Buildings on Park Street, Cirencester
18th-century buildings on Park Street, Cirencester

Cirencester was a bustling town during the Roman settlement of Britain, and the town retains strong ties to its past, with the award-winning Corinium Museum telling the story of the town's rich history.

Extensive excavations of the old Roman town have revealed much of the town layout, and many of the remains uncovered during excavations are on display at the Corinium Museum.

One of the most striking features to survive in Cirencester is the Roman Amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century AD. It had a seating capacity of 8000, which was more than the entire population of Corinium. Legends tell of mysterious tunnels under the site, but no evidence of these has ever been found. The amphitheatre is now run by English Heritage and is open to the public at any time.

Cirencester Park folly
A Gothic folly in Cirencester Park

The parish church of St John the Baptist is known as The Cathedral of the Cotswolds. The chief architectural glory of the church is its elaborate three-storey south porch, which, curiously, was not built for the church, but as a meeting place for the monks of Cirencester Abbey. The Abbey is gone now, a victim of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, but visitors can stroll through the Abbey Grounds beside the current parish church.

Inside the church, you can view Anne Boleyn's Cup, a 16th-century gilded silver goblet given by the unfortunate Queen Anne Boleyn to the doctor who cared for her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I.

In the Abbey Grounds public park is another Roman remain; a section of exposed town walls that stood near the Verulamium Gate, where the road from London and St Albans entered Cirencester. If you walk across the park you come to a 12th century Norman Arch, the only part of Cirencester Abbey still standing above ground.

A short walk from the market place brings you to Cirencester Park, a historic landscape garden created by the Earl of Bathurst and poet Alexander Pope. Within the Park are some of the earliest Gothic follies in England.

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About Cirencester
Address: Cirencester, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England
Attraction Type: Town
Location map
OS: SP0103
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

Cirencester Park - 0.7 miles (Garden) Heritage Rating

Corinium Museum - 0.9 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Cirencester Norman Arch - 0.9 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Cirencester, St John the Baptist - 1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Cirencester Roman Wall - 1.2 miles (Roman Site) Heritage Rating

Cirencester Roman Amphitheatre - 1.2 miles (Roman Site) Heritage Rating

Baunton, St Mary Magdalene Church - 1.3 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Daglingworth, Holy Rood Church - 1.6 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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