A couple of weeks ago, I was one of the lucky chosen few who was invited by Clifton Cameras and Olympus to visit Cowley Manor and enjoy a 3 course lunch, and try out some beautiful cameras. Having never been to Cowley Manor, I was really excited to see what the fuss was all about, and as a keen photographer, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some decent equipment.
Heading over to Cowley Manor, it was clear that it was going to be a great day. The sun was shining, it was crisp and fresh, perfect for exploring and taking lots of photos.
When we arrived, there was tea & coffee served with a chance to mingle with the other guests, a few bloggers I know from other events, and professional photographer Jay McLaughlin who was there to give us some photography tips. The day that they ran was fantastic, Jay was really interesting, and had some really interesting knowledge to share that has definitely helped me be more thoughtful about how I compose my photos. The Olympus Camera which we used (Olympus Pen E-PL8) was to die for. I completely fell in love with it, especially the tan one which would look fabulous around my neck! I walked away knowing that it’s time to start saving up my pennies, so that I can take some perfect pictures for my blog in the near future (fingers crossed!). Most of the photos I’ve taken here were on that perfect camera.
I didn’t realise how stunning the grounds are at Cowley Manor. It’s just on the outskirts of Cheltenham, and if I didn’t live so close I’d have been walking away and booking a long weekend straight away! It felt like we were being whisked away to pure luxury. The rooms are all decorated in a quirky, modern feel, with their own little twists. The room we were in was perfect for the event, with a long table for us all to chat and dine around, which looked out to the gardens and ponds. The minute I walked away, I texted some friends saying we needed to head over there for afternoon tea and a walk. Even the bathrooms were camera-worthy!
Obviously we were very well looked after, having hired out the room, but I was extremely impressed with the service and attentiveness of staff when walking around the hotel. The staff who were serving our lunch, knew what everyone had ordered and were very discreet, we barely noticed they were there. Personally, I think that is the perfect way to be served in a restaurant, and looking back makes me realise what a fab job they did.
The food at Cowley Manor was an absolute showstopper. I ordered the Herb Marinated Baked Ricotta served with Rocket Salad and Foccacia to start. I often feel odd ordering a vegetarian dish as I’m such a carnivore, but I simply can’t say no to cheese. It was delicious, if anything a little too much ricotta for the cheese, but there was bread served with the meal anyway which meant there was plenty. For my main meal I had the Slow Roasted Shoulder of Pork, served with Apple Puree, Savoy Cabbage and Fondant Potato. The potato was rich and creamy, the veg was perfect and the pork was pulled and melted in my mouth. The absolute dreamy part was the gravy that came with it. It was all simply delicious. For dessert, I ordered Sticky Toffee Pudding served with Weetabix Ice Cream. Weetabix Ice Cream!!! And It genuinely did taste like Weetabix. Incredible. The Sticky Toffee pudding was deliciously moist. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.
Price and Rating
Cowley Manor is the ultimate treat. If you’re looking for somewhere to head for a special birthday, or special treat, I would put this at the top of your list. Even if you’re going to head there for some afternoon tea, or a light lunch, just to see the grounds there is something spectacular. I’m definitely putting it on my list of spa days to get round to!
It’s got that cosy winter feel to it too, I would love to spend a couple of days there curled up relaxing from the cold.
It’s worth checking out their menus online, but its not overpriced by a long shot. You can get afternoon tea for £20 pp, main courses are £15-£20 pp and they do a 2-course Sunday roast for £22 pp.
My advice would be to get yourself over there at your earliest convenience!