Painswick is open for business

PUBLISHED: 11:33 16 December 2010 | UPDATED: 17:18 20 February 2013

St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church

You can't drive through Painswick because of gas main work, but you can drive to it - and help support local businesses.<br/><br/><br/><br/>Watch our video.

Work to replace a gas main has closed the A46, the road through Painswick, right in the middle of the tourist season. But while you can't drive through the village, you can drive to it. Shops, pubs and hotels are all accessible and the approach roads from Stroud, Cheltenham and Gloucester will take you right into the centre of the village. So do your bit and help support local businesses in this beautiful spot.

Treating oneself to a bowl of delicious large green olives, marinated with chilli and garlic in the award-winning delicatessen, Olivas; losing oneself in an artistic haven where stunning landscapes, stained-glass and beautifully carved wood entice you at every turn; browsing round exquisite antiques, looking longingly at the weird and wonderful; playing hide and seek among 99 perfectly manicured Yew trees or the famous Rococo Garden snowdrops and indulging oneself withdelicious cream teas surely must be a taste of heaven? And yet its a place thats available now. Its the unspoilt Queen of the Cotswolds: the historic wool town of Painswick (although many residents prefer to call it a large village) and it is indeed the epitome of chocolate-box scenery. Yet those living and working here are not content to rely on its unchangeable beauty. Thriving, vibrant and inclusive, this community is determined to keep Painswick in the hearts and minds of those passing through the Gloucestershire countryside.

A couple of years ago the main road running through Painswick centre was virtually cut off for six months by a landslide caused by 2007s freak summer floods. Understandably there were great celebrations when it reopened. But something happened deep within Painswick itself. Determined to claim back their customers, artists and members of a relatively new traders group, Painswick Matters, hosted the towns first small but perfectly formed Goodwill Evening for many years in December. It was a huge success and will be repeated this year. Building on this invigorated passion and feeding on the already creative environment that exists, to mark a new decade, the town is repeating its popular summer Arts Festival and hosting an enterprising new event a wearable art competition already a hit in New Zealand. This will coincide with the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmens SummerExhibition in August, whereby local school children, college students and artists will transform everyday waste into amazing attire.

Chris Mercer, Chairman of Painswick Matters and coincidentally owner of antiques shop, The Chairman, says these new initiatives can only help build on what the town already has and take itforward.

The floods and subsequent road closure left us in Painswick reeling and rejected and we realised we had to put Painswick firmly back on the map. Indeed, Painswick has undergone a mini renaissance over the last few years with new businesses arriving, growing and thriving. With excellent restaurants, antique shops, cafes, art studios, galleries, gardens, a rejuvenated post office and individual specialised shops, Painswick now offers lots of treats for visitors and our community to enjoy, he exclaims.

This year the Arts Festival in August, with its Wearable Art competition, the bigger and better Christmas Goodwill evening, combined with other innovative events throughout 2010, will make Painswick irresistible.

Celebrating what Painswick already has is something this community does well. It has much of which to be proud. New Street, built around 1428, contains the oldest building in England to house a Post Office; the town has the countrys oldest bowling green; boasts houses with magnificent Georgian frontages as well as the famous parish church of St. Mary sitting amongst 99 yew trees in one of the countrys most memorable churchyards. Its here where children encircle the church by joining hands, perform a dance and sing a clypping song every September. Once notorious in Painswick for riotous behaviour and for Puppy-dog pies, today it is celebrated by baking china dogs into pies and cakes.

But puppy dogs aside, this Cotswold Queen is determined to remain on her throne. Building on her traditional and unspoilt image whilst introducing the unusual and creative, she is sure to entice thousands of visitors to stop off and enjoy her eclectic mix of individual shops, restaurants and artistic talent for themselves.

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