83. Markets in the Cotswolds

Stroud Farmers' Market has twice been judged to be the best in the UK.Every major town in the Cotswolds has its own market, be it a weekly retail market, farmers market or WI country market run by the local women's institute.

Farmers markets are great places to chat to producers and pick up fresh, local fare. They tend to offer outstanding food at exceptional value, usually all locally grown, produced or reared and almost always organic.

There are many producers whose food can only be bought in local markets and small shops. 

Retail markets are great of finding bargains and unusual locally-made crafts, while the WI markets are ideal for all kinds of quality homecraft.

The biggest market in the Cotswolds - and in the whole of Gloucestershire - is held every Tuesday in the centre of Moreton-In-Marsh market, which boasts over 250 stalls and attracts visitors from miles away.

Cirencester Charter Market, held in the Market Place every Monday and Friday, is one of the oldest charter markets in the country, having been mentioned as early as 1086 in the Domesday Book. The Cirencester Market usually runs from 9am to 3pm and is a shopping experience not to be missed.

Farmers' markets have revolutionised food shopping for thousands of people and in the Cotswolds they are a great way of sampling local produce.

There is a huge variety of markets across the Cotswolds which are still the popular choice with many shoppers.The Cotswold farmers' markets tend to take place in the bigger towns once or twice a month rather than weekly. Some of the summer agricultural shows also have a farmers' market or food hall where locally-produced goods are available.

Most keep to a 30-mile local food sourcing rule and suppliers are always inventing new ways to add value to great ingredients and there's always something new.

The award-winning Stroud Farmers Market, which is run every Saturday from 9am to 2pm in the town centre, was the first farmers' market in Gloucestershire.

After being voted the best farmers' market in the UK in 2008, Stroud Farmers' Market won the award again in 2013 and has appeared widely in the national media and on TV.

Wend Deane, a shopper and stallholder at Stroud Farmers Market, said: "It's a colourful array of fresh and local products, sold by enthusiastic stallholders who are always more than happy to tell you about the grass roots of their products.

"The farmers' market has its own café with seating and various stalls selling delicious ready-to-eat foods and therefore becomes a meeting place for a huge diversity of people.

"It's very clear to see why the market has won so many awards - it is well managed and cared about by all who work within it and loved by the people who support it week after week.”

Another type of market popular in some Cotswold towns is the Women's Institute country markets which started in 1919 to provide a place where surplus homemade and home-grown produce could be sold to the public.  

Cotswold markets

Weekly retail markets
Monday - Cirencester
Tuesday - Moreton-in-Marsh
Wednesday - Chipping Norton, Fairford, Northleach and Tetbury
Thursday - Witney
Friday - Cirencester, Stroud (fruit & veg)
Saturday - Stroud (fruit and veg), Witney

Farmers' markets
Bath: Every Saturday, Green Park
Berkeley: Third Saturday of the month, Town Hall
Bourton-on-the-Water: Fourth Sunday of the month at the Countrywide Store
Cam: First Saturday of the month, near the Co-op
Charlbury: Second Saturday quarterly, The Playing Close
Cheltenham: Second and last Friday of the month, The Promenade
Chipping Norton: Third Saturday of the month, Market Square
Cirencester: Second and fourth Saturday of the month, Market Place
Dursley: Second Saturday of the month, Town Hall
Frampton-on-Severn: First and third Wednesday of the month, Manor Farm Wool Barn
Gloucester: Every Friday, The Cross and Southgate Street
Kingham: Quarterly on Sundays, The Green
Lechlade: Third Thursday of the month, Market Square
Nailsworth: Fourth Saturday of the month, Mortimer Gardens
Stonehouse: Second Saturday of the month, Globe Inn
Stow-on-the-Wold: Second Thursday of the month, The Square
Stroud: Every Saturday, Cornhill Market Place & surrounding streets
Winchcombe: Third Saturday of the month, town centre
Witney: Fourth Friday of the month, Market Square
Woodstock: First Saturday of the month, in front of Town Hall
Wotton-under-Edge: First Saturday of the month, Town Hall

WI country markets
Cirencester: Fridays 8.30am-11.30am
Chipping Campden: Fridays 9am-11am
Moreton-in-Marsh: Thursdays 9.30am-11.30am
Fairford: Wednesdays 8.30am-11.30am
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.