The Cotswolds is well-known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and I was really excited to visit—besides admiring the best of British scenery, I jotted down a little list of things to do in Cirencester, from exploring and eating (of course) to spa-ing and shopping.
If you’re looking for a quick weekend break you could do much worse than this pretty, historic town. Here are my tips for things to do in Cirencester.
Getting to Cirencester
The nearest train station is Kemble. From there a taxi costs £10-12 (it’s best to pre-book) or you can catch a bus, though they’re infrequent (bus schedule).
Where to stay
I stayed at the beautiful King’s Head Hotel, right in the heart of Cirencester. Check out my review of the accommodation and the restaurant. (Spoiler alert: it was wonderful.)
Things to do in Cirencester
Cirencester Park, Cecily Hill | The gardens are Grade I listed and the main house is Grade II listed. Several other buildings within the park are on the National Heritage List for England.
King’s Head Hotel Spa, 24 Market Place | The express treatments are perfect if, like me, you’re only in town for a short time and want to make the most of the sights as well as indulging in a pampering session. (I was a guest of the hotel but paid for my own spa treatment).
Cirencester Antiques and Collectables Market, The Corn Hall | I sadly arrived just in time for the traders to have packed up, but there are other markets dotted around town most days.
Cirencester Amphitheatre, off Cotswolds Avenue | Corinium (now Cirencester) was the second largest Roman city in England, after London, so it makes sense that this amphitheatre was one of Britain’s biggest. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the town centre (go via the picturesque St. Peter’s Road).
Corinium Museum, Park Street | Here you’ll find a large collection of locally-found Roman objects, such as mosaics, coins and jewellery.
m.a.d.e., 9 Silver Street | One of those shops you can’t help but pop into “for a look” but accidentally leave £30 lighter. Enter at your own risk.
Eating and drinking in Cirencester
There are plenty of refuelling options in Cirencester but most places do close from 3pm until dinnertime (always shocking to a spoilt Londoner).
The King’s Head Hotel, 24 Market Place | Serving seasonal local food, afternoon tea and Sunday lunch, The King’s Head’s menu is as British as it gets (and so delicious).
Loaded Grill, Castle Street | New-ish restaurant specialising in peri peri chicken, and conveniently open right through the day.
Diversitea, Corn Hall, Market Place | As a tea addict and cake connoisseur, I had to squeeze in a visit to this café. The cream tea costs a very reasonable £4.50.
Keith’s Coffee Shop, 2 Black Jack Street | Sticking with cake, because why not, this old-fashioned shop has a little café at the back and also sells homemade treats to take away, like jams, fudge and tea blends.
Mad Hatter Wine Bar, 30 Castle Street | Friendly wine bar that has a good happy ‘hour’ offer on weeknights. There’s also prosecco on tap.
17 Black, 4 Castle Street | Trendy bar with DJs playing some days, and a variety of drinks offers on each night.
The Golden Cross, 20 Black Jack Street | Small 18th-century pub that’s literally crawling with dogs. There’s also an inn upstairs.
I didn’t get a chance to try these places (even this gal can only consume so much) but they’re also highly-rated: