• Country moment

    Our favourite place: Bradford-on-Avon

    by  • 18/11/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Visit WiltshireSet in an idyllic riverside location in the Wiltshire Cotswolds, this pretty market town is poised over the river Avon with a relaxed feel and picture perfect views to enjoy. It’s also the gateway towards the Kennet & Avon canal and the magnificent city of Bath. We also love it for its…

    Markets Head to Westbury Gardens on Thursday mornings to source freshly picked veg, smoked fish, cheese and meats plus seasonal plants. Or opt for the monthly farmers’ market featuring artisan crafts plus locally produced food and drink (including organic veg, raw milk, meats, breads, preserves, ciders, plus deli treats) in Lambs Yard.

    Architecture From the main town bridge with its 13th century arches and historic lock up to the medieval tithe barn with its cruck roof and fine Anglo-Saxon church of St Laurence, there’s much to explore of the town’s past which also claims Roman, Norman and Tudor heritage. Visit the helpful Tourist Information Office on St Margaret’s Street.

    Stop for… Tuck in to British dishes with a Mediterranean influence in the cosy surroundings of The Three Gables restaurant.

    Head for the shops This Fairtrade town offers plenty of independent shops and homegrown buys. Community spirit is strong here which makes this the perfect place to source original gifts. Step in to Cloudberry Interiors on St Margaret’s street for modern country style furniture and home accessories. Find washroom and shower advice at Bathrooms at No.5 shop. And love the the magnificent shop front of J Alex Brown hardware on Silver Street. Tillions offers a treasure trove of kitchen ideas, baking accessories, glass, cutlery, and ceramics from brands such as Emma Bridgewater, Portmeirion, Cornishware and Sophie Conran. A wonderful selection of mirrors can be found at Hand Crafted Mirrors. See true community spirit come to life through arts and crafts exhibitions at The Vaults where Made in Bradford On Avon showcase local talents.

    Love the local food heroes Bradford-on-Avon is surrounded by countryside and locals who passionately care about providing the best local and seasonal ingredients. Try Christine’s Sustainable Supermarket for health foods and homemade treats from breads, flans and quiches to cereals and environmentally friendly toiletries on Silver Street. Head to greengrocer Bloomfield’s for the freshest produce along The Shambles. Ruby Red Wine Cellar stock local beers, ales, organic wines and ciders. And source all manner of cheeses, olives, pâtés, pasta, drinks and marvellous tiered cheese cakes at The Cheese Shop…

    Do you have a favourite market town? We would love hear more about it…

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    Our favourite shop: Tinsmiths

    by  • 11/11/2016 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Visit Tinsmiths in LedburyThis week we’ve been inspired by Tinsmiths in Herefordshire where owners Alex and Phoebe Clive sell beautiful fabrics, lighting, art prints and gifts in a spectacularly quirky shop building.

    What inspired you to open your shop Tinsmiths?
    Our shop was inspired by a passion for good designs with a long ‘shelf life’, both practically and stylistically. Here, all our staff are makers or designers who understand materials and processes. Our focus is centred on textiles – fabrics for curtains, blinds and upholstery.
    How would you describe the shop’s style?
    Our two showrooms, architecturally speaking, are characteristic of Tinsmiths style. On the one hand, a surprisingly bold and daring shopfront (pictured) designed and built by Alex, and, on the other, an ancient timber-framed workshop made user-friendly by modern interventions. We really enjoy the challenge of mixing old and new, industrial and domestic to achieve timeless interiors.
    What makes your shop so special?
    The people. We think hard about what we are offering and take this responsibility seriously, in terms of what we display in our shop and when we set about making curtains or blinds for a client. We like to source fabrics, lighting and homewares close to home, where possible, such as fabrics woven in the north of England, pots thrown in the surrounding area, and kitchen utensils, hooks and ironwork from local makers.

    Do you have a favourite interiors shop to visit? We would love to hear more about it…

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    Step inside Stonor Park House at Christmas

    by  • 07/11/2016 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

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    Our first ever show is taking place at beautiful Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 25-27 November, in  marquees on the front lawn of this stunning stately home. Situated in the Chilterns, the views are absolutely spectacular and nature abounds with deer, hares and red kites – we couldn’t ask for a more lovely setting.

    For the first time, the Manor House will be opening its doors exclusively to Country Homes & Interiors Christmas visitors. Combined advance tickets include entry to both the show and the historic country home. It’ll be beautifully decorated for the festivities, showcasing each room in all it’s grand and sparkling glory. It’s truly a sight to behold and not one to be missed.

