At this time of year, thoughts turn to Cheltenham Gold Cup Week. It’s traditionally a busy time for Cotswolds hotels across the area who enjoy an influx of visitors from around the world. They come for four days of jump racing of the highest standard in mid-March.
Race days are distinct and different. Day one is ‘Champion Day’, including the most important Hurdle Race of the season. The first race is greeted with the ‘Cheltenham Roar’, a loud approval from the crowd as the Festival gets under way. Day Two is Ladies’ Day, with a best-dressed lady competition. This year, Day Three is St Patrick’s Day, the highlight for the tens of thousands of Irish Racing fans whi make their way to the Festival every year. Fri-day, the 16th of March is Gold Cup Day itself, the big one. It’s a guaranteed sell-out with over 67,000 spectators for the biggest race in jumping.
Equestrian sport fans also gather for Badminton Horse Trials in May (2nd - 6th May 2018), billed as the World’s premier three day event. Dressage, show jumping and cross-country are all part of the mix. The venue is Badminton House, home of the Dukes of Beaufort. The family is descended from John of Gaunt. Over at Blenheim Palace, the less venerable Duke of Marlborough’s pile is the venue to the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials between, in 2018, the 13th and 16th of September. Cotswolds hotels are again on hand to host your visit.
Guests at Cotswolds hotels who like their horse based fun to be on a slightly more intimate scale can try a little Polo at one of the clubs around Cirencester (Cirencester Park is good fun) in the season, between April and September.
Guests at Cotswolds hotels in or around Chipping Campden are recommended to find a little time to discover Hart Silversmiths, which is the last remnant of the Guild of Handicraft. The Guild was a late 19th century social experiment which saw hundreds of London East End workers and families relocated to the Cotswolds - the aim was to revive the tradition of handicrafts and skills associated with manufacturing and making. The appeal of the area was a plentiful (then) supply of cheap housing and a cleaner environment to work in. Jewellers, woodworkers, cabinetmakers and their families arrived in the small town of Chipping Campden to begin a new life.
Hart Silversmiths is a survivor of that period and, in fact, the workshop is a remarkable sight, a Dickensian looking place of hammers, tools, burners, unfamiliar smells and sounds - an exquisite workmanship. Visitors are genuinely encouraged to work the team at work and it’s an inspiring sight. Hart’s make silverware, everything from tea spoons to church crosses.
By coincidence, Robert Welch Cutlery has a showroom just around the corner. Their products, now an internationally known brand are firmly rooted in the Cotswold hills. When Robert Welch left the Royal College of Art, in 1955 his business began from a rented room in the disused Silk Mill in the town. Many Cotswolds hotels use their products.
We think ‘Campden’ is a must see for Cotswolds hotels guests, for its beautiful and ancient High Street and for the arts and making scene that still thrives.