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Cirencester

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Cirencester is a picturesque Cotswolds market town in the English county of Gloucestershire, some 93 miles (150 km) west of London.

Understand

Cirencester is the Roman capital of the Cotswolds, Roman Corinium. It's an ancient market town with traditional Cotswold buildings and thriving shopping centre. It's worth spending a morning here, especially on a Saturday. Every other Saturday there is a farmer's market. People are very friendly and it's easy to get in. The town is famous for its polo connections in the Cirencester Great Park, and for the Royal Agricultural College.

Get in

Cirencester has no train station, however Kemble station is 4 miles (6.4 km) away with connections to Swindon and London Paddington to the east, and Gloucester and Cheltenham to the north.

There's usually one bus an hour to Cirencester from SwindonCheltenham and Stroud.

There is a National Express Bus service to Heathrow Airport and London Victoria from the Beeches Car Park (near the town center).

Parking in Cirencester has become more expensive, but there are many car parks near the centre. There is also parking on the high street, but not on market days.

Get around

The town is small enough to walk around on foot, and was pedestrianised in early 2017.

See

  • 1 The Roman Amphitheatre, Cotswold Avenue, Cirencester. On the outskirts of the town is an original mound formation used for entertainment during Roman times. In winter the locals like to use for tobogganing! Owned by English Heritage.  
  • 2 Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester, ☏ +44 1285 655611. M-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su 2PM-5PM. Excellent visitor attraction in the town centre about the town's Roman heritage.  
  • 3 Parish Church of St John the Baptist. Called the 'Cathedral of the Cotswolds', this is an impressive large church right in the centre of the town.  
  • 4 Abbey Grounds (Behind the Church). 9AM-5PM. This is a large park that was a Catholic Abbey before its destruction by Henry VIII. 

Do

  • 1 Outdoor Swimming Pool (Near Gloucester Street). Swim outdoors in the summer 
  • 2 New Brewery Arts, Brewery Court (Off Cricklade Street - by the Brewery Car park). M-Sa 9AM-5PM; Su 10AM-4PM. A centre for contemporary craft in the Cotswolds - a gallery, shop, cafe and on-site makers studios, all open to the public. Regular workshop and events. Buildings house a lift, ramps and aerial walkways giving over 90% wheelchair access. The Barrel Store has specially adapted rooms for guests with access needs. Disabled toilet facilities are available on the ground floor. Disabled car parking is available in the adjoining car park. Assistance dogs are welcome. Free. 

Buy

There are the typical high-street chains here, but there are some good special local shops in Dyer Street, the Market Place and in Black Jack Street behind the church.

A great locally-owned fresh fish shop, New Wave, in Dyer Street, sells quality sustainable Cornish fish and shellfish, as well as homemade fishpies, fishcakes and potted shrimp.

Eat

Budget

  • Greasy Joes (On the edge of Cirencester near the large Tesco towards Swindon.). Cheap trucker fry ups. 
  • 1 West Corning Pasty Company, Cricklade Street. English chain restaurant selling warm pasties for a few pounds. Close enough to the Abby Grounds for a quick picnic on a summer day. 

Mid-range

  • 2 Pizza Express. Chain pizza restaurant. 
  • 3 Thai Emerald. 
  • 4 Tatyan's. Chinese. 

Splurge

  • 5 Jesse's Bistro, Black Jack Street, ☏ +44 1285 653387. A really good bistro experience, connected to their own butcher shop on Black Jack street. £15 and up. 
  • 6 Soushi, 12 Castle Street, ☏ +44 1285 641414, ✉ info@soushi.co.uk. Japanese restaurant with good quality fish although other ingredients such as miso seem to be instant varieties. Although not as good as your options in London, this is probably the best place in Cirencester for East Asian food. £9 and up for lunch. 

Drink

  • 1 The Crown, 17 West Market Place, GL7 2NH (facing the front of the church, it will be directly left of you), ☏ +44 1285 653206. M-Th: 11:30AM-11PM, F: 11:30AM-midnight, Sa: 10AM-midnight, Su: noon-11PM. Reasonable beer. Unexciting chain pub. (updated Sep 2018)
  • Somewhere Else, Castle Street. Pub-atmosphere bar, fantastic tapas, good late night atmosphere. Friendly. (updated Sep 2018)
  • Twelve Bells. Good food, good beer and a friendly cosy environment. (updated Sep 2018)
  • The Wheatsheaf, Cricklade St. The place to watch sport (updated Sep 2018)
  • The Oddfellows, Chester St. Refurbished but ordinary beers. Walking distance of town centre. (updated Sep 2018)
  • The Rock Nightclub!. In the shopping piazza.. Where everyone ends up; even Prince Harry has been spotted here! (updated Sep 2018)
  • The Bees Knees, Watermoor Rd. The place to watch rugby. (updated Sep 2018)
  • 2 The Black Horse (Castle Street). Real ale. Great place to meet friends. (updated Sep 2016)
  • 3 The Inn at Fossebridge, Fossebridge GL54 3JS (on A429), ☏ +44 1285 720721. Daily 12:00-23:00. 17th century coaching inn with garden dining area, dog-friendly. Has rooms, B&B double £110. (updated Jul 2020)

Sleep

Mid-range

  • The Old Bungalow Guest House. 6 quality bed and breakfast en suite rooms (2 of which are located on the ground floor). 2 self-catering properties also available. Secure gated parking and Wifi. A few minutes walk from the centre of this historic market town. 
  • Stratton House Hotel, Gloucester Road, GL7 2LE, ☏ +44 1285 651761. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Close to town, good for a break in the Cotswolds. From £45. 
  • The Old Brewhouse. The Old Brewhouse in Cirencester is a delightful 17th-century town house bed and breakfast full of charm and character, sympathetically restored and refurbished offering high quality accommodation. 
  • Le Spa Hotel, in Stratton, short walk from town centre, Cotswold Manor House with superb spa and events facilities.
  • The Fleece Hotel, High street. 1651 restaurant.
  • Village Pub, Barnsley GL7 5EF (on B4425, 100 yards north of Barnsley House Hotel), ☏ +44 1285 740421. Charming Cotswold pub with six rooms. B&B double £120. (updated Aug 2020)

Splurge

  • 1 De Vere Cotswold Water Park, Lake 6, ☏ +44 1285 864000, fax: +44 1285 864001, ✉ WaterParkReservations@devere.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Four Pillars Hotel Group. 4-star hotel and apartments on the Lakes at South Cerney, outside Cirencester. It has 328 bedrooms, 21 meeting and event suites, a spa, bar and restaurant. £58-119. (updated Dec 2016)
  • Talbot Inn, 14 Victoria Road (From centre of town, at church, head East along road two hundred yards to junction with Victoria Road), ☏ +44 1285 653760. About £100 for a double. 
  • King's Head Hotel, 24 Market Place GL7 2NR, ☏ +44 1285 700900. Town centre coaching inn, part dates back to 17th C but all given a swish makeover in 2014. B&B double from £120. (updated Jun 2020)
  • 2 Barnsley House, Barnsley, Cirencester GL7 5EE (On B4425), ☏ +44 1285 740000. Wonderful upscale country hotel and spa in 17th C manor house, great comfort, style and cuisine. No children under 14. B&B double £300. (updated Jul 2020)
  • 3 Swan Hotel, Bibury GL7 5NW (on B4425), ☏ +44 1285 740695. Lovely old hotel in 17th C coaching inn on the river side, with good dining. B&B double £200. (updated Aug 2020)

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