Cotswold Spy Report: July 2018

Each month our Lucky Onion Cotswold Spy brings you the latest news from the best restaurants, hotels, theatres, galleries and general happenings in the Cotswolds. Check out what July has to offer.


Chef’s Table at The Tavern

Delicious food. That’s what we, at The Lucky Onion, are all about. And there’s no better place to try our fare than at the newly-launched ‘Chef’s Table at The Tavern’.  It’s a treat from the start: begin at the bar, sipping on a White Russian or a Negroni, while our bartender explains the history of the cocktail. Then, tipple in hand, head upstairs to be seated at the open kitchen before Head Chef James de Jong takes you through our menu of 10 mouth-watering mini plates. Made using locally-sourced British produce, tuck into delights including: ‘Grilled asparagus, crispy pheasant egg and sauce gribiche’, ‘lamb and roast garlic meatballs’ and ‘octopus, farro and Isle of Wight tomato salad, aioli’,  finishing off with a lip-smackingly-good sticky toffee ice cream sandwich.

£50 per person, book in advance. 5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham, GL50 3DN. 01242 221212; 



on form: Sculpture in Stone, Asthall Manor

Set in the beautiful house and gardens of Asthall Manor, where the Mitford sisters grew up, this show of nearly 400 works is the only exhibition in the UK dedicated exclusively to stone sculpture. ‘Please do Touch’ is the policy here and there’s lots to explore: discover the cloud sculpture beside the river, happen upon the giant mushroom made of limestone on the lawn or spot the stone origami peeping above the meadow grasses. Don’t miss Rob Good’s stone chickens which peck around the gypsy caravan. Also, on hand is Chef Fiona Cullinane Potting Shed caf alongside a pop-up from Burford’s Mad Hatter Book Shop.

Until 8th July 2018. Asthall Manor, Asthall, Burford, OX18 4HW. 01993 824319;



Longborough Festival Opera

Overlooking the spectacular Cotswolds countryside, this country-house opera takes place in an old chicken barn, cleverly converted into a charming 500-seater theatre. And it makes for a pretty perfect evening. Bring a picnic (don’t forget the fizz), take in the rolling views and settle down in the grounds before heading inside to enjoy one of the operatic greats. This summer sees the festival take on Richard Strauss’ slapstick comedy opera Ariadne auf Naxos followed by Monteverdi’s last opera L’incoronazione di Poppea, a striking story of love and lust amidst conflicting morality.

Image: Matthew Williams Ellis

Ariadne auf Naxos (13-21 July) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (28 July – Aug). New Banks Fee, Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0QF01451 830292;



Music Box at The Tavern

Introducing Cheltenham’s newest music venue. After scrumptious taverna-style food at The Tavern, made with the best of British local ingredients (picture lamb with roast garlic and mint meatballs, squid served with garlic aioli and ox cheek with herby polenta, chard and shallots and, slow cooked Hereford beef blade) head upstairs to The Music Box. Cosy and intimate, with fantastic cocktails from our award-winning bartenders, it’s late night fun through and through. Kicking off July is The Curious Incident – think Indie Rock with a Caribbean twist – and acoustic numbers from local favourite Gareth Lemon.

The Curious Incident (Saturday 14th July), Gareth Lemon (Saturday 28th July). 5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham,GL50 3DN. 01242 221212 



Giffords Circus at Barrington

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the circus. To celebrate this particularly English invention, head for Giffords Circus. A magical village green circus, complete with burgundy and gold showman’s wagons and billowing tent, not to mention 1930’s inspired sequinned dresses, tail coats and top hats, it’s a visual feast. Get ready for expert-trained horse riders performing jaw-dropping feats, gravity-defying acrobats, a coterie of live animals and rib-tickling comedic interludes from Tweedy the clown. After the curtain falls, dine out under the stars in Giffords’ travelling restaurant, Circus Sauce.

Image: Gem Hall

26th July to 6th August. Barrington, Burford. 01451 820 378;