Local Events this March

There are many local events this March, with Mother’s Day, the Easter Bank Holiday weekend as well as the clocks changing forward to British Summer Time. We’ve put together a round-up of the most exciting happenings in the local area this March.iStock_000005448261Large - 228 x 125


Romeo and Juliet

25th February – 2nd April
Opening Times: Times Vary
Call: 01635 523726
Tickets from £15
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury

An unforgettable production of this much-loved Shakespeare classic tale of an all-consuming love. Featuring live music and an outstanding new group of actors, this is the table of a young couple defy their feuding families and find love on the streets of Verona.

“I ne’er saw true beauty till this night”


Mother’s Day Lunch

Sunday 6th March
Opening Times: 12pm to 2pm
Call: 01635 551199
Tickets: full price £28, concessions price £20
Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

Treat Mum to a three course Sunday lunch without lifting a finger. All mothers deserve to have some time off and this Mother’s Day join us for a celebration Sunday Lunch in our stunning recently refurbished WinePress restaurant with a glass of Champagne on arrival and a gift for Mum. Plus enjoy the extra brownie points for not making a mess in the kitchen!


Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race

25th March – 28th March
Opening Hours: from 6.30am
Call: 0118 966 5912
Kennet & Avon Canal

Held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948, this race is a real spectacle and atmospheric occasion, with a severe test of skill and stamina for the participants. Being 125 miles long with 77 portages it ends in the tidal section of the River Thames. Boats will pass through Hungerford on Saturday 26th from around 2pm onwards.


Easter Sunday Lunch

Sunday 27th March
Opening Times: 10am to 5pm
Call: 0118 984 3040
Tickets: £25 per person; £18 for children under 16, Under 5’s dine for free
Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa
Join us this Easter Sunday for a Three-course Sunday lunch with family and friends. What better way to enjoy the long weekend than a leisurely lunch out with family?


Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt

25th March – 28th March
Opening Times: 10am to 5pm
Call: 0118 984 3040
Tickets: The trail costs £3. Normal admission charges apply.
Basildon Park, Berkshire, RG8 9NR
The ultimate Chocolatey Easter adventure. Hunt for eggs in the house and win yourself a Cadbury chocolate egghead prize by solving the Easter Egg trail in the garden. With clues for the children hidden around the grounds, the trail is self directed and can be completed at any point during the visit with no time limit applied.

Spanish Wine at Donnington Valley

Spanish wine has undergone a vast change in recent years, and it now produces a wide range of fashionable and affordable red, white and rosé wines. Chris Neeves, Head Sommelier at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa, pops the cork on the delicious Spanish wine that he serves within the Hotel.

Spanish Wine

I have had a passion for Spanish wine since an early age. My first wine experience was with a white Marques de Murrieta that my father gave me a soupcon to try. I loved it and that is the time I first became interested in wine, much to my mother’s dismay as I was only about 10 or 11 at the time.

Here is a round-up of my top Spanish wines that we have on offer at the moment – I hope to see you soon in our restaurant so you too can experience these remarkable wines.

White

2013 José Pariente, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain

This wine is intense, with a strong aroma of fresh white fruits, citrus and passion fruit. Structured and persistent, it also has aromas of fennel and scrub and a balsamic back note of anise, expressing the elegant crispness of the Verdejo variety.

2011 Marqués de Riscal, Finca Montico, Rueda, Spain

The nose on this beautifully-perfumed wine has all the hallmarks of the Verdejo grape varietal with medium intensity and hints of fennel, herbs, white blossom, pear and peach. It has a fresh, unctuous, very smooth mouth-feel, with a long, round finish. Its good acidity together with a period of ageing on its finest lees helps to keep its fresh taste longer and preserves all its aromatic complexity. This wine does not aim to impress with a powerful nose, but rather reveals a more elegant, complex varietal character.

2012 A & A, Bodegas Martinez La Orden, Rioja, Spain

This wine is a straw colour, which could be quite misleading – the nose has rich tropical fruit and mineral aromas. Fresh and vibrant passionfruit and pineapple characters on the palate are followed by a dry finish and subtle oak notes. Delicious.

Rosé

2012 Docetañidos Clarete, Lezcano Lacalle, Cigales, Spain

This is a rosé to remember. With a beautiful deep rose petal colour, the elegant nose has  hints of violet and red fruits which lead to a full and fresh palate of alluring aromatics including red berries and rose petals. A long, dry finish.

