmed stallholders selling everything from artisan street food to Christmas gifts!

Plus visit Fargo Village’s very own vegan brewery, the Twisted Barrel Brewery and Tap House, vegan supermarket The Green Unicorn Vegan Store AND vegan café Totally Vegan!

Friday 30th November 5pm – 10pm & Saturday 1st December 11am – 6pm.

The Green Unicorn Vegan Store @ FarGo Village.
The Twisted Barrel Brewery & Tap House.
Totally Vegan Café.

*Source: https://www.comparethemarket.com/car-insurance/content/cars-against-humanity/ (2018)

This guide was written in collaboration with New Shades of Hippy, a green lifestyle and travel blogger based in Warwickshire.

Enjoy an action-packed summer in Shakespeare’s England!

With summer around the corner now is a great time to plan a break to Shakespeare’s England.

Have a go at camel trekking with Joseph’s Amazing Camels. The 3 hour experience starts with refreshments followed by grooming and tacking up the camels. The trek lasts just over an hour and finishes with a drink and strawberries. Minimum booking is 2 people. Cost is £95 a head for up to 4 people. Treks take place throughout the year weather permitting.

Visit Ragley Hall for their Summer House Sounds Concerts from 12 – 14 July with 3 outdoor concerts from Tom Jones, Madness & Il Divo. The popular Game Fair returns from 27 – 29 July whilst the Battle Proms Picnic Concert takes place on 11 August. Camper Calling festival returns on the August Bank Holiday weekend from 24 – 27 August and will be headlined by Mel C, Scouting for Girls, Feeder and The Coral.

Explore the magical world of Teletubbyland live on stage as The Teletubbies head to the Belgrade Theatre with their first ever theatre show on 18 and 19 July.

The annual Big Picnic takes places at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage on 22 July, plus a whole programme of outdoor theatre performances and their Summer Arts Project – a crowd-curated installation based on Romeo & Juliet.

Experience perilous stunt riding, fearless jousting and epic special effects never before seen in the UK at War of the Roses Live! at Warwick Castle every Saturday and Sunday and every day from 21st July to 2nd September.

Watch Dragon Slayer, the new evening show at Warwick Castle from 3rd August. Showcasing the journey of Guy of Warwick as he battles beasts to win the heart of Princess Felice, the Earl of Warwick’s daughter, Dragon Slayer is the first night-time spectacular created exclusively by the Castle. Combining fire jousts, equestrian acrobatics, stunts and performances, the show includes an interactive procession through the grounds to the Courtyard.

The final battle comes to life through a projection and light show and concludes with an epic battle of man versus dragon featuring real flames and dazzling pyrotechnics.

Get set for a summer packed with time-travelling fun and even learn the ingenious secrets of castle-building with the Hands on History Crew at Kenilworth Castle from 25 July – 31 August. Some exclusion dates apply – check the website for more details. Tickets will be available to purchase on the day. On 26 & 27 August the Castle will re-create the 1266 Siege of Kenilworth Castle. Expect thrilling re-enactments and one almighty attack as the castle is besieged. Cost is £14.30 for adults and £8.60 for children.

See a performance of Miss Littlewood by the Royal Shakespeare Company which runs from 22 June – 4 August at the Swan Theatre. With book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon and directed by Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, Miss Littlewood tells the story of Joan Littlewood, the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre.

Wander through the Maize Maze which returns from 21 July for the summer holidays at Cotswold Farm Park. Venture down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland themed maze and find the White Rabbit. If you find your way to the middle there will be a delightful Tea Party plus you may spot The Mad Hatter. There will also be various games and puzzles.

Step back in time to the 13th Century when the Battle of Evesham is re-enacted on the 4 & 5 August. The free to attend event, takes place in the Heart of Evesham, featuring a mediaeval festival and camp with life-demonstrations of cookery, weapons and medicine, plus the main battle re-enactment.

The award winning 10th Stratford River Festival returns to the banks of the River Avon on the 30 June & 1 July. It is the largest family friendly free event held in Stratford with over 70,000 visitors expected to enjoy events on and off the river, market stalls, entertainment and fireworks display.

The Stratford Town Centre Food Festival will take place on 22 & 23 September with over 100 stalls spread throughout the historic streets.

Warwick Folk Festival takes place from 26 – 29 July bringing together leading names from around the world including Show of Hands, Jon Boden & Remnant Kings, Korrontzi, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys and Granny’s Attic. There are also ceilidhs, plenty for families with circus skills, storytelling, theatre and crafts.

On 11 August at Hill Close Gardens, Kenilworth folk group Romany Pie present a First World War anthology of songs, readings and poems. Plus there’s the opportunity to see an exhibition about life on the home front in Warwick. Tickets: £11.

The Warwick Court Leet Beer, Cider & Music Festival will be taking place on 13 & 14 July. Enjoy live music on both days plus 85 different ales and 26 different Cider varieties!

Escape Arts will be hosting FabFest on 22 and 23 July and taking their Art and Media bus to the Old Tramway in Stratford upon Avon from 12noon – 5pm.

Escape at Art in the Park takes place at Jephson Gardens in Royal Leamington Spa on 5 & 6 August. Entry is free and there are lots of stalls selling art, plus live music, food and art activities.

