Cirencester – The Capital of the Cotswolds
If you’re not already familiar with Cirencester, let us tell you a thing or two about the capital of the Cotswolds.
With plenty of history dating back to Roman times, quaint coffee shops, and a superb 13th century privately owned park – The Bathurst Estate, a trip to Cirencester will complete your Cotswolds adventure.
Only 15 miles from Stroud, Cirencester was originally the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. The former Corinium Dobunnorum (a Romano-British settlement) is now home to 18,000 people and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Looking southward across the marketplace, you’ll find Gloucestershire’s largest Parish Church right at the hub of the town. The church is renowned for its perpendicular porch, fan vaults, and merchants’ tombs. Construction started around 1115, making it a Grade 1 listed building. The building reflects architectural styles since the 12th century. For the historians among us, tours of the church are open daily from 10 am to 4 or 5 pm. From March to October there are six weekly guided tours at 10:45 am or 2:30 pm, booking is not required and it is free of charge.
The Bathurst Estate is one of the finest examples of geometric landscaping in the country. Situated to the west of the town, this is a superb example of a forest-style garden and is well worth a visit. With occupying some 3000 acres it provides an opportunity for visitors to walk in a relaxed environment. The park design is said to have been largely inspired, by baroque geometry with intentions to make it both useful and peaceful, this has certainly been achieved. It is these attributes that attract walkers to visit. Dogs are welcome, but must be well behaved and are not permitted to foul. Opening hours are from 9 am – 5 pm and admission is free, courtesy of Lord Bathurst.
Cirencester has a wealth of eating establishments in town. The Corinium Hotel and Restaurant is a short walk away from the marketplace and boasts some excellent reviews. Built in the 16th century as a wool merchant’s house, the Corinium offers a locally renowned restaurant and cozy popular bar, which are all full of Cotswold charm.
Other spots worthy of mention are the Café Mosaic, providing simple snacks, splendid sandwiches, and a rather hearty Full English breakfast. Jesse’s Bistro, an independent restaurant serving well-sourced and presented local produce. Jesse’s Bistro is also Cirencester’s only two rosette restaurants and is well worth a visit. Depending on what your heart desires, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops to treat your taste buds.
Cirencester shopping provides a unique mix of independently owned shops along with national chains. The BlackJack Street area has become a ‘must visit’ area with a variety of ‘nooks and crannies to explore. The main shopping area centers around Market Place, Dyer Street, Cricklade Street, and Castle Street. There is also a small covered shopping area called Bishops Walk and The Wool Market off Dyer Street has lots of little shops to explore.
All in all, your trip to the Cotswolds would not be complete without a trip to Cirencester. It’s a splendid day out for all the family, including your four-legged furry friend.