Red

2008 Bodegas Ondarre, Reserva, Rioja, Spain

This traditionally-made Rioja displays lots of leather and spice on the nose. It is smooth and subtle on the palate, with strawberries and vanilla ice cream sustained through to a long finish with well integrated tannins.

2011 Bodegas Proelio, Crianza, Rioja, Spain

Ruby red in colour with violet hues, thisi s a complex wine with a long finish. The elegant nose is dominated by red fruits and in the mouth it is complex and fresh. the palate has good acidity, round tannins and a taste of red fruits and sweet spices.

2007 Viña Cerrada, Rioja, Reserva

This wine is cherry red with brick red tones. There are intense, spicy, ripe cherry and plum aromas merged with notes of tobacco, toffee, vanilla and wood. On the palate, the body is full and fleshy with excellent balance.

2011 Tandem, Ars In Vitro, Valle de Yerri, Navarra, Spain £29.00

With a red cherry colour, this wine has intense floral aromas, leading to a mineral, fresh and long palate.

2008 Ondarre, Graciano, Rioja, Spain

With balsamic aromas of mint and aniseed accompanied by ripe fruit and hints of flower blossom and white pepper, this wine is medium to full bodied, rich but elegant. Blackfruits, coffee and sweet spice come to life on the palate, with a soft finish.

2006 Tandem, Mâcula, Valle de Yerri, Navarra, Spain

Complex nose with smoky, toasty hints on the nose and chocolate, cassis and balsamic notes on the palate. True to its terroir, this wine expresses the soils of the Yerri valley.

2005 Marqués de Riscal, Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain

This wine has a deep, almost opaque black-cherry colour. It has a very elegant, complex nose, with aromas of black fruit and lots of spice. It is smooth and round in the mouth, with tannins that are firm, yet silky and very sweet and which envelop the whole palate. The finish is long, lingering, fresh and balanced with a hint of fine elegant tannins.

Local Events this February

February is the month for Romance – and there are a number of local events fitting this cause! ‘Tell Me On a Sunday’ is a local theatre production of the romantic misadventures of a young English Girl in New York. Or try a romantic snowdrop-carpeted walk at Welford Park?

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Tell Me On A Sunday

28th January – 20th February
Opening Times: Matinee and Evening performances
Call: 01635 46044
Tickets from £15
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury

This heartwarming play tells the romantic misadventures of a young English girl in New York in the exhilarating days of the 1980s. Brimming with optimism, she seeks success and love. But as she explores the city and her own mix of emotions, she starts to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Originally conceived for television, this iconic musical, with a wonderful original score features songs such as ‘Unexpected Song’, the chart-topping ‘Take That Look Off Your Face’ and the title track ‘Tell Me on a Sunday’. It has been performed by many legendary musical theatre stars including Marti Webb and Sarah Brightman.


Snowdrops Walk at Welford Park

3rd February – 6th March
Opening Times: Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m (Car Park closes 5:30 p.m) Closed on Monday & Tuesday
Call: 01488 608691
Tickets £6 adults, £5 conc; £1 4-12 yrs old, under 4s are free

This breathtaking sight at Welford Park is enjoyed by thousands of visitors throughout the winter months. Over many years and generations, it has been tradition to open the grounds during February so that this wonderful spectacle can be viewed by all who want to see it. Famed to have beenplanted there by Norman Monks, the history also of this parkland is a wonderful learning experience.

After a bracing walk, you can revive at the Old Laundry Tea Rooms for a light lunch or homemade cake and a pot of tea, after which you can take a wander around the Snowdrops Gift Shop.


September In The Rain

3rd February – 6th February
Opening Time: 19:30
Call: 07756 141 734
Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions)
William Penney Theatre, Aldermaston

Two funny and touching One-Act plays by John Godber, Happy Jack and September in the Rain chart the lives of West Yorkshire couple, Jack and Liz, inspired by John Godber’s grandparents.

In Happy Jack, you will follow the couple over 60 years of marriage as the play retells snippets of their life together in their terrace house in the Yorkshire mining village.

In September in the Rain they will share 40 years of memories of Jack and Liz’s annual summer holidays to Blackpool; memories filled with tears and laughter.


Valentine’s Dinner

12th, 13th and 14th February
Call: 01635 551199 to book
From £28 per person

This Valentine’s weekend treat your someone special to a delicious menu in our WinePress restaurant.