Visit Chedhams Yard on 11 August and learn all about Bees, Honey and Hives with local beekeepers. On 25 August the Yard will host its Flower Festival with Elizabeth’s Flowers showing what can be done with flowers from your garden or the local florist store.

Celebrate Land Rover’s 70th birthday at the British Motor Museum and take part in the summer holiday fun from 21 July – 2 September.  Follow the Land Rover Explorer Trail, design your own model car and discover AutoScience LIVE – a 25 minute show full of cool interactive demonstrations with ‘mad scientists’ Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin! Or wander around the new exhibition at  featuring cars from National Geographic’s popular motoring TV show Car S.O.S which runs until the end of February 2019.

Enjoy a £99 summer spa break at Ardencote with use of the Spa facilities, a 3-course dinner, Lime & Lemongrass Back Wrap (25min), overnight accommodation, full English breakfast, free-flow refreshments and 10% off additional pre-booked Spa treatments. Valid Sun – Fri from 1 June to 31 July. Based on 2 adults sharing a twin/double bedroom.

Visit The Almanack on 7 July for an evening celebrating rubs, meats and all that is slow ‘n’ low. Bourbon and craft beer meet smoked meats, chops and BBQ glazes. Plus, don’t miss their Bank Holiday Party on 26 August for rum cocktails, jerk chicken plus reggae music to get the Caribbean vibes going!

Elmfest takes place on 11 August from 12pm – late at The One Elm with live music all day, streetfood, outside bars, plus face painting for the kids.

A Gin & Rose Party is hosted by The Rose & Crown on 26 August with guest gins, rosé wine, ice cream, cones of fish and chips and live music from Thom Kirkpatrick late afternoon.

For more suggestions on things to do plus recommended accommodation and restaurants in the area see: www.shakespeares-england.co.uk.

Father’s Day in Shakespeare’s England

With Father’s Day weekend just around the corner, Shakespeare’s England is geared up to offer the special Dad in your life a fantastic day!

From afternoon tea to delicious lunches and unforgettable days out, you can rest assured he will be feeling pretty special this Sunday 17th June.

Step back in time on Sunday to Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall where all Dads and Grandads go in free (when accompanied by paying children and or grandchildren). Learn about the influences around young William as he embarked upon a path that would lead him to become the world’s most famous playwright. Quote ‘Dads Go Free’ at the reception desk!

Compton Verney are also offering free admission to all Dads and Grandads when visiting with their families this Sunday, plus they receive a free slice of cake with every main meal in the Compton Kitchen!

Celebrate Father’s Day in style with a speciality afternoon tea at Coombe Abbey from 12:30pm – 4pm. Recently voted by Telegraph experts as one of the 30 best places for afternoon tea’s, you’ll be sure to impress here. Call 02476 450 450 to book.

If he loves the countryside, take Dad for a fun day out at Cotswold Farm Park where he’ll get in free on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June only! Make sure you book online and Dad’s ticket will be free when accompanied by a paying child, toddler, adult or senior ticket.

Treat your dad to a three course Sunday lunch from 12:30 – 4pm at The Welcombe, followed by a complimentary 18-hole round of golf for the man himself! £30.00 per adult, £15.00 per child (aged 5-12) and under 5’s eat free.

The Globe, Warwick are serving up an indulgent selection of specials this Father’s Day including Rib-eye Steak served with a Bacon & Leek sauce, green beans and a potato Fondant. Book a table before they’re all gone!

Admire a feast of classic cars with Dad at the ‘Best of British Classic Cars’ at Kenilworth Castle. Between 11am and 5pm, enjoy the castle grounds, a live brass band and he can even make his own toy car to take home! Adults: £11.30, children: £6.80 or members go free.

Visit Hilltop Farm for a Father’s Day BBQ feast this Sunday! Treat Dad to a hearty platter of food, a free pint and live music, it’s the perfect way to spend quality time with the family! Food served from 1pm – 4pm. Cost is £20 per person or £10 for under 12s. Booking is essential.

Woodside, Kenilworth is offering a three-course lunch prepared by their award-winning team of chefs plus a free pint or a glass of wine for each Dad within your party. Cost per person is £26. Children 2-12 years old are half price and under 2s are free.

Looking for something unique to do with Dad this weekend? The Stratford Butterfly Farm are calling all Dads to take part in a special ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling session. If he’s not afraid of creepy crawlies, bring him to the Discovery Zone at 12pm this Sunday 17th June!

Spoil Dad to a two (£21.95) or three (£25.95) course meal from the special Father’s Day menu at The Townhouse and he’ll receive a complimentary All Hail Ale gift set, featuring 2 x 500ml Brakspear Ale and Tankard Pint Glass. RRP: £10. Book your table now.

Head to Ardencote for a special 3 course Father’s Day lunch. Enjoy stunning views around the gardens, free parking and a contemporary family setting. Cost is £21.95 per person, £12.95 per child aged between 5-12 and under 5s eat free. Booking is essential.

From 10am – 5:30pm, get creative with the whole family at The MAD Museum. Receive 20% off a family ticket (£17.60) or 20% off an individual ticket for Dad (£6.24). Don’t forget to say “Dad wants to be a designer” when you arrive at the museum’s reception desk to redeem your discount.

