A weekend in Cirencester
Rated picks for an escape to the capital of the Cotswolds
Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, Cirencester is both a vibrant destination in its own right and a brilliant base for exploring all that this enduringly popular Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer.
Plan your visit with our round-up of the best things to do and places to eat and stay, all rated by the AA and/or VisitEngland.
Things to do in Cirencester
Cirencester is best explored on foot, with the market square being a great place to start. The square’s most striking feature is undoubtedly the distinctive Gothic architecture of the Church of St John the Bapist – it’s well worth taking a moment here to study the three-storey porch and magnificent perpendicular tower.
A wander south of the square will see you come across the Brewery Arts Centre. This hub of visual and performing arts is home both galleries and studios – there are also classes you can sign up for if you’re feeling extra creative.
Despite being the largest town in the Cotswolds, you’ll notice that Cirencester’s maze-like streets feel remarkably compact to walk around. Even harder, then, to picture that in Roman times Cirencester was second only to London in importance. Back then the town was known as Corinium Dobunnorum – the award-winning Corinium Museum does a brilliant job of documenting the town’s fascinating history and also houses the Visitor Information Centre.
For another surviving souvenir from the Roman occupation, take a stroll to the superb 2nd-century Amphitheatre, which is one of the largest and best preserved in the country.
Of course, Cirencester is known as the Capital of the Cotswolds for good reason. It’s hard to find a better base for exploring this ‘quintessentially English’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a short drive will see you discover a plethora of scenic walking routes, along with many a honey-coloured village.
The best things to do in Cirencester
Places to eat in Cirencester
The Cotswolds enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a foodie hotspot – and Cirencester’s culinary offerings serve only to reinforce this.