Why not stay the night and let us personalise your romantic stay with as many little extras that you would like flowers, champagne, chocolates or some relaxing spa treatments we can have it all ready for you. Imagine the surprise when they discover what you have arranged.


Betfair Super Saturday

13th February
Call: 01635 40015
Newbury Racecourse

Betfair Super Saturday is one of the Jump season’s most-anticipated racedays and a superb opportunity to see some of racing’s star performers. The day regularly showcases some of racing’s biggest names alongside the stars of the future. The £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, the richest race of its type in the UK, boasts a prestigious roll of honour dating back to 1963. There will be live music after racing, completing an exceptional day out.


A Show To Die For

17th February – 20th February
Opening Hours 7.30pm
Call: 01635 869893
Tickets £10 including a hot supper

http://www.kats.org.uk

This play is set in a village hall where the local amateur dramatics group is performing a cabaret night. Someone is murdered! You will have the opportunity to ask the cast questions and decide who the murderer is! Held at Bucklebury Memorial Hall.


Bantam Chicken Society Open Show

27th February – 28th February
Opening Hours: Sat: 10am till 5pm Sun: 10am till 2.30pm
Admission: Adults £3.50 per day or £2.50 if paid with entries and £4.50 for 2 days or £3.50 if paid with entries. Children under 16 free.
Email: readingbantams@gmail.com
Northcroft Leisure Centre

This Championship Show is celebrating 25 years at the Northcroft Leisure Centre and Belgian Club’s centenary. Come and visit the show and see over 1,500 bantams as well as bantam ducks and over 200 plates of eggs. There will be more than 40 different bantam breeds present from Anconas to Yokohamas! Plus trade stands selling poultry supplies. Why not go along and admire the birds or learn about keeping poultry as a hobby. There’s something for everyone!

The Reading and District Bantam Society was founded in 1947 and exists to encourage those keeping bantams in the area. Originally centred on Reading it now covers quite a large area with members from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and further afield.

Tips and Tricks for Winter Golf

It has been incredibly mild recently, and ideal for value Winter golf practice as you benefit from the Winter Green Fee prices. Peter Smith our Golf Director has some additional tips to make the most this season.

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Playing golf in the Winter is a completely different game, as the cold air means that the golf ball does not travel through the air as far and with wet fairways, when the ball lands it hardly runs, so you need to think about your club selection a lot more to compensate for the conditions. Here are my top considerations for golf in the winter months.

Because the ball does not travel as far as in the warmer Summer months, it may be necessary to club up by one or two, for example, if you normally hit an eight iron 130 yards in the Summer, you may need to hit a seven or even a six iron to cover the same distance as your eight iron in the Summer.

When chipping on to the greens again you may need to adopt a chip and run approach, as when you hit a high chip onto a green in Winter, the ball makes more of a pitch mark and will come to rest much quicker, leaving your ball much further from the hole than you wanted.

If you are playing golf when the course is frosty or frozen (which looks unlikely to ahppen at the moment!) and everything appears white, then it is often a good idea to play a ball with a different colour than white, to make it easier to find. Many people play with yellow or orange golf balls in these conditions.

and then there is the consideration of seaonal ‘rules’. During the Winter months most golf clubs bring in ‘Winter Rules’ for golf for two main reasons. Firstly, the ground conditions are much wetter either through rain or by dew. Secondly, the ground due to its softness, make the ball collect mud and dirt.

Therefore the ‘winter rules’ help a golfer rather than penalize a golfer, so that they can play their best golf when playing on a much wetter playing surface.

Check out our Green Fee tariffs and book today.

Californian Wine at Donnington Valley

We are very keen on Californian wine at Donnington Valley. Not only does our owner Sir Peter Michael make great wine in California, many fantastic wines are produced in the area at all price points and styles. Head Sommelier Chris Neeves chooses his eight of the best.Bottles cropped

We are in a very lucky position at Donnington as we have easy access to many  top  Californian producers, one being of course Peter Michael Winery, who won “Wine Spectator Wine of the Year 2015” for 2012 Peter Michael, Cabernet, Oakville Au Paradis. The reason for this is that we import them ourselves through our trans-atlantic merchant, The Vineyard Cellars.

Here is a small selection of some of the wines we have on our wine list.

2012 Mandolin Riesling, Monterey
With its maritime influence, California’s Monterey region has an extended growing season that yields wines with full flavor development and great acid balance. Mandolin Riesling features fresh peach and apricot notes, framed by firm acidity. Due to its acidity this slightly sweet style makes the wine ideal with food.

