Santa’s steamings…

santas steamingsA great family tradition for us, the guys at Great Western Railway have come up with two tremendous options for getting the kids to see Santa, guaranteed to raise Christmas excitement levels .

You can either travel by steam train from Cheltenham Racecourse to Winchcombe (aka the North Pole) where you alight (assisted by elves of course) and visit Santa in his grotto or take a 10 mile round trip by diesel car from Toddington station to ‘Lapland’ and Winchcombe before returning to Toddington, enjoying the company of Santa and his helpers on board.

In addition to huge excitement, there are mince pies, hot & cold drinks, biscuits & fruit to be enjoyed as well as the great Cotswold countryside.

All in all, an excellent way to indulge your inner child whilst bonding with the real thing of course, the stuff memories are made of.

All aboard!

Enchanted Christmas

If you’re searching for a Christmas experience that’s both unique as well as enjoyable, think Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury.

FromWestonbirt Christmas now until the 20th December, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening you can follow a mile long illuminated trail through the woodland at Westonbirt – their Enchanted Christmas really is a magical event and with a pushchair & wheelchair friendly route, it’s designed for the whole family to enjoy.

Batsford near Moreton-in-Marsh hosts its own festive week-end 5th & 6th December: the kids can meet Santa and there’s mulled wine and Christmas treats to be enjoyed to the sound of Christmas carols in their super garden terrace café. Retail therapy is never far away with some inspired and original gifts for either garden or home.

Beautiful Broadway

The Cotswolds is blessed with beautiful towns & villages, many with a range of outstanding independent shops and galleries. Broadway is no exception, making it the perfect destination to source unusual and thoughtful gifts.

Those inBroadway Christmas the know head to Broadway on the last Friday in November (27th) and the first Friday in December (4th) for the annual Late Night Christmas Shopping Evenings. The wide, tree-lined High Street is adorned with Christmas lights and you can shop to the sound of real, live Christmas carols, mulled wine in hand – how civilised! There’ll be street entertainment and Santa’s grotto and when the shops close their doors, the fun needn’t end there as there’s a fine choice of pubs and restauarants.

Forward planners may wish to note that Broadway is also home to Top Cottage, perfectly placed for joining in the fun but removed enough to remain a peaceful retreat.

A sure sign that the festive season has begun with a vengeance is the erection of Bourton’s famous Christmas tree – we wonder how many towns and villages across the country can boast a tree rooted in a river? The result is simply spectacular, not to mention magical as twinkling lights are reflected in the water, setting the scene on Friday 4th December for Bourton’s late night Christmas shopping event.

A year round beauty spot, December in Bourton-on-the-WaterChristmas lights is no exception. Ever ready to rise to the challenge of sourcing something ‘different’, mums will delight in the range of bespoke boutiques, children will be enchanted soaking up the scene illuminated by so many twinkling lights, excited at the prospect of a visit from Santa and the men in our lives can enjoy soaking up an entirely different kind of ‘spirit’. Cheers!

If you fancy making a week-end of it, Chapel Cottage is the prefect spot to make the most of the festive atmosphere and indulge in a spot of pre-Christmas indulgence: booked for this year but there’s always 2016….

Cleeveley Christmas

Tucked away in the hamlet of Holwell just a shade over 3 miles from the centre of Burford and just 2.5 miles via the delightfully named Hen n Chick Lane to the centre of the picturesque village of Shilton where you’ll find the obligatory inn – The Rose & CrownCleeveley Cottage 2 sits Cleeveley Cottage. A mid terraced cottage dating from the 16th century, Cleeveley Cottage is steeped in history lending it charm and character in abundance. The owners have successfully combined these character features with quality furnishings, a modern bathroom and well equipped kitchen to create a home away from home.  The impressive original Tudor inglenook ensures a super cosy feel to the living space, providing the ideal spot for Christmas stockings and post dinner snoozing.


If you’ve still to find the contents of your Christmas stockings, the nearby Burford Garden Company is stocked to rafters with all manner of enticing goodies from plants to deli items, clothes to home furnishings and oodles in between.Christmas Tree

The cottage sleeps 4 in a king size and twin bedded room and there’s a sofa bed in a snug on the top floor to accommodate emergency guests/ temporary visitors/ festive friends.

Still available for Christmas from 21st December for £799.


It’s panto time!

For many of us lucky enough to live in the Cotswolds, Christmas just isn’t Christmas unless you’ve been to the ‘Chippy’ panto. This year it’sChippy theatre Robin Hood and it runs from now until 10th January. It may be provincial but the offerings at Chipping Norton Theatre never disappoint; always highly entertaining and staged in innovative ways – there’s a ‘relaxed’ performance as well as adult only shows for instance and you can pay a little extra to tour both stage and set to see what really makes the show tick – a brilliant treat for kids. Click to continue reading…

Roman Christmas

If you’ve never been to the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, it really is worth a visit and this December they have lots planned to create some festive fun. There’s a whole series of exhibitions, films, talks and eChristmas angelsvents planned. A particular favourite is the variety of  hands-on,  yuletide themed activities at their family drop-in sessions whether it be creating a Jack Frost mask (Mon 21st Dec),  a Snowman on a stick (Tues 22nd Dec) or a Christmas Angel (Weds 23rd Dec). I don’t know about you but one of the joys of Christmas is the annual unpacking of carefully crafted and lovingly made infant & junior school relics: it’s like greeting old friends and a wonderful reminder of the spirit of Christmas. Enjoy being creative!

Bath Christmas Market

For anyone who revels in all things Christmas, a visit to a traditional style street fair at this time of year is an absolute MUST. They’re held up and down the country but one of our favourites by a country mile is held in Bath 26th November – 13th December.

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Feeling crafty?

How we love the Christmas countdown: with all manner of festive events going on around the Cotswolds from late night shopping to Christmas lights, we love this time of year. Click to continue reading…

Little Garth 2Looking for a summer retreat – then look no further….we have a delightful holiday cottage in the picturesque village of Kingham, which was voted England’s favourite village by Country Life in 2006.

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