Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Choc's away! It's Easter in Newbury

There’s no better place to be at Easter than Newbury, with many events taking place that will appeal to all ages.

Giant Easter Egg Hunt
8­ to 22 April
Whoop whoop – Newbury’s Giant Easter Egg Hunt is back for another year! Organised by Newbury BID in conjunction with Parkway, this has now become an established tradition in the town. This year’s GEEH incorporates three weekends during the school holidays, so there’s plenty of time to take part.

An Easter craft workshop in Parkway is an added attraction, running 12–19 April (excluding Easter Sunday/Easter Monday on 16/17 April), and is where competition forms for the Easter Egg Hunt can be collected.

All you need to do is collect a form which will give you a series clues which guide you around the town centre – all within easy walking distance. Collect the clues, break the code and be in with a chance of winning an egg-ceedingly egg-citing prize! All forms need to be in by 5pm on 22 April, either returned to the workshop venue or posted to Newbury BID, Broadway House, 4–8 The Broadway, Newbury RG14 1BA. Great prizes await the winners, to be announced on 26 April.

Easter Treats at The Vineyard
3 and 5 April 
Something for the grown-ups in the lead up to Easter! On 3 April, 12 noon–3pm, enjoy a three course lunch with matched wines. On top of this, The Vineyard’s talented Head Pastry Chef will demonstrate how to create delicious chocolate treats, all for £60 per person.

The chocolate-making theme continues on 5 April, 6.30pm–8.30pm, with Chocolate Wine School. In an evening of pure indulgence the Head Pastry Chef will demonstrate how to create chocolate treats that are perfectly paired with wines selected by the hotel’s Head Sommelier. You’ll also be given a recipe card to recreate these treats at home. All this sumptuous chocolate plus amazing wines for £30 per person.

Easter at Shaw House
11, 12, 18 and 19 April
School holiday fun awaits at Shaw House this Easter. Specifically aimed at 4–11 year-olds, although younger/older children will be welcome, the events are: ‘Wild About Plants’ (11 and 18 April) and ‘Family Activity Days’ (make a springtime rabbit or chick on 12 April, or a cool coaster on 19 April). There will also be an Easter egg trail to enjoy. No booking required for these drop-in sessions, which are £2 per child.

Easter at West Berkshire Museum
13, 20 and 21 April

There’s creative fun to be had at the West Berkshire Museum during the school holidays, when children aged 4–11 are invited to three different drop-in crafts sessions. There’s ‘Egg Decorating’ (13 April), ‘Dress to Impress’ where you can make a top hot or Elizabethan ruff (20 April) and ‘Springtime Fun’ which involves making either a mask or wooden flower (21 April). Just £2 per child, and younger or older children are also welcome.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Celebrate with your Valentine in and around Newbury

Celebrate with your Valentine in and around Newbury

Romance is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day! But Valentine’s season in and around Newbury is pretty special, and there is no better time to make that special someone in your life feel, well, special! And with Valentine’s Day just days away, it’s time to make sure you’ve got it booked. Here’s a few ideas to melt his or her heart …

Love at first bite
Here’s four quite different local eateries with special Valentine’s menus to tickle your tastebuds, whatever your budget.

Everyone knows that both the art of love and cooking are two Frenchs specialties, so why not sample a little of ‘gay Paree’ in the heart of Newbury at Côte, centrally situated on Northbrook Street? This Valentine's season, Côte is offering a special Valentine's menu, featuring some of their best-loved dishes. Enjoy a kir royale upon arrival and choose three delicious courses from their Valentine's menu at £27.50 per person, which will include such delights as, for example, a warm tiger prawn salad to start, followed by Duck Confit à l’Orange, perhaps all rounded off with Pain Perdu – a wonderful brioche bread and butter pudding. Available from Saturday 11 February at 5pm until the end of Tuesday 14 February; this will be the only menu served after 7pm on 14 February. Tel: 01635 35315

Share a little of the romance of the country known as ‘the land of love’ at Prezzo in Cheap Street, and enjoy two or three courses and a glass of Prosecco for £19.95 or £22.95 respectively. Their authentic Italian dishes are crafted with love and you could start with mini cheese and truffle filled pasta with mushrooms and a rich mushroom stock poured over asparagus, peas and parsley; then share a special spaghetti moment with delicious king prawn spaghetti, slow cooked with spinach, red onion, red chilli and garlic in a pomodoro sauce; and finish with something suitably sweet, such as Banoffee Tiramisu, two fine desserts in one!

The Two Watermills
Based just on the outskirts of town next to Newbury College at Monk's Lane, this friendly pub is offering three courses for two people for just £25, available after 5pm 12–14 February. The menu includes: First Date Starters – such as beetroot, mascarpone and pomegranate tart; The Main Event – perhaps Cupid’s rotisserie chicken; and Happily Ever After – warm the cockles of both your hearts with jam roly poly and custard. Tel: 01635 800310

Crab & Boar at Chieveley
This really is a special treat: an exquisite 7-course tasting menu, available from 10 –14 February for dinner; £75 per person and booking is essential. Inspired by the best of the land and sea, each dish is lovingly crafted from the finest produce and you will be treated to: Champagne – Octopus & Ham Hock Amuse Bouche – Oysters – Stir-fried Prawn – Scallops Crispy Pichette – Fillet Steak Lobster Tail – Trio of Desserts. Tel: 01635 247550

A romantic getaway / afternoon tea and spa
The love of your life surely deserves a special treat, so why not splash out on a delicious afternoon tea, perhaps preceded or followed by a relaxing spa treatment … or even an overnight stay?