    For more information and to book your tickets today, click here.

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    Celebrate Bonfire Night!

    by  • 04/11/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Toasty marshmallows Remember, remember the 5th of November! It’s time to hunt out those woolly scarves and mitts, and get some toasty marshmallows to enjoy at his year’s fabulous firework festivals. We’ve rounded up three of the best places to enjoy them (in Kent, Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire), where you can join in a lively evening with spectacular skies, and local entertainment…

    Edenbridge, Kent (5 November)
    A spectacular torchlit bonfire pocession and fireworks display takes place this Saturday, marking the foiled 1605 Gunpowder Plot. There’s a party atmosphere throughout the day as local inns, shops and restaurants followed by a torchlit procession at 6.30pm as around 500 people in colourful costumes march through the town led by the Bishop of the Bonfire, choirboys, visiting bonfire societies,and effigies of Guy Fawkes, General Wolfe and Anne Boleyn. At the recreation ground, a fairground with stalls and music awaits, plus a firework display and lighting of the Guys.

    Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire (5 November)
    And head for the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire to visit the pretty village of Chalfont St Giles this Saturday where Magic in the Sky features bonfire lighting and fireworks accompanied by music at Stone Meadow field. Mulled wine and Bucks bangers optional!

    Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire (4 & 5 November)
    Delve in to the past at Tutbury Castle where this weekend’s Vikings & Fireworks extravaganza takes place, featuring a lively combat by moonlight, a re-enactment of a Viking funeral and spectacular light displays on Friday and Saturday. There’s also a living history camp for families.

    Are you celebrating Bonfire Night? We would love to hear more…

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    Our favourite place: Bridport

    by  • 04/11/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Take a trip to beautiful Bridport in DorsetWith its beautiful architecture, heritage and great selection of artisan shops, this market town is well worth a visit. We love it for its…

    Location A stone’s throw from West Bay on The Jurassic Coast and among rolling countryside with views of the town from the Allington Hill and Coopers Wood.

    Markets Twice weekly markets take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays; don’t miss the farmers’ market on the second Saturday of the month.

    Rope making The town’s history lies in the rope making and net industry, evident in the town’s wide streets – find out more at Bridport Museum, which also hosts exhibitions and leads guided walks.

    Brewery Try Golden Cap whisky on a tour of Palmers Brewery which has been brewing since 1794 and still operates from The Old Brewery on West Bay Road.

    Shops East and West Street offer practical items for country homes, while South Street offers independent shopping, artisan crafts and collectables. For interiors, head to Lilliputs, which sells bedding, linens, soft furnishings, cookware and home accessories. Nearby, family business Carpetworld, sells all types of flooring including English wool, wood and rugs. The Yarn Shop, 35 South Street, aims to build a community of happy knitters with knitting and crochet workshops in a colourful store of wool and accessories. If you love antiques, head to The Alleyways for Bridport Antiques Centre, while South Street Antiques sells collectables and furniture. Or take time out in the relaxed ambience of Bridport Old Books on South Street.

    Food heroes There’s no shortage of great food in this region with farms and bountiful coast nearby… Leakers Bakery, sells hand baked breads, cakes and savouries including Jurassic Foot Loaf and wheat-free varieties. Bridport is home to the oldest butchers in England, Balson & Son (founded in 1515); or step in to Frampton’s with its pretty shop front for quality meats, pastys and deli goods. Pick up local and seasonal produce at Nina’s on South Street, or at Fruits of the Earth on Victoria Grove, who also sell wholefoods, herbs, spice and nuts. Outside town, visit Modbury Farm in Burton Bradstock.

    Where is your favourite market town? We would love to hear more about it…

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    Get all your Christmas shopping done in one place

    by  • 03/11/2016 • Country business, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

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    Planning your festive shopping? We’ve got you covered! Find creative and crafted gifts for all the family at the first ever Country Homes & Interiors Christmas show, taking place at beautiful Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames on 25-27 November.

    At this gorgeous boutique-style shopping event, you’ll find your favourite country-style brands alongside less familiar small country businesses we know you’ll love. Within the heated and floored marquee, you’ll find gifts, crafts and beautifully made accessories in a relaxed, festive atmosphere.