2013 Honig, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
A crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc created in the classic Honig style. Peach, lemon grass, hints of Jasmine and pea shoot are balanced by grapefruit and lime. Medium-bodied, with a bright, lingering finish. Enjoyable with many foods including curries, roasted fish and a wide variety of cheeses. It is a perfect complement to relaxing on the porch with family and friends.

2009 Talley Vineyards, Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande Valley
The 2009 Estate Chardonnay has aromas of lemon verbena, mandarin, jasmine, and roasted almond. On the palate, this wine features layers of citrus, green apple, and minerals that lead into a refreshing and elegant finish. This well balanced Chardonnay pairs nicely with sea scallops as well as grilled chicken.

2008 Morlet Family Vineyards, La Proportion Dorée, Sonoma County
A harmonious blend of the three classic white Bordeaux varietals grown in the Golden State’s Sonoma County, this unique cuvée was handcrafted using classical winemaking techniques inspired from Pessac-Léognan. As in architectural arts, it is ‘The Golden Ratio’ or ‘La Proportion Dorée.’ Bright yellow. Intense bouquet of candied lemon, muscat, and honeysuckle flavors intermixed with sweet notes of ripened apricot and fresh quince. Full-bodied, seamless, refined and complex.

2011 Waterstone, Pinot Noir, Carneros
Dark plums, cherry, cola and leather are present in this wine’s aroma. The soft vanilla tones from the oak blend perfectly with the intense fruit core and soft tannins, providing complexity and balance and leading to a lingering finish.

2005 Tor Rock, Syrah, Las Madres Vineyard, Carneros
This vineyard has a distinct perfume that is very similar to a great Crozes-
Hermitage. The aromas are “garrigue” a mélange of southern French herbs,
bacon fat, and hard wood smoke. On the palate the wine is fat, rich, and palate-coating.

2009 Rudd, Crossroads, Field Blend, St Helena
The traditional term for this wine is a Field Blend. This is essentially mixed plantings for many grape varieties on one patch of land, and in this small vineyard close to the town of St. Helena you will find Grenache, Syrah, Zinfandel, Counoise and Mourvèdre in one spot. As the grape variety will confirm to you this is a very full bodied wine and works at its best with very rare beef!

2011 Justin Vineyards, Isosceles, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Full-bodied with black cherry, blackcurrant, and red berry fruit, with complex spice of vanilla and licorice. The mid-palate shows savoury cabernet notes with smoky cedar, chocolate, and continuing ripe black fruit.

So next time you come to see us, please try on of our great californan wines. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Wedding and Occasions Fair

Our complimentary Wedding and Occasions Fair is this Sunday 24th January. Katie Foulds our Special Events Co-ordinator is always on hand with top tips and here she advises exactly what you will find this weekend. We hope to see you there!

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If you have a special day in your life coming up soon, come and visit us at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa. This weekend for our Wedding and Occasions Fair on Sunday 24th January 2016 you will be able to personally speak to, and view, our large range of suppliers who will be more than happy to discuss your event, as well as the chance to view all of our private dining, event and wedding spaces.

Between 11am and 3pm the team at the hotel will be on hand to take you through every detail involved in making your special occasion a success, whilst offering a taste from the kitchen as our Head Chef Kelvin Johnson provides canapés for your visit. Once you have spoken to the suppliers; our experienced events co-ordinators have created a goodie bag for you take home for you to browse through the possiblities for your occasion.

Our suppliers range from professional pianists to wedding dresses, with some of them including Adam Hillier Photography, Mark Fish Suits, Beau Events chair covers, Harrison & Green florists, Shake disco and lots more. All our suppliers have been specially selected by us to ensure they really cut the grade.After all we want to ensuer that you event exceeds your expectations and requirements for the most satisfaction on the day of your special event.

New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

The New Year is always a good time for reflection on what you achieved last year. Look back at what you accomplished fitness-wise and decide what you will do to make those changes. Here are some tips from Senior itness Instructor Phoebe McCully to help you stick to your new resolution.

Be Realistic

This is one of the most important tips to think about and remember when setting your new fitness resolution. If you go straight in and set yourself a huge goal of losing a stone in a month or jumping straight in to 7 gym sessions a week you might find yourself slipping off the path you set yourself on.

