Jack’s (Cirencester)


Situated in Black Jack Street, one of the most picturesque corners of Cirencester, Jack’s is a bright and sunny (weather permitting), spot to enjoy your afternoon tea. Located right next door to the fabulous Corundum Museum, a must if you are into ancient Roman culture, with a dazzling and very well curated repertoire of mosaics, garments and everyday objects – Jack’s is an ideal watering hole after your wander through local history. There is more than meets the eye, too, in terms of space available; turn left beyond the initial glass fronted room and you enter a long, glass-domed space beyond – ideal if you need to park your buggy or pram. There is some seating out at the front too – on the pedestrianised street – for those lazy summer afternoons.

What Jacks is known for, though, is its cakes, particularly the sandwich songs which are undoubtedly the largest specimens you’ll ever see, so much so you’ll feel like Gulliver in the land of the giants. I have seen hungry teenagers and ravenous adults alike easily defeated by the mountainous and delicious – the size is not a compensation for lack of taste – wedges of sponge cake dispensed by this establishment. However, if something more moderate is what you fancy, you can choose from such treats as the Paradise slice, a heavenly blend of coconut and dark chocolate flavours, the trail bar so full of currants it easily has to count as one of your five a day, or the gluten-free brownie that is dark and delicious.

There is also more than just cake on offer; Jack’s offers a limited menu of savoury food too. There are sandwiches with classic and locally sourced fillings such as cheese and pickle or coronation chicken – straight out of grandma’s cookbook perhaps, but no less delicious for it. Salads and quiches are also available and very acceptable. The hot drinks hit the mark, too. The cappuccino is has the requisite foamy pillow on the top and a very acceptable brew beneath. The decaf tastes good too.


All in all, Jacks is a fine place to hang out, no matter whether it’s to refuel after you’ve overdosed on museum mosaics, or, being a stone’s throw from Cirencester Park, to set you up for a long walk along those tree-lined avenues to the Polo Club!

The Canteen (Nailsworth)

Arriving at The Canteen is an experience in itself – it does not take the largest of mental leaps to suddenly feel you are on the set of a 70s Police procedural. Access is via a less-than-auspicious, derelict-looking alley and back yard that does not prepare you for the Tardis-cum-Aladdin’s cave that awaits you on entering. What does await is a pleasant surprise, for it is a truly organic melange of Cotswold cosiness and alternative, creative vibe.

The sprawling ensemble of organically scattered rooms is more like a collector’s home than a coffee shop and invites further investigation; I could not sit down until I completed a full recce of the place. It is interesting and lived-in, and the laid-back atmosphere makes you want to play nostalgic board games; we opted for Trivial Pursuit, the Harry Potter edition, reminded as we were of The Burrow.

The choice of music played in the background – from reggae to Stevie Wonder – adds to the relaxed experience and the boho environment, and the cheerful staff, humming tunes and breaking into the odd dance move, make you want to join in. To hell with that British reserve.

The variety on offer is pleasing also, with sandwiches, soups and salads all present and correct. The aroma of bacon that wafts up your nostrils is enough to tempt you and you will not be disappointed, given the flavours, as well as the portions, are generous. The cakes are very good, made with wholesome ingredients and an evident effort to ensure decent and interesting flavours will descend on your tastebuds. I can vouch for the granola flapjack, the orange polenta slice, and the chocolate and raspberry brownies.

The coffee, too, is clearly made with good quality beans, and even the decaf coffee has a rich and fruity depth of flavour and has enough body to endure you into thinking you’re sucking boiled sweets. Even the brightly-glazed cups add to the experience – don’t you find that coffee is infinitely more photogenic in bright porcelain? If there is a quibble, it is perhaps that on occasion, my flat white could have done with being a tad hotter, but even that did not take away from my enjoyment.

Once sated you can stretch your legs once more by embarking on a browse through furniture, antiques and novelties, toys and kitchenalia – perfect to bring interest to that rainy Sunday afternoon!

Lynwood & Co. (Lechlade)

Lynwood & Co is the ultimate breakfast or brunch destination if you are into hearty and wholesome food in generous portions and an atmosphere that is gloriously convivial. I love immersing into the hubbub of chattering families and to feel part of an organic tableau of true life – everybody is welcome, from small babies and wandering toddlers to large, mellow labradors and cute little sausage dogs. Which brings me in a short leap – the sausage, not the dogs – to the food fare.

If you are into stuff on toast – and I most definitely am – Lynwood is almost unbeatable. The sourdough is legend: tangy light and crusty in all the right ways. Have it with scrambled eggs, with smashed avocado, feta and mint, or even as a humble bacon sandwich and you won’t be able to leave a bit on your plate. Just too tasty. But beware, you won’t wanna eat again for a while – the portions are generous and the food sooo filling!

I love the rustic and cosy décor, the unvarnished wood, the red teapots, the simplicity and the festive atmosphere. Lovely to sit facing the glass front and observe shoppers, people walking their dogs and in the summer, the tourists wandering down to the riverside marina.

