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This month


The shortest month of the year is packing it in. Get your diaries out, you’re gonna be busy!


Snowdrop season, Painswick Rococo Gardens, Painswick, throughout Feb

blanket of snowdrops tree trunks

Always cheery to see these white jewels popping up and if you really want to feast on the first sign of spring, head to the Rococo Gardens where you’ll also be treated to hellebores, cyclamen and wood anemone. The café is fab with homemade lunches and cakes that are incredibly hard to resist. You have been warned!


Land, Sea and Sky, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, until Sat 24 Feb

Master of pastels Michael Norman, local landscape painter Kim Jarvis and wildlife artist Jackie Cox are just three of the artists in the latest exhibition at Cheltenham’s alternative gallery.


Flashdance: The Musical, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Thu 1 to Sat 3 Feb, 2pm & 7.30pm

Poster for Flashdance

A fabulous stage version of the brilliant 1983 film, this will make you feel hot with nostalgia and leave you with What a Feeling ringing in your ears. Read the Muddy review here.


Wine-Tasting Experience, Three Choirs Vineyard, near Gloucester, throughout Feb, Tuesdays to Fridays, 10:30am

woman drinking wine

Apparently mid-week skives are good for you (read all about it here), and moderate wine drinking is too of course, so hello, do this for your health. A bit of a tour, some wine quaffing and a light lunch. That’ll cheer up February nicely thank you.


The Malthouse Collective first floor opening, Stroud, from Fri 2 Feb

upstairs gallery space at Malthouse Collective

Stroud’s eclectic interiors emporium is about to double in size, so hide your credit cards! Already an irresistible retail proposition (my husband is now limiting my visits), a new second floor will offer even more goodies including art, comic books, toys and an Audio Attic, which sounds like perfect husband bait to help me keep my Malthouse habit going.


Soushi Pop-Up, The Garden Café at Miserden, near Stroud, Sat 3 Feb 


I’ve heard great things about Soushi from some of the people who’ve been to their previous pop-ups at Miserden’s magical greenhouse eaterie, so this next outing is eagerly anticipated. They’ll be laying on a sharing banquet of mixed sushi, sashimi, tempura, gyozas, teriyaki and miso marinated stone bass, among other delicacies. And if you can’t make it on the 3rd, they’re popping up at The Five Alls, Filkins in Lechlade on Thursday 8 Feb.


Hotsteppas, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Fri 2 Feb, 8-11pm

This Bristol eight-piece will warm up your winter soul. Splicing trad reggae with modern dub, funk and Latin sounds, you can check them out here and here. Good, aren’t they? Don’t miss them live.


Snowdrops at Newark Park, near Wotton-under-Edge, from Sat 3 Feb

close up of a snowdrop

The Tudor hunting lodge reopens its doors after its winter rest in time for the spectacular snowdrop display in the grounds. Sooo pretty.


Counter Heritage: Stroud’s Alternative Histories, Wild Boar Gin Lounge, Centre for Science and Art, Stroud, Sat 3 Feb, 10am-1am

There are a lot of key words here piquing my interest – counter, heritage, alternative, GIN. A 15-hour relay of talks, walks, tours and performances, it feels like anything could happen here with music, poetry, dancing and art all poised to entertain you.


The Tristan Watson and Patsy Gamble Jazz Trio, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, Sat 3 Feb, 7.30-10pm

Live music at Stroud Brewery woman with saxaphone

Get into a jazz groove with this local offering who will be playing a collection of Latin numbers and bluesy jazz in the salubrious surroundings of the wonderful Stroud Brewery.


Yin Yoga for Self Love, The Yoga Glow, Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud, Sun 4 Feb, 10.30am-12.30pm

Jay The Yoga Glow chlld pose

A special heart-themed session with the amazing Jay, aka The Yoga Glow, whose workshops always leave you glowing. In this one, the heart is the star of the show with a practice that will stimulate it and the meridians that help us love and be loved. The perfect pre-Valentine’s Day primer.


