Are you visiting Cirencester as part of your family trip to England? Then you’ll want to read this guide on all the best things to do in Cirencester with kids!
Cirencester is a market town in the County of Gloucestershire and is the largest town in the Cotswolds. During medieval times, the town was booming and became a wealthy centre in the region – which is why you’ll see so many beautiful stone buildings around town.
Prior to medieval times, Cirencester was linked to the Romans, which you’ll see at the Corinium Museum as well as the Roman Amphitheatre.
With such a rich history and picturesque streetscape, there are some lovely things to do Cirencester offers for families. Cirencester attractions include museums, parks, alleyways and courtyards to explore and beautiful old buildings to admire.
There are also a number of things to do near Cirencester too with villages such as Castle Combe, Bibury, Bourton on the Water and Bath nearby, as well as family friendly attractions like Sudeley Castle, Cogges Manor Farm, Blenheim Palace, Broadway Tower and Cotswold Farm Park.
London is two hours by car from Cirencester, so you can easily make a day trip. If you’re planning on spending a few days in the Cotswolds, Cirencester makes the perfect base given its proximity to so many attractions in the area.
Whether you plan to spend the day or a few days, this Cirencester things to do guide will help you make the most of your trip. The guide covers things to do with kids in Cirencester, as well as the best places to visit near Cirencester – in the surrounding area.
This guide will also provide tips on getting to Cirencester from London and suggestions on the best places to stay in Cirencester with kids.
So let’s jump straight into it and check out all the fabulous things to do and places to visit in Cirencester with kids.
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Things to do Cirencester Map
To help you plan your trip, check out the map below which shows the location of all the top things to do with kids Cirencester has as well as the things to do around Cirencester.
You can zoom in and out for a better view.
Best Things to do in Cirencester with Kids
Below we list the very best things to do and things to see in Cirencester for families.
Please note that all prices mentioned were correct at the time of writing and are in local currency. To check the rate in your currency, click here.
One of the best Cirencester places to visit is the Corinium Museum. The museum showcases the history and culture of the Cotswolds region as well as exhibits about the Roman history of the area.
An audio guide and interactive exhibits will introduce artefacts including prehistoric tools, jewellery, Roman mosaics and pottery; all of which originated from Corinium, which is now modern day Cirencester. It even has an Iron Age dog skeleton! The award winning museum holds regular events such as talks and workshops.
It is a must visit for anyone interested in Roman history or who wants to find out more about the Cotswolds and it is one of the fun things to do in Cirencester for kids.
There is a cafe, shop and toilets on site.
Location: Park Street, Cirencester
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday 2 pm to 4 pm
Price : Adults £7.40 | Kids (5 – 16) £4.70 | Family (2A+4C) £19.55 | Under 5’s free
Church of St John the Baptist and the Abbey Grounds
If you are looking for historic places to go in Cirencester, the ornate Church of St John the Baptist dates back to mediaeval times. It is one of the largest parish churches in England and is colloquially known as the ‘Cathedral of the Cotswolds.’
Visitors can enter and explore the church using written guides and from March to October, guided tours of the church are available at 10.45 am or 2.30 pm.
Highlights of the stunning church include the fan vaulting, the elegant 16th century nave and the 15th century stone pulpit.
On selected dates in July and August, it is also possible for adults and kids over 12 to climb the church tower for fantastic views over Cirencester. It costs £5 for adults and £3 for over 12’s. See the church website for upcoming climb dates.
The adjacent Abbey Grounds is a large, pleasant park containing the ruins of the 12th century St. Mary’s Abbey. There is a small lake and a bandstand hosting live concerts in the summer months. It is ideal for a run around after visiting the church.
Location: Market Place, Cirencester
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 or 5 pm
Explore Market Place
Cirencester’s central Market Place is an attractive square lined by several historic buildings, independent shops and cafes.
It has hosted a Monday and Friday charter market for hundreds of years (the market was mentioned in the Doomsday Book) and also holds a Farmers Market twice a month plus an arts and crafts market once a month.
It is a good place to grab a coffee and watch the world go by or to pick up locally made souvenirs.
