On Tuesday I had a lovely day out in the Cotswolds town of Cirencester with my dad. We picked Cirencester to meet up in as it’s almost exactly half way between us, and it has the added benefit of being full of Roman stuff! Most of the photos in this post were taken by my dad, Paul, who has kindly given his permission for me to use them here.
We began the day with coffee and a croissant at Jack’s, a pleasant coffee shop adjacent to the Corinium Museum. With an alluring selection of cakes and a pleasing dog-friendly policy, it was a good place to stock up on some pre-museum caffeine!
The clue to Cirencester’s past lies in its name; the ‘-cester’ indicates that it was a Roman settlement, though its name was Corinium in Roman times (hence the name of the museum). It still has a Roman amphitheatre, one of Roman Britain’s largest, though it’s grassed over now and we didn’t see it on our visit. The museum takes you through Cirencester’s complete history. There are finds from as far back as the Paleolithic period, but the main focus is on the Roman phase of the settlement’s past. These mosaics greet you as you walk in (me in the white coat):
The stars of the show were a series of mosaics, which were spectacular by Roman Britain standards (though don’t quite live up to the splendour of those I’ve seen in Rome).
I particularly liked this example, with an old drawing showing where the mosaic was uncovered.
In the Anglo Saxon part of the museum these coins were one of the highlights:
When we’d finished looking round the museum, we had lunch at a great little place called Jesse’s Bistro – carrot and cumin soup with artisan breads, washed down by a glass of Montepulciano. Just what one needs on a winter’s day.
We just had time for a wander around the church and a coffee at The Fleece before it was time to head home.
Corinium Museum website: http://coriniummuseum.org/
Entrance fee: £4.95 for adults, £2.45 for children, £4.10 for seniors and £3.30 for students. 10% discount for families.
Opening hours: April to October: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday 2 – 5pm; November to March: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 2pm – 4pm
Jesse’s Bistro website: http://www.jessesbistro.co.uk/