As you hopefully already know, I love to find unique venues across the Cotswolds. Although you may not as I have been terrible with my blog recently and promise to get back on track and bring you more about some of the fantastic venues I have discovered and think deserve even more than an Instagram post in the last few months. There have been plenty! I’m always on a mission to find style and something a little different as I’m a city girl at heart after all!! (read my first ever blog) But sometimes it is great to embrace country life and explore and support some of the wonderful country estates and parks we have doted around. We are in fact spoilt for choice.
I first discovered Miserden about 2 years ago when friends recommended the nursery. So I headed off as needed a particular laurel as I had put some in our garden and was just a couple short. Well just the drive from Cirencester to Miserden is an experience in itself. Hilly, tiny roads and the constant questioning of am “I really going the right way?”. I drove though a quintessentially Cotswold village before getting to the estate and the views are just breathtaking and the drive was worth it.
Just the nursery is pretty special in itself with the edwardian greenhouses and the friendly team who have expert knowledge and were on hand to help the gardening novice, like myself! Utterly clueless infact! Kill most plants I put my hands on.
I couldn’t help noticing the entrance to the garden and a tiny glimpse of the manor house. So decided as I couldn’t get the laurel I needed, why waste a trip! It was literally like entering the secret garden. It opened out to the vast estate with lots of unexpected features and finds and views for miles. It has been described one of the top 10 romantic gardens in the world by Anna Pavord, Gardens Illustrated and I completely agree that romantic is a perfect description. I felt like I had taken a step back in time. I had discovered a hidden gem!!
Fast forward to August this year when I went back to visit, as I had noticed it had popped up on my Instagram, with a modern twist and looked to have some interesting events coming up. Plus I do love Rosie Londoner account every now and again and had seen she had been recently! Wow. I thought they had taken on some costly PR experts but turns out was just luck. The real draw was the launch of their cafe a few months earlier. They had converted one of the stunning edwardian greenhouses into a garden cafe. But there was something about their style, you could tell someone had really thought about so I reached out and went to meet Nick. Nick run the estate and actually lives in the house. I had to find out more especially after I noticed they were about to launch a pop up and had already started work on the second glasshouse!
Nick turns up with his gorgeous dog and says let me give you a little tour, so we get in his land rover, I’m soo inappropriately dressed, proper city girl in suede pumps visiting the country park, but off we go. What I hadn’t realised is how the estate was such a huge part of this community and how the gardens and estate may be steeped in history but in terms of their estate and village they were very forward thinking and Nick is extremely passionate about ensuring the vast estate overcomes the challenges faced by many traditional ones . They really care about the environment and that is why they now have a bio mass boiler that serves the whole villages for both residents and businesses and all the wood comes from the estate. Also considering how remote it is they have moved into the 21st Century and the whole village has fibre optic broadband! Even the village had some surprises, like the dentist, whose claim to fame was that their teeth are on the Madame Tussaud’s Duchess of Cambridge! Also loved hearing about Kev’s pub the Carpenters Arms, which after a fire in February has been recently renovated. He wanted to keep its pub feel so has the brass horse shoes and a real traditional feel but uniquely has a kids sweet shop at the back! Just loved all theses discoveries.
We then head to the gardens, which made me think, why had I not been back with my family before ending up in the cafe and having a chat with Claire. Another truly passionate member of the team running the cafe. The floor is going down that day in the second glasshouse conversion and is looking uber cool! They are putting the finishing touches to the kitchen, which Nick has built within a converted shipping container! So I find out that Nick has been back at Miserden for less than a year after living for a couple of years in Brixton. We shared some restaurant recommendations and had a few of the same old haunts and much of his design inspiration had come from his time up in the big smoke. I have to go back and try Naughty Piglet in Brixton after his rave reviews, he talked about how simple it was but how well it was done and this can be seen in his own design and ideas, from the subtle detail of his font choice of the new signage across the state. He too was missing the restaurant choice and quality locally and has decided to take the matter into his own hands and launched a pop up. His pop ups are here to showcase the fantastic local talent we have on our doorstep and perhaps haven’t tried!
A pop up in an edwardian greenhouse! How unique is that?? When he started talking about who would be hosting these pop up, he wanted to showcase great local chefs. He had Polly from Hassle Free Weekends launching, who I didn’t know but have since heard great things about. But then he mentioned Rory and Sarah Baxter from The Camp Kitchen. One of my favourite Cotswold Gems!! Have you heard of them? If you are local to here and Cirencester, you need to try one of their amazing rural takeaway delivered to your door even if you are in the sticks. Yes a takeaway that delivers!! Or conveniently to those commuters heading back from London on a Friday, they do a drop at the station! Woo Hoo! But forget unhealthy greasy takeaways this is delicious often home grown or very local produce made into mouthwatering dishes with some sneaky treats, I can recommend any of their curries, amazing! I had to try this pop up for a truly unique Cotswold experience. I was booked in for their next Pop Up!
The pop up surpassed my expectations the food was delicious, which I have to admit I had expected. But the whole look feel and ATMOSPHERE was amazing. Think Petersham Nurseries with a boho relaxed vibe! There was an eclectic mix of diners with the place full around 50 people it was buzzing and the BYO wine went down a treat. Greeted with a delicious gin cocktail the evening got off to a fab start. 3 courses with the starter and puddings being mini we got to try 3 different things. Mini sticky toffee pudding was delicious and my favourite. You had to pay what you thought it was worth, for around £35 per person it was worth every penny and I hope they will be back to do another, so you can try it for yourself. Rumours are rife that they will be back!! Fingers crossed.
If you like the sound of the Pop up they have the best sushi providers for miles popping up next Soushi on 24th November. These evenings have their own unique spin, this one is a 7 course tasting menu! Sounds amazing!
There is so much more I could tell you in my excitement about this beautiful Cotswold Gem, but my best advice is go and see it for yourself. It’s something unique, a complete escape, acres and acres to explore and discover and you can pick up some of the tastiest treats around in their cafe or some fantastic plants at the nursery. Let me know what you think. Perhaps you are aren’t local make a weekend of it and in summer enjoy their camping. If the standard of the rest of the estate is anything to go by, then I would say it is worth a trip next summer!