One of the oldest and most interesting towns on The Colswolds is Cirencester.
Situated on the southern Cotswolds, it is not on the normal tourist route yet the town is only 93 miles (150 km) west northwest of London. The efficient highway by-pass system routes most motorists away from the medieval town centre leaving it pedestrian friendly and uncongested.
Cirencester is close to the source of the River Thames and several delightful hidden gems of villages can be found in the vicinity.
Visitor Information Centre
The Cirencester Visitor Information Centre is located in Bingham House, 1 Dyer Street, Cirencester, GL7 2PP
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here: External Link
In 44 AD the town was known as Corinium Dubunnorum and was so large that current residents can hardly dig a vegetable plot in their garden without turning up some sort of Roman relic. The most obvious evidence of early occupation is Cirencester Roman Amphitheatre known locally as the Bull Ring.
Cirencester has always been the hub of a significant road network and a market town where local farmers have brought their sheep and wool for sale. The surrounding area is dotted with the remains of Roman Villas. The most magnificent is Chedworth Roman Villa.
Most of the major attractions are located close to each other in the centre of town – the parish church of St John Baptist, Cirencester (St John’s Cirencester), the award-winning Corinium Museum and the Abbey Grounds Park where can be seen remains of the Roman city wall.
The narrow streets of the town are full of old buildings, many of them now private homes. A Charter Market is still held in the centre of town in Market Place on Monday and Friday each week; it runs from 09:00 to 15:00 hours.
Cirencester is surrounded by delightful countryside much of it owned by the Earl of Bathurst. The Bathurst Estate is home to many of the town’s sporting facilities; it has seven polo grounds where the public are welcome to view matches sometimes involving members of the Royal family. Matches are played every Sunday during summer (May – September).
The entrance gates to Cirencester Park are on Cecily Hill, a short walk west from the Market Place. Sections of the 10,000 acre park are open to the public on foot and horseback. The Bathurst ancestral family home is hidden behind an enormous, beautifully clipped, yew hedge and not open to visitors.
Under the patronage of the Bathurst family the Cirencester area became a major centre of the Arts and Crafts Movement and many of the shops sell original work done by the finest craftsmen.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: External Link
The ring road running around the town connects with direct routes to Gloucester (A417), Cheltenham (A435), Warwick (A429), Bristol and Bath (A433).
Cirencester is an excellent location to use as a base for exploring the Thames Valley with its delightful riverside towns and villages of Lechlade-upon-Thames and Kelmscott, Fairford on the charming River Coln with its beautiful church, and the pretty village and popular film location of Castle Combe.
There are several historic houses in the vicinity including Longleat House & Animal Park and Sudeley Castle & Gardens.
Contact & Further Information
The Official Cirencester TIC is at:
Cirencester Visitor Information Centre External Link
The Cirencester Independant Infomation Centre is at:
Cirencester Independant Information Website External Link
- From London by car:
At Junction 4B on the M25 London Ring Road, take the M4 Motorway west proceeding past Reading until reaching Junction 15 - about 62 miles (99.8 km). Leave the M4 and proceed north west on A419 dual carriageway bypassing Swindon and continue to Cirencester, a distance of about 14 miles (22.5 km). In normal traffic conditions, about 1½ hours total journey time.
- From London by Coach:
National Express Coaches leave from London's Victoria Coach Station (close by Victoria Mainline Rail and Underground stations). The journey time to Cirencester can vary from just over two hours (for direct London/ Cirencester) to about 5 hours (London to Cheltenham/Gloucester/Cirencester). Mid range fares about £19. For timetable, fares and ticket books go to Web: National Express External Link
- From London by Mainline Rail:
First Great Western trains leave London Paddington station for the nearby town of Kemble located on the A429 some three miles (4.8 km) south west of Cirencester. For timetable, journey costs and times and tickets, go to Web: National Rail Enquiries External Link
Taxi's are available in Kemble for the journey from Kemble to Cirencester.
Google Map - Cirencester