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Licklist guide to ... the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an area in south central England cont aining the Cotswold Hills, ringed by Bath, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury. It’s the country's largest officially designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 'Cotswolds' has been said to be a combination of two very old English words: ‘Wolds’ meaning gentle hills and 'Cots', referring to sheep enclosures. So basically 'Cotswolds' probably just means an area of gentle hills with plenty of sheep around- hardly the place you’ll choose for a night on the town, right? Wrong.

 

Licklist is here to put the Cotswolds in the spotlight as a fantastic location for a night out.

It may surprise you that this picturesque area, complete with hidden river valleys and distinctive market towns, is home to some of the best pubs, bars and clubs around; even the sheep are known to have a boogie (okay that bit was a lie). With particular focus on Cheltenham, here are some of the best bits of the Cotswolds that you simply can’t miss.

 

 

Cheltenham is a great place for food and drink lovers alike, with over 100 restaurants covering all culinary areas. The area specializes in independent bistros and the Regency architecture of the town serves its restaurants and bars particularly well. A number of large town houses and even an old cinema have been converted into trendy, yet traditional, restaurants and bars. IT has an abundance of great festivals all year round, such as the Jazz festival (which often features big stars from the jazz world) a science festival, a music festival and a food & drink festival in Montpellier Gardens. It’s also famous for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, held at Cheltenham Racecourse. Each year sees visitors from all over the UK arrive in their hundreds to this picturesque town, all hoping to win  loads of money on the weirdest sounding horse!

 

As for the nightlife DFLY Cheltenham has quickly become a highly respected Fusion restaurant and Cocktail Bar in the Cheltenham town center. Then there’s Subtone, a Nightclub and Live Music venue on the Promenade, representing the best DJ’s & Live Bands from around the globe, with fantastic acts such as The Kaiser Chiefs and DJ legend Danny Howard. A state of the art sound system and lighting gives a friendly, intimate atmosphere. The Club incorporates the Piano Bar with Live Pianist & Cafe’ Bar while situated in the basement area is the Main Club, Bongo Bar and Cocktail Bar.

Tiki-themed bars have become more and more popular around the UK and Cheltenham is no exception: Kukui is a refreshing and exotic tiki club in the heart of Cheltenham situated at the bottom of Bath Road. It boasts a beautiful cocktail bar and club all on one floor hosting the best in DJs throughout the week. Kukui promises to help you leave behind the stresses and strains of everyday life and say “Aloha” to their Polynesian inspired paradise. Use the Kukui passport to select an exotic Cocktail from the mouth-watering collection whilst relaxing in the sumptuous surroundings.

 

Remember that old cinema we talked about before? It’s The Warehouse Nightclub: a hugely popular and exhilarating venue nearby in Stroud. It provides unrivalled clubbing facilities to the 850 capacity crowd who attend there every Saturday night. A wicked ambiance prevails throughout the club by the combination of warehouse features such as original brick walls, metal spiral staircases and railway sleepers, with state of the art disco lighting, sound system and illuminated dance floor. The main dance floor is situated on the ground floor with additional dancing on the illuminated glass floored stage, or one of the spectacular podiums some 4m above the dance floor. Take the spiral stairs up to the balcony bar and chill out area where you can view the dance floor and stage whilst sitting in comfort sipping your cocktail. There is also a quieter VIP bar at the top of the building with panoramic views over the rest of the club.

 

The less discovered area of the Cotswolds is criss-crossed with canals where you can enjoy a walk down the tow path stopping at a traditional pub or café on the way (be sure to try a refreshing pint of one of Stroud’s locally brewed ales). By day, take a break from the hustle and bustle of a city centre and enjoy a relaxing adventure in the English countryside. By night experience live performances, a great festival atmosphere with great food, drink and company.

By Kayleigh Stevens