If you have a sweet tooth, the cakes are very nice indeed. We tried an orange & polenta slice that was moist and zingy and a carrot and coconut cake dusted with pistachio that is a delicious and more healthy-feeling take on the coffee house classic.

Oh, and before you settle up, don’t forget to purchase a tyre-sized sourdough loaf on your way out, to make delicious toast and sandwiches for the rest of the week.

A tip: try to get there by 10:30am on a weekend to secure a table – the place does get rather buzzy!

Lavender Bakehouse

Nestled at the bottom of Chalford Hill in rural Gloucestershire, between Cirencester and Stroud, Lavender’s Bakehouse is a bright and cheerful heaven for your weekend brunch or afternoon tea treat. The cake selection is dazzling and sumptuous – a selection of home made, flavoursome, hearty cakes that look good enough for a cookbook cover.

Evidence of Lavender’s appeal is the line of cars on the roadside, a constant overspill from what is a not ungenerous car park. The place is buzzy with a constant clientele during weekends – so you may be well advised to book in advance for your brunch or afternoon tea. With varnished wood and verdant views up the hillside, the decor reminds you you are in the Cotswolds, albeit at the more bohemian end. This is underscored by the arts & crafts shop on the second floor, where you can browse through gorgeous household goods – from cosy blankets to stylish candles – as well as greeting cards and gifts. It’s decent stuff, too.

There is more to it than just pretty views inside and out. The food is also a treat. The breakfast and brunch selection is wholesome and tasty with hearty versions of the classics. Pleasingly, there is no all-day breakfast, and when it is time for lunch, lunch is what you get, namely crisp, fresh salads and tasty quiches, all made with quality ingredients evidently fresh from local suppliers. Most striking however, are the almost architectural traditional afternoon teas which are a triumph of multi-tiered trays laden with miniature scones, cakes and sandwiches. Even the tea itself makes a grand entrance, served in proper, nostalgic floral-themed china. If you’re just in the mood for a cuppa and a slice, don’t miss the signature lavender & orange cake – subtle, original, and more unctuous than an Edwardian butler.

We could go on, but bottom line is we love Lavender Bakehouse; it’s a place that seems to hide its light under a bushel, but it is somewhere that always seems to know exactly what you happen to be in the mood for, and as such consistently seems to hit the right note, no matter what the time of day.

Jolly Nice


It does just what it says on the tin, delighting the senses with the tastiest food – whether you are a carnivore or a ‘veggie’, served in the latest in rural chic: a yurt heated by a centre-piece wood burner. Don your tweed jacket and scan the papers alongside the country elite whilst feasting on the triumphal veggie burgers – yes, veggie burgers – and the tasty bacon baps. If you’re just looking for something sweet (not to mention unusual) to accompany your flat white the cakes and biscuits are all worth a try; my favourite is the chocolate, apricot and fennel cookie, but the fabulous indulgence of the giant Oreo, or the fragrant pear chocolate and cardamom cake may be more up your street.

Even better when the sun comes out and you can sit out on the benches in the back field sampling some of the imaginative ice-cream flavours, Jolly Nice is somewhere that is increasingly sought out. And once you’re done restoring satisfaction levels, you can shop for fresh veggies from the colourful display outside, top quality meats from the butcher’s stand as well as delicacies from the shop. All the while your kids and dogs (if you are a true local) run around ‘free-range’ in the back field. Jolly Nice may have originally started as an Airstream caravan parked in a disused filling station, but it has always sold quality snacks and it’s never looked back. Now it is the toast of the locals and not-so-locals and this local success story now also includes a gift shop.

The Cirencester Blog

Welcome to Cirencetera, The Cirencester Blog.

If you care about drinking good coffee in interesting surroundings, you are passionate about quality food and enjoy exploring the idyllic Cotswold countryside, this blog might well be for you.

Being residents here, we regularly embark on weekend expeditions to explore our beautiful countryside and seek out little gems – coffee shops with character in dreamy historical settings; eateries serving fresh, local delicacies; tiny churches that dot the area providing calm and charm. We’ve visited many already and we’ll share them with you.

So, if you find yourself  in need of an artisan coffee, or fancy a slab of delicious home-made cake after a long (or short, short works well) walk through enchanting hillside villages, we may have something to offer. If you’re constantly asking yourself where can I taste the best vegetarian cuisine while watching the world go by in a little market town full of bustle, or where is the best place to enjoy a hearty, wholesome brunch in front of an open fire, scanning the Sunday papers you may find some agreeable answers to these questions and more.

We’d like to share our experience of what life in the Cotswolds is really like, through little snippets of everyday life – overheard conversations and witnessed cameos of family life  and anecdotes that go beyond the glossy exterior.

We welcome all your feedback so we can improve our content and we look forward to sharing our love of beautiful places, food and coffee with like-minded people. So here goes.