Sunday Shoot, Calcot Manor, near Tetbury, Sun 4 Feb, 10-11.30am

If yoga’s not your thing, how about a spot of clay pigeon shooting, what ho?! Roaming around the gorgeous grounds of Calcot, you’ll have 50 clays to take aim at before finishing at 11.30am just in time for a pre-prandial sherry before lunch in The Gumstool Inn with its cosy fire. Sunday nirvana.


Meet the Author: Tom Chesshyre, Calcot Manor, near Tetbury, Mon 5 Feb, 12pm for 12.30pm

Tom Chesshyre book From Source to Sea

The Times’ deputy travel editor visits Gloucestershire’s most chichi hotel to discuss his new book From Source to Sea, an account of his journey from the source of the Thames in a meadow near Cirencester all along the length of the river to London. Along the way he meets fishermen and boat builders, river police and down and outs, is a guest at a Hindu water ceremony, sleeps in a shepherd’s hut and parties on houseboats by Tower Bridge. Literature, lunch and lovely wine – that’ll sort out any Monday blues. £29.50, tel: 01666 890391,


Quartet, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Thu 8 to Sat 17

4 actors in Quartet stage play

This charming tale of a group of ageing opera singers who live in a retirement home in Kent brings to mind a cross between The Real Marigold Hotel and Private Lives. And, in fact, one of the all-star cast did star in the former, EastEnders‘ Paul Nicholas. He’s joined by Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters, Sue Holderness (Only Fools and Horses) and Drop the Dead Donkey’s Jeff Rawle for a comedy of manners about the chaos and hilarity that unfolds when rumours emerge in the home that a celebrity is coming to take up residence. Newish Everyman CEO Mark Goucher (he joined last year) puts on his production hat for this Ronald Harwood play which will go on a UK tour after its Cheltenham debut.


Willy Mason, The Goods Shed, Stroud, Fri 9 Feb, 7.30pm

SVA brings you this soulful New York singer-songwriter who had his first hit in 2004, Oxygen, when he was only 19. His talent has only grown since then and his folk-blues-country sound is not to be missed.


The Woodentops, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Fri 9 Feb, 8-11pm

band members of The Woodentops

The cult indie band formed in 1983 still sounds as good as ever and its singles, including Good Thing, will bring back sweet memories if you’re a certain vintage.


Nomada Pop-Up, The Garden Café at Miserden, near Stroud, Fri 9 & Sat 10 Feb

plate of food

Next this month at The Garden Café comes Ruben Leon-Acosta to titillate the taste buds at Gloucestershire’s most atmospheric supper club as the Cuban chef launches the first of his Cotswold pop-up dining events Nomada. He learned his craft in Cuba, Thailand, Vietnam and Morocco, has cooked with Michelin-starred chefs, did a stint at Ottolenghi and loves rustling up rustic dishes with a Thai twist. The evening will be kicking off with a Projito, a Prosecco Mojito with lemongrass – yum! – then it’s BYO for a feast of consommé with prawn & lemongrass relish to start, a main of Thai red curry with chicken, jasmine rice & a Monks offering, and for dessert, rice caramel with sesame seeds & peanuts. Don’t mull it over too long, tickets are going fast!


Lambing, Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Sat 10 Feb to Sun 15 April

lambs in a barn

The cutest signs of spring will be appearing on Adam Henson’s beautiful farm just in time for half term. Open-dated tickets mean you can book in then choose a day when the sun’s out (if we get one, fingers crossed!), but if we don’t there’s a new Animal Barn to cosy up in.


Kids’ Clay Workshop. Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, Sat 10 Feb, 2-4pm

making a clay pot

A free (yippee!) event where your progeny can get covered in muck and then produce an oeuvre – hedgehog, badger, mythical creature, wherever their imagination takes them – which they can proudly display at home afterwards. Sounds like a good start to half-term.