Join The One Elm for lunch or dinner and get a lovely Father’s Day treat from Purity Beer for him to enjoy! Or dine after 6pm and enjoy 2 roasts for £20 – bargain!

Or there’s delicious food and a free pint waiting for all Dads this Sunday lunchtime at The Glebe Hotel for just £25.95 per person. Be sure to book your table in advance!

National Vegetarian Week in Shakespeare’s England

This week (14 – 20 May) marks National Vegetarian Week and here at Shakespeare’s England, we want to celebrate some of the great veggie food our region has to offer.

Whether you’re cutting down on meat, in the process of turning veggie or just want to try some delicious vegetarian recipes, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Warwickshire.

Edward Moon host an exclusive ‘Vegetarian Evening’ on the first Thursday of every month from 5 – 9:30pm. Some of their unique dishes include; Asparagus and Mushroom Suet Pudding, Butternut Squash and Feta Tagliatelle and Spiced Poached Pear Salad. What’s not to love?

Don’t miss out on the next Vegetarian Evening on Thursday 7th June!

If you can’t wait until then, pop in and sample their a la carte menu which features more than enough tasty options, such as; Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry, Asparagus, Pea and Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle and a Cauliflower Cheese Tart.

The varied menu from Boston Tea Party (BTP) is bound to make any vegetarian smile! In addition to several veggie options, almost any dish on their all-day menu can be altered to be meat free. But if you’re looking for something different to try this week, we recommend the BTP Veggie Burger. It’s packed with sweetcorn fritters, feta, avocado, chilli, coriander, tzatziki and cos in a sesame bun. We promise it’s not too good to be true but don’t just take our word for it!

Got a celebration coming up? The Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre offers a vegetarian high afternoon tea from 11:30am – 3pm Monday to Friday, 1:45pm – 3pm Saturday or 11:30am – 3:30pm Sunday. Take in the views of Stratford Upon Avon with a selection of meat free sandwiches and scrumptious cakes with your choice of tea or coffee – you could even add a glass of fizz! Or for dinner, why not try the Sri Lankan cauliflower, squash and cashew curry from their a la carte menu? Make sure you book in advance.

The Cross at Kenilworth, the only Michelin starred pub restaurant in the region, features a vegetarian tasting menu that even the meat eaters will be jealous of!

With a selection of tantalising savoury dishes, accompanying wines, cheeses and dessert, you certainly won’t go hungry from this vegetarian dining experience. If the tasting menu isn’t for you, the main veggie menu is also available. We recommend the Sauté Wild Mushrooms with braised barley, hispi cabbage and red wine sauce!

Café Catalan should not be missed if you fancy giving vegetarian tapas a try. Take your pick from ten different small plates that feature a selection of marinated vegetables, halloumi cheese, omelette and fried potatoes. There’s even veggie paella!

Vegetarian or not, we hope we’ve proven that plant-based food in Shakespeare’s England is far from boring!

To explore more places to eat and drink in the region, visit: https://shakespeares-england.co.uk/places/eat-drink/.

You can find out more about National Vegetarian Week here.

Have a cracking great Easter in Shakespeare’s England!

Have a cracking great Easter with a host of activities for all the family in Shakespeare’s England from 31 March – 15 April.

Meet ‘William the Conqueror Rattus’ at Warwick Castle, search for treasure in the gardens of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, see new-born lambs and chicks, search for clues to win prizes with Easter trails and egg hunts, wander around spring gardens or simply enjoy a traditional Easter lunch or fish supper with friends and family.

Easter is the time to ‘Make a Day and Knight of it’ at Warwick Castle. Celebrate the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror establishing a motte and bailey castle on the site as you plan your invasion.

Rattus Rattus, the popular character from Horrible Histories®, will greet visitors as ‘William the Conqueror Rattus’, whilst a new heritage exhibition exploring the history of The Conqueror’s Fortress will inform the family. Enjoy a short break in a riverside lodge from only £181 per night for a family of four when booked by 28 February, saving 25%. Medieval-themed accommodation, breakfast banquets and entertainment, plus two days’ admission and car parking – ensure a cracking Easter escape!

Enjoy a fun interactive children’s treasure hunt in the gardens of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, with music and comedy, led by the in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud. Discover more about Shakespeare and his family tree plus have a go at creating your own at Shakespeare’s New Place.

Feeling creative? Then create your own ‘eggcellent’ Easter bonnet or crown in the activity marquee at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage or make a whirling whirligig to put in your garden. Perfect for keeping the birds away from the vegetable patch at Mary Arden’s Farm!

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is offering families a host of exciting activities including becoming an animator by creating a puppet and stop gap animation, based on Romeo and Juliet, creating your own shortened version of a play in just a day, guided by an RSC expert and get stuck in with Blood, Guts and Gore and learn the tricks of the trade behind stage bruises, cuts and scars with the former RSC Head of Wigs and Make-up.

With the first bleats of new arrivals and the anticipation of many more, lambing is a favourite time of year for Cotswold Farm Park! Settle down in the Animal Barn and keep your eyes peeled. Extended opening hours are available on 7 April so visitors can experience lambing after hours!

