A smaller museum with an impressive collection of ancient objects. Corinium (Cirencester) was one of the most important cities in Roman Britain - probably second only to London, in fact.
These days Cirencester is still the largest settlement within the Cotswolds area, as strictly defined. It’s a town of a little under 20,000 people, and a good option when it’s a little rainy in the Cotswold hills, with one-off shops, restaurants, a well-stocked antiques centre and a good Oxfam bookshop.
In Roman times, the population of Corinium Dubunnorum was 10,000 or so. The town has the remnants of an amphitheatre (perhaps a little too popular with dog walkers) and, such is the wealth of the local archaeological finds, that there’s a saying: ‘scratch Gloucestershire and find Rome’.
No surprise then, that the museum punches above its weight in terms of the collection on display.
In fact there are also many prehistoric objects such as beakers, a completely intact brooch, antler picks and an exquisite sheet gold bead. It's an indication of how valued this land was in early migration and farming.
The Roman collection includes jewellery, coins and sculptures. Also some very rare of decorated saddle plates. However, it is the mosaics that especially command attention, including an utterly charming hare mosaic. However the Corinium Museum is not exclusively an ancient history lesson. There are Anglo-Saxon finger rings, Medieval carvings and Tudor coins and seals. Much more too - look out for a delicate and moving mourning ring from 1776.
All in all, this a bright, well-presented museum that is most definitely worth a visit. In some ways it’s the key to understand the area. If you’re pursuing Roman history, you might combine it with a visit to nearby Chedworth Roman Villa.
Cotswolds Finest Hotels Nearby
Hare and Hounds, Barnsley House, Village Pub, Whatley Manor and The Swan at Bibury.