The Cotswolds are a beautiful part of the country to visit, and an even better place to stay, which is why it’s home to some of the country’s top talent. From artists and chefs to poker players and celebrities, here are the top five Cotswolds personalities to watch in 2016
Whether you’re a fan of natural beauty, man-made architecture or anything else in between, the Cotswolds are a fantastic place to live and, of course, visit, which is why it is flooded with visitors every year. From the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Festival of Polo to the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds, there are plenty of reasons for people to visit us throughout the year.
However, as wonderful as it is to visit the various towns and villages of the Cotswolds, it’s even better to stay and that’s why we’re home to some of the country’s top talent. From artists and chefs to poker players and farmers racking up readers on Amazon, dozens of famous faces have settled in the Cotswolds over the years.
With our little corner of the world being such a goldmine of talent and creativity, we thought we’d take a look at five of the county’s most talented people and explain exactly why they’re ones to watch in 2016.
The Creative Soul: Louise Firchau
When it comes to creativity in the Cotswolds, few are more talented than artist Louise Firchau. Creator of papercut art website Paper Panda and winner of the Best Artist in the Cotswolds in 2015, Firchau has not only built up a reputation for quality and creativity in the local area, but in the UK as a whole.
Since launching in 2010, Paper Panda now has three distinct products – The Storybook Series, The Bird & Bunny Series and The Folk Series – all of which draw inspiration from the Cotswold and its natural beauty. According to Firchau, she puts in around 8-14 hours of work each day to ensure her paper products are the highest quality possible and as we head into the tail-end of 2016 she is hoping to increase the presence of paper in people’s homes.
On her dedicated website she now promotes the work of other artists like Timothy Dowling which is helping to make the Cotswolds a national hub of paper art activity. So, if you’re looking for an insight into all things creative in 2016, Firchau is the person you need to go and see.
The Strategic Thinker: Daniel Harwood
As well as creative types, the Cotswolds is also home to some critical thinkers. Since 2003 when an accountant from Texas (Chris Moneymaker) won the World Series of Poker Main Event for $2 million, a new breed of logical analysts and maths wizards have taken up the game of poker.
Using their knowledge of statistics, probability and risk to achieve success both online and in live tournaments, this new generation of players has elevated the skill level of poker dramatically over the past decade. One of the latest players to break onto the scene and put the Cotswolds on the map at the same time is Daniel Harwood.
Hailing from Cheltenham, Harwood recently finished fifth in the PokerStars UKIPT London tournament. After travelling up to London’s Hippodrome Casino in April, Harwood managed to outlast more than 635 players to pick up £22,540.
Using that cash to supplement his bankroll, the 27-year-old is now looking to build a career in poker. However, unlike classic Hollywood images of the game, Harwood will have to stay mentally sharp if he wants to reach the top. Indeed, aside from learning how to perfect his poker face, players need to master on-the-fly mathematics and routinely activate the frontal lobe in order to stay sharp and meet the demands of contemporary poker. If he can do that, then he’ll certainly be one to watch in the coming years.
The Firmly Rooted: Adam Henson
When it comes to putting roots down (quite literally) in the Cotswolds, Adam Henson does it best. Owner of Cotswolds Farm Park and a regular on Country File, Henson is now as much of a contributor to the local agricultural scene as he is an educator and an entertainer. Henson grew up in the area and his life was always associated with herding and agriculture.
Today, anyone that visits his farm can not only see the daily workings of life in the industry, but they can ride horses and learn about their favourite animals. Henson has now branched out into the literary world with a new book titled Like Farmer Like Son. Part memoir and part exploration of the farming industry, the new book went on sale in Waterstones and beyond at the start of June and is already receiving positive reviews from readers and critics alike.
The farmer entrepreneur has also partnered up with Butcombe Brewery to create Rare Breed Ale – which won a Gold at the International Beer Challenge 2013. There’s also a range of specialized wildflower seed mixes that carries his name, helping to provide food and habitat to birds, butterflies and insects.
The Culinary King: Chris White
The Cotswolds has always been home to some of the finest chefs in the country and in 2016 we’ve just discovered another top talent in the form of Chris White. The head chef and owner of The White Spoon, White has long been knocking on the door of national recognition and earlier this year he received the New Restaurant of the Year award from The Craft Guild of Chefs.
Despite only being open since September 2015, White’s venue impressed the judges with his innovative take on local produce. Showcasing the finest ingredients the Cotswolds has to offer, White has made it his mission to show the public familiar tastes in an unfamiliar setting. From langoustine powder to Wye Valley rhubarb and saffron custard, White has done a fantastic job of fusing classic flavours with contemporary cooking techniques. In fact, when he spoke to us about his award he admitted that he’s “looking forward to the future” and building on the foundations he set out in just a few months ago.
The Farewell Resident: Lily Allen
The final Cotswold celebrity we think you should be looking out for in 2016 is Lily Allen. One of the most famous people who live in the Cotswolds, Allen could actually be leaving us in the coming months.
According to a report in The Sun, the 31-year-old has put her Cotswold home on the market for £4.2 million. After purchasing the Grade II listed 350-year-old six-bedroom home back in 2010 for £3 million, Allen has now put the property up for sale amid rumours she’s split from her husband, Sam Cooper. Whether the rumours are true or not, it looks as though Allen could be heading back to London later this year which means her luxury pad may be up for sale.
So, if you’ve got £4 million and change burning a hole in your pocket you could own a piece of Cotswold celebrity history. Of course, if you’re not quite that wealthy, you can simply keep an eye on the celebrities we’ve outlined above as they continue to prove why the Cotswolds is the place to live in the UK.
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