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The Kings Head, Cirencester: Cotswold hotel review

With its prime location in the ‘capital of the Cotswolds’, The Kings Head has been welcoming guests to Cirencester for centuries. This boutique town centre hotel cleverly mixes the past and the present, with Georgian, Tudor and medieval features combined with 21st-century style and facilities.

With a luxurious but unpretentious feel, a spa, two restaurants and event spaces, The Kings Head ticks all the boxes for a romantic getaway or girls’ weekend. But it’s also a great base for exploring the Cotswolds – with dogs and kids welcome. Find out more about the hotel’s location, rooms, food and drink and facilities with our Cotswold hotel review of The Kings Head, Cirencester.

AD: Our stay was hosted by The Kings Head but all opinions are our own.

Entrance to The Kings Head Cirencester
The Kings Head

First impressions

The Kings Head is right in the centre of Cirencester, overlooking the Church of St John the Baptist and the marketplace. It dates back to at least the 14th century when it was a coaching inn, and over the years more of the surrounding buildings have been incorporated, with a mix of architectural styles and eras. It now includes the Corn Hall building next door too with its shops and market.

On entering the hotel you come into an open plan space with a curved bar, lounge seating and a reception desk, set across different levels. There’s a calm, relaxed feel and plenty of space, with a mix of tourists and locals meeting for coffee or business meetings over their laptops.

There are nods to the Cirencester’s history dotted around, from a wall of colourful woollen reels to a row of polo sticks near the spa. But the most impressive is a genuine Roman mosaic, protected under glass near the reception desk, which was uncovered during refurbishment work.

Lobby and lounge at The Kings Head Cirencester
The lobby and lounge

Rooms at The Kings Head

The Kings Head has 66 bedrooms and 10 apartments – and as the hotel is spread across several buildings, they’re all different shapes and sizes. Their rooms are split into four main categories. Classic rooms are the smallest, but would be ideal if you’re out exploring in the daytime. Superior rooms are a similar style, decorated in calming muted colours, with a bit more space.

Feature room at The Kings Head Cirencester
Our Feature room

Then there are the Feature rooms, which are worth splashing out on. Each highlights the hotel’s history by incorporating original features. So your room might have a medieval pitched ceiling and exposed brickwork, Tudor wooden beams and fireplaces, or Georgian wood panelling.

Indulgent rooms are the largest, located in the Georgian part of the hotel. They have high ceilings, sash windows and lounge areas. Many have views over the marketplace, and one has an copper bathtub in the room. There’s also a two-bedroom Suite, and one- and two-bedroom apartments with open-plan kitchen/lounges, which would be good for longer stays or for families.

En-suite bathroom and seating area in the Feature room
En-suite bathroom and seating area

Our third-floor Feature room sat at the front of the hotel, with original brickwork and wooden beams. Yellow furnishings added a splash of colour to the room, with a seating area with two armchairs as well as French doors onto a narrow balcony looking out over the marketplace and Church of St John the Baptist – with the gentle chiming of the church bells as a backdrop.

Like all The Kings Head’s rooms it came with a mini fridge, coffee maker, air con and jugs of filtered water (a simple idea to reduce plastic waste). And the light and bright en-suite bathroom was stocked with ELEMIS toiletries. There’s great attention to detail, from the luxurious linens right down to being asked before we arrived whether we’d prefer feather or synthetic pillows.

Views over Cirencester from the balcony at The Kings Head hotel
Views from the balcony

Food and drink at The Kings Head

The Kings Head has two restaurants. The MBB Brasserie (which long-time visitors to Cirencester might remember as once being home to Made by Bob) is a relaxed space, with an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work, which adds a buzzing backdrop to your meal.

As much local, seasonal produce as possible is used, with 80% of it coming from within a 30-mile radius of Cirencester. The menu is made up of modern British dishes, from wild boar ragu rigatoni and venison burgers to Jersey Royals with wild mushrooms, celeriac and confit carrots.

Open kitchen at the MBB Brasserie in Cirencester, and bavette steak from the table d’hôte menu
MBB Brasserie’s open kitchen

As well as the à la carte menu, there’s also a good-value table d’hôte option, with two courses for £19.95 or three for £24.95. We opted for a heritage tomato and goat’s cheese salad and bowl of mussels to start, followed by a bavette steak and chips and a spinach risotto. And to go with it there’s a range of cocktails, wines, spirits (including their own house gin) and local beers.

