The Black Horse in Cranham serves the best Sunday Roasts (apart from my mum’s of course!) I always choose roast beef, which comes with huge Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, plenty of veg and the most delicious gravy. Afterwards we walk it off in the surrounding Cotswold beech woodlands.
The Woolpack in Laurie Lee's Slad Valley is my favourite pub, my husband and I had our first date here! Sit with a pint of Pig’s Ear real ale by Uley Brewery and enjoy the views across the valley to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's Laurie Lee Wood and Swift's Hill nature reserve. 2014 marks the centenary celebrations of Laurie Lee's birth and there will be lots of fantastic events; from walks, art exhibitions, open gardens and a cider festival.
On the go?
The Wiggly Worm Charity has recently launched the Little Green Wiggly Machine, which is the most enchanting vintage 1970's Citroen van. By day it serves delicious street food and by night it's a food poverty pop up, taking hot nutritious food to communities in Gloucestershire who need it. It's an ingenious idea and can often be found in The Abbey Grounds, Cirencester and at local events.
The Daffodil is in an old art deco building formerly Cheltenham’s first picture house, it has been restored into the most beautiful restaurant with original sweeping staircases. It’s been a favourite of mine since it opened in 1998, but I really don’t get much opportunity to visit these days!
With the family?
Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham is a lovely country hotel and spa set in the most beautiful grounds. The bar menu is perfect for families with a wide range of dishes to choose from especially for children, the lounge has lovely big sofas and there are even board games to keep the little ones entertained.
A lovely cuppa?
Hobbs House Bakery in Nailsworth can always be relied on for the most delicious treats, I love bread and real butter and fell in love with their soda seeds loaf after being given a bread box as a new baby gift. Above the bakery there is a cafe by day and bistro by night, serving thoughtfully simple dishes that showcase the finest local ingredients.
The Ethicurean restaurant is amazing, serving entirely seasonal and ethical food, which is mainly sourced from their most beautiful walled kitchen garden that Peter Rabbit would die for! I'm still thinking about the heritage tomato and ewe’s curd salad I had in September it was that delicious!
The Bertinet Bakery in Bath has a small cafe with toasters on the tables, we love this novelty and order their buckets of bread and tea loaves to toast which we lavishly spread with butter and jam, before buying chocolate croissants to take home too!
In spring my local hedgerows burst with the white umbellifer blooms of the elder tree, each year we pick the flowers on a hot sunny day (making sure we don't strip the tree and leave some for wildlife) and turn it into elderflower cordial and champagne!
A Winstones Ice Cream of course! Like so many locals we swarm to the small factory on Rodborough Common on sunny days to sample this delicious organic ice cream made with milk from the cows that freely graze the common.
I had a lovely meal out with friends at The Tavern in Cheltenham recently; they use seasonal and local ingredients and serve retro British/US style food. I ordered the most delicious 12-hour marinated steak in a brioche bun with shoestring fries, I also love the decor and friendly staff.
The amazing Giffords Circus tours village greens around the Cotswolds' every summer with a vintage inspired show. After the evening performance you can dine with the performers in the Circus Sauce Restaurant tent, which has the tiniest kitchen housed in a showman's waggon. The food is locally sourced and delicious and makes you want to run away with this enchanting circus troupe as you dine under the romantic twinkly circus lights.
The places that didn't fit in!
The Canteen, Nailsworth - the boys love this relaxed cafe on the side of the fab vintage shop Domestic Science. Hot Pepper Jelly, a cafe by day and bring your own booze restaurant in the evening in Suffolk Road, Cheltenham. Stroud Farmers' Market - award winning market, always buzzing and busy, expect to queue for the best cider from Days Cottage, vegetables, eggs and cheese. Star Anise vegetarian cafe in Stroud does great croissants and Fat Toni's pizza also in Stroud is amazing with sour dough bases and great toppings to choose from.
The Black Horse, Cranham www.theblackhorsecranham.co.uk
Giffords Circus tours the Cotswolds' from May - September www.giffordscircus.com
Laurie Lee Centenary Celebrations www.laurielee.org
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Swift's Hill and Laurie Lee nature reserves www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk
The Tavern, Cheltenham www.thetaverncheltenham.com
The Woolpack, Slad 01452 813429
The Little Green Wiggly Machine www.thewigglyworm.org.uk
Hobbs House Bakery, George Street, Nailsworth 01453 839396 www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk
Winstones Ice Cream, Rodborough Common, Stroud www.winstonesicecream.co.uk
The Ethicurean, Wrington, www.theethicurean.com
Bertinet Bakery, New Bond Street Place, Bath www.bertinet.com/bertinetbakery/bakery.php
Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham www.cowleymanor.com
The Daffodil Restaurant www.thedaffodil.com