    Stop off for a stylish stocking from Plum & Ashby, pick up an all-natural room diffuser from Bee Fayre and browse beautiful country fabrics from Ian Mankin – and that’s just to start, there are over 80 exciting stands to explore! Exhibitors will be standing by to answer all your questions and ensure you leave with perfect gifts and unique pieces that will delight your family and friends.

    Not booked your tickets yet? Buy them online here. Look out for more blog posts over the coming weeks with more exciting details on what we’ve got planned!

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    Go wild for autumn colour!

    by  • 28/10/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Love autumn hues

    Killiecrankie, Perthshire
    One of the most magnificent views at this time of year can be seen at the Pass of Killiecrankie in Perthshire. This wooded gorge (pictured) on the River Garry is associated with an historic Jacobite battle, but today it is a peaceful place where visitors have the chance to spot birds, red squirrels, leaping salmon and, in autumn, a variety of trees turn spectacular shades of burgundy, amber, russet and gold.

    Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
    Or go wild in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, where the Ridding Wood trail offers stunning views of the valley, and a hike to the top of Carron Crag reveals panoramic vistas of this unspoilt landscape with its heady mix of autumn colours.

    The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
    Formerly used as a royal hunting forest and a site of industry in  Victorian times, the evidence can still be found amongst the maze of trees. From Symons Yat Rock, spot the River Wye, concealed by crunchy leaves and towering trees this season.

    Where is your favourite place to see Autumn colour? We would love to hear more about it…

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    Unwind in a hot tub retreat . . .

    by  • 21/10/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Love a hot tub holidayNothing beats lounging in a warm bubbling tub on a chilly day, surrounded by beautiful scenery. We’ve found three of the best hot tub hideaways to rejuvenate the mind and spirit this season…

    The High Cabin, Tyn Y Groes, Conwy
    This beautiful bolthole offers the best of both worlds – the tranquillity of the log cabin and its views of meadows and ancient woodlands, with great food and banter close by at The Groes Inn. On arrival pick up a map from the inn and follow the short drive through scenic countryside to the pretty log cabin. Complete with a king size bed, stylish bathroom with Temple Spa toiletries, a modern kitchen and outdoor hot tub on a heated veranda (pictured) with lofty views of Snowdonia and the Conwy Valley by day, or enjoy mellow nightcaps by evening.

    The Raft at Chigborough, Maldon, Essex
    This is the place for dreamers… Hop aboard the floating cabin and take time out with a good book on teak recliners. On warmer days, go rowing and look out for splashing trout and abundant wildlife among the surrounding reeds, woods and fields. Indoors, spacious rooms include a sofabed on the main deck and a mezzanine double. Eco-friendly guests will love the solar power which charges the gas shower and high tech loo; and the kitchen is complete with fridge and gas hobs. On the banks of the lake there’s a fire pit, log store, hot tub and bicycles. Enjoy a welcome hamper on arrival or head to The Cart Lodge Tearoom (on site) for lunch and cream teas. Head to nearby Goldhanger village for pub roasts, or fish and chips.

    Ivy Cottage, Brinsop, Herefordshire
    Set on Brinsop Court manor estate, this 18th century gamekeeper’s cottage is made for romantics with views of rolling countryside towards mountains and woodland, and a half-timbered rustic exterior which harmonises with stylish interiors. Enjoy garden walks or tennis before a soak in the hot tub under the stars. Curl up on squishy sofas in the cosy sitting room with its warming wood burner and venture out to the private tub on the terrace. Upstairs there’s a double bedroom with a super kingsized bed, Egyptian cotton sheets, bathrobes and a bathroom with a free-standing bath and walk in shower. Make a homely meal with the kitchen’s Aga, or cook up a barbecue on the fire pit.

     Have you stayed in a fabulous hot tub hideaway? We would love to hear more about it…

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    Our favourite place: Godalming

    by  • 14/10/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    our favourite place to visitSet in an idyllic  location by the River Wey and the magnificent Surrey Hills, this market town is perfect for a family day out. We also love it for its…

    Markets The weekly Friday market dates back as far as 1300! Source everything from furniture and household items to art, jewellery, flowers and food. There’s also a farmer’s market every fifth Sunday of the month at Crown Court, High Street.

    Godalming Museum Step inside for one of the friendliest welcomes to visitors and advice on everything from popular attractions and exhibitions to local history. Discover the town’s roots in the woollen cloth, papermaking and leatherwork industries, plus its notable historic residents including designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. And don’t miss the 19th century Old Town Hall and former medieval market site ‘The Pepperpot’ which stands proudly in the town centre.