Light Up Cheltenham, various locations around Cheltenham, Sat 10 to Sun 18 Feb

drummers lit up on stairs

Photography Chris Maines Beasley

Half-term week will see buildings around the Regency spa town lit up in a two-colour theme, which on Valentine’s Day will switch to smoochy red. The event kicks off at 5pm on Sat 10 with street theatre drumming group Spark! putting on a percussion extravaganza in the new public space in The Brewery Quarter next to Cosy Club. Then at 6.15pm the Cheltenham Community Choir will perform near The Queen’s Hotel. Floodlights will be seen on The Municipal Offices, The Queen’s Hotel, Boots, the Brewery Quarter and the Town Hall, with plans afoot  to try to light the new John Lewis building on the High Street too. (Perhaps that will hurry up its completion date – how long can we wait?!)


Andy Sheppard’s Pushy Doctors, The Goods Shed, Stroud, Sat 10 Feb, 8pm

This out-there trio will be playing its anarchic mix of jazz pop groove in SVA’s fab venue where trains used to live. Just what the doctor ordered I reckon for a mid-Feb blowout session.


Snowdrops at Snowshill Manor, near Broadway, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Feb, 1-4pm

The quirky manor house comes out of winter hibernation for the weekend to show off the carpet of snowdrops that bloom in the grounds. The tearoom will be open or there’s an olde worlde pub in the village if you fancy something stronger.


Valentine’s Escape, Tudor Farmhouse, Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Sat 10 to Sat 17 Feb

champagne in ice bucket by bath

For the super-loved up (or those who want to be), Tudor Farmhouse is an idyllic escape from the world where you can explore the magical Forest and the Wye Valley, including Lover’s Leap (told you it was perfect). There are three romantic packages on offer – a two-night stay, a one-night stay or a six-course Valentine’s menu. Read the Muddy review here.


Valentine’s Day Sparkling Wine Evening, Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery, Woodchester, Wed 14 Feb, from 6pm

I recently went to a wine tasting with my significant other and found focusing on grapes rather than fodder was much more fun than a ‘romantic’ meal at a restaurant. So I heartily recommend this outing to put some fizz into the night, not least because Woodchester Wines are delish and you’ll get canapes and a tour of the winery too.


Valentine’s Day Special, Harts Barn Cookery School, Wed 14 Feb, 6:30pm

Chocolate, oysters, Prosecco – let’s hit those aphrodisiacs hard! Another alternative to the candlelit dining option, making chocolate truffles together sounds much more fun. And when you’re done, you can relax over some fresh oysters and a glass of Prosecco, before you head home loved up with chocolates in hand.


Stroud Brewery Pop-Up Bar, Market House, Minchinhampton, Fri 16 Feb, 5-11pm

Grab a takeaway and head over to Minch where Stroud Brewery will be laying on drinks and hosting a mellow night of live music and ale, which might be just what the doctor ordered come the end of half-term week.


Voodoo Room: Celebrating Jimi Henrix, Eric Claptom & Cream, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Sat 17 Feb, 7.30pm

This fab trio have toured with the likes of Massive Attach and Stevie Winwood, and belt out the classics from the classics, including Hey Joe, Sunshine of Your Life, Layla and Purple Haze. Go touch the sky for the night.


Michael Bublé Tribute Night, De Vere Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester, Sat 17 Feb, 7pm-1am

The Canadian crooner is fabulously brought to life by Marc Dhillon, which will get you right in the mood for the disco that follows. And before that there’ll be three courses to enjoy at the luxury waterside restaurant and hotel. Oh and you could book in for the night. Just saying.


Flow from the Heart: Vinyasa Workshop, The Yoga Glow, Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud, Sun 18 Feb, 10.30am-12.30pm

Jay at The Yoga Glow doing camel pose

A juicy session of heart-opening asanas that will open up your chest and shoulders – and make you more receptive to love. Also on the menu, arm balances and inversions, so probably not for the complete beginners. And after you’ve been upside down, there’ll be sweet healthy goodies to treat yourself with afterwards.