Welcome new chicks into the world and meet lambs, ewes and donkeys at Becketts Farm in Wythall. The event is held in a field on site but under a covered marquee. Entry is £1 per person, and under 1’s are free! There will be some craft activities which have a small additional charge.

Hilltop Farm near Leamington Spa will host a lamb’s event on 30 & 31 March and 2 April when the baby lambs will be available to hold and feed. This is a ticket only event and one ticket per person entitles entry into the lambing pen. There are 20 tickets per half hour slot.

The MAD Museum is offering visitors a FREE downloadable fun pack this Easter. Answer questions, solve challenges and design a wacky invention to become a VIP member of The MAD Museum’s Fun Club. The Museum showcases over 60 pieces of kinetic art and automata which have all been sourced from creators around the world, and nearly everything is interactive, meaning kids (and big kids!) can get stuck in.

There is something for visitors of all ages to discover at Stratford Butterfly Farm. Twice daily children and adults can get close to some amazing creatures with ‘Meet the Minibeast’ handling sessions in the Discovery Zone. With the help of the friendly team, visitors can hold creatures such as a giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects.

Enjoy the scenery and a sociable time with a 90 minute Easter Quiz trail from Trivia Trails. Get to know Warwick or Stratford town centres looking for answers to a mix of historical, observational and fun questions. Adults cost £10, children aged 9-16 cost £5, children aged 0-8 are free. Dates in Stratford are 11am on 31 March, 12noon on 1 April and 11.30am on 2 April. The date in Warwick is 2.30pm on 31 March. Wheelchair, dog & buggy-friendly.

Hill Close Gardens in Warwick is celebrating a Victorian Easter from 31 March – 2 April. Heritage daffodils, primroses, cowslips and other spring flowers are dotted around the 16 individual plots that make up these unique restored gardens. Copies of Victorian Easter cards contributed by the V&A Museum, the history of Easter eggs provided by Cadbury, Victorian Easter baking recipes complete with ingredients and a Victorian style sweet shop all bring to life how Victorians enjoyed Easter. Entry Adults £4.50 Children £1 (Under 5s, HCGT and RHS members free).

Visitors are invited to join in with some ‘cracking’ fun activities at the British Motor Museum. Starting with a traditional Egg hunt over Easter weekend, followed by two weeks of ‘AutoScience,’ where the science that drives our cars is brought to life with live science shows, family tours, Technic workshops, and a Secret Mission family trail. Families can join in with an egg hunt (with a motoring twist of course!) over the Easter weekend plus there will be daily drop in craft activities suitable for all the family.

Children can have a cracking arty time at the Market Hall Museum on 3 April with Easter-themed crafts to take home, like a hatching egg and Easter cracker. Suitable for under-5s, older siblings welcome. Or take part in the Market Hall Lego Challenge on 12 April and explore the treasures of the Museum. Challenge yourself to make your favourite out of Lego. Both activities are £2.50 per child, no need to book, just drop in.

Hunt for legendary dragon eggs at Kenilworth Castle over the Easter weekend. Set off on a quest to crack the clues, meeting characters from the past along the way, then claim your chocolate reward! The quest costs £1 on top of the usual entry price.

Visit Compton Verney for an Easter adventure on 30 March & 31 March that the whole family can enjoy. Where has the giant bunny hidden his ‘eggciting’ clues? Will you be able to catch the crazy carrot? Will you solve the puzzle to claim your chocolatey prize? £3 per child. Please note you will need a valid Membership, Annual Pass or DAY TICKET.

Join in with a treasure hunt, face painting and Easter crafts at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum from 30 March – 2 April. Free, drop in event and suitable for the whole family.

Enjoy a classical concert by Orchestra of the Swan which presents Roderick Williams as the baritone and David Curtis as the conductor at Worcester Cathedral on 6 April from 7:45 pm. Experience words, music, and food – for the soul! Prices from £15 per person.

Catering for all occasions and offering a relaxed environment, Dallas Burston Polo Club’s Millstone Hare is the ideal choice for your whole family. Enjoy a delicious traditional roast on Easter Sunday – if you’re looking for an alternative to chocolate!

Enjoy a Good Friday Fish Supper in the Brasserie at Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa for £25 per person. Or a traditional Sunday lunch with Easter treats at The Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden. 3-courses cost £29.50 per person.

Visit The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon on Good Friday for a fish supper and a glass of wine/beer from £17.50 per person or lunch in the Waterside Brasserie on Easter Sunday from £32.50 per person. A children’s menu is available or alternatively 1/2 price for children under 12.

The Bell at Alderminster is offering Easter Sunday Lunch with a free Children’s Easter Egg Hunt which kicks off at 2:30pm. The A la Carte menu is also available so there is plenty of choice for diners. Children aged 11 and under can eat Sunday Lunch for half price.

Visit The Fleece Inn near Evesham for an Easter Sunday lunch and see the resident Morris sides, Pebworth Morris and Belle d’Vain perform their first dance of the season in the courtyard. There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt in the orchard from Good Friday to Easter Monday and a seasonal specials menu to complement the main menu.

On Easter Sunday The Cross at Kenilworth will be treating diners to a delicious lunch priced at £30 for 2-courses. Dishes will include the very best seasonal ingredients cooked by the restaurant’s award winning chefs. The Cross is the only restaurant in Warwickshire to hold a Michelin star, which it has retained for the past four years.