    Riverboats Hop aboard a narrowboat with the Godalming Packetboat Company and take a trip back to Victorian times as heavy horses draw the load by canal locks along the tranquil River Wey.

    Dining  Set in a lofty 17th-century church in the town centre, The Bel & Dragon is a great place for brunch, dinner or evening cocktail masterclasses this season! Or head to nearby Eashing, where The Stag on the River offers modern British dishes using fresh seasonal produce.

    Shops Godalming has a wonderful selection of independent shops with plentiful country-style shops along the High Street and Church street. The Little Shed sells furniture, homewares, antiques and gifts with brands including Flamant, Blanc d’Ivoire and Annie Sloan Paint. Browsing is relaxed and expert advice is available. Katherine Letts Interiors fabrics, 103 High Street, 01483 860106, sells home accessories, decorative items and gifts including Emma Bridgewater Pottery, Bombay Duck and Gisela Graham. And Heart of the Home, 10 church street, 07515 284288, offers modern country style homewares and gifts. For wallpaper, fabrics (Morris & Co, Sanderson), paints (Berger, Little Green), blinds (Luxaflex) and invaluable decorating advice, head to Cornmeter. And, for contemporary fine art by leading and emerging British artists, visit McAllister Thomas who also hold regular exhibitions.

    Food produce Delicious local ingredients from the region are easy to source here. At the Godalming Food Company, there’s an array of products to tempt foodies from freshly baked artisan breads and cakes to cheese, meats, pâté and handmade pies in addition to fine oils, chutneys, preserves, sauces, coffee, ales and wines. For meats, try The Godalming Butchers who offer free range meats from slow-growing breeds with a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Fancy something sweet? Then The Crumby Bakery is the place to be for coffee, scones and delicious treats.

    Where is your favourite market town? We would love to hear more about it!

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    Enjoy a gourmet escape

    by  • 07/10/2016 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Jersey gourmet hotelCalling all foodies! It’s the season to treat yourself to a Michelin-Star break where fine dining and fabulous dishes are high on the menu!  We’ve lined up our pick of the best gourmet stays to enjoy. Add gorgeous surroundings and stylish rooms to complete the experience…

    Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield, West Sussex
    Set in nine acres of parkland and gardens, this Elizabethan home features gorgeous country-style rooms and a strong ethos of food provenance in the hotel dining room. Sussex-born chef Stephen Crane has held a Michelin star here for 13 years. Sourcing from local producers, he creates menus packed with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Choose from the Cuckfield menu or the seven-course tasting menu. Then settle in to your country-style room, each room is named after former residents of the house. Book the Master Suite and you can enjoy your own sitting room, sink into a four-poster bed in The Charles Room, or check in to a Spa Suite – an easy ramble downstairs to a pool and indulgent spa treatments.

    The Club Hotel, St Helier, Jersey
    Enjoy a lavish dining experience at this luxurious island hotel, which also offers bright spacious bedrooms, a spa and pool. Recently refurbished with a sophisticated design, the hotel’s Bohemia restaurant is acclaimed by food critics, especially for its desserts from Michelin-starred head chef Steve Smith. His menu is packed with flavour from ingredient-led dishes using seasonal fruit and veg and local produce such as Jersey Royal Potatoes, fresh local scallops, and oysters from Normandy. On the dessert menu, be sure to try the scrumptious Jivara salted caramel…Enjoy cocktails in the Bohemia Bar or a late night drink with friends at the Honesty Bar! Boutique-style bedrooms offer all mod cons and extra comforts including fluffy bathrobes, cosy slippers and Elemis bath products.

    The Manor House, Castle Combe, Wiltshire
    This gorgeous country retreat in parkland near Bath offers Michelin-star dining and a world-class golf course (designed by Clive Clarke and Peter Alliss). With produce from the hotel’s kitchen garden and meat and poultry from Gloucester Old Spots and Gingernut Ranger chickens and quail reared on the estate, Head Chef Rob Potter’s team is spoilt for inspiration. The flavours of the season are captured with original and innovative cooking methods to produce delicious menus for the hotel’s exclusive Bybrook restaurant where popular options include Manor House old spot pork, braised cheek, pickled white cabbage and carrot purée, and pain d’épices ice-cream. Country style abounds and guests can enjoy 18 hotels of golf before retiring to sumptuous bedrooms.

    Have you stayed in a gourmet hotel? We would love to hear more about your experience…

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