Cirencester, known as the Capital of the Cotswolds, is a lovely market town with a fascinating history where you will receive a warm welcome. In Roman times, Cirencester, known as ‘Corinium Dobunnorum’, was the second largest town only to London. During the 6th century fortunes changed, the Saxons destroyed the town and it was renamed ‘Coryn Ceasre’. It became a very prosperous wool town in the medieval period, which is the basis for the charming town with ancient honey coloured stone buildings in picturesque narrow streets that you can visit today. Set in the heart of the Cotswolds, Cirencester is a great town to visit and makes a delightful base for visitors wishing to explore the area. Its easy access to major road networks and mainline railway belies its charming and peaceful character.
Cirencester's market town status is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 and there are still lots markets to be enjoyed when you visit. The Market Place is the heart of the town and is home to a Charter Market (every Monday and Friday) and a Farmers’ Market (every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month). Cirencester’s Corn Hall also boasts a regular programme of markets which include a Home Fashion and Garden Bazaar (from Monday to Thursday), an Antiques and Collectables market (on Fridays) and the Original Craftsman's Market (1st and 3rd Saturdays) and the Cotswold Craft Market (2nd and 4th Saturdays).
The wonderful variety of quality independent shops makes shopping in Cirencester 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 want to take advantage of 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 the Stable Yard, which is off Blackjack Street, packed with the fantastic independent shops and cafes Cirencester is famous for.
Corinium Museum - Leave the 21st century behind you and discover the archaeology of the Cotswolds as you explore its history at this multi award winning museum. It is home to one of the largest collections of Romano-British antiquities extensively from Roman Britain's second largest city. 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. Pick up a copy of the Whereat Trail for a town walk which includes the Amphitheatre.
New Brewery Arts – Based in a converted Victorian brewery, this is an important centre for crafts in the Cotswolds. Home to a contemporary art gallery, a craft shop, on-site maker studios, and a lovely café, New Brewery Arts offers visitors a unique arts and crafts shopping experience.
Cirencester Parish Church – 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 its impressive fan vaulting was built about 1490 and it is a lasting symbol of the town’s wealth and influence in medieval England. As well as admiring the church’s architectural features, see if you can spot the silver-gilt cup which once belonged to Anne Boleyn. With regular guided tours available, a visit to the church is not to be missed.
Lovely Green Spaces
Cirencester Park – Earl Bathurst’s 3,000 acre estate was designed by Alexander Pope. Open daily, the public are free to wander in the extensive 19th century parkland accessed from the entrance gates on Cecily Hill.
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. It remained until the Dissolution in 1539, when the Abbey was completely demolished only leaving a Norman Arch and the artificial lake used by the Abbey monks. This a lovely place to picnic on a sunny day.
St Michael’s Park – Within walking distance of the town centre, this gem provides a range of facilities for all ages and includes an adventure playground, tennis courts, mini golf, croquet and boules.
Awesome Eating Out
Whether you fancy a lavish three course meal, afternoon tea, traditional pub food or a quiet drink with friends you need to look no further than the gastronomic delights of Cirencester. Cirencester has a tasty variety of eating establishments which include traditional English alongside French, Italian, Japanese, Indian and an array of warm and friendly independent cafés.
Accommodation in Cirencester
Come to stay in Cirencester and you will be spoilt for choice from hotels with history and charm, or bed & breakfast and 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 and traditional Cotswold cottages. You will be assured of a warm welcome in Cirencester with accommodation that suits your requirements.
Parking & Transport
- Car Parks
Towns & Villages
- Farmers market
- Information Centre
- Public toilets