Cirencester was an important early Roman settlement, on a par with St. Albans and Colchester. Originally named Corinium Dobunnorum, it was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. Evidence of the Roman presence is everywhere and can be seen at the town’s Roman Amphitheatre and The Corinium Museum (see below).
Today, Cirencester is a thriving market town with a population of more than 19,000 people ideally located off the A419 between Swindon and Cheltenham.
Here are some places within easy reach of the Academy that are worth visiting:
· Parish Church: Dominating the town centre skyline, parts of the huge Church of St John the Baptist (one of England’s largest) date from 1115. Behind it are the extensive grounds of Cirencester Abbey, dissolved by Henry VIII. All that remains today are the original Norman arch and parts of the abbey wall.
· Roman Amphitheatre: Another huge construction which demonstrates the importance of Cirencester in Roman Britain. The amphitheatre was built around the second century and could hold 8,000 people. The earthworks are still visible today and there are no access restrictions. A 15-minute walk from the Academy.
· The Bathurst Estate: Less than a minute from the Academy, this magnificent 15,000-acre estate incorporates Cirencester Park, open all-year round to the public and popular with walkers, runners and families on a day out. It boasts Britain’s tallest yew hedge, dating from 1700 and 33 feet (10 m) wide and 150 yards (140 m) long.
· The Corinium Museum: A much-loved neighbour of ours, a short stroll from the Academy will take you back into the world of Roman Britain at this award-winning museum. View mosaics, carvings, pottery and other objects from the period and learn more from the museum’s knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
· Brewery Arts Centre: Town centre venue jammed with the work of local artists, makers, craftspeople and designers. Meet the makers themselves and buy direct at the centre’s studios before enjoying coffee or lunch at the onsite restaurant.