Press Release: Travel Author Brings the Cotswolds to Your Fingertips

COTSWOLD VISITORS can now find the secrets of the region in the palm of their hand thanks to a definitive application due to be unveiled this week.

Renowned travel writer Kate Joynes-Burgess has spent hundreds of hours researching venues across the region to bring the best advice about getting the most from the Cotswolds.

From tea shops to farmers’ markets, the app pinpoints the vast array of amazing experiences on offer in the British countryside.

The Cotswold Travel Guide app – available on both iPhone and Android phones – is making its debut on the iTunes store this week as post-Olympic visitors head off into the British countryside.

Cheltenham-based Kate has returned from a career travelling – and writing about – the globe to show off her local tourist delights on a striking mobile phone app.

Kate’s work as a professional journalist has seen her words and photographs getting published all over the world, most notably for the BBC and Time Out.

She now works as social media expert for Europe’s largest conservation charity and in her spare time she has created the Cotswold Travel Guide iPhone and Android app highlighting the best of the Cotswold countryside for San Francisco-based Sutro Media.

The app is planned to act as a ‘Michelin-style’ insiders’ guide to the very best that is on offer across the region.

Kate commented: “My family has lived in the Cotswolds for generations and after many years travelling the world I was inspired to re-discover what’s great about our British countryside.

“More than 20 million people visit the area each year and more and more people want travel hints and tips at their fingertips.

“The quaint charm of the Cotswolds now gets a 21st Century makeover with my Cotswold Travel Guide iPhone and Android app. Visitors from near and far can now share in the knowledge gleaned from thousands of hours of research and my own personal experience.

“My app shows off the very best that the area has to offer – not least its show-stopping landscapes from rolling hills to ancient woodland.

“Foodies will be in their element as fine dining – created from fresh, locally grown ingredients – has really taken off across the region. My Cotswold Travel Guide gives you the inside track on a host of great pubs and cafés for people who need to re-fuel at prices for all pockets.”

Kate spent two years researching the very best that the Cotswolds has to offer for foreign and domestic visitors – and locals alike.

Her research took her on a 1,700 miles journey visiting hundreds of venues in 20 towns and villages.

Her trips led her to drink 1,020 cups of tea, 500 cappuccinos, nearly 300 pieces of cake and two and a half gallons of local ales and ciders.

Her app has short-listed over 200 excellent destinations worthy of a visit.

Kate added: “This app is a review of the best of the best that the Cotswolds has to offer and I hope that people will fall in love with the area as much as I have again over the last two years.”

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Notes to editors

To book an interview or to get more information speak to Kate directly on +44 7786 391748 or contact Edward Davies at Miii Communications on +447595 584335. Photographs available on request.

About the author
Kate Joynes-Burgess is an established expert in Latin American and Caribbean affairs having both worked in Mexico City and travelled extensively in the region.

Kate is a graduate of Oxford University and gained her masters’ degree with distinction in Latin American Studies at the University of London. She holds an honours diploma in travel writing from the London School of Journalism.

After completing her studies, she worked with the United Nations and, more latterly, as an analyst and Mexico Bureau Chief for a US-based research organisation. Her work allowed her to exploit her expertise in Central America with her love of one of the most complex and engaging parts of the world.

Kate is already an established travel writer and photographer having published a number of books and articles during her time working abroad. She was the chief contributor to Time Out’s first edition guidebook to Mexico City and the Best of Mexico. She has written widely for Travel + Leisure magazine, both in the United States and Mexico.

She is a leader in the evolving world of social media. Her Twitter feed is a source of essential travel information at home and abroad (@katejb). For Cotswold-specific stories, find her @cotswoldtravel and at facebook.com/cotswoldtravelguide.

About Sutro Media
Sutro Media is a digital publishing platform that enables authors with no technical experience to publish guides on mobiles devices and the web. Sutro publishes travel and reference guide apps, which are downloaded through iTunes and the Android Marketplace, and users access content on mobile devices. Sutro works with a rapidly growing network of freelance authors who create the guide content and share revenue from the apps with Sutro.

Sutro’s focus remains on publishing local travel guides for destinations worldwide, but it is expanding into reference guides for wide ranging categories including: food, wine, hobbies, nature, sports, humour, and medicine. It has published 334 guides to date and has another 350 in development.

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Get your Cotswold Travel Guide

Want to have the Cotswolds’ finest at your fingertips – from perfect pubs to cracking cream teas – while Cotswold Travel Guide by Kate Joynes-Burgessmaking quirky discoveries? Then you’re in the right place.

