First Restaurant In Staffordshire To Win 3 AA Rosettes Since 2002

Close up Chef with PlateThe Four Seasons Restaurant at Swinfen Hall Hotel, just outside Lichfield, has been awarded 3 rosettes in the AA’s “New Year Honours List” and becomes the only restaurant to attain this accolade in Staffordshire since 2002.   Of the 22 restaurants awarded 3 rosettes or above by the AA on 15th January, 11 are in London, 3 are in Scotland making Swinfen Hall one of the 8 recipients in England outside the capital.  
The AA has over 2,000 restaurants listed in it’s 2015 UK restaurant guide but less than 10%  have 3 rosettes or above so this is no mean feat.
Head Chef at Swinfen Hall Paul Proffitt, who was born in Staffordshire and trained at Birmingham College of Food and in France, was absolutely delighted with the news.  It is his first Head Chef position and he has attained this remarkable achievement within his first 15 months in the role.
The Four Seasons Restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner and offers a Tasting Menu and Vegetarian Tasting Menu in addition to the 3-course prix fixe a la carte menu.  Much of the produce for the kitchens is grown in a half-acre Victorian walled garden.  There is also a herd of sika deer which contribute venison in the winter and they have recently taken delivery of a small herd of rare breed Manx sheep to provide estate-reared lamb in 2016.  What they can’t grow or rear themselves, they source locally.
Good news for Staffordshire foodies….
Swinfen Hall Hotel, Swinfen, Nr Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 9RE.

No Comments

Lichfield Christmas Festival Weekend success

 Father Christmas at Minster PoolLichfield Christmas shoppers and visitors were treated to plenty of festive fun at the Christmas Festival Weekend on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December 2014.

Lichfield District Council’s tourism team, Visit Lichfield, is full of Christmas cheer after thousands of people got in the seasonal spirit at this year’s festival.

The fun-packed weekend saw lots of people get involved in festive activities that took place across the city, including events at The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Georgian Festivities at Erasmus Darwin House and a First World War Christmas show, Men, Mud & Merriment, at St Mary’s in the Market Square.

There was a great atmosphere on Saturday as people shopped for presents at the Festive Food & Gift Fair at Lichfield Cathedral and at the Twinkly Christmas Market along Minster Pool Walk. The Twinkly Market returned on Sunday when Lichfield Chamber of Trade and Commerce’s Christmas Fayre also took place in the city’s Market Square. Saturday also saw a number of local traders taking part in Small Business Saturday, presenting shoppers with seasonal offers and encouraging them to support independent businesses.

Little ones were not left disappointed as they got to meet Santa in his grotto at Three Spires Shopping Centre, at Beacon Park and at St Mary’s Chapel. Lots of fun was also had as many children stopped off to get their faces painted for free at the Visit Lichfield tent.

Beacon Park also offered festive craft activities for all the family on Saturday. Visitors got involved making pinecone and clay reindeers, festive bunting and hand-sewed Christmas tree decorations.

The weekend also kicked off the Twinkly Trail, where families can hunt for 11 Christmas trees and figures on display in shop windows across the city centre, solving clues to claim a sweet reward. 

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, said: “The Christmas festival weekend was a great success, with thousands of people getting into the festive spirit in Lichfield. The weekend was crammed with seasonal activities for all the family and fantastic markets to bring even more shoppers and visitors into the city. It was the perfect way to start the countdown to Christmas.

“Small Business Saturday, which celebrates and aims to support independent businesses, also took place on 6 December. Shops across the city took part in the event, including the Lichfield Antiques Centre, The Kitchen Shop, Emporium Art Gallery, Friary Shoes, Cure and more, and offered shoppers some fantastic festive offers to tempt them.”


Comments Off

Twinkly Trail

Twinkly trail Leah Rudge and Jack PlantHunt for 11 Christmas trees and figures on display in shop windows across Lichfield City centre to claim a sweet treat!

Lichfield District Council launched its Twinkly Trail at Lichfield Christmas Festival on Saturday 6 December 2014.

The trail is aimed at children, and asks them to hunt high and low for 11 specially decorated trees and figures using clues in the colourful leaflet.