Extend your Easter break and stay at Chesford Grange in the heart of the Warwickshire Countryside with rates from just £150 for a 2 night stay for 2 guests to include Bed and Breakfast.

Celebrate Mother’s Day in Shakespeare’s England!

Shakespeare’s England is offering Mum’s a whole host of treats including free admission to attractions and special offers including lunches and afternoon teas with which to celebrate on Sunday 11 March.

With so much to see and do, Shakespeare’s England is the ideal place to show Mum’s and Grandma’s how much they mean to you this Mothering Sunday!

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall and Compton Verney are both offering free entry on Mothering Sunday for Mothers and Grandmothers. Although Compton Verney’s galleries are not open as yet, visitors can enjoy walks in the stunning grounds.

The MAD Museum is offering 10% off a family ticket (£19.80) or 20% off an individual ticket for mum (£7.02). Just say “MAD Mum” when you arrive at the reception desk to redeem the discounts!

Take children to The Globe in Warwick on Saturday 10 March to make their Mother’s Day cards. Paper, colours and glitter are all supplied and the event is open to anybody!

Enjoy an Art Cart Family Fun Mother’s Day Special at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum on Saturday 10 March from 1pm – 3.30pm. Create your own flowers and pom poms. Free, drop in & join in and suitable for the whole family.

Take your mum to the Lake District from 11 – 12 March with Johnson’s Coaches. Enjoy the breath-taking scenery with its beautiful combination of rugged crags and tranquil lakes. Stay at The Skiddaw Hotel in the market town of Keswick. Cost is only £129 per person.

Treat mum to breakfast at Becketts Farm which is served from 8:30am – 11:30am, and then from 12:30pm – 4:00pm for their four roast carvery. Visit the Farm Shop for food gift ideas including freshly baked treats, cupcakes and blooms from the florist. Or treat Mum to a Cookery School gift voucher for courses such as Chocolate Masterclass, Mediterranean Dining or Cook a Curry.

Take your Mum to lunch at The Cross in Kenilworth. The only Michelin starred restaurant in Warwickshire will be serving lunch from £30 for 2 courses.

Dallas Burston Polo Club’s Millstone Hare’s talented chef Valerio Grimaldi-Plant invites you to enjoy a Sunday roast and a complimentary glass of champagne for mum. The Millstone Hare combines the rustic authenticity of original and refurbished materials, with state of the art facilities and incredible views over the polo club.

Spoil mum with a 3-course lunch at Ardencote with entertainment from 19 year old singer/songwriter Brooklyn-Rose. She covers songs from all music genres, from the 1950’s to current charts. Cost is £26.95 for adults, £14.95 for children aged 5-12 years old and children under 5 eat FREE.

Visit The Bell at Alderminster for a delicious Mothering Sunday Lunch plus all Mum’s go home with a little treat!

Take your mum to the Lord Leycester Hospital for a 3-course meal available from 12:00pm – 4pm with live music. Cost is £25 per person or £5 for children under 12.

Hill Top Farm is offering a Sunday roast menu with beef and lamb from the farm which will be served at 12pm, 2.30pm & 5pm. Adult 2-course costs £20.50 or 3–courses for £23.50. Children’s 2-course is £10.25 or 3-courses is £11.75. Booking is essential.

Treat mum to afternoon tea at Whittles at Binswood in Leamington Spa. Enjoy cakes bearing women’s names, over the weekend of 10/11 March for £23.50 which includes a gift for mum. On the Sunday enjoy a 2-course lunch for £22 and 3-courses for £27 which also includes a gift.

Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering a 3-course lunch for £25 with a free welcome drink for Mum from 12noon – 4pm. Under 12s are half price.

Visit Ettington Park Hotel for afternoon tea and enjoy listening to a violinist play with a gift for every mum. Children can also enjoy a special afternoon tea with an activity pack. Tea is served in the South Room, Library and Oak Room and is available from 1pm – 4pm. Adults cost £32, Children aged 4-12 costs £16 and its complimentary for children 3 and under.

Treat Mum to a 3-course menu at The Fleece Inn near Evesham, who will also add a little something special for Mums. Seating times are 12pm, 2.30pm, 5pm, and 7.30pm.

Celebrate the day with afternoon tea and pimm’s at Coombe Abbey from 3pm in the Marquee. There will be entertainment from the Beau Belles plus stalls selling handbags, jewellery, accessories and home-style gifts. The cost is £29.50 per adult, £17.50 per child. Or enjoy a 3-course lunch in The Garden Room or Cloisters Restaurant with seating times from 12:30pm. The cost is £37.50 per adult and £19.75 per child.

Visit Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa and treat mum to a 3 course meal and coffee. Cost is £45 in the Main House or £27.50 in the Brasserie.

Head to The Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden for a 3-course lunch with a gift for every mother. Cost is £35 per person.

Or enjoy celebrations at The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon including a gift for every mother. Cost is £34.50 per person. Children’s menu available or alternatively 1/2 price for children under 12.

Plenty of dog friendly places in Shakespeare’s England!

