Cirencester is a small town located in Gloucestershire, and makes up part of the famous Cotswolds.
Things to see and Do
Cirencester itself is a beautiful town, with cobbled streets and a mismatch of old buildings - most made out of the famous Cotswold Stone, it is lovely to wander round for sightseers, and there is plenty of other things to do too:
Shopping - Despite its size, Cirencester boasts quite a large number of high street shops, including Monsoon, House of Frazer, M&S, New Look and Dorothy Perkins.
There is also a wide selection of boutique shops, ranging from kitchen stores, to toy shops, and Henleys is a great old fashioned sweet shop (They often also give freebies to taste at the door, so always worth a look!)
There is Lick the Spoon - a chocolaterie that has won numerous awards, and French Grey interiors, a lovely interior design shop selling various gifts and knick-knacks.
There is also the Corn Hall, which contains a number of small shops including a delicatessen and a wine shop, and holds a weekly Craft market where locals sell their arts and crafts.
Things to see
Bathurst Estate is a privately owned estate, but is open to the public 9-5pm. It boasts a lovely park walk and several different paths through woodland, and for the energetic - you can walk the 4-5 mile trek to the neighbouring village of Sapperton, which has a delightful pub called 'The Bell'.
The estate also regularly holds polo matches, which you can sit and enjoy, as well as a cricket match.
Cirencester also boasts a Victorian outdoor swimming pool - which I braved this summer when it was scorching. Although it boasts being 'heated', it is probably just under body temperature, but it is very pleasant (And chlorine free). Adults cost £4 to enter, but a word of warning - it becomes very crowded during the school holidays. Also be aware that it closes Sept-May.
This museum is an interesting trove of information on Cirencester's history, and includes lots of information on the Romans, and there occupation of the area. Highlights include a beautiful Roman mosaic tiled floor that has been restored, and I found it to be quite kid friendly, with a number of interactive activities. It cost around £5 each to get in. It is quite a small museum, but a nice enough way to spend an hour.
Where to Eat
A popular lunch time spot is the deli Made By Bob, it is definitely for the 'foodie' types, and while the menu is pretty limited, the food is delicious, and always uses fresh ingredients. Meals are reasonably priced (...for Cirencester!), but it does get VERY busy at lunchtime.
For something a bit different there is 'He Says She Waffles' a waffle house that serves both sweet and savoury waffles, as well as a range of yummy milkshakes - perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
My personal fave is 'Graze' - an upmarket pub steakhouse that has a fantastic menu, and while it is a bit on the expensive side, it always has a good range and generous portions. They regularly seem to change the menu, and like to use fresh and local produce. The staffs is always very friendly and I have never had a bad meal/experience going there.
This is another upmarket pub, which again regularly changes its menu, although the food probably isn't as great as Graze, I have found the Bear to be very accommodating, happily amending the menu for my mum (who is gluten intolerant). Desserts are fantastic here, the caramel popcorn ice-cream is a must!
There are too many nice eateries to mention, as well as the chain Pizza Express, there is also a great Thai called 'Thai Emerald' and 'Rasoi' is a reasonably priced Indian restaurant too.
Downsides to Cirencester
The one bug bear is parking! Being such a small town, but being very popular, it is always a nightmare parking, and all of the car parks are extortionate (£6 per day!). There is one car park at the back of the cathedral which is free 6pm-8am on weekdays, and free all day Sunday. On a Saturday I would suggest trying your luck outside the town - by the Whiteway rugby club is an okay spot, and a 2 minute walk from the centre of town.
Overall Cirencester is a beautiful town, ideal for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Cirencester is the capital of the Cotswolds. It is a very beautiful town with all the houses and buildings built of cotswold stone. You will only see cotswold stone buildings and different coloured houses will not be tolerated!
The first thing you will see and notice about Cirencester is the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist. This is right in the town centre and looks over everything. It is the largest Parish Church in the country. It has an amazing three story porch and a 15 century tower that every so often is open for climbers.Anne Boleyns silver gilt chalice is here and a very secluded churchyard. The architecture is something that is worth coming to Cirencester alone.
Near the Church is the Abbey Grounds. Here was Augustinian abbey of St. Mary. Its extent on the ground is picked out but only the Norman gateway arch of 1180s remains in the north east corner of what is now pleasure grounds. Near here you will see a lot of wild fowl on the lake. It is an ideal place to picnic during the summer.
I must admit that I have not been in this since it re opened but it is worth a visit. Has many things of life in Roman Britain and the Anglo Saxons and of the wool trade which Cirencester was very famous for.
Prince Charles helped to get grant for work on the museum. It was completely gutter and then redesigned. 60,000 visitors go here a year so it must have something going for it.
As a building this has a distinctive doorway of classical moulding and decorative motifs. Every Friday there is an antiques market here and on Saturday a craft fair. This is really worth going to. There are many other sales here such as plants and books.
Cirencester House, home of Lord Bathurst. He does a lot for Cirencester and not just take. His house is surrounded by the tallest yew hedge in the country. It is 43 feet high and 12 feet across and was planted in 1720s.
This is the main street with the shops. Not only do they have chain shops such as Boots, Smiths, Currys etc but family businesses and the small shop keeper.
This is one of the prettiest parts of Cirencester. It is a strett that leads to the park and has some cottages at the road side with real country gardens. If you love old buildings this is definately the place to visit as there is a bit of everything here
Where the bank, post office and a few upper class shops are.
Black Jack Street.
A highly haunted street that dates back to medieval times and still has that certain feel about it although the smell is of coffee coming from Keiths tea and coffee specialist shop.
There are a couple Hotels with a lot of history attached to them such as the Fleece Hotel. Charles 11 was rumoured to have stayed here when fleeing from the Battle of Worcester. There is still a Jacobean staircase there.
This the craft centre of Cirencester with workshops, galleries and coffee shop. The workshops are all occupied by crafts people and they welcome you around to watch them making their wares and of course to buy them. This arts and craft centre is one of the top 3 in the country and the building really sets them apart. In the court yard you will see a sculture by Sophie Ryder called Conversation.There were questions of whether it was a horse or donkey with a hare and fox on its back. This is one of the most photographed in Cirencester.
Cirencester is not all "old buildings" and museums.
If you do go to Cirencester keep your eyes peeled as it is not unusual to see celebrities and even Royalty just strolling around!
To live there though is quite expensive and wages not too high!
Having our exhaust go and having to travel to town to get a new one using string to tie it up with we didnt have too great a choice where to buy a new one from as we could not drive far and had to choose the smaller town of Cirencester to us instead of a town with plenty of choice. Ringing around the few choices that we did have you would not believe the differences in the quotes we were given. Kwikfit quoted over £100, ATS quoted us over £100 plus if they could not undo the manifold bolts then it would be an additional £15.00 Ebley Tyres quoted us £75 all in. When we got to Ebleys they were waiting for the new exhaust to come from one of their other branches and told us it would be roughly an hours wait. Now here comes the nice part. They asked if we wanted to go into the town while they did it and if we did they would drive us there and pick us up unless we wanted to walk back. Asking about what if the manifold bolts would not undo they said that that would be okay and no extra charge as they just cut them away. They were ready in the hour for us. The price was what they quoted. Now that is what I call good service.