From the Marble Factory in Bristol's hipster quarter to the bucolic Toadsmoor Lake in the Golden Valleys, Stroud's most dynamic landlady Lotte Lyster reveals her hot spots.
Lotte Lyster, proprietress of Rodborough’s wonderfully quirky (and fab music venue) pub The Prince Albert, is also a co-director of Stroud Fringe, is setting up a rad, new nightclub in Stroud, has six kids, gets up at 6am, goes to bed at 1am, books bands while she cooks curries and stashes pens in her hair. There’s only one word for a woman like her. Respect. So where does she like to hang out?
I’ve lived in Stroud for two thirds of my life now and it really is the most wonderful place to be based. We have so much on our doorsteps with great shops and markets, fab eating places and lovely walks. There is so much going on in the town and the district as a whole.
The Marble Factory, Bristol
We’re so close to Bristol and I love to pop over for a gig at The Marble Factory in Bristol. It’s next door to the Motion nightclub and is a purpose-built venue so the sound and vision are spot-on and they book some awesome acts. Colston Hall and Thekla are also great venues in this hub of culture.
The Lido, Bristol
If we’re making a day of it, my partner Miles and I love to treat ourselves to a day at Bristol Lido, having a massage and just hanging out and relaxing while having a chance to catch up. We can both work in excess of 80 hours a week and seem to pass like ships in the Bristol Channel, especially over the summer. He runs a marquee company and is always shooting around the country putting tents up for weddings, fêtes and festivals. (Read the Muddy review here.)
The Diner, Stroud
I am so happy that we have a really cool place to enjoy a burger now that The Diner has opened on Nelson Street in Stroud. It’s run superbly by Tamzin Malleson-Mason who is a dear friend. I’ve known her since I first arrived in Stroud 34 years ago to work at Chalford Post Office. Her menu is perfect – not huge but lots of add-ons and if you’re an ice-cream person then you must try a float or a sundae. It’s a real treat and a good alternative to Winstones Cotswold Ice Cream factory on Rodborough Common.
Toadsmoor Lake, Eastcombe
We have two lovely pub dogs but also have a few dogs that come for doggy days when their owners are away or busy. I love to get over to Toadsmoor Lake for a good walk and let them run up and down the muddy paths in the woods up to Lypiatt. There is never a shortage of sticks and it’s so tranquil and absolutely stunning.
The Prince Albert, Rodborough
I have run The Prince Albert in Rodborough for 21 years and I love it. It really is the friendliest pub I have ever known. We have a great bunch of locals who tend to sit around our big table in the busy courtyard chatting, drinking and smoking away. And newcomers are always welcome to join them putting the world to rights or helping out on the Sunday crossword. Although we are very much a locals and community pub, we also happen to host some of the best music to be found in the Stroud District. It’s a very varied programme – we have classical Baroque nights hosted by renowned jazz and classical musician Dave Ayre, avant-garde jazz, top quality folk, a long-running Open Mic (Giffords Circus all came and performed at that last night) and whatever takes our fancy – we get about 50 applications a week so whittling it down is a time-consuming but very interesting job. We always have entertainment Thursday and Saturday check Muddy Stilettos What’s On guides or the local listings paper Good On Paper if you fancy an excellent night of entertainment.
I am immensely proud to be part of the team at Stroud Fringe, which is held every August Bank Holiday in the town centre’s streets and park. It’s a big party for the whole district where everyone comes together for three days and nights of music, dancing and laughter. Myself and Julie Howe spend six months of the year organising this community event, listening to bands, commissioning artists and writing endless risk assessments and safety plans. It’s all worth it for me though when I walk through the town on the Sunday afternoon and see jugglers and buskers and the streets teaming with happy, smiley faces, hearing people chatting about what they’ve just seen and eating something delicious from Food Street. We have more street entertainment this year with performances at the Canal, Sub Rooms and around town. There’s also great entertainment for the kids such as Silly Science on Sunday afternoon after the procession which starts at the Canal at 3pm. We’ve got some fantastic acts coming – one I’m particularly pleased about is Inkubus Sukkubus whose front person Candia McCormack was born in Stroud, but despite playing all over the world (their next gig is Moscow and then Tokyo), they’ve never played here. Another of my favourites is Blurt – Ted Milton, poet, saxplayer and puppeteer is THE main man. He was a resident of these valleys so it’s great to get him back ‘home’ too.
The King’s Head, Cirencester
When the Fringe is all over, we’ll probably pop over to Cirencester for a night to recover – we particularly like having a Sunday sleepover at The Kings Head where you can enjoy a great lunch and then just hang out all day in one of the gorgeous rooms. Having a bath without the phone ringing or computer beeping is just what’s needed once the Fringe is over. It’s not too far and we can be home by midday on Monday for another week ahead in the pub – until I start working on next year’s Fringe!
Stroud Fringe is one of the largest free festivals in the country and this year you can glamp! Click here for more details. Lotte is also working on a new live entertainment venue in Stroud at The Marshall Rooms which will be opening in the autumn.