Cirencester - Capital of the Cotswolds
Cirencester was the second most important town only to London during Roman times. Named Corinium Dobunnorum, it extended to 250 acres and became the centre of the most prosperous area of Roman Britain. During the 6th Century fortunes changed, the Saxons destroyed the town and it was renamed ‘Coryn Ceasre’. In medieval years it became a very prosperous wool town.
Cirencester's market square is dominated by the cathedral-like Parish Church of St. John Baptist, one of the finest Cotswold wool churches. The large south porch with it's impressive fan vaulting was built about 1490 and it is a lasting symbol of the town’s wealth and influence in medieval England.
Cirencester's market town status was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. Traders still set up their stalls every Monday and Friday and since 1999 the town has had its own farmers' market. Crafts and antiques markets are also regular attractions. During December there is a Christmas Market when the town square is filled with wooden chalets selling wonderful food and unusual gifts.
The first Agricultural College in the English speaking world was founded following a meeting of the Fairford and Cirencester Farmers Club with Robert Jeffreys-Brown addressing the meeting on the 'Advantages of a Specific Education for Agricultural Pursuits'. A prospectus was circulated, a general committee appointed and Henry, 4th Earl of Bathurst became the founding president of the Royal College of Agriculture in 1845. The college was established to train young farmers in the best agricultural methods of the time and to lead the way with innovations. Cirencester continues to be known as 'The Capital of the Cotswolds'
Accommodation in Cirencester
Come to stay in Cirencester and you will be spoilt for choice from Hotels with history and charm, or Bed and breakfast & guest houses with delightful character and luxury located in and around the town. For self catering accommodation you can stay just outside of the town in farm houses & traditional Cotswold cottages. You will be assured of a warm welcome in Cirencester with accommodation that suits your requirements.
Things to do & Attractions
Corinium Museum - Leave the 21st century behind you and discover the treasures of the Cotswolds as you explore its history at this multi award winning museum. Home to one of the largest collections of Romano-British antiquities extensively from Roman Britain's second largest city. There has been a museum in the town since the 1850’s, founded and maintained by the Bathurst family, but the present site in Park Street was first used in 1938. Experience life as a Roman and marvel at the stunning mosaics. The Visitor Information Centre is located in the museum shop.
Roman Amphitheatre – A short walk from the town centre, this English Heritage site is one of the best preserved in Britain. Now grassed over it was built in the early 2nd century as part of a grand scheme of Roman town planning, and had a capacity of 8,000 spectators.
Cirencester Park – Earl Bathurst’s 3,000 acre estate designed by Alexander Pope, the public are free to wander in the extensive 19th century parkland open daily.
Abbey Grounds – These grounds, situated just off the Market Place, contain the site of St Mary’s abbey which was consecrated in 1176 in the presence of Henry II, remaining until the Dissolution in 1539 when the Abbey was completely demolished. The only remaining building is the Norman Arch situated at the north-eastern corner of the grounds.
New Brewery Arts - The centre for contemporary craft in the Cotswolds. A converted Victorian brewery housing a contemporary art gallery, craft shop and cafe, a theatre and twelve on-site maker studios, New Brewery Arts offers visitors a unique arts and crafts shopping experience.
Its central location makes New Brewery Arts a must for visitors to Cirencester, the Cotswolds, and the South West. Open seven days a week, you can drop in any day for lunch, visit the gallery, studios and craft shop - and select that very special gift.
Shopping in Cirencester with its wonderful variety of quality shops is a delight. Enjoy exploring the courtyards with their individual style, and the many historic streets radiating from the town centre. Cirencester is renowned for its very special shops, individual boutiques, fascinating antique emporiums and craft shops as well as national chain stores.
If you enjoy peaceful and pleasant surroundings as you shop, then venture off the main streets and make a point of visiting the Swan Yard, before meandering through to the Old Post Office development. Other hidden gems include The Woolmarket situated off Dyer Street and Blackjack Street with Stable yard.