The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Warwickshire Edition

Early-bird summer festival guide 2017: Don’t miss out!

13 Feb 2017

Glastonbury 2017 sold out within an hour last October and tickets for many of the other big ones are already selling like hotcakes. You must book super early these days if you don’t want to miss out. It may be depressingly chilly and damp now but before you know it the festival season will be upon us.  Yay!

No longer about hedonism and staying up all night, now it’s about entertaining the kids and the option of a luxury tent.  

Read more

Eat Here: The Saxon Mill, Warwick

13 Feb 2017

The Saxon Mill’s had a makeover of epic proportions and Muddy Stilettos Warwickshire couldn’t wait to totter in for a pre-opening nose.

This attractive stone gastropub in a former 12th Century mill has a wonderful riverside location, a working watermill and views over Guy’s Cliffe. It’s a five minutes’ drive from Warwick town centre on the busy Coventry Road.

My friend Elizabeth finished work early to join me for a 2-course lunch.

Read more

6 New Films You Need to See With Your Girl Pals

9 Feb 2017

A trip to the flicks with girlfriends is one of life’s little pleasures: gossip, popcorn, a soupçon of culture, and a night out that doesn’t involve a hangover. What’s not to like? And right now is an excellent time to get a big screen jaunt booked in, given the slew of female-friendly movies coming up. So bench the man in your life, grab a girlfriend and go.

Hidden Figures (out Feb 17)

Set in 1960s Virginia, this Oscar contender centres on three pioneering African-American women whose calculations for NASA were integral to several historic space missions, including John Glenn’s successful orbit of the Earth.

Read more

Is this Compton Verney’s very own Eden?

9 Feb 2017

Head over to Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park during Feb Half Term and you may wonder what this is…

How would you cope if you had no access to your hairdresser, power shower, Netflix, Nutri-Bullet, Facebook, Botox injections and all the other traits of modern society? This is what Brit artists Alex Hartley and Tom James are seeking to find out in new site-specific art project, The Clearing  in the grounds of beautiful Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.

Read more

5 Quirky Romantic Overnighters

6 Feb 2017

Hands-up who wants to be sitting in a restaurant with 20 other couples on Valentine’s Day? If that sounds way too cheesy, why not immerse yourself in the great outdoors staying in a toasty warm lover’s tipi instead, or a romantic folly, deep in the woods, with a cavernous underground spa. Throw in a bite to eat and a glass of fizz – are you feeling the love already? Here’s some quirky destinations where you can just chill (literally!)…

Read more

8 Cosy Pubs with Snowdrop Walks

6 Feb 2017

If you feel like a bracing winter walk on one of those crisp February days when the sun’s out, the sky is blue and the first snowdrops are out, Warwickshire is a country jam-packed with nature reserves, wildlife hotspots, ancient bluebell woods, canals and heritage sites. And there’s usually a cosy village pub nearby for a warming Sunday lunch, a hot toddy (and more importantly a loo!).

The Kitchen at Farnborough, near Gaydon

After stomping through the beautiful rolling Warwickshire countryside around Farnborough Hall how about heading back to The Kitchen for some rustic British cooking where wet dogs and muddy wellies are always welcome? 

Read more

‘J’taime!’ 11 Romantic Restaurants

6 Feb 2017

Quite a few of the restaurants  in this list have a French leaning hence the nod to one of my favourite 90s romantic films – Betty Blue (I know the ending’s sad) – starring Beatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade.

Café Vin Cinq restaurant & Bar Twentyfive, Rugby

A three-storey elegant Parisian inspired boutique restaurant with stunning antique chandeliers and wrought iron spiral staircase, overlooking historic Rugby School.

Read more

Leamington Spa’s Awesome Coffee Architects

6 Feb 2017

My hairdresser in Leamington first tipped me off about Coffee Architects in Warwick Street, not long after it opened in the summer of 2014. A bit of a hipster, he enthused infectiously about the coffee, the cakes – “the best in Leamington” – and the amazing salads. As a coffee lover I couldn’t resist.

This small Scandi-style independent family-run cafe is always busy and the Flat White, served in a glass tumbler on a turquoise saucer, is just the best.

Read more

Muddy Eats: The Stag At Offchurch

6 Feb 2017

Tucked up in a sleepy quaint hamlet in Offchurch, near Leamington Spa, is an attractive 16th Century thatched gastropub where the food is so good you’ll be scrapping to get a table on the weekend. We’re talking open fires, a snug bar area, the best locally sourced food, an extensive wine list and desserts in vintage tea cups. Offchurch, admittedly is a bit remote – three miles east of Leamington Spa, down winding country lanes off the Fosse Way, an old Roman road.

Read more

6 Alternative Date Nights

6 Feb 2017

‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ Play on indeed…Now they’ve left the White House, Michelle and Barack can enjoy more time together. So, what do the Obamas do on their famous date nights?

Like most of us they find a romantic dinner spot, enjoy some food and head off to see a Broadway show. Even if it does involve flying to New York on a Gulfstream 500 jet, boarding a Marine One fleet helicopter to Manhattan and then into a motorcade.

Read more
The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Warwickshire Edition