Eating at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire will become a whole new experience for visitors when Calcot Kitchens – Calcot Hotels’ outside catering arm – re-launches the arboretum’s restaurant on Monday 18 March.
The Forestry Commission – which manages the historic, Victorian landscape and internationally important tree and shrub collection at Westonbirt (www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt) – has appointed Calcot Kitchens (formerly Williams Kitchen at Calcot) to run its public restaurant and cafe facilities following a rigorous tender process.
Calcot Kitchens are currently offering delicious, lighter refreshments from the Westonbirt Café, located near to the Great Oak Hall, until the restaurant reopens following a full refit.
Arboretum Director, Simon Toomer comments: “Calcot Kitchens has been chosen for its innovative ideas, strong environmental credentials and high quality food and drink offer. They also have lots of exciting ideas about how to add to diners’ enjoyment of the restaurant and cafe.”
Geared towards the family experience, the Westonbirt Restaurant and Cafe will feed all ages well and imaginatively, thanks to healthy eating choices with regional produce predominantly from within a 30 mile radius and with the Cotswolds particularly celebrated.
“A complete refit is now underway ahead of Westonbirt Restaurant’s re-opening on 18 March, when a totally new front-of-house design, branding and catering concept will be revealed, drawing strongly upon its arboreal setting and environment,” outlines Michael French, General Manager of Calcot Kitchens who is overseeing the project that brings Calcot’s vision and quality experience to the internationally-acclaimed British visitor attraction.
A lunch, snacks and refreshments menu will be served throughout the day in the 100 seat Westonbirt Restaurant – with a further 200 places outside. The Westonbirt Restaurant will be supplemented by a mini food court area within the terrace and patio, whilst the Westonbirt Café will offer other takeaway selections for those on the move.
With an emphasis on locally grown and organic ingredients, healthy and freshly prepared food – all priced at great value – the new menu will have masses on offer to tempt all ages. Changing weekly, and aligned with the seasons, the menu’s eye-catching symbols will flag up ‘Healthy’ and ‘Vegetarian’ options and ‘Children’s menu’ choices.
Interior designers Sims Hilditch (who are also behind the recent re-launch of The Conservatory restaurant at Calcot Manor – just three miles down the road, near Tetbury) have created a rustic woodland feel within and around the Westonbirt Restaurant. Resonating against the unbeatable backdrop of the arboretum, a mix of soft tonal colours and natural materials – such as oak, granite and slate – has been adopted while bleached woods and simple clean lines add further to the effect in a contemporary fashion. .
“Our outside catering arm’s success in delivering Calcot Manor’s blend of restaurant quality meals and service to private events and venues beyond the hotel itself has secured a superb following,” says Richard Ball, Chairman of Calcot Hotels. “We are extremely thrilled to be re-launching the Forestry Commission’s restaurant and cafe at Westonbirt and to have an even greater opportunity to serve a far wider audience with our particular blend of food and hospitality in the context of a very special day out at one of Britain’s leading rural attractions. We are confident that championing local produce in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, in keeping with the Westonbirt ethos, will add greatly to the visitor experience. Certainly, everyone eating at Westonbirt can count upon delicious food and refreshments alongside a fun time.”
The Westonbirt Restaurant and Cafe will be open from 9am – 4pm, seven days a week all year round (excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).
Calcot Kitchens: Calcot Hotels launched its restaurant quality outside catering when, such was the popularity of the Gumstool Inn and The Conservatory restaurant, there was clear demand from those fans living locally for Calcot Manor’s style of food and service within their own homes and at their private events. Over the years, this wing of Calcot’s activity has grown significantly as the hotel’s restaurant level menus, chefs and waiting staff, professional event planning and bespoke attention to detail has been brought to cocktail parties, buffet lunches, dinner parties, christenings and weddings, within a radius of up to 70 miles from Calcot Manor. During the summer months, the Calcot marquee is permanently erected at Beaufort Polo Club and from 1-6 May Calcot Kitchens will be creating and running a pop-up restaurant during the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
The Gloucestershire-based Calcot Hotels dates back to 1984 when Calcot Manor (www.calcotmanor.co.uk) opened as a seven bedroom hotel just three mile outside Tetbury. Over the intervening years, the hotel has coverted stable blocks and ancient cottages around the central manor house’s courtyard so that today it offers a total of 35 bedrooms, family rooms and suites alongside two restaurants, a luxury spa and Playzone with The Barn for private events. All are clustered as a hamlet within a 220 acre estate.
This autumn sees the hotel collection welcoming its fourth property with The Lord Crewe Arms (dating back to 1721) in the medieval village of Blanchland, on the Northumberland-Durham border being re-launched as a top-quality 21 bedroom country hotel ([email protected]).
Westonbirt: The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to five national collections, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 labelled specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.
Source: Westonbirt: The National Arboretum