Get your hands on the Cotswold Travel Guide:

If you’re on Android…simply download it direct from Google Play.

On iPhone? Now you can get the Cotswold Travel Guide directly from the App Store.

Need more inspiration?

With this guide in hand, you can access the Cotswolds’ best kept secrets and classic attractions too. The region’s famed for show-stopping landscapes from ancient woodland to rolling hills. Choose from trails aplenty including 100 miles of The Cotswold Way or get a bird’s eye view aboard a hot air balloon.

Seeking somewhere special to stay? Check into a country mansion, bijou B&B or even your own yurt. You’ll find suggestions for romantic breaks and family-friendly trips.

Walking the Cotswold Way - with a llamaVisit a vineyard, take a carriage driving tour to a foodie village pub or stroll through the Stroud valleys in the company of llamas (yes, those South American camelids).

Where will your Cotswold escape take you?

About the Author – Kate Joynes-Burgess
The Cotswolds are in the blood of author Kate Joynes-Burgess. Her family has lived among these rolling hills for generations. Stints in London, Mexico City and Central America have honed her instinct for finding a destination’s hidden gems. Now she’s sharing the best of Britain on her home turf too.

Kate has written for many publications including Time Out, Countryman Press, The Spectator and Travel+Leisure. She covers the Cotswolds for a range of Mexican magazines and is social media manager for the largest conservation charity in Europe.

Your guide to Belize

I’ve been having a good old reminisce lately about the beauty of Belize and the dizzying diversity of this Dangriga, Southern Belizecountry that’s at once Caribbean and Central American. My book – Belize: A Great Destination – guides you along roads less traveled without neglecting top tourist attractions.

Culture and nature
Inside you’ll find little-known Mayan ruins, unexplored villages, and secluded nature reserves as well as hip hotspots and hotels. I’ve expertly packed it with advice for adventure addicts and inspiration for your own explorations of reefs, cayes, waterfalls, and winding jungle trails.

I loved writing the back-story on Belizean history and contemporary culture to get under the skin of this eclectic nation. You can bask in natural beauty from emerald mountains to the sapphire shores of the Caribbean. Of course, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve is spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving.

Where to stay
Don’t forget to meander Belize’s districts, each with its own identity, natural wonders, and microclimate. Wondering where to stay? You can choose luxe lodgings or camp out so you can see—and hear—day breaking over the rainforest.

Call yourself a foodie? Make sure you dine in San Pedro’s five-star restaurants or try zingy street fare in tiny towns; fall for the irresistible rhythms of Garifuna music or embark on an exciting side trip to Guatemala or Mexico.

I’ve been careful to include invaluable information on safety, climate, and currency; a crash course in Creole; detailed maps and travel info; tips to help you find the best crafts, drums, chocolate, and more—everything you need to have an amazing vacation in this fascinating country is right inside my book.

Belize boasts more than 200 off-shore islands dotted in a turquoise sea

About me
Kate Joynes-Burgess is a travel writer, political analyst, and photographer with a predilection for Latin America and the Caribbean. Her work has featured in many international publications and guidebooks and appears regularly on the BBC News website and in Travel+Leisure.

Bijou Belize, Big Adventures

Sunset over Dangriga, Stann Creek District, Belize

Burnished rays give their last hurrah over Dangriga

Belize proves the theory that size doesn’t matter. This tiny landmass tacked onto the Yucatan peninsula – between Mexico and Guatemala – is the site of extraordinary adventure and discovery.

Find out more about the dizzying diversity of this often overlooked country – at once Caribbean and Central American – in my new guidebook Belize: A Great Destination – part of the Explorer’s Guide series, available for pre-order on Amazon.

Get yourself a copy and get acquainted with little-known Mayan ruins,
unexplored villages, and secluded nature reserves as well as hip hotspots and hotels. Inside, you’ll find the back-story on Belizean history and contemporary culture to get under the skin of this eclectic nation. It’s replete with advice for adventure addicts and inspiration for your own explorations of reefs, cayes, waterfalls, and winding jungle trails. Watch this space for regular tasters – from photography to video clips – and information on my London launch.

Explorer's Guide Series, Belize first edition

The ultimate guidebook to authentic adventures

Cultivate your Imagination

Hopelessly overgrown topiary presents a challenge for perfectionists. This week’s mission, as garden volunteers at the National Trust’s Chastleton House, was to bring back a bloated, bushy, box hedge to its former state as a strutting peacock. We would have had better luck transforming Mr Blobby into Kate Moss.

