News and Reviews
News and reviews from around the West Berkshire area.
Sheepdrove Organic Farm Eco Conference Centre
Peter Kindersley from Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Lambourn, kindly invited us to have a look around the organic farm and eco conference centre. Everywhere was disabled friendly.
We arrived at the eco centre, with the smell of wood all around, and were warmly met and sat to have a cup of tea with Peter first in the reception area. The walls were made of chalk and wood, with a display of gravel and skeletons – thousands of years old. the wood for the Ecco centre came from Althrop Estate.
Peter then kindly then took us to the oak room with a superb arched wooden ceiling, reminiscent of an upturned boat- echoes the cruck frame of an ancient long barn, with the timbers being locally sourced.
There was beautiful kitchen area with seating looking out over the grounds.
With reed bed systems for waste disposal, the grounds include a lake with an abundance of wildlife. Wind turbines provided the power, solar panels the heat and a host of eco friendly amenities.
West Berkshire Museum
Spending the day in Newbury we popped in to the West Berkshire Museum.
It was disabled friendly/ child friendly and the first impression was a warm, friendly environment were everyone said hello and were pleased to help and inform.
Walking into the exhibition area there was a large screen film of arial views across the county of West Berkshire . It included old footage of RAF Greenham Common. Travelling down through the exhibition there were local hordes from the Lambourn Valley, examples of Jack of Newbury garments and machinery from a bygone age.
Upstairs there was an exhibition about the museum buildings itself and an area for meetings etc. The shop area had a wealth of local history books.
There was an honesty cafe in the museum, which rounded off the visit perfectly.
Cote Brasserie, Newbury.
We descended on Cotes Brassiere en mass for a lunchtime gathering. With Lunch and Early evening, prestige set and a la carte menu’s to choose from, there was certainly plenty of choice and price range. There was also a gluten free and vegetarian menu available and enough choices to cope with various allergies- of which the winter was very well informed of. Despite being busy, the service was excellent , disabled facilities sufficient and the waiter’s manner with a disabled person was to be recommended.
The food was delightful, however the puddings, as anyone who has been there knows, were to die for.
The service was typical relaxed French style and so time has to be allowed to enjoy this.
Overall everyone left feeling very happy with the service, meals and as mentioned especially the puddings!!!!!!
The Dundas Arms has seasonal menus, using the produce available from surrounding rivers, farms and fields – supporting local producers. It has real ale and fine wines on offer.
Situated on the Kennet & Avon Canal, near Kintbury, with a beautiful outside area, inside it has log fires and a collection of small rooms.
On a somewhat wet and windy day, our arrival was welcoming and helpful. The staff were mainly younger and there was a children’s party in progress.
We were shown through to a small room, with a log fire in full force. The service was friendly and quick, with us meeting many different members of staff.
The Sunday Roast was good, although one of our guests felt the beef was slightly on the ‘stringy’ side and this was mentioned to the staff and a 10% reduction was given off the bill. The vegetables were good and. there was a huge Yorkshire Pudding. There was a wide range of puddings – although no dairy free, apart from the Sorbets. There were vegan and vegetarian options. The Good Old Boy was good pint.
There was a disabled toilet and disabled access through the garden – this was not apparent on arrival, and couple of staff did not know if there was disabled access.
The Spirit of the Dance
The Corn Exchange was a friendly venue with a bar. It was disabled friendly and easy to get to.
Cara Dillon recently appeared at Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
Cara has risen to become one of the finest exponents of traditional Irish song anywhere in the world.
Loved the intimacy of Arlington Arts Centre, very friendly and helpful staff, bar available and fully disabled accessible.
The Plough at Eastbury
The Plough at Eastbury has always been a long time favourite, so hard not to be biased. A hidden gem just near Lambourn, it has been in the family for years.
Popped in for a Sunday lunch and the staff were very friendly and helpful- always a smile and a welcome. The chef Graham White works with local farmers and local artisan suppliers, meaning the menu’s are always full of new ideas and tastes. Offering roaring log fires in the winter, cosy bar area, restaurant area and patio area, real ale and bespoke gins.
Being an 18th century pub disabled access is not always easy and would like dairy free options for the puddings especially! There always great vegetarian and vegan options.
The Great Shefford at Great Shefford.
Situated in the village of Great Shefford, The Great Shefford is a privately owned public house with a riverside terrace, a wood burning fire, a seasonally-inspired menu, an elegant restaurant (with a private-dining annexe), a great wine list, and an excellent range of spirits (gins in particular). It has recently been taken over by Joshua Khan and refurbished toad high standard.
Frequently busy, a visit over lunch time found Georgina Caras, the General Manager welcoming , friendly and helpful. The fish and chips were wonderful and enjoyed by all.
Disabled friendly entrance through the double doors leading to the riverside patio, however no disabled toilets, small step up into toilet area. No diary free options, however, real ales are available and a vegetarian option.