The Christmas trees and figures on the Twinkly Trail were decorated by school children across the district.

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Development, said: “The Twinkly Trail is a fun way to entertain little ones while doing your Christmas shopping in the city.

“We’re always looking for ways to support our traders, and this trail will hopefully encourage people to visit more streets and shops across the city centre.

“Thank you to all the schools involved and to the shops for taking part in the trail.”

Everyone who completes the trail will get a sweet treat and can also enter into a prize draw to win a family ticket for a Gruesome and Ghostly tour of the city.

The trails are available from Tourist Information at St Mary’s in the Market Square. The deadline to enter the prize draw is 2.30pm on Wednesday 24 December 2014.

The Christmas trees angels and cones were decorated by children from:

• Charnwood Primary School, Lichfield
• Croft Primary School, Armitage
• Henhouse Children’s Art School
• Henry Chadwick Primary School, Lichfield
• Lichfield Cathedral School
• Little Aston Primary School
• Longwood Primary School, Mile Oak
• Mary Howard Primary School, Edingale
• St Andrew’s Primary School, Clifton Campville
• St Joseph’s Primary School, Lichfield
• Scotch Orchard Primary School, Lichfield

Comments Off

Enjoy Staffordshire 2014 Tourism Awards News

Winners are announced for the Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards

Destination Staffordshire and the Staffordshire tourism industry have celebrated the best in business this year with standout winners including Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café, Colton House, Drayton Manor Theme Park and The Lewis Partnership.

Announced at a wartime-themed ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum on Monday 17th November, the awards celebrated best in businesses across Staffordshire and commemorated both world wars during the centenary year.

The most notable winner from the afternoon was Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café who picked up three gold awards for ‘Food Retailer of the Year’, ‘Tea Room/Coffee Shop of the Year’ and the ‘Taste of Staffordshire Tourism Award’.

 Colton House, near Rugeley, received two gold awards including ‘Guest Accommodation of the Year’ and the ‘Sustainable Tourism Award’ and Drayton Manor Theme Park received gold for ‘Access for All’ and ‘Best Tourism Event of the Year’.

Likewise, both Tamworth TIC and Gladstone Pottery Museum picked up a gold award for ‘Visitor Information Provider of the Year’ and ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ respectively for the second year running.

Those businesses awarded were acknowledged for promoting excellence across a wealth of attractions as well as helping to boost the tourism offer, positioning Staffordshire as a leading short break destination.

Other winners on the day included the National Forest Adventure Farm for ‘Best Tourism Experience of the Year’, The Moat House, Acton Trussell for ‘Business Tourism Award’, Alton Towers Resort for ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’, Swinfen Hall Hotel, Lichfield for ‘Restaurant of the Year’ and The Dog & Doublet Inn, Sandon, for ‘Tourism Pub of the Year’.

In the accommodation categories, BEST WESTERN PLUS Stoke-on-Trent Moat House Hotel won gold for ‘Large Hotel of the Year’, Heywood Hall, Denstone for ‘Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year’ and The Swan Hotel, Stafford for ‘Small Hotel of the Year’.

The awards were independently judged and verified by Service Science, where entrants were reviewed and marked on their commitment to delivering excellent customer service, training and skills for employees, sustainability and environment, along with dedication to best practice, quality of service and product.

Joanne Malin, BBC radio and TV presenter, compèred the event and Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, was guest speaker. The audience was entertained during lunch by the fabulous singer, Lola Lamour, who performed well know wartime songs.

Mark Kerrigan, Chair of Destination Staffordshire, said: “Having merged our Good Food Awards into the Tourism Awards this year, we are very pleased with the results and success of the event. I would like to congratulate all those involved and the businesses which took part. The awards attracted entries from a whole host of businesses which all play their part in making Staffordshire a leading short break destination.

“We have had a great year for tourism in Staffordshire and have been both pleased and encouraged by the annual figures released from 2008 to 2013. We have witnessed the total number of trips to Staffordshire grow by more than 30% and staying trips by 36%. Likewise, direct spend has increased by 26% and direct and indirect employment by 21% with almost 5,000 new jobs created in the sector. Statistics we can attribute to the hard work and dedication of tourism businesses in the county.”

View all the winners here 

Comments Off

Lichfield Festival Baby Elephant Parade

elephantLichfield Festival has exciting news of a brand new project taking place at the Lichfield Festival 2015.  They are currently looking for schools, youth organisations, charities, community groups, small businesses etc to get involved in the Lichfield Festival Baby Elephant Parade.

Back in 2011 the festival launched a similar project featuring 30 Painted Pigs, which were painted by local groups and exhibited around the town before being auctioned off for local charities. The project was a huge success, attracting lots of media attention and a lot of excitement for the duration of the Festival. Such was the popularity of the project, with audiences demanding it was brought back every year, the festival team have now made the decision to follow it up with a herd of Baby Elephants. 

There is only limited availability for the models and the team have to find a mix of schools and groups to participate.  If you are interested in being involved, do register your interest  as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For more information please contact the Lichfield Festival Office on 01543 306270.


Comments Off

Lichfield Christmas Festival Weekend 2014

ChristmaslogolargewithdatecopyCelebrate Christmas with a weekend of festive events and activities throughout Lichfield City. Visit the festive markets at Lichfield Cathedral, Minster Pool Walk and Lichfield Chamber of Trade Christmas Fayre. There will be plenty of activities to keep the children entertained with free face painting, a children’s trail and a Santa’s Grotto. Celebrate Christmas in the beautiful surroundings of both Erasmus Darwin House and The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum with festive fun, activities and refreshments and take part in a special Christmas tour of the city.

Go to to download the programme and view all the events taking place over the weekend.

Hard copies of the programme will be available from Friday 14 November; please contact Emily if you would like a supply for your venue.


Comments Off

Arthur Price Sale Donation to the We Love Lichfield Fund

After the success last year. Arthur Price have announced that they are again donating £10 for every sale over £100 during the month of November to the We Love Lichfield Fund.

 The Arthur Price Factory Shop is located on Britannia Way, Lichfield and is the UK’s biggest cutlery shop with thousands of pieces for all budgets. Last year the same promotion raised nearly £1000 and CEO Simon Price hopes to beat the £1000 mark this time around.

 He said:  “The idea is simple, if you want to plan the Christmas shopping early, find a gift for a loved one or feel the urge to treat yourself, if you buy during November you are also helping a fantastic local cause.  Since it started in 2011, the We Love Lichfield Fund has given out nearly £50,000 in grants, helping small voluntary groups that help society so much.  Last year we were just shy of £1000 so it would be great to beat the figure this time with the money guaranteed to go to local good causes.”

 Launched in 2011, the We Love Lichfield Fund considers applications from local groups across the District in need twice a year.  Companies and individuals are welcomed to donate or fund-raise for the Fund. All money is invested through a permanent endowment fund registered by charity the Staffordshire Community Foundation on behalf of We Love Lichfield in line with charity commission guidelines. The interest and dividends earned on the invested money is then distributed by the ‘We Love Lichfield Fund’ as small grants across the district. The beauty of this model is that it will provide a source of on-going funding that can be used for many years to come.  The fund aims to raise £500,000 by April 2016, which would mean up to £25,000 could be given away every year.  For more information visit: or follow Twitter @welovelichfield

Comments Off

Nearly half a million pounds in funding available

Four local organisations have come together to fund activities and projects across Lichfield District through a new Locality Commissioning Fund that will give out around £477,000 in 2015.

From debt advice and funding for local festivals, through to support for victims of domestic abuse, financial help for these projects have been handed out separately in the past.

The new funding pot has combined Lichfield District Council’s budget for community and voluntary sector organisations, Staffordshire County Council’s funding to support vulnerable people to live independent lives and public health funding, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group grants for voluntary organisations, and Staffordshire Police – through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Locality Fund.

The scheme, which launched on Saturday 25 October 2014, will fund projects that aim to deliver a prosperous, healthy, independent, safe, and thriving and cohesive community.

Funding of £5,000 or more is on offer, and organisations can apply for funding for one year, which may be extended annually for a further two years.

Councillor Colin Greatorex, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, Housing & Health, said: “The launch of the new Locality Commissioning Fund marks an important milestone in the development of partnership working in Lichfield District. For the first time, four local public sector organisations are bringing together their funding and using a single process to commission services and projects to benefit Lichfield District residents.