The MBB Brasserie at The Kings Head Cirencester
The brasserie space

The second dining space is the Kings Head Restaurant, which has been recently refurbished and is decorated with eclectic artworks. This is where breakfast is served, with a buffet of cereals, pastries, fruit and yogurt which you can help yourself to. Or choose from a cooked selection, with favourites like Eggs Benedict and buttermilk pancakes as well as a decadent truffle omelette.

Afternoon tea is also served in the restaurant, or you can have a cocktail or coffee in the bar and lounge area, which has lots of comfy seating. And if you want to take some Cotswold produce home with you, the Corn Hall Deli just opposite the brasserie sells food and drink from local suppliers as well as the hotel’s own handmade pies, pastries, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs.

Breakfast menu and tables in the Kings Head Restaurant
Breakfast in the Kings Head Restaurant

Facilities at The Kings Head

Unusually for such a centrally located hotel, the Kings Head comes with plenty of extra facilities, with the features of the original buildings being cleverly repurposed. You’ve also got the shops of the Corn Hall right on your doorstep, including the arts, crafts and antiques market.

The vaulted basement has become a subterranean spa, with exposed brickwork. As well as treatment rooms there’s a thermal suite with two hot tubs underneath a blue ceiling dotted with twinkling star lights. And there’s also a relaxation area with a day bed covered in cosy throws.

The hotel is also popular for weddings and parties, with a variety of different spaces for hire, from the lavish Assembly Room with its high ceilings, chandeliers and roof terrace, to smaller, more intimate spaces like the wine cellars, which are also used to host monthly comedy nights.

The Thermal Suite in the spa at The Kings Head Cirencester and historic details around the hotel
The thermal suite and historic details around the hotel

What to do nearby

The Kings Head’s location right in the heart of Cirencester means you’ve got everything on your doorstep. And guests are supplied with a leaflet for a specially designed walking tour around the town, which takes in some of Cirencester’s main sights and its prettiest streets.

If you’re visiting on a Monday or Friday, don’t miss the Charter Markets which are held in front of the church and sell food, drink, crafts and plants. You can also take a look a round the Church of St John the Baptist, as well as climbing to the top of the church tower on certain dates.

The Church of St John the Baptist in Cirencester
The Church of St John the Baptist

There’s also the Corinium Museum where you can find out about Cirencester’s Roman history, the remains of the town’s Roman amphitheatre, the New Brewery Arts Centre, Cirencester Lido and lots of green space in the Abbey Grounds and the 3000-acre Cirencester Park.

Also within easy reach of Cirencester are the Cotswold Water Park (5 miles) for watersports, cycling and beach days, the pretty village of Bibury (7 miles), Cerney House Gardens (4.5 miles) and the National Trust sites Rodmarton Manor (7 miles) and Chedworth Roman Villa (10 miles).

Arlington Row in Bibury
Arlington Row in Bibury

The details

Parking and transport: The nearest train station is in Kemble, a 12-minute taxi ride away or you can catch the Pulhams 882 bus. The hotel has a loading bay out front and a small car park, which you need to pre-book and costs £15 a night. Or there are pay and display car parks nearby, including the Waterloo Car Park and the Forum Car Park, which are free between 6pm and 8am.

Dogs: The Kings Head has several dog-friendly rooms if you want to take your pooch along with you. There’s a charge of £20 per dog per night (maximum of two dogs) and canine guests get a dog bed, water bowl and doggie treat. You can also book a dog-friendly table in the brasserie.

Kids: If you book direct with the hotel, kids under 12 stay free. There are child-sized beds and bathrobes, a special shower and body wash, activity pack and complimentary breakfast.

Prices: Rooms at The Kings Head Cirencester start from £145 a night.

Lounge area at The Kings Head Cirencester
Lounge area at The Kings Head

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A comprehensive review of The Kings Head Cirencester, a historic coaching inn turned boutique Cotswold hotel with a spa and restaurants | Where to stay in Cirencester | Cotswold luxury hotels | Cotswold hotel reviews

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