Location: Market Place in front of St John the Baptist Church, Cirencester
Cirencester Park is a large 8 kilometre park in the centre of town. It is a great place for a picnic, a runaround or to escape the busy town centre and is part of the working Bathurst Estate.
There is an Italian Garden and a Temple Garden, a privately owned mansion house, a lake and woodland areas to explore. On a summer day, it is a great place to spend a few hours.
Location: Walk from the town centre to the gates at Cecily Hill.
Hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Cirencester Amphitheatre is one of the places to see in Cirencester for history buffs. It is also one of the best free things to do in Cirencester.
The earthwork remains are what is left of one of the largest amphitheatres that the Romans ever built in Britain. It was able to hold 8,000 spectators.
At the oval amphitheatre today, you can see huge 25 foot high earthen banks that once held the tiered seating for spectators. It is a pleasant place for a picnic and kids will love running up and down the hills.
The site will give you a sense of how big the Roman games must have been and if you like Roman history, the amphitheatre is well worth visiting.
Location: Between Cotswold Avenue and Cirencester Hospital, Cirencester
Hours: Daily from dawn till dusk
Chedworth Roman Villa
If you are visiting Cirencester to do Roman sites, Chedworth Villa is a must visit. It is one of the best tourist attractions near Cirencester and is situated in Yanworth, a short 20 minute drive from Cirencester.
The villa was built in the 2nd Century AD and is one of the best preserved Roman villas in the U.K.
You can see the remains of the villa, its two bathhouses and a water shrine to get a sense of the scale and grandeur of the original villa. You can also walk along suspended walkways to see incredibly preserved in situ mosaics.
A visit to the adjacent visitor centre and museum will bring the ruins to life. Exhibits and artefacts such as pottery and jewellery will explain what life was like in Roman times. Guided tours are available.
Make sure you leave time in your schedule to explore the villa’s pretty gardens.
There is a cafe, shop and picnic area on site.
Location: Near Yanworth, Cirencester
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm
Price: Adults £12 | Kids under 16 £6 | Family (2A+2C) £30
Best Things to do with Kids near Cirencester
As well as the things to see in Cirencester, if you have your own vehicle, there are also several family places to visit around Cirencester worth visiting too.
Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm is a historic farm and museum in Witney about a 40 minute drive from Cirencester. The farm is set on a 13th-century manor house and is surrounded by a working farm, gardens, and woodland.
Generally, the most popular activity with the kids is meeting the farm animals. Animals that call the farm home include goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. As well as meeting the animals the kids can talk to the volunteers that care for them and learn more about the animals.
A walk through the manor is also a must where you can learn about its history and the various families that once lived there – some 1000 years ago. It is a beautiful home with various rooms set up as they may have once been at various times.
Families are also encouraged to explore the 17 acres of gardens and there is a playground for the little ones. There is also a cafe on site for lunch and snacks.
A visit to the farm is one of the fun family attractions near Cirencester and makes for a fantastic day trip for the family.
Location: Cogges Manor Farm, Church Ln, Witney
Hours: Daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Price: Adults £9 | Child £6 (3-16) | Kids under 3 free | Family Pass (2A+3C) £28
Another one of the places to go near Cirencester is Blenheim Palace. This large country house is located in Woodstock, just a 50 minute drive from town and is an excellent attraction for families with a range of activities for the kids to enjoy.
Most famously known as being the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, today Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally built in the early 18th century as a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his military victories over the French.
The palace is set within 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens and is surrounded by a lake. It is considered one of the finest examples of English Baroque architecture and is known for its grand interiors and impressive art collection.
A tour of the palace is a must – kids will learn about the palace’s history as well as how people once lived here. On display are photographs, letters and diary entries that provide a glimpse into a world so long ago.
Families can also take a long walk wandering through the 150 acres of formal gardens. There are some beautiful gardens to explore such as the Lavender Garden, the Secret Garden, the Water Terrace and most importantly for kids – the Walled Garden. The Pleasure Garden has a Butterfly House, maze and playground. There is a cafe here too.
Other activities you can do include hiring a rowing boat, taking a ride on the miniature train and exploring the various special exhibitions.
Location: Woodstock OX20 1PP
Hours: Hours change for different attractions and seasons – so best to check directly
Price: Adults £43 | Child £28 (3-16) | Kids under 3 free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £98
Cotswold Farm Park
Just a short 30 minute drive from Cirencester is Cotswold Farm Park – a working farm home to a range of animals, including cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens. It’s a great place to take the kids where they can learn about farm life and the animals that live there.
The popular family attraction was founded by farmer and television presenter Adam Henson and is known for its commitment to conservation and sustainability. The farm is home to a range of rare and endangered breeds of farm animals, which families can learn about during their visit.
Specifically for the kids, they can meet the farm animals at the Animal barn and the Discovery Barn. The Discovery Barn is home to the farm’s smallest animals such as baby chickens, guinea pigs, piglets and more. And grab some snacks and check out some of the rare breeds in the paddocks.
The kids will love the Adventure Barn which has a huge indoor sandpit, soft play area, ride on toys and more. There’s a cafe here too so the parents can have a break too. Other play areas include the outdoor playground, the muddy kitchen and bouncy pillows.
Cotswold Farm Park is perfect if you’re after family days out near Cirencester.
Location: Guiting Power, Cheltenham
Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 3 pm
Price: Adults £12.50 | Child £12 (4-15) | Child £7.5 (2-3) | Kids under 2 free
Just a 35 minute drive from Cirencester is Sudley Castle, another fabulous attraction in the Cotswolds to take the kids. The castle dates back to the 10th century and offers a range of activities and attractions for kids.
The Castle has a long and varied history, having served as a royal palace, a fortification, and a private residence and linked to some of the most famous English monarchs, including Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey, Katherine Parr, Elizabeth I and Charles I.
While visiting Sudeley, a tour of the Castle is a must! You can tour the castle’s west wing which is home to a number of rooms as well as special exhibitions with a range of items of historic significance on display.
Families are also encouraged to explore the castle’s 10 award winning gardens which include a playground for the kids. Other interesting places to explore include St Mary’s Church where Katherine Parr – the last wife of Henry VIII is buried.
Location: Sudeley Castle & Gardens GL54 5LP
Hours: Daily 11 am to 4 pm during Spring to October
Price: Adults £19.50 | Child £8.75 (3-15) | Kids under 3 are free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £48
Broadway Tower is a castle-like folly built in the 18th century as a summerhouse for the Earl of Coventry. It is set within a large estate and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland and is just a 40 minute drive from Cirencester.
Families visiting the tower will explore a range of historic rooms and exhibits with the help of a multimedia guide. Through stories, you’ll learn about the daily life of the people that once lived and worked at the tower. Then from the top of the tower, you’ll enjoy stunning views across the countryside.
Also on the grounds of the Broadway Tower is a bunker, fifteen feet below the ground from the Cold War. On certain days you can take a 45 minute guided tour into the bunker which has been restored to what it would have been during the 1980s. Only children 10+ are allowed into the bunker.
There is a cafe on site for lunch and snacks too.
Location: Middle Hill, Broadway WR12 7LB
Hours: Generally daily from 10 am to 5 pm – but does change during seasons
Price: Adults £5 | Child £3 (10-14) | Kids under 10 free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £14
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. The castle has a long and varied history, having served as a royal palace, a fortification, and a private residence. A visit to the castle makes for a great day out with the kids and is an hour’s drive from Cirencester.
There is a range of activities, tours and shows to see at the castle – so I recommend as soon as you get there to make a bit of a plan, so you don’t miss out on anything you want to do. Don’t miss a tour of the castle which includes interactive exhibits so you’ll learn about the people who once lived there as you go. You can take a guided tour or wander through on your own.
Walking along the castle’s defensive walls is also a lot of fun. The kids can use their imagination – checking for invaders, while parents can enjoy the stunning views.
Throughout the day there are frequent shows and demonstrations so the kids can learn about different medieval activities. You can see birds of prey, bowman shows, watch things being catapulted far distances and live shows where actors really bring to life what once went on in the castle.
There is also a great playground on site for the young ones, as well as a maze and cafe for lunch.
No matter how old your kids are, there really is something for everyone at Warwick Castle – it makes for a fabulous day out.
Location: Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm
Price: £37 per person | Under 3s are free – click here to purchase tickets online
Visit Bourton on the Water
Bourton on the Water is one of the most popular villages to visit in the Cotswolds. It is a small village known for its beautiful setting, historic buildings, and picturesque river which runs through the village. Situated just a 25 drive from Cirencester, it is the perfect place for a day trip with the family.
There is plenty to do in the gorgeous village. Popular things to do for families include visiting the Cotswold Motor Museum, exploring the Model Village, visiting the Bird Wildlife Park, getting lost at the Dragonfly Maze and simply exploring the picturesque village.
Visit Stow on the Wold
Stow on the Wold is a market town in Gloucestershire on the top of a 800 foot hill – the highest town in the Cotswolds. Once home to a booming wool industry, Stow on the Wold was famous for its huge annual fairs where up to 20,000 sheep were sold at any one time.
These days, people visit Stow on the Wold for its charming streetscape, old pubs, boutiques and its rumoured links to Lord of the Rings.
Stow on the Wold is just a 30 minute drive from Cirencester so makes for a nice drive with the kids.
Visit Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon is worth spending a few days, but if you’ve only got a day – being an hour’s drive from Cirencester, a day trip is very doable. Of course, being famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, this historic market town has plenty of things to do for families.
Most people visiting Stratford Upon Avon will want to visit a number of the Shakespeare sites. Sites include Shakespeare’s Birthplace (where Shakespeare was born and grew up), Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (the home of Shakespeare’s wife), Shakespeare New Place (Shakespeare’s home until he died), Mary Arden’s Farm (the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother), Shakespeare’s School (where he went to school – one of our favourite attractions in Stratford Upon Avon).
A must for families is a visit to Tudor World where the kids can dress up and experience what life was like during the Tudor period. Other great family attractions in Stratford Upon Avon include a boat cruise down the River Avon, a visit to the Butterfly Farm, the MAD museum and the Magical Alley.
Visit Castle Combe
When you visit Castle Combe, you’ll soon understand why this fairytale-like village is part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Considered one of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is a must for families touring the area.
The village is home to a number of historic landmarks, including the 14th-century St. Andrew’s Church and the Castle Combe Manor House, which dates back to the 12th century. The village also has a number of pubs, shops, and restaurants, making it a popular place to stop for a meal or a drink.
Castle Combe is a 40 minutes drive from Cirencester, so it can be a great day trip or a stopover when travelling to or from town.
Bibury is a small village just outside Cirencester in the County of Gloucestershire. The village is considered one of the most beautiful in the Cotswolds due to its row of 14th century postcard perfect cottages, famously known as Arlington Row.
While wandering around the picturesque town situated along the banks of the River Coln is one of the Bibury attractions in itself, other things to do Bibury offers include visiting the trout farm, enjoying a tasty lunch in an old pub, walking along the river and crossing an old footbridge.
Tewkesbury is a medieval market town in the North of Gloucestershire. Famous for its medieval black and white streetscape with half timbered buildings, narrow alleyways and beautifully carved doorways, most of the town lies in a conservation area and has over 350 buildings listed as having historic interest.
Thanks to its fascinating medieval history – there are some interesting things to do Tewkesbury has for families. While getting lost exploring the alleyways is one of the Tewkesbury attractions in itself, other Tewkesbury things to do include visiting one of the several museums, visiting the Tewkesbury Abbey, taking a self guided tour to explore the town and historic buildings and shopping in the various boutiques.
Tewkesbury is about a 40 minutes drive from Cirencester.
Bath is located in a valley in the Cotswolds surrounded by rolling hills and home to beautiful architecture, which includes a number of Georgian townhouses. Famous of course for its Romans Baths, other attractions include the Royal Crescent, the Bath Abbey, and the Museum of Bath Architecture.
Other places worth visiting include the Jane Austen Centre, the Holburne Museum, and the Thermae Bath Spa. Bath is also home to a number of excellent restaurants, pubs, and shops, making it a great place to visit for food and shopping.
Bath is an hour’s drive from Cirencester making a day trip very doable.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Bath (coming soon).
How to get from London to Cirencester
Self driving from London to Cirencester takes around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic. The most direct route is to take the A4 from central London to meet the M4 motorway on the outskirts of the city. Follow the M4 towards Swindon and exit at Junction 15 onto the A419 which will bring you to Cirencester.
If you do not have a car, the next best option is to take the train from London to Cirencester. Catch a train from London Paddington Station to Kemble, a journey of just over one hour. In Kemble, catch a local bus from outside the post office to Cirencester, a short journey of around 10 minutes. The whole journey should take 1 hour 40 minutes.
You can also catch a direct coach from London Victoria Station to Cirencester which will take around 2.5 hours.
Getting Around Cirencester
Cirencester is a small town and as most Cirencester tourist attractions are within a short distance of each other the best way to get around Cirencester is by foot. For example, walking from Cirencester Market Place to the Corinium Museum only takes 3 minutes.
If your accommodation doesn’t have parking, there is a pay and display car park at Abbey Grounds, The Beeches, Old Station Car Park and The Forum. Parking is free from 6 pm to 8 am and all day Sunday. There is very limited free on street parking in Cirencester.
If you want to travel to locations around Cirencester but don’t have a car, there is a local bus and a taxi service available.
Best Places to Stay in Cirencester for Families
Looking for the best places to stay in Cirencester for families? Below, we’ve covered our top three recommendations. These accommodation options offer great value for money and are in excellent locations for sightseeing around town.
Barrel Store is one of the cheap hotels in Cirencester, in fact, it is actually a hostel – but don’t let this deter you. This is a super stylish hostel where families will feel comfortable. Plus it is smack-bang in the centre of town, with everything on your doorstep – restaurants, shops, cafes, museums.
Family rooms sleep 4 in 2 bunk beds with your own private bathroom. Whilst the rooms are basic, there is a large communal kitchen with many tables so you can enjoy your family meals without sharing with others. The kitchen is fully equipped, including a fridge to store meals and a large table with comfy chairs.
Even though this is cheap accommodation Cirencester has on offer, it doesn’t skimp on the furnishings. The beautiful craft features throughout include locally-made warm woollen throws, artisan-made chairs and light shades; even the bunks are shaped by the hands of traditionally trained welders.
My Place Go is one of the cheap hotels near Cirencester town centre, at only 400 metres away you can walk there within minutes. However, if you’ve driven into town, you’ll be pleased to know that the parking at My Place Go is free.
Larger families will love the stylish mews 3 bedroom house accommodating up to 6 guests. Two of the rooms come with double beds, and the third room has 2 single beds. When you want to get the family together, there is an outdoor gated courtyard or a lovely living room with lounges and a dining table to share meals.
Meals can be prepared in the fully equipped kitchen with an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster. And once you’ve finished dining, you can throw everything in the dishwasher to clean. The property also comes with a washing machine.
Centrally located in the middle of town, the Kings Head Hotel is a modern and moody boutique hotel. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘Hotel’ in the name, as they offer apartments perfect for families.
The 2 bedroom apartments come with a double bed in each room, a bath in the bathroom – perfect for washing littlies when travelling, and you don’t even have to use the bath as a makeshift laundry, as the apartments come with a washing machine so you can wash your clothes in comfort.
The fully equipped kitchen has all the appliances you need to cook up a storm, however if you want the night off cooking, you can indulge at the onsite restaurant or grab a lighter meal from the Corn Hall Deli or the alfresco Courtyard. And if it’s just a beverage you’re after, you can grab teas and coffees to wines and mocktails at The Terrace. If you can find a babysitter, adults can indulge at the Vaulted Spa, offering relaxing spa treatments.
Hopefully you found this guide to things to do in Cirencester helpful. Other great guides which you may also find helpful include things to do in Bath with kids (coming soon), things to do in London with kids or the best London hotels for families (coming soon).