Christmas in Cirencester

Christmas in CirencesterThe popularity of European Christmas markets has set a trend for our own beautiful towns and cities to follow suit.

Cirencester in Gloucestershire is a case in point. This attractive Cotswold market town is now a great place to spend a few days in the run up to Christmas and pick up some unusual gifts and decorations.

Throughout the  year the  town centre hosts regular twice weekly produce markets but  from 30 November – 16 December the area outside the imposing Parish Church of St John the Baptist is transformed into a traditional Christmas Market.  As of 2014 The Christmas Market is under review so please check with

Here you can browse along a selection of decorated wooden chalets housing  a variety of stalls selling hand made gifts, unusual jewellery, local produce and much more.

Take time out to call into the Church as they have an impressive display of Christmas trees all individually decorated by local companies. The church itself is a famous landmark and the volunteers will welcome you and happily fill you in on its long history.

For the more energetic there is the addition of a skating rink set in the Abbey  grounds just behind the church and open from 12.00 -8.00 pm each day.

The New Brewery Arts Centre, CirencesterIn addition to the Christmas market Cirencester has a great selection of individual shops and you can easily while away the hours searching for that perfect gift.

Tiny alleyways and tucked away courtyards all beckon you in with coffee shops around every corner for when a good rest is called for.

The New Brewery Arts Centre in the middle of town is a great place for a mid morning cappuccino and homemade cheese scone. As well as the popular cafe (also good for lunch) it showcases arts and crafts from local artisans and I guarantee you will be tempted by some of the delightful items on sale. Hand made cards, textiles and innovative pottery
to name a few.

Then there is the historical Corn Hall dating back to 1862 and recently refurbished to house a  Christmas Bazaar and a  Friday antiques market. The complex is also home to the famous restaurant and deli ' Made by Bob' but get the early for a table as it is very popular. There are also some lovely boutique style shops and the popular Hobbs Bakery.

The Fleece Hotel, CirencesterWith all this going on it makes sense to stay in the centre of town and as luck would have it  there is the cosy and comforting Fleece Hotel to welcome you after a long day of shopping and sightseeing.

The Fleece Hotel is a recently renovated coaching inn, has bags of character and is popular with visitors and locals alike. The atmosphere buzzes in the bar area where you can enjoy a restorative gin and tonic or warm yourself with hot chocolate ( thoughtfully served alongside a shot glass filled with maltesers- yum!). Or you can relax in front of a large log fire on comfy sofas and chairs and while away a chilly afternoon with tea and scones. The guest rooms are individual and full of character and have quality en suite facilities. The hotel serves an imaginative breakfast selection and is also popular with visitors and locals alike for a spot of lunch, or a cosy evening meal.

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Sally Dowling

Travel writer

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