Simon turns stylist for the Chastleton peacock

In this case, the only way forward is to exercise your imagination. Think of it as horticulture’s answer to cloud watching, a whimsical art-form eloquently explained by Britain’s eccentric Cloud Appreciation Society. Allow your mind to grant these misshapen forms another life as a bald eagle, a moor hen, or a generous-hipped bumble bee. No wonder Chastleton House’s best garden is always such a talking point.

Don’t forget to stroll along the vegetable patch where foodies visualise summery recipes for succulent cabbage, marrow, brussels sprouts, yellow courgettes and all manner of loveliness springing from the soil. Plump peaches line the lichen-clad walls of the kitchen garden that is fringed by fruit trees bearing apples and plums. Combine that with delicately-scented English roses, and a little birdsong, and your senses have really sampled the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this potent season. Peruse this selection of photographs to get your creative juices flowing:

Glorious Gardens at Chastleton House

One of the finest Jacobean country houses in England

Take a wander outside these honeyed walls

Chastleton House gardens, near Moreton-in-Marsh, guard atypical topiary, manicured croquet lawns, fragrant fruit trees and a well-tended vegetable patch.

Visitors strolled around its chief botanical attractions – including a lovely show of lavender and scented roses – at the annual NGS open day last Sunday.

Take a peek at some of Chastleton House’s horticultural highlights in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Tantalising Jacobean Topiary


I expected to swap catchy prose for cabbage rows when I signed up to volunteer at Chastleton House in March. Instead, I’ve developed an entirely new addiction: sculpting century-old box hedging.

Topiary is tantalising for perfectionists, control freaks, and impatient sorts. Guilty on all counts. What other form of gardening offers instant results and the chance to bend nature to one’s whimsical design in a matter of hours? Me and Buxus sempervirens are becoming bosom buddies.

But staying true to the ethos of this 17th century property, and its sprawling grounds, is the most powerful motivator. Head gardener, Anna Derrett, ensures we grow in the right direction as aspiring National Trust horticulturists.

Cross-checking with the Trust’s photographic archive, an eight-strong group of volunteers is restoring these wildly overgrown hedges to their original form as far as possible. When shrubs have evolved beyond recognition they become new creations, inspired by what they most closely resemble today. Thus a geometric shape is now a squirrel, an erstwhile goblin (now headless) may become an octopus. And this one-time bijou cockerel is now a monstrously fat chick.

Anyone for Croquet?

Confident croquet players

Croquet players got competitive at Chastleton House – the sport’s apparent Cotswolds birthplace – under the watchful eye of a gaggle of garden-lovers this Sunday (11 July).

National Trust volunteers enjoyed a round of this exquisitely English summer pastime during the annual National Gardens Scheme open day.

Sport historians trace croquet to mediaeval France but National Trust archives suggest the game’s codified rules were devised at this Jacobean merchant’s mansion near Moreton-in-Marsh.

Mexico Deserves Global Gratitude for Swine Flu Response

I am taking this opportunity to voice a big “hear, hear” to Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, who praised Mexico’s unflinchingly meticulous response to the recent swine flu outbreak.

In an interview with the New York Times she said “the whole world should be saying, ‘Gracias, amigos,’ to the Mexicans for the tremendous sacrifice they have made…[which] may have stopped what otherwise would have been a serious pandemic”. Ms Garrett is author of “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance ” (Penguin, 1995).

Difficult times lie ahead but let’s hope Mexico will ultimately reap rewards for its handling of the crisis in the form of renewed public confidence in its government that should, in turn, encourage tourists to come back.

Guatemala’s new National Justice and Security Pact

Guatemalan authorities and diverse representatives of civil society signed a 101-point security pact on 15 April. I commented on the significance of these far-reaching reforms in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Click here for the full article.

Online, on the airwaves and on the streets

Today I’m off to Puebla in central Mexico to experience its gastronomic and cultural Baroque Festival (Festival Barroquisimo). More on that later.

It’s been a busy fortnight. On Good Friday (10 April) I was interviewed by Australia’s national ABC radio about my experiences of Mexico’s Easter (Semana Santa) celebrations. I’ll be uploading the media file once I have it.

A few days later Countryman Press commissioned me to write their first Explorer’s Guide to Belize. I’m a big fan of the bijou Central American country so I can’t wait to get to know it in greater depth.

In addition, I’ve been capitalising on my political expertise to provide comment to China’s Xinhua News Agency on landmark security reforms in Guatemala. I’ll post the link as soon as it goes live.

Happy Friday!

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Welcome to www.katejb.com. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my articles. Watch this space for my forthcoming blog.

See you back here soon,

Kate JB