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Bradford on Avon is a small country town in England between Bath and Trowbridge. The handsome buildings which climb up the hills from the 'broad ford' (and, since Norman times, the bridge) across the river are mostly Georgian, the legacy of a few hundred years of prosperity as a centre of a textile industry making fine woollen cloth from Cotswold sheep.

Bradford on Avon Bridge

Understand[edit]

Built in the same fine oolite limestone as Bath, the town was already a settlement in the Iron Age, and people have been living there ever since. The foundations of a large Roman villa - the centre of an estate many miles across - were uncovered in 2003 in the grounds of the town's secondary school, and it has one of England's few surviving Saxon churches and a magnificent medieval Tithe Barn, crowned with one of the largest stone roofs in the country. Towards the end of the Georgian period the industry and its money moved north to Yorkshire and Lancashire, and building largely stopped for around 100 years. The old textile mills were taken over in the 20th century by the rubber industry, making goods like tyres (and the small-wheeled Moulton bicycles, briefly famous in the 1960s and 70s as town runabouts), but that too eventually moved away. Today Bradford on Avon is largely a residential town with a population of 9,400 (2011).

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

The 1 Bradford on Avon rail station is on the Wessex Main Line between Avoncliff and Trowbridge, and is served by First Great Western and South West Trains. The Wessex Mainline goes from Bristol Temple Meads to Southampton via Bath, Trowbridge and Salisbury.

There are parking lots near the train station, near St. Margaret's Hall, and near the library. Some allow 2 hours free parking, others are pay and display. Use an online directions site to get car directions.

By bus[edit]

Bus routes can be found using online service Traveline, but fares are not listed.

Get around[edit]

Map of Bradford on Avon

Everything in Bradford on Avon is within walking distance of the centre, although some walks, such as up to Tory are for the more active only.

See[edit]

Bradford Tithe Barn interior

Bradford on Avon is a very pretty town and has lots of old buildings and lots of history. It is good for sight-seeing and a peaceful day out. Bradford on Avon is also close to the city of Bath, which is also known for its sights.

Do[edit]

Take advantage of the canal walks and soak up the atmosphere.

For scenic views take an energetic walk to Tory. The church here is the perfect spot for getting scenic shots across the town.

Buy[edit]

Bradford on Avon has many small independent shops. There is a small concentration of shops around "The Shambles" located between Silver and Market Street.

Bradford has two banks side by side: HSBC and Lloyds Bank. It also has a Stroud and Swindon building society.

For a self-catered visit, there is a Sainsbury's supermarket on the edge of town.

Eat[edit]

  • Mr Salvats.
  • The Dandylion.
  • The Bunch of Grapes.
  • The Fat Fowl.
  • Rialto.
  • Thai Barn.
  • Maharaja Tandoori.
  • Beijing Paradise.
  • Riverside Inn.
  • Lock Inn.
  • Out to lunch.
  • Canal Tavern.
  • Station Place. Fish and chips.
  • The Castle.
  • The Dog and Fox.
  • The Three Horseshoes.
  • The Plough.
  • China Town.
  • Feng Swei.
  • The Gorge.

Drink[edit]

Bradford on Avon is well served for public houses.

Sleep[edit]

  • Lots of pleasant bed and breakfasts.
  • Swan Hotel. The 15th-century hotel, steps away from the Saxon bridge, offers a high standard of accommodation with 12 en suite rooms, and has a restaurant and thriving pub
  • Timbrell's Yard, 49 St Margaret's Street BA15 1DE (by bridge), +44 1225 869492. Great bar and restaurant in stylish old building, the bedrooms are a blend of old and modern. Dog-friendly. B&B double £90.
  • 1 Woolley Grange, Woolley Green, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1TX (Along B3105), +44 1225 864705. Gorgeous upscale hotel in Jacobean manor house, child- and dog-friendly, with spa and pool, baby and child activities daytime. B&B double £180.
  • 2 Widbrook Grange, Trowbridge Rd, Widbrook BA15 1UH, +44 1225 864750. Comfy dog-friendly hotel in converted farrmstead, creative dining. B&B double £130.

Go next[edit]

  • Short train ride to Bath, the Roman spa town.
  • Walk west down the Avon valley. A pleasant walk following the canal towpath for 2 miles brings you to Freshford, a tiny little village with a very pleasant pub looking out over fields of sheep.


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