Thermoelastic stress analysis is used to obtain the stress concentration factors (SCFs) from a variety of circular holes in cylinders. The cylinders are loaded in uniaxial tension, uniaxial compression and a combination of bending and compression. Firstly, radial holes are investigated and the results from the thermoelastic data obtained by the SPATE equipment are compared with previous experimental and numerical work. SCFs are then obtained from offset, oblique and offset–oblique holes using the Deltatherm system. The effect of hole obliquity and direction of applied load relative to the hole geometry are discussed in detail. Finally, the results from the cylinders are compared with predictions of the SCFs in cylinders from a previous study of oblique holes in flat plates.