Last Updated on 21st January 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
Purple in exterior and just as exciting within as it looks from the historic narrow street where the store is to be found, Octavia’s Bookshop can be found in the heart of Cirencester, an ancient Cotswold market town whose nickname is quite literally ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’.
Close to the best brunch spot in town and steps away from the impressive church of St John the Baptist, this area of Cirencester is filled with antique shops, great coffee stops, and is well worth you’re time the next time you find yourself in this area of Gloucestershire…
Address | 24 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2AA
A brief history of Octavia’s Bookshop
Founded in 2011 by avid book lover Octavia, step inside during any given opening hour and you’re sure to find a tome, novel, book, or simply a read to fall in love with. Previously to opening the shop in her home town of Cirencester (the ancient Roman city of Corinium Dobunnorum), Octavia had worked in Ottakar’s, as well as Waterstone’s.
Though a large focus of the bookshop is given over to children’s literature, with plush toys greeting you almost as soon as you walk through the welcoming purple door, other parts of the shop are dedicated to adult fiction and non-fiction. Truth be told, over half of the works in stock are aimed at children!
Otherwise, of particular note is the fantastic section of the store dedicated to local travel guides, books, and Cotswolds wanderlust inspiration! Once inside, you’ll soon discover that there are several plush seats where it’s easy to settle in and get drawn into the world of words for hours on end.
And Octavia’s Bookshop of Cirencester hasn’t just been noticed by locals! Instead, the shop was the runner up in the Telegraph’s ‘Best Small Shops in Britain’ Awards in 2012, and in 2013 the store even won the ‘Best Children’s Independent Bookshop’ in the Bookseller Industry Awards! Regular readings, author signings, and events take place throughout the year.
Other Cirencester attractions worth noting
The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding natural beauty best-known for its chocolate box villages, wealth of history, and rolling green pastures. Cirencester is the largest of the Cotswolds settlements and is a must-see if you’re venturing to the Eastern side of the British region. Here are some of the best Cirencester attractions also worth noting down for your next Cotswolds visit.
Enjoy food at Jacks (44 Black Jack St)
Situated just a couple of doors down from Octavia’s Bookshop, I must admit that I didn’t visit Cirencester with high hopes of finding delicious vegan and vegetarian fare. However, there’s no denying that Jacks is the best in town if you’re looking for a delicious coffee, quick snack, or brunch with friends. I personally went for the avocado toast and was particularly impressed by how it was presented in such an artistic manner.
Spy the Roman Ancient Amphitheatre
Located on the fringes of the historic town centre, though the Amphitheatre may not look like much today, once upon a time, this ancient monument would have seated some 8000 spectators. Today, the rolling green space is a quiet place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the otherwise busy market town.
Church of St John the Baptist
Thanks to its ever-so-unusual porch that’s made of sandstone, the centuries-old main church of Cirencester is free to visit and is unmissable when walking along the main high street. Of particular note within the church is the Anne Boleyn Cup, a particularly well-preserved 16th-century silver goblet.