Home to the world’s most famous playwright, majestic Castles, unique heritage, great theatre, culture and glorious gardens, Shakespeare’s England offers everything for a short break. With many families having pets and preferring to take their beloved dog away with them, Shakespeare’s England also offers a range of pet-friendly places to visit, eat and stay!

Attractions to Visit

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust allows dogs in the grounds of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s cottage (except Mary Arden’s Farm due to livestock). Take part in “Shakespaw’s Day” on 25 August at Anne Hathaway’s cottage when visitors can bring a picnic and enjoy the dog show. Categories include waggiest tail and best recall, plus there are prizes and rosettes. Visitors also receive 30% off single house tickets when they bring their pooch.

Enjoy a guided tour of Stratford-upon-Avon with Stratford Town walk and Ghost Walk which also welcomes dogs.

Kenilworth Castle also accepts dogs on leads and there are plenty of places where dogs can ‘lap up heritage’. Water bowls are available outside the visitor centre and tea-room.

Dogs are also permitted on the Warwick and Stratford Trivia Trails. Please note one team member will have to wait outside with their dog whilst the others look for answers.

Bicester Village now offers four dog strollers for guests bringing their dogs however it is down to the discretion of each boutique whether they allow the stroller in the store.

FarGo Village in Coventry welcomes dogs in the majority of their shops including Backhaus, the onsite coffee shop/café. They even have a doggie boutique selling treats, clothing, bandana’s and dog beds! Fargo also hosts a Dog Show in aid of Sukis Canine Rescue on 28 May. Free admission into the village but a small charge per class to enter the dog show.

Places to Stay

The Stratford Hotel has recently become a dog friendly venue and provides beds, bowls & treats. There is a supplement of £20 per room per night.

The Mercure Shakespeare Hotel also welcomes dogs and can supply a small dog cushion or slightly larger doggy bed! Cost is £10 per dog per night. The hotel hosted 5 dogs over Christmas so is a popular choice!

Chesford Grange near Kenilworth is dog friendly and charges a small supplement. Some bedrooms have patio doors that open directly onto the grounds, ideal for an early morning walk.

Adelphi Guesthouse in Stratford also accepts dogs in their ground floor room which has its own patio and side entrance. Cost is £10 per night per dog. Blankets and bowls are also provided.

Places to Eat & Drink

Peach Pubs which operates The Almanack in Kenilworth, The Rose & Crown in Warwick and The One Elm in Stratford permit dogs in their bar areas and always have treats for well-behaved pooches.

The Globe in Warwick also permits dogs into its bar area and provides dog treats. Some bedrooms on the ground floor are dog friendly and charge £20 per dog.

The Bell at Alderminster welcomes well behaved dogs in the bar and provides dog bowls and treats behind the bar. Often on a Saturday in shoot season the number of dogs in the bar outnumbers humans!

Hathaway’s Tea Rooms in Stratford-upon-Avon also has a dog friendly garden and Susie’s Café Bar at The Other Place (Royal Shakespeare Company) welcomes dogs and provides dog treats!

Dogs are also very welcome at The Fleece Inn in the pub and in the bedrooms. Surrounded by countryside and in the beautiful village of Bretforton near Evesham, customers can enjoy a walk then relax with a drink. The pub offers free dog treats and sells locally made Pont & Pierce dog treats, Pawsecco and Dog Beer.

Alternative and Quirky Accommodation in Shakespeare’s England

Home to the world’s most famous playwright, majestic Castles and celebrated for its unique heritage, great theatre and culture, glorious gardens, fantastic shopping and a variety of restaurants, tea rooms and pubs, Shakespeare’s England provides everything for a short break or longer holiday.

As well as offering an enviable range of accommodation to suit all budgets, Shakespeare’s England also boasts alternative and quirky accommodation venues from river lodges to tree-pods and glamping tents to Tower Suites at Warwick Castle.

More information on the venues can be found at www.shakespeares-england.co.uk/places/accommodation/

Wootton Park

Wootton Park is set in 360 acres of countryside, 3 miles from Henley in Arden and offers two TreePods – perfect for a romantic escape back to nature. Sip champagne under the stars and take in the countryside views in the private hot tub up in the trees. ‘Heavens Above!’ and ‘Over the Moon’ TreePods are self-catering, en suite, with a kitchenette, gas BBQ, TV and Wi-Fi. Robes, towels and blankets are all provided.  On site there is a Wakeboarding Centre and Horse Riding facilities. Minimum stay is 2 nights and prices range from £350 – £390 for 2 people for 2 nights.

Bend in the River Lodge

Stay at ‘Bend in the River Lodge’, a self-catering wooden lodge on the banks of the River Avon less than a mile from Stratford-upon-Avon. The lodge accommodates up to 4 people with 1 double bedroom with en-suite, 1 twin bedroom, bathroom, lounge, kitchen and dining area. The decking provides lovely views of the River Avon and countryside and a riverboat taxi takes you into the Marina (runs April to October). Prices start from £298 for 2 nights.

Hilltop Hideaways

Set in the Warwickshire hills, on a 3rd generation family farm, Hilltop Hideaways near Royal Leamington Spa offers accommodation in a wooden cabin, luxury bell tent or a shepherds hut.  With feather-down duvets and comfy beds, this glamping site offers the perfect getaway. The handmade horse trailer shower blocks offer high pressure showers with heated towel rails and are a great quirky addition to the site.