“Rather than asking organisations to complete multiple funding applications, we are embarking on a single process which we hope will be easier and less time consuming for applicants. This more streamlined process will help public sector partners to co-ordinate decisions on what their main goals are and how resources are used to achieve them.”

The application process runs from Saturday 25 October to 9am on Friday 2 January 2015.  

A Locality Commissioning Prospectus has been developed to help with applications. This sets out who can apply for a funding, what can be funded, and how decisions are made.

A copy of the prospectus and an application pack can be downloaded from 

 If you have any questions, please email or attend an event for bidders on Monday 24 November, from 11am to 2pm at Lichfield District Council’s Frog Lane offices. If you would like to attend please email to book your place.

 Please note: This new fund is replacing Lichfield District Council’s Service Level Agreements that are set to expire in April 2015. It does not replace the council’s Grant Aid and Grant Aid Plus schemes.

Comments Off

Our latest networking meeting news – National Forest Adventure Farm

Minutes by Rachael Evans

I’m sure you are familiar with the saying “No bad weather just bad clothing” and everyone took this on board when we visited the National Adventure Farm on Thursday 9th October. How lucky we were after torrential rain, to find the weather fine and mild.

On arrival at the Farm members enjoyed tea and coffee plus delicious homemade cake. We met in what was once a cow shed but is now a warm and hospitable meeting room overlooking the children’s indoor play area. On the ground floor of this building is the restaurant serving locally sourced snacks and meals, plus 3 rooms available for birthday parties are also located here.

Tom, a Director of the National Adventure Farm explained that his family moved to Postern House Farm in 1970 and took the decision to diversify during 2004. Starting as a basic play field and creating Maize Maize, the attraction was open for 6 weeks in the first year and welcomed 7000 visitors. Last year 150,000 people paid a visit and the Maize is now between 8 and 9ft high. Tom and his family had to quickly learn new skills including retail and catering, very different from farming.

LDTA members had the opportunity to ask Tom any questions about the venture and I can’t remember a networking meeting where people asked so many. Once satisfied with Tom’s answers, we looked forward to meeting Louise who holds the role of Marketing Manager.

Louise informed us that apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, the centre is open daily 10am to 6pm. Even in dreadful weather, there are plenty of activities to do inside. School and nursery trips are available which encourages learning through fun.

Events are held throughout the year and during the summer months this year, the National Adventure Farm set out to break the world record for the largest display of scarecrows. The record had been held by the USA for 11 years with a parade of 3312 scarecrows. Every child who visited the attraction was invited to make a scarecrow. The strict criteria meant that the figure had to have a head, 2 items of clothing, be around 4ft in size and be free standing or propped up.  It was a happy day when the judges announced that the record had indeed been broken, with the final figure reaching 3800, qualifying for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Halloween is a particularly busy time for staff, with 2 Halloween events taking place. For younger children a day time Halloween Spook-tacular is planned when fancy dress is encouraged and lots of fun activities to participate in. The extremely popular Screamfest event is aimed for brave people aged 12 years and over. Commencing on 17th October and continuing for 11 nights this is a night not for the faint hearted. Drama students from the nearby college perform in Screamfest as part of their work experience and one of the scariest things is some will be hiding with the scarecrows, so just when you think it is safe one will jump out! If you feel daring enough to take on the challenge of Screamfest online saver tickets are available at     

The afternoon just got better when Louise invited LDTA partners’ to take a tour of the farm and a tractor and trailer ride. Even though there had been heavy rain, good paths are accessible free of mud. The animal barn housed many endearing creatures including pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs plus many more in and outside. The animals take a starring role in the interactive Nativity scheduled for the weekends 29 November – 24 December.

The scarecrows alone are worth a visit the Adventure Farm, what a spectacular sight they made. It would have been so easy to spend time just gazing at all their different faces. However, there was no time to linger as Josh the tractor driver and Emily our guide were waiting to take us on a journey. As we rode around the farm, the idea was to spot random scarecrows dotted around, when we saw one we had to shout “Scarecrow”. How strange to see 23 adults becoming very excited while listening to songs from the Wurzels.

