CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Cirencester Trading

PUBLISHED: 12:08 23 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:29 20 February 2013

Welcome to Cirencester

Welcome to Cirencester

If variety is the spice of life, the capital of the cotswolds is the place to be. Words by Katie Jarvis. Photography by Kate Brown.

SHOPPERS throughout the Cotswolds already know that Cirencester is a gem - a unique mix of individual stores. The trick is to keep it that way.

And that's where the traders come in. Like most people, they're aware there could be difficult times ahead, but they're determined to keep the town as buoyant as possible. Peter Stringfellow, owner of the toyshop Crocodile, is a committee member of Cirencester Chamber of Commerce. "We're hoping that, within the next 12 months, we will have our own town manager. Among other things, that would mean the town could be properly marketed and promoted. One of Cirencester's strengths lies in having so many smaller traders - but that also means that many of us are busy managing our own businesses with no time to look at the bigger picture. Having a town centre manager would strengthen our ability to work together."

Crocodile, which Peter and his wife, Celia, opened 23 years ago, is a prime example of the sort of shop that draws people in from far and wide - you'd have to look hard to find another independent toy shop of this quality. "Cirencester's strength is that it's a sustainable market town - you can buy pretty much anything here," he says. "It's the centre of the Cotswolds - more or less geographically as well as being the local government centre - which means it's the focus for people from all over the region. We get shoppers visiting from miles away.

"What's more, it's an employment capital with important blue-chip companies. We've got St James's Place, Mitsubishi, Corin medical, for example, as well as the colleges. It's a very rounded town."

Peter's is a long-established business; but there are other, newer, outlets which have opened here because of the town's reputation for discerning and loyal customers. The Rectory Kitchen and Cellar opened at 2 Templar Mews in Black Jack Street late last year. Catriona Whittaker has been its manager since April. She's now returning to Cape Town and, she says, she'll miss the warmth and friendliness of the place. "I've loved it here. I came straight from London, where the relationship with customers is very much service-based. Here in Cirencester, I've got such lovely 'regulars' who really appreciated everything we do. They end up not having to ask for products - we know them so well, we know what they're looking for! It's been a great town to work in."

The Cirencester Chamber of Commerce website, which includes a local business directory, is at


More from Out & about

Yesterday, 14:39

Recorded in the Domesday Book, Bicester has a rich past relating to sheep, horses, leather working, lace making and military. It’s a treat to visit somewhere new, and so it is with a first-time visitor’s perspective this postcard by Tracy Spiers is written...

Read more
Yesterday, 12:44

Celebrate the other side of Yuletide in the South Gloucestershire village of Marshfield, where on Boxing Day a curious procession from another age can be seen making its way along the High Street...

Read more
Yesterday, 12:29

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search