INTELLECTUAL & GASTRONOMICAL PURSUITS PART 2 – CIRENCESTER
Following from Wifey and I’s previous adventures in Oxford, we journeyed further to the west with a visit to Cirencester. Cirencester is a market town nestled in the southern part of the Cotswolds and was the second largest Roman city in Britain…
After a quick stop and shop in Cirencester, we headed to our hotel about 9 miles east in the little village of Coln St Aldwyns. Our bed for a few nights was the 16th Century New Inn.
Ran by the company behind Cripps Venues, it’s their first venture into the Inn trade. After being warmly greeted by the team and their lovely dog, we were shown to Room 15 (Ampney Crucis) in the dovecote:
Set away from the main pub, it has its own private courtyard which I can imagine is lovely to sit out and enjoy a coffee in the morning or a beer in the evening during the summer months.
The room itself was very spacious and came equipped with the mod cons of a TV, Ipod dock/DAB radio, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle with Teapig tea bags. Phone signal is no great (we’re in the middle of the countryside, of course!) but there is free Wi-Fi to make up for it. The room was tastefully decorated with a red theme, simple and elegant with some beautiful rustic pieces. The heavy curtains certainly blocked out the cold during the nights! The bathroom area was split in two with his and her sinks leading off the bedroom, and the bath/shower and toilet in the adjoining room. Complimentary toiletries and fresh white towels were provided, which is always a nice touch. Not sure why there was a mirror right next to toilet, though. Maybe there used to be a sink where the toilet is now?
Coincidentally, our arrival coincided with guest streetfood pizza providers Baz and Fred, who are taking over every Wednesday, cooking pizzas using Chadwick ovens rather than than a traditional brick oven. These novel little cookers reach 500 degrees celsius in about 10 minutes and once up to heat can cook a pizza in a touch over 3 minutes.
I chose a chorizo, oregano & basil pizza whilst Wifey went for a prosciutto, garlic & parsley, portobello mushroom and rocket, accompanied by a side salad or rocket, avocado, cherry tomato, parmesan shavings and house dressing.
The pizza base we delightfully light and crispy with finely grated mozzarella and parmesan with what i suspected to be a plum tomato base. My chorizo pizza was nice and spicy with the underlying smokiness of paprika coming through. Wifey’s proscuitto pizza had plenty of meat, but a touch too much rocket for me, the portobello mushrooms were plump and juicy.
The next day it was back in for breakfast I opted for a full english whilst Wifey plumped for Eggs Beni…
Alongside a good selection of cereals, pastries and fruits, our breakfasts were cooked perfectly and made with highest quality ingredients. Perfect for a day of long walks and exploring.
Post breakfast we returned to Cirencester and went for a walk in Cirencester Park. Based in the estate of Earl Bathurst it’s know for the world’s largest yew tree hedge and has some great walks. Thought it was a January morning and mid week the park was surprisingly busy (not that you can see from the pictures).
Post burning off breakfast with our walk, it was back into town to recharge with waffles and icecream at He Says, She Waffles.
We shared a S’more Waffle which was a waffle topped with melted white chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It was very nice, with a fresh made waffle soft marshmallow and not over sweet with delicious vanilla ice cream. If you’re in Cirencester and need a pick me up I recommend it!
Our afternoon was spent in the Corinium Museum. We in not expecting much for a small market town but we were surprised how informative, interactive and entertaining the museum was.
We spent at least two hours looking at the mosaics and artifacts, and even had a go at making a mosaic ourselves!
Post museum we popped into another Cirencester must visit, Bib Gourmand Made by Bob. Wifey, as always, had done her research and made sure we visited this little gem in the town centre.
We only had time for a slice of cake and cup of tea, however next time we’re in the area we’d definitely be back for a larger repast. Wifey had a choccy cake and I chose a white chocolate and pistachio cake. Both were delicious and both were gone in a matter of moments!
We did a little more shopping in the town centre and then back to The New Inn for our evening meal
For starters I had a sumptuous chicken liver parfait whilst Wifey had a very rich and creamy tomato soup. To accompany this Wifey had her traditional rose, but I had something a little unique. Billed as a “sipping beer” it was a little different than my usual IPA and went down great with the food! I was also glad to note they made special care to mention their meat came via Aubrey Allen. You can read previously my thoughts on Aubrey Allen produce here.
For mains Wifey had Fish and Chips and I went for their pie of the day which was a delightful game pie with mash and veg. Both were well cooked and beautiful with the battered fish wifey’s highlight and mine being the heavenly mustard sauce and pastry!
After dinner we whiled away a few hours in the extremely comfy pub part of the premises of a pair of sofa’s next to a roaring stove fireplace and played a few of the provided board games before bed (I won!).
The morning after, it was a sad farewell in the rain and back to reality, we’d love to go again soon.
We had such a great time, better than expected.
If you think getaways should be limited to the summer only, I’d suggest trying a winter break as you’ll find a lot more to do than you might think!
When: 20/01/2016 – 22/01/2016
Where: Cirencester / Coln St Aldwyns