CIRENCESTER has been named one of the best places to live in the Southwest by the Sunday Times.

The Cotswold capital was praised for its 'stellar community spirit' and abundance of culture and sports facilities by the judges who determined what areas made it onto this year's Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide.

Although Sherborne in Dorset was named the overall regional winner, Cirencester was among the top of the pack alongside beautiful towns and villages such as Tisbury in Wiltshire, Clevedon in Somerset and Falmouth in Cornwall.

The judges visited all the locations and assessed them on a multitude of factors including schools, transport, broadband speed, culture, green spaces and the health of the high street. 

This year judges also praised Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool's volunteers for their King’s Award for Voluntary Service. 

They said: "If you want an authentic Cotswold life, one that offers markets, shops, parks, cafés and a smattering of culture, Cirencester should top your list. 

"This ancient market town offers modern comforts and a stellar community spirit. 

"The volunteers who run the heated open-air swimming pool were recognised last year with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service. 

"It’s a hive of sporting activity and Cirencester Park is one the loveliest places to walk the dog, or ride a horse."

Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Tubb, CEO of Cirencester Town Council, said: “Once again Cirencester is recognised for being a great and vibrant town to live in.

"We have an amazing community and true sense of working together that creates the social, environmental and economic well-being that deserves this recognition.

"Through the community participative process of the Neighbourhood Plan we are not complacent and are ready with a vision for future generations. 

"Our thanks goes out to everyone who makes Cirencester the special and unique place it is."

Adam Vines, president of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce, said: "The Sunday Times has revealed what we knew all along.

"Cirencester is not only a great place to live, it’s a great place to do business too."