Tourist Information Guide for Cricklade in Wiltshire in the Cotswolds. Links to Cricklade's accommodation in local hotels, places for eating out, Cricklade pubs and restaurants, the history, transport links, what is on and things to do, estate and letting agents, health, sport and leisure facilities.
Cricklade is a small town, lying just outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is the only Wiltshire town situated
on the banks of the River Thames. Just to the east of the town is Ermine Way, near to the busy A419. The road was built by the
Romans to form the causeway across the flood plain linking Silchester to Gloucester. The centre of the town lies within
the former walls of the Saxon stronghold built by Alfred the Great to help defend the Kingdom of Wessex from the invading Danes.
The ramparts were laid out in a rectangle, with the natural flood plain between the River's Thames and Churn along with
minor streams made the fortifications a formidable target to overcome by the Danes. Although none of the Saxon fortifications
are visible, remains can be traced, particularly from the North Wall.
Many of the present buildings can be dated between the 11th to 16th centuries and the skyline is dominated by the spire of the parish church of St Sampson's, which was built in the 13th century with additions by the Duke of Northumberland in 1553. The present church is built on the site of an earlier Saxon building of AD890. St Mary's church is said to be the older of the two remaining churches and is of Saxon origins. The church was later rebuilt by the Normans but in 1981 was made redundant. It has since been given new lease of life and is now a Roman Catholic church.
On the outskirts of the town is the 100 acre North Meadow, a National Nature Reserve which is home to the rare Snakeshead Fritillary which flowers for a short time during April. The River Thames was navigable as far up river as Cricklade and a wharf was built near to Town Bridge at the North Wall end of the town. It was filled in during the early years of the 19th century about 50 years after the arrival of the Thames and Severn Canal in 1789. The Thames Path National Trail passes through North Meadow and enters the town at the North Wall.
Buildings of interest include the Parish hall close to St Sampson's churchyard built in 1652 by the MP for Cricklade, Robert Jenner. The building has been used as a school and the local workhouse. The present Town Hall is young in comparison, only built in 1933 to replace the old building, which became a glove making factory. The Georgian property was recently refurbished and is now home to the local authority, library and surgery. The 1231 Priory of St John the Baptist just over Town Bridge never survived the dissolution & has been in private ownership since 1550.
The local town museum is housed in a former chapel which was built in 1852. During the second world war it became a canteen for the local servicemen from RAF Blakehill Farm & RAF Down Ampney. The airfields were used for the allied invasion of Normandy on 6th June 1944 with Dakotas and Horsa gliders being launched from the sites. The centrepiece of the town is the clock on the High Street. This was erected in 1898 to commemorate the diamond anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. The little corner opposite the clock is dedicated to the French town of Sucé-sur-Erdre which Cricklade is twinned with.
The town is on the A419 just 8 miles from Swindon and 9 miles from Cirencester.
Bus services connecting to Tetbury are:
There is free on street parking available around the town but it can be difficult to find a space alternatively there is a free car park available at the Town Hall.
All images are reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection. All photographs can be purchased by clicking on the image
More old photographs of Cricklade can be seen at the here.
Standing in over 30 acres of peaceful, secluded grounds on the edge of the Cotswolds, the privately-owned Cricklade Hotel & Country Club offers a traditional, warm and friendly welcome.
There are several pubs and teashops in the town.