If you are in England, there are many reasons to visit Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire of Roman origin, first it is in the Cotswolds, the magnificent area of homes and hills. It offers a great starting point for exploring the area, and it is not for nothing that it is often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds
Despite being a relatively small disadvantage approx. 20 thousand inhabitants, it’s a kind of centre for local public transport, from here you can go almost anywhere in the Cotswolds by bus. It is approximately 20 kilometres from Cheltenham, in an area famous for its beautiful English countryside. It does not have a very exciting evening and nightlife, as you can imagine given the size of the town, but you will find many typical and interesting clubs.
Cirencester has an ancient history, period one of the first Roman towns together with Chichester, London and St Albans Actually at that time it was the second-largest city after London. The Romans called it Corinium Dobunnorum. An important period during the Roman period but also in the Middle Ages when, like so many other places in England, it became rich by trading wool.
The Roman amphitheatre remains, at least in part, with its unmistakable shape even if covered by grass. You can visit it for free whenever you want.
It is said that it could contain 8000 spectators and therefore period, from what we know, the largest in Roman England. It was abandoned for centuries after the Romans left, but it seems that it was used in the Middle Ages for fights between bulls.
If you are interested in Roman history and art you can visit the Corinium Gallery You will find reconstructions, video clips and interactive shows that bring history to life. Among the highlights are some beautiful floor mosaics, found in the area and including a mosaic from the 300 created by the inhabitants of Roman Britannia, depicting the mythical lyre player Orpheus. For more information, you can consult the website
There are also a couple of old Roman villas and other Roman artefacts in the Cirencester area that you can visit, although unfortunately, no trace remains of the Roman Forum and basilica.
Historic buildings in Cirencester
Later the Anglo-Saxons took possession of the town until the arrival of the Normans in 1100.
The Middle Ages were a good period for Cirencester, which became an important centre for the trade-in wool and textiles. In that period, it was built a large abbey, which Henry VIII later had destroyed. Now you can only see some ruins. The beautiful Gothic-style church still remains.
Cirencester continued to thrive as a stopping place for carriages and travellers and later connected to the rest of the country by canals it continued to see a continuous passage of goods and people.
Cirencester is home to the oldest agricultural university in all English-speaking countries and the oldest Baptist church in the UK. You can also visit the vast park with the rental property of the Bathurst family, an old noble family of counts. You can visit the park for free (although now they intend to introduce a fee for non-residents) and see the tallest hedges in the UK.
This small Gloucestershire town is located not far from the River Thames, but it is not the only river in the area, in fact, it is crossed by the River Churn which is a tributary of the river that passes by London.
Now if you want to go there for tourism it has the advantage of not being full of tourists like some nearby places, despite having a nice centre, medieval and Victorian situation. For some strange reason, it still hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism.
Cirencester has so many interesting and unique shops and getting on purchasing here is a real pleasure. Only exploring the narrow streets of the centre with the many small shops can make you spend hours.
The courtyards with their individual style and the numerous historic streets radiating from the city centre. Cirencester is renowned for its very special shops, individual stores, charming antique shops and artisan shops, as well as national chain stores. Try to get off the main streets and explore the old historic streets, don’t miss The Woolmarket located off Dyer Road and Secure Lawn, accessed via the delightful Black Jack Road. You can also discover some hidden coffee shops or tearooms.
How to get to Cirencester?
National Express has frequent and cheap bus services from London and other cities in England. It is advisable to stay there at least 3 days to be able to explore the Cotswolds area a little.