This work deals with an analysis of the first experimental series of tests performed to investigate mixed convection and stratification phenomena in CIRCE HLM large pool. In particular, the tests concern the transition from nominal flow to natural circulation regime, typical of decay heat removal (DHR) regime. To this purpose the CIRCE pool facility has been updated to host a suitable test section in order to reproduce the thermal-hydraulic behaviour of a HLM pool-type reactor. The test section basically consists of an electrical bundle (FPS) made up of 37 pins arranged in a hexagonal wrapped lattice with a pitch diameter ratio of 1.8. Along the FPS active length, three sections were instrumented to monitor the heat transfer coefficient along the bundle as well as the cladding temperatures at different ranks of the sub-channels. This paper reports the experimental data as well as a preliminary analysis and discussion of the results, focusing on the most relevant tests of the campaign, namely Test I (48 h) and Test II (97 h). Temperatures along three sections of the FPS and at inlet and outlet sections of the main components were reported and the Nusselt number in the FPS sub-channels was investigated together with the void fraction in the riser. Concerning the investigation of in-pool thermal stratification phenomena, the temperatures in the whole LBE pool were monitored at different elevations and radial locations. The analysis of experimental data obtained from Tests I and II underline the occurrence of thermal stratification phenomena in the region placed between the outlet sections of the HX and the DHR, respectively. After the transition to natural circulation, for both tests, this region with temperature stratification moves downwards starting at the exit section of the DHR-system, while upper and lower vessel regions show a uniform temperature. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.