Visit Bradford on Avon: Places to stay, things to do

Paddle upstream from Bath and you'll come to the picturesque town of Bradford on Avon. Nick Peers chills out in a refined atmosphere


Why go there?
There’s a quiet serenity to Bradford on Avon, particularly when you escape the town centre and head down to the river or up to the canal. Bradford traces its origins back to Roman times, and the town grew up around a ford that was supplanted by the building of the main town bridge back in Norman times.
The town is blessed with not one but two churches of immense historical interest. The oldest – St Laurence – is one of the few remaining Saxon churches, and could date back as far as 700AD. This tends to overshadow the relatively young Norman church, which sits on the bank of the river and dwarfs its more famous cousin in size and splendour.
The town’s rise to prosperity came in the 17th century with the wool trade, and a number of buildings remain from that period. But it’s not just history that attracts people to the town – there are a number of picturesque walks along both the River Avon and canal, showcasing the best of this corner of Wiltshire. There is plenty to see and do nearby, from the many tourist attractions of Bath Spa to the idyll of The Courts, a beautiful and tranquil garden administered by the National Trust in nearby Holt.
Where to stay
Great Ashley B&B sits just outside of Bradford, and is perfectly situated for both the town and surrounding area. It’s a large converted farmhouse offering countryside views and B&B at reasonable rates – from £40 for single occupancy, and £65-70 for double occupancy.
Where to eat
The Fat Fowl on Silver Street boasts a varied menu that is produced from seasonal, local produce. It produces separate lunch, dinner and tapas menus depending on your appetite, with lunches costing around £8.50 (desserts £5) and a diverse, ever-changing dinner menu where £25 should cover you for three courses.
Tell us a local secret
At the eastern end of Bradford’s sole bridge is a small domed building. This started off life as a chapel, but was eventually converted into the town’s lockup for drunken troublemakers to sleep off their excesses.
Read about production editor Dave Perrett’s canoe trip down the Kennet and Avon Canal here.