After our tour several members chose to have another cup of tea and others went to have a look at the pumpkins. It was the giant slides that held the attraction for some of us, as the temptation was too great and we just had to have a go. Unfortunately foul play was committed by Paul from FM & J Wait and rather than lose the race down the slides employed some dubious tactics to try and win!

For further information about the National Forest Adventure Farm visit or telephone 01283 533933. Leaflets are available from Lichfield Tourist Information.

 Thank you to everyone at the Farm for such an enjoyable afternoon and also to Angela, Paul and Brett from FM & J Wait for providing transport.

Our next LDTA networking meeting will be our informal drop-in Christmas get-together

 On: Tuesday 16th December between 5pm and 7pm                                

 At: The Guildhall, Bore Street, Lichfield WS13 6LU                                       

 LDTA Partners’ News in Brief

Roy Barratt: Claymills Pumping Station received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.    

Robert & Caroline Carr: Rock34 is very busy with online jewellery orders.     

Allan Hayes: The Walled Garden at Woodhouse Farm is striving to obtain a grant to renovate an old building, making it visitor friendly.              

Richard Lewis: Lichfield Chamber of Trade and Commerce is working with Town Team and Lichfield District Council to drive the BID project forward.

Adam Burns-Mace: The Tudor of Lichfield. Christmas chocolate products have now arrived and are on sale in the shop.     

Angela Harvey: FM & J Wait are offering transport free of charge, to take people to the Remembrance Service, on 11th November at the National Memorial Arboretum.                           

David Bathurst: Chasewater Railway Museum. Santa Special tickets are now on sale. The event sold out last year but this year the emphasis will be on quality rather than quantity.

Jane Lees: Chasewater Country Park. Improvements have been made at the Country Park but this is always a challenge as the area is a triple SSSI site. A LDTA networking meeting has been planned for March 2015.                

Julie Dewhurst: Green Badge Guide. Ghost tour tickets are available for a wide selection of dates these can be purchased from Lichfield Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01543 256611.      

Angela Cornell & Roger Thompson: Elford Walled Garden have experienced a very busy year, the venue is open every day free of charge. The next event is on 1st November which is a Bonfire with refreshments. Tickets priced at £6 adults and £3 children, under 5’s are free. Elford Garden won the Royal Horticultural top award for the 2nd year and a special award for merit, only four of which have been issued this year.                 

Kerry Mayo: National Paintball Fields. There is high demand for Halloween themed events, the Zombie theme being very popular. It was the busiest August for the past few years. NPF will be offering quad biking for younger people in the New Year.            

Nick Misselke: Pipe Hill House. Business is very good and everyone connected with the Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of the establishments 5 star gold award.         

 Brian Pretty: Lichfield Arts. The recent beer festival was a huge success and local bands will be playing at the Christmas light switch on taking place on Sunday 23rd November.        

Lisa Biste: Visit Lichfield. Lisa is from Freiburg in Germany and is working with the tourism team for a few months. One of Lisa’s projects is translating the 2015 Visit Lichfield guide into German. Lisa can be contacted on

Comments Off

Calling all stallholders – would you like a stall at the Lichfield Literature Antiques and Vintage Market

lichfield literature

Calling all stallholders

Next month, the Lichfield Festival team will be hosting their annual Literature Festival (Wed 8th- Sun 12th Oct) and as part of that, on Saturday 11th Oct, will be holding an Antiques and Vintage Market at Winterton Auctioneers in Lichfield.

On the day of the market, there will also be four separate events (author talks) at Winterton’s, so not only will there be people specifically coming to the market but there will also be audience members from those events who will be encouraged by festival volunteers to go through the market.

 Two of the events in particular are very much directed towards antiques so the audience will be a fantastic target for the market. 12,000 copies of the literature festival brochure (which advertises the market) has gone out to a mailing list and also handed out throughout the city so a very good turnout is expected as the events are currently selling very well.

If you would like to take a stall space, please complete and return the attached booking form to Julie Barry as soon as possible on:

T: 01543 306270


If you would like to find out more about our Literature Festival then please visit:

Comments Off

Older Entries »