Birdsong, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 19 to Sat 24 Feb

soldiers on stage Birdsong

A mesmerising story of love and courage, this stage version of Sebastian Faulks’s novel about the Great War is a sell-out sensation. Not. To. Be. Missed. We at Muddy can’t wait to see it, so watch out for the Muddy review.


Living with Nature’s Design, The Guild at 51, Cheltenham, Tue 20 Feb to Sun 15 April

handmade chest of drawers

If you’re on the prowl for one-off, original interiors finds, then this is your mecca. Among the goodies will be furniture designer-makers Kristian Pettifor and David Ian Smith’s table, chest of drawers and lighting, and sheer linen textile panels printed and painted with patterns inspired by ripples and reflections in nature by the very talented Jenny Bicât.


National Theatre Live: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Thu 22 Feb, 7pm

Sienna Miller Jack O'Donnell

Directed by Benedict Andrews, this sizzling version of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece sees Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell play out the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage.


Paul Creane & Paula Cox, Star Anise Arts Café, Stroud, Thu 22 Feb, 7.30-10.30pm

A singer and songwriter duo who make musical magic, this live show of harmony driven acoustics is the perfect fit for the bohemian, slightly quirky environment of the Star Anise. Expect a powerful performance that touches deep.


Southside, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, Sat 24 Feb, 7.30-10pm

three musicians sepia

The Stroud country and rockabilly trio will be putting aside the electrics for an acoustic session in the bar where they’ll be playing their own brand of ‘music with a pulse’.


Crazy Pony, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Sat 24 Feb, 8:30pm

International duo The Crazy Pony (English and Swiss if you’re interested) not only play bluegrass with a slice of jazz, they also do circus acrobatics and comedy, so not your average night out. But when do you have an average night out at The Prince Albert?


Golden Era, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Sat 24 Feb, 9pm-3am

poster for The Marshall Rooms The Golden Era night

A nostalgia trip back to the warehouse party sounds of the late 1980s and raves of the early 1990s, this club night is guaranteed to take 20 years off you (yes, that’s the power of music and memory!!). DJs will be going head to head in 30-minute slots – and you’ll be transported to a very happy place.


Chocolate and wine-tasting, Averys & Zara’s Chocolates, Bristol, Wed 28 Feb, 7pm

Expect great chocolate and wine pairings what with Zara’s Chocolates being award-winning (and innovative, think turmeric & pumpkin seeds, good for you, you know) and Averys being the oldest wine merchants in Bristol with a stash of wines that are as old as me (and that’s old). Its candlelit cellars are atmospheric and romantic if you’re thinking late Valentine treat with your partner.



woman jumping in air blue sky 

Pre-Cheltenham Festival Ball & Auction, The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Sat 3 Mar

The Hollow Bottom is the pub to head to for Cheltenham Race Week if you want to avoid the craziness of the Spa town but still imbibe the fun of the races, and this ball is just the thing to get you out of the gate. A night of champagne and canapés, dinner and wine, cheese and port, magic from Andy Cole and dancing to The Shy-Teds. Only £75 and it’s all in aid of Help Chloe Live. Tel: 01451 850392,


Kids’ Easter Drama Workshop, Cheltenham Playhouse, Cheltenham, Tue 3 to Fri 6 April

If you’ve got a budding actor of primary school age and are wondering how to stimulate their genius (or, er, just entertain them over Easter), can I recommend this fab-sounding workshop! No auditions required (phew), kids will be put through their dramatic paces playing theatre games, telling stories, creating characters and learning songs, which will culminate in a performance on the Friday on the main stage in full costume with song and dance in front of an audience! It’s first come first served, so get yourself a place quick. Here’s the link.


Summer music festival round-up, from June

In less than six months we’ll be basking in warm sunshine hanging out with feathers in our hair at a music festival – that is if you book your tickets now! Check out the Muddy pick’n’mix here.

woman at a music festival sunset

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