Hilltop Farm Shop and Café sell a fabulous selection of local food and drink throughout the day and is open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights during the spring and summer. Minimum stay is 2 nights and prices per night range from £70 for the Bell Tent, £70 for a Classic Cabin, £85 for a Superior Cabin and £100 for a Shepherds Hut.

Talton Lodge & Talton House

Set amongst 20 acres of parkland, woodland and orchards, just 10 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon, Talton Lodge & Talton House is perfect for holding an event, party, hen night, wedding, meeting, team build, conference, school trip or even one of their cookery courses.

There are two linked giant hat tipis for dancing, chatting around the fire, a tree-boathouse, orchard wagon and yurts as well as a sleeping tipi, licensed bar, equipped kitchen, wet rooms and table tennis. You can also sleep in a pocket sprung bed in a cosy tree boat house under a poplar tree. Talton House, The Barn and The Kitchen Garden area are available together or separately and between them sleep around 50 people.  In the summer months and for 3 nights Talton House costs £196 per person, Talton Lodge Kitchen Garden costs £142.50 per person and Talton Lodge Barn costs £130 per person.

Cotswold Farm Park

Along with a campsite, Cotswold Farm Park also offers 6 glamping tents with lighting and electric, beds and linen, full-length mirror, clothes rail and privacy screen. Each tent can sleep up to a family of 4 with a king size bed and 2 single mattresses as optional. There is a communal kitchen with crockery and cutlery plus on-site pizza delivery service. Glampers can enjoy their own personal BBQ and seating area and also have access to the newly-renovated campsite washroom facilities.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle offers an unusual range of accommodation including the ultra-luxe Tower Suites, the Knight’s Lodges and Glamping tents during summer.

Guests can stay in a themed lodge set in a beautiful river side woodland setting. Each Lodge, which has a double bedroom, two bunks and truckle bed, has a wet room, shower and towels plus cable TV, free WiFi and heating. Prices start from £38.25 per person, per night including breakfast. The All-You-Can-Eat Mediaeval Dinner with exclusive entertainment is available at £18.95 (adult) and £9.95 (child).

Mediaeval Glamping offers 41 ready-to-sleep tents which sleep up to five people. Each is fully lit, equipped with beds, mattresses and bed linen, free WiFi and storage chest. Prices start from £40 per person, per night including breakfast.  Or stay in one of the Castle’s two Tower Suites located on its own private floor of the 14th century Caesar’s Tower with four-poster bed and en-suite facilities. The Suites start from £550 per night with breakfast, a private Castle tour and two days priority access to the attractions.

Chesford Grange

My husband and I were recently invited to sample the facilities at the Chesford Grange, a delightful 4 star hotel situated on the outskirts of Kenilworth. The hotel is set in 17 acres and close to Leamington Spa, Warwick and just 13 miles from Birmingham Airport.

Situated on the edge of the River Avon, the hotel offers old historic charm as well as contemporary elegance with 205 bedrooms.  Renowned as one of the best conference and event spaces in Warwickshire, the hotel has 13 conference and meeting rooms for up to 700 delegates. However the hotel is also a great choice for those looking for a short break as a leisure guest.  The hotel even has a Spa with a swimming pool, solarium, heated loungers and a steam room.

We were fortunate to stay in one of the VIQ rooms which came with great views over the grounds, a super king sized bed, fridge with milk and water, plenty of tea and coffee, an ironing board, 32 inch flat screen TV, snacks, free Wi-Fi and some great quality magazines to read!  The bathroom was spacious with a huge bath, high pressure shower and lovely toiletries.

 

After checking in and being greeted by a friendly lady on reception called Dolly, we decided to head to the Terrace Bar for a drink. The raised decking area overlooks the gardens and is a great place to enjoy a relaxing drink in the sunshine.  We met a family who had a dog with them and were impressed to find out that the hotel also offer dog friendly bedrooms, handy to know as we have 2 dogs ourselves!

 

Heading down for dinner later, we were seated in the River Room Restaurant which overlooks the gardens. We were impressed with the choice of menu which had something for everyone’s taste. We started by sharing some olives, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, Pitta bread and hummus for just £6. I then opted for the North Atlantic Prawn & Crayfish Cocktail priced at £9.50 and my husband chose the Baked Portobello Mushroom filled with goats cheese and sun blush tomato mousse for £8. For the main course I opted for the baked loin of Cod with Mediterranean vegetables, fondant potatoes and a cherry tomato fondant for £17.50 and Carl chose the butter fried Gnocchi with roasted cauliflower for £16.50.  The side dishes of broccoli and dauphinoise potatoes were equally delicious. We then enjoyed the Raspberry Crème Fraiche Brulee and forest berry Eton mess. A very enjoyable and filling dinner indeed!

 

After an extremely comfortable night’s sleep, we headed back down to the restaurant for breakfast and were amazed at the huge selection of dishes on offer. There was so much choice from cereals and fresh fruits to freshly baked pastries, pancakes and croissants. You could choose almost every hot dish imaginable from the usual breakfast items to items you could order such as poached eggs and vegetarian sausages. We’ve been lucky enough to stay at a number of hotels recently and this breakfast was without doubt one of the best we’ve tried lately.