The Vineyard at Stockcross
The Vineyard is famed for the highest degree of elegance and style, an invites you to whisk your loved one away for an unforgettable one-night romanic Valentine's break, which includes: luxury double room; five-course tasting dinner with matched wines per course; a dozen red roses; chocolates and chilled champagne in your room on arrival; 5-star full English breakfast; morning wake-up coffee from you personal Nespresso machine; full use of The Vineyard's exclusive spa. Available Friday 10, Saturday 11 and Tuesday 14 February; £799 for tow (terms and conditions apply). 

For a day-time experience, afternoon tea is something pretty special at The Vineyard. There's serveral choices, all of which are gorgeous treats: starting at £29.50 per person, enjoy a range of finger sandwiches, cake patisserie, plus, of course, homemade scones; or add a little sparkle with a Champagne afternoon tea (prices vary depending on your choice of bubbles); but if not indulging in Champagne, for £36 per person you might choose a Lalani and Co afternoon tea, with a different tea to match each course - or turn this into a Highclere Castle afternoon tea, with the additional of a copy of Lady Carnarvon's book 'Lady Catherine and the Real Downtown Abbey' together with Lady Caranvon tea for £39.50. 

Top of tail this with an indulgent pampering treatment in The Vineyard's 5-star spa, or enjoy a luxury spa day or break to truly life the spirit of romance. Tel: 01635 896754. 

Donnington Valley Hotel 
Especially for Valentine's, Donnington Valley Hotel is offering a romantic getaway Valentine's Break. Arrive to a bootle of chilled Champagne red rose in an executive room where you can relax. Enjoy full use of the spa facilities and in the evening dine in the Wine Press restaurant before a restful night followed by a leisurely breakfast the next morning. Available Friday 10, Saturday 11 and Tuesday 14 February; £209 for two (terms and conditions apply). 

Alternatively, enjoy afternoon tea with scones freshly baked at the hotel, plus a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and tarts, all just £15.50 per person. Add a glass of fizz for an extra treats! Served 2-5pm Sunday - Friday and 1-5pm Saturday in the bar, by the pools (or even in bed! at this 4-star hotel, just 10 minutes from Newbury town centre. Team this with one of their treatments in the spa awarded a 5 Bubbles Spa rating by the Good Spa Guide. There are many treatments to choose from, including a hot stone massage - or go all out with a full-on spa day. Tel: 01635 551199.  

Monday, 19 December 2016

Try something new in Newbury in 2017

Whether you are thinking of learning something new or trying a new fitness regime, why not make 2017 the year you stick to that New Year’s resolution and give it a go?

Learn Something New

Newbury College has over 300 part-time leisure courses at various venues across West Berkshire, including at their Monks Road site. Check out their online prospectus at to see what tempts you. If you aren’t able to make a regular weekly commitment, there are several one-day offerings on Saturdays too, which include the following: 

An Introduction to Throwing and Hand Building – discover your inner potter: 4 February

Creative Jewellery Making – an introduction to making contemporary jewellery from beads, wire and found objects: 4 February

Knitting for Beginners – knitting is all the rage and this will enable you to start knitting confidently: 11 March

Candle Making – discover the basics of this beautiful art: 13 May

Get Fit
Newbury is well equipped with a fantastic selection of local gyms, one of which is bound to be just what you are looking for to help you get fitter. They are positioned at all points in and around the town which means one is sure to be ideally positioned for you. Why not get in touch and discover what New Year offers they might have?

David Lloyd Club, Monks Lane, Newbury RG14 7RW
Open 7 days a week, including 6.30am–10.30pm weekdays, this modern gym is packed full of facilities for the whole family.

Donnington Valley Hotel Spa & Health Club, Old Oxford Road, Newbury RG14 3AG
Gym memberships are tailored to suit individual fitness needs and budgets. Health club members also have full access to the spa and the busy and varied social events calendar at the Donnington Valley Hotel.

Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, Racecourse Road, Newbury RG14 7PN
Start your experience with a 12-point health MOT; this informs a planned approach to your first three months of membership and a second MOT makes sure your progress is on track.

BST Fitness, Parkway, Newbury RG14 1EE
Situated in the town centre behind Parkway Shopping, this health and fitness club has a culture of social enterprise and inclusivity, with no-contract membership available, free parking for a limited number of cars and a bus stop right outside.

Victoria Park Equipment
If you aren’t a ‘gym’ person, why not pop along to Victoria Park and try out the equipment which is free for all to use? There are several pieces of equipment available: spinning bikes, hydraulic bench press, hydraulic leg press, hydraulic shoulder press, hydraulic steppe, chin and dip station, and abdominal bench. Clear and simple video instructions on how to use the various machines are available to view on smartphones, accessed via a QR code on each station.