Local food in the Cotswolds

Cider varies greatly from maker to maker and harvest to harvest, just as wine does. Although methods of production are, at heart, identical, variations in soils, micro-climate and fruit variety affect the flavour of the finished product. Scrumpy is the name applied to farmhouse ciders that have been produced by traditional methods. Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire ciders have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.

Where to stay

The Cheltenham Festival (March 15-18) the glittering jewel in jump racing’s crown-is just one reason to visit the Cotswolds in March

For Cheltenham Racecourse

Stay at Beaumont House (01242 223311; www.bhhotel.co.uk), within walking distance of the Regency spa town centre and a short drive from the hallowed racecourse itself

For natural splendour

Situated in Well Hill beside 600 acres of National Trust common land, luxurious Forwood Farm (01453 731620; www.forwoodfarm.com) is close to the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe estate

For the sheepish

The Lamb Inn (01993 823155; www.cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk) in Burford, originally built in 1420 as weavers’ cottages, offers sumptuous rooms and delicious food. It won the Condé Nast Johansens ‘Most Excellent Inn’ award in 2009, and is an ideal place from which to explore the Cotswolds’ abundant

antique and art shops

For collectors

In timeless Upper Slaughter, the stone-built former rectory Lords of the Manor (01451 820243; www.lordsofthemanor.com) is close to the antiques haven of Stow-on-the-Wold

For an architectural marvel

With its strapwork parapets and barley-sugar twist chimneys ,the Jacobean East Banqueting House (01628 825925; www.landmarktrust.org.uk) at Old Campden House, Chipping Campden, which sleeps six, has to be seen to be believed

Nature notes

There are lots of opportunities to enjoy the spring awakening of wildlife in the Cotswolds in March, not least female brown hares squaring up to each other in big fields. The five-mile Golden Valley walk between Stroud and Cirencester takes in four nature reserves bursting with bluebells and carpets of wild garlic, and there’ll be lambing in the Cotswold Farm Park, which opens on March 19.