Mini guide to Cirencester
Located on the southern fringes of Gloucestershire, Cirencester is the largest
true Cotswold town and also the most modern, being full of beautiful architecture,
exciting markets and lively nightlife. The 'Capital of the Cotswolds' is a great
base from which to explore this scenic region.
The 15th century parish church of St John the Baptist dominates Market Place,
Cirencester's heart. The magnificent flying buttresses which support the tower
had to be added when it was discovered that the foundations of the church were
unsound. Its huge three-tiered south porch leads to the nave, where slender
piers, soaring arches and lovely windows create a wonderful sense of ambiance.
North of the chancel, superb fan vaulting hangs overhead in the chapel of St
Catherine, who appears in a still vivid fragment of a 15th century wall painting.
The famous Market Place market is opened on Monday and Friday. The architecture
lining the north and south sides of the square are fascinating; the north being
dominated by 18th century structures, while the south is made up of grand Victorian
buildings. To absorb other remnants of the town's medieval heritage, take a
pleasant stroll along Park, Thomas and Coxwell streets, featuring houses dating
from the 17th and 18th centuries. Be sure to stop in at the Corinium Museum
on Park Street, which houses one of the largest Roman collections in Britain,
including stunning mosaic pavements.
Cirencester has an excellent range of accommodation to suit all budgets, as
well as some great restaurants such as the Café Bar, Harry Hare's and
the Crown of Crucis. Also, there are plenty of lively pubs, the most popular
being Kings Head, Waggon & Horses and Butcher's Arms. For relaxation during
the day, head for the Abbey Grounds, a small park on the banks of the Churn
River which boasts one of the best views of St John the Baptist Church and a
fragment of the ancient Roman city wall.
The limestone hills of the Cotswolds are incredibly scenic and filled with
countless charming villages. The use of the local limestone in Cotswold architecture
is a strong unifying characteristic of the region, and its colour ranges from
a deep golden tone in Chipping Campden to a silvery grey in Painswick. There
are excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, with pleasant walks in the
gentler valleys and more rigorous hikes along the dramatic escarpment which
marks the boundary with the Severn Valley. A long-distance path called the Cotswold
Way runs along the top of the ridge, stretching about one hundred miles from
Chipping Campden past Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud as far as Bath. A number
of prehistoric sites provide added interest along the route, with some - such
as Belas Knap near Winchcombe - being well worth a diversion.
Cirencester is easily reached from London via the M4 motorway, with the A419
leading into the town. Buses and coaches provide convenient links to nearby
towns and cities, as well as more distant destinations. The nearest airports
are Lyneham and Gloucester.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Stratton House Hotel
The Fleece Hotel
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking