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Favorite Places and Spaces – Cirencester

cirencester2So let me tell you about my trip to the UK last week.  It was full of excitement (ie meeting with one of my idols, the early music expert David Skinner, to interview him for my podcast), and peace (long train journeys criss crossing the country, listening to my music in my headphones, drinking a hot chocolate and watching the scenery fly by).  I had a long day of solitude in Bournemouth, one of my favorite places, where I spent several hours perusing books in Waterstones (book perusing…something you inadvertently give up when you have a kid), wandering on the beach, and getting a lot of work done on several projects.

But a high point was my trip to Cirencester.  I’m leading a tour there next year, and I wanted to stay in the hotel we’re booking, and make sure it was as awesome as we think it is, and I can definitively say that it is.  This little gem in the Cotswolds that everyone seems to have forgotten.

cirencesterDuring Roman times, Cirencester was the second largest city in Britannia, just after London.  Now it’s this quaint little village with artisanal cheese stores, and the ancient parish church.  There are sweet winding alleys with gorgeous little shops.  I stayed at a hotel called the Fleece, which is above a pub, so you check in at the pub area, and then go up some winding steps to the rooms, just the way an ancient traveler might have stayed at an inn above a pub.  The bathtub was enormous, too.  Always a plus.  I had a wonderful evening wandering through the ancient streets, looking at the Corinium museum, where they have an amazing collection of Roman artifacts, and getting dinner.

The train journey from Gatwick airport was just under three hours with a change in Reading, though Cirencester itself doesn’t have a station – you go to Kemble and take a cab (about 10 quid depending on how well you negotiate).  The fact that it doesn’t seem to be well known only makes it more interesting.  The rooms are inexpensive (by UK standards) and everything is within walking distance.  There are dozens of gorgeous little streets and alleyways that are just begging to be explored.

Here’s what the Telegraph says about it: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destination/uk/england/114895/36-Hours-In…Cirencester.html