Decide what type of challenge you want to set yourself for the new year and then break it down into smaller step by step amounts which you will achieve, keeping you motivated and on the right path.

For example if you’ve set yourself the goal to run 10k, don’t jump straight in and try and run the 10k, if you don’t succeed you may end up de motivating yourself. Set yourself chunks, first session run 2k, then 3k then 4k and so on. Or run the first 3k, walk 1k, run 3k, walk 1k. As your fitness improves you’ll see that you will be able to make more of a dent in the 10k before you have to walk.

Being realistic isn’t just a tip for those wanting to start fitness; those of you who have been using the gym for years will still need to be realistic when planning your new personal workout targets.

Make a Plan

Once you have decided on realistic new targets for your fitness, it’s time to get organised. By creating a step-by-step guide to reach your aspirations, it will set you up for success.

If you don’t make a plan, you are more likely to stop going to the gym and end up doing nothing. With the colder temperatures lingering about, it’s beneficial to have a specific schedule that you can work with – meaning no excuses not to come.

When you set your schedule remember to set yourself rest days, if not you may end up burning yourself out and setting yourself back to where you started.

An example of a plan could be to attend a mixture of cardio and strength classes so you work a variety of different muscles. If you prefer to train on your own you could split the different muscle groups into different days. This way you won’t feel like you have to rush your gym session to fit in each area you want to train.

If you’re new to the gym you could start by attending one fitness class a week and as you feel yourself getting fitter you could pick it up to two classes a week and so on.

Reward Yourself

We need to remember to reward ourselves when we reach our little targets that help us get to our main goal. By rewarding yourself it will keep your mind on the right path, and it’s always good to make yourself feel good about what you have achieved.

When you set your plan, decided what your rewards will be when you reach that particular goal, this will help you stay motivated and focused on getting there.

Remember you can always come and talk to one of our fitness instructors in the gym for advice, if you feel personal training sessions are what you need to help you get to your goal, then come and speak to one of us today.

New Year Cocktail: Raspberry Fizz Bang

This is the last in our series of seasonal cocktails, and we wanted to go out with a bang with a New Year Cocktail. Our sparkling Raspberry Fizz Bang is the quintessential recipe for fun and celebration! We recommend practicing before the big evening, or failing that do pop in to our bar and our team would be delighted to make one for you.

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Raspberry Fizz Bang

Ingredients

  • Champagne Flute
    Raspberries to garnish
    15ml Jensen’s Old Tom Gin
    35ml Sweet Vermouth
    Prosecco to top

Method of Making

1. Fill your glass with ice to chill and shake the gin and vermouth ice cold.
2. Empty the glass and strain the mixture into it.
3. Top with prosecco and garnish with 2-3 raspberries, frozen if desired.

Splendidly sparkling, and wonderful to ring in the new year.

Christmas Cocktail: Midwinter Warmer

Here is the second in our series of seasonal cocktails from our Bar Manager Iain. This Christmas cocktail is delicious, especially for hot chocolate lovers, and it will keep you warm on these cold winters’ nights. Pop in to our bar and our team will be delighted to make this for you.

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Midwinter Warmer

Ingredients:

  • Milkshake Glass
    Chocolate shavings for garnish
    350-500 Hot Chocolate
    25 ml Raspberry Vodka
    25 ml Thortons Chocolate Liqueur

Method of making:

  1. Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled milkshake glass.
  2. Top with whipped cream, if desired, and garnish with chocolate shavings.

    Dangerously delicious – Enjoy!

Christmas Cocktail Recipe: Chrimbo Cosmo

The Christmas season is here and this calls from some relaxation and perhaps a tipple or two. Lovingly crafted, you can either try these at home or pop in to Donnington Valley Hotel and our bar team would be delighted to make these for you.

tumblr_mj6oxiqXuW1rb1u9do1_r1_1280Here is the first in three of our Seasonal cocktails from Iain our Bar Manager. Called the Chrimbo Cosmo, it is fresh, warm and fruity with flavours of citrus, cranberry and ginger in there, adding a little winter spice. Go on, try it!

Chrimbo Cosmo

Ingredients:

  • 25ml Citrus Vodka
    25ml Cointreau
    25ml Ginger Wine
    25ml Cranberry Juice
    Lime Rind to garnish
    half of a Lime

Method of making

  1. Fill a shaker with ice and add all the ingredients.
  2. Shake well and strain into a chilled Martini Glass.
  3. Garnish with lime zest and serve.

Delicious!