With lockdown restrictions gradually easing across the county, up to six people or two households can now get together for long overdue catch ups at many of Gloucestershire’s eateries and attractions.
From alfresco family meals to drinks with friends in some of the county’s best beer gardens; to unmissable shopping spots and outdoor attractions, discover SoGlos’s pick of 18 perfect places to meet up with your loved ones from Monday 12 April 2021.
Effortlessly stylish and exuding luxury, Cowley Manor is a chic hotel near Cheltenham that makes an ideal base for couples, families and groups to explore the Cotswolds, with plans to reopen for overnight stays from Monday 17 May 2021.
In the meantime, with 55 acres of Cotswold parkland and gardens, Cowley Manor is ideal for an alfresco rendezvous with friends and family – offering open-air dining and luxurious outdoor picnics in its brand-new bell tents. Its award-winning C-Side Spa is also open for relaxing pamper dates, with a range of indulgent treatments available.
For more information, visit cowleymanor.com.
Thanks to its extensive outdoor offering, Cowley Manor is the perfect place to reunite with friends and family after lockdown three. Catch up over lunch on the terrace, a south-facing sun trap on warm days; and covered so it can be enjoyed just as much on chillier ones. Or, get the family together for a gourmet picnic, hiring one of Cowley’s new private bell tents to make the occasion extra special.
Challenge friends and family to a game on the south west’s first padel courts, giving the trendy racket sport at go at East Glos Club in Cheltenham. Sociable and family-friendly, there’s also a club café offering takeaway refreshments to enjoy as you catch up after a bit of healthy competition.
From meeting this year’s spring lambs to practicing amateur acrobatics on the bouncy pillows, friends with young families will have hours of fun meeting up at Cotswold Farm Park with plenty of engaging wildlife experiences and opportunities for outdoor play.
Gin-lovers can look no further than the Foston’s Ash Inn for a vibrant place to catch up over a few drinks. Not only is it the home of the delicious and organic British Polo Gin, the inn has a large heated outdoor marquee – perfect for reuniting with friends and family in an alfresco setting.
With magical woodlands to explore, Gruffalo sculptures to spot and play areas to keep the little ones occupied, Westonbirt Arboretum offers a relaxing place to catch up with friends and family. After wandering through the canopies, tuck into a pizza from the new smokehouse, which is fired by wood from the forest!
Friends and family can now get together for alfresco drinks and dining at the Bathurst Arms in North Cerney – with a spacious beer garden, perfect for a riverside pint, and a new circus-themed tipi which can seat up to 40 people for lunch, dinner and drinks. Roll up!
Tucked away in a Cotswold valley, Painswick Rococo Garden is a delight to discover, with whimsical buildings and follies, beautiful grounds and nature trails through the surrounding woodland. Welcoming visitors of all ages and even well-behaved dogs, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a takeaway coffee with friends and family.
With no shortage of things to do, Beechenhurst is home to the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, a family-friendly Go Ape course and plenty of picnic spots. Young families will love exploring the Gruffalo Spotters trail together, while nature-loving friends can wander through the ancient forest with a takeaway coffee in hand.
Friends can experience that festival feeling without leaving Cheltenham town centre, listing to live music from local talent while catching up over beers at the Outdoor Inn in Cheltenham. There’s even a brand-new site opening up at The Fleece in Gloucester in May 2021.
Relax on Tewkesbury Park’s sun-soaked terrace with a drink in hand and share a stone-baked pizza with friends and family – with a series of alfresco pizza weekends planned at the hotel between Friday 16 April and Sunday 16 May 2021.
With acres of open space to explore, Slimbridge Wetland Centre is a great place to reconnect with friends, family and nature – from visiting the resident flamingos and otters together to enjoying a takeaway coffee while the kids let loose on the play areas.
From strolling along the historic docks to catching up over a meal, friends will have the dreamiest day out at Gloucester Quays – with many onsite restaurants taking part in its alfresco dining offering in Pillar and Lucy Square. Not to mention, it’s the county’s hottest spot for outlet shopping.
Next to its much-loved Cheltenham restaurant, The Coconut Tree’s pop-up on the lawn of St Paul’s Church offers plenty of outdoor dining space to catch up with friends and family over some seriously tasty Sri Lankan food.
Get together with friends and family to explore everything Over Farm has to offer. From visiting the friendly farm animals to shopping for artisan and locally grown produce at its onsite shop; to duck racing and vintage fairground rides, which will be around until Sunday 18 April 2021 with more dates to be announced.
Offering wood-fired pizzas and craft beer in a rustic Cotswold setting, The Stump near Cirencester has a fantastic pub garden for friends and family to reunite over perfectly poured pints and seriously delicious Italian-inspired dishes.
The Cotswold Food Store and Café is a gorgeous destination shop near Moreton-in-Marsh, packed to the brim with locally sourced artisan produce. Friends can enjoy a long overdue catch up while sipping coffee or tucking into lunch on the scenic outdoor patio.
At Dunkertons’ marquee bar, it’s never too early to enjoy a refreshing pint of cider with friends and family – with The Tavern serving breakfast from its pop-up van. There are also rotating street food specials throughout the day, including dirty burgers from The Beefy Boys, and regular quiz and movie night, too.
A great spot for lunch dates with friends and family, Taurus Crafts in Lydney has revamped its café menu over lockdown, adding some tasty vegan options to its offering. As a hub of local creativity, it’s also a fantastic place to shop and support independent craft and artisan businesses.
For more information on this hot list’s sponsor, visit cowleymanor.com.
By Annabel Lammas
Friday 16 April 2021
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