 

Breakfast is served Monday – Friday 6.30am – 10.00am and Saturday & Sunday 6.30am – 10.30am. An extensive bar menu is served all day in the Terrace Bar or decking, weather permitting. Dinner is served every evening from 6.00pm until 9.30pm.  During the school holidays the hotel offers a Children’s buffet and an earlier dining time of 6.00pm.  Stay overnight from £80 per room per night B&B however there are some great offers all year round – visit the QHotels website for more details. The hotel currently has a great family offer for 2 nights with dinner on the first night for the adults, 20% off drinks in the Terrace Bar, activity pack for children and use of the games room and other activities such as film club and craft club.  Also included is a 2 day pass for the whole family to Warwick Castle for just £238 for the family!

 

This tastefully decorated hotel is not only stylish but it has a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere.  There are many great quality hotels in Warwickshire but this one offers great value for money and is an excellent choice for both business and leisure tourism during a visit to Kenilworth, Warwick, Leamington Spa or the wider area of Shakespeare’s England.

Please visit the website at www.qhotels.co.uk.

The Townhouse – Review

My husband and I were fortunate to dine and stay overnight at newly refurbished Townhouse, a 400 year old, Grade II listed building with 16th century rooms at the rear and an 18th century castellated frontage. Situated opposite Shakespeare’s Schoolhouse in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, The Townhouse re-opened in April 2017 following an extensive refurbishment.  The bar and dining spaces feature a stylish, pared-back scheme in greens, blacks and whites. Its 12 luxurious and quirky en-suite bedrooms have also been revamped.

Our room (3) was simply stunning with that real wow factor. It came with a super king sized bed with luxury linens, geometric wallpapers and a Nespresso machine.  A free standing roll top bath stood in the corner of our room along with a separate bathroom featuring a high pressure shower. Luxurious Templespa toiletries were provided along with a complimentary bottle of port and shortbread biscuits plus there was a handy fridge with fresh milk and bottled water. It’s the small but noticeable touches such as the port and the toiletries that set The Townhouse aside and make this place that extra bit special.

We were invited to try a cocktail on arrival at dinner. Usually cocktails are not my thing as they tend to be sweet and something of a luxury generally enjoyed on holiday. However the two cocktails we tried were delicious and very reasonably priced at £7/£7.50 each. I opted for Bramble (Gin, Chambord, blackcurrant jam and lemon juice) and Carl tried the Porn Star Martini (Absolut Vanilla, passion fruit and a shot of Prosecco).

We were impressed with the menu which focuses on traditional, rustic dishes using locally sourced produce.  I had the salmon and herb fishcake with pea puree, poached egg and hollandaise priced at £8 which was faultless. Carl enjoyed the seared scallop with purple sprouting broccoli, hazelnut pesto and smoked bacon priced at £9.50. My main course was the roasted monkfish with tender stem broccoli, tomato, garlic and olives priced at £19.50. Carl enjoyed the grilled calves liver, creamed potatoes, pancetta, greens and red wine jus at £14. Calves liver is such a straight forward and traditional dish, if cooked well it is amazing, and this was beautifully cooked and presented. We felt the menu had something for everyone’s taste and Head Chef Ben Draper is producing an outstanding level of food, at great value and we look forward to returning soon.
After a recharging and extremely comfortable night’s sleep, we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast and were amazed at the huge selection of dishes on offer. At the buffet table there was so much choice from cereals and fruits to freshly baked pastries and croissants. The breakfast menu featured everything from the full English to Eggs Benedict/Royale/Florentine to Buttermilk Pancakes and Porridge. Carl opted for the Full English which came with a Cumberland sausage, bacon, flat cap mushroom, grilled tomato, black pudding, fried bread, baked beans and two eggs. At just £11, the huge plate offered exceptional value for money which even Carl couldn’t finish! I opted for the Vegetarian breakfast which came with a vegetarian sausage, mushroom, tomato, fried bread, baked beans and poached eggs. Again at £8.50, this also offered great value for money. Some of the breakfast dishes were priced as little as £5.

Breakfast is served from 8am – 11am. Lunch is available 12pm – 3pm. The restaurant offers a pre-theatre set menu every day from 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 7pm with 2 courses for £12.50 and 3 courses for £14.50. Doubles cost from £105 per night B&B mid-week and from £145 a night at weekends, Superior rooms £130 midweek and £170 at weekends and Luxury rooms £165 midweek and £205 at weekends, and all on a B&B basis. Fortunately breakfast is not only available for residents; anyone walking in is treated to the same level of service, value and great food.

Parking is easy and convenient for those staying over – there are 12 spaces for guests at the Rother Street NCP where there is an agreed rate of £4.70 per night (instead of £16).

This tastefully decorated boutique hotel is not only stylish and elegant but it has a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere. Neil Hanson, the General Manager was attentive, charming and courteous and a real asset to The Townhouse along with his team.  There are many quality restaurants in Stratford but this one stands out offering exceptional value for money and is an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner during a visit to Stratford and the wider area of Shakespeare’s England.

To book visit the website at www.stratfordtownhouse.co.uk.

Review by Tanya Aspinwall.