Visit Portishead: Places to stay, things to do

Sam Pearce points you in the direction of this peaceful town on the Bristol Channel

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Why go there?
If you’re looking for a peaceful town hidden within North Somerset’s sinuous coastline, close enough to Bristol for a day trip, but without the touristy feel of Weston-super-mare, Portishead is the place for you. One of the first things that strikes you about this rapidly-growing town are its scenic Lake Grounds, complete with one of the last remaining open-air swimming pools in the UK. Sitting above the Lake Grounds is Battery Point, where guns were once positioned to defend from enemy attack, but which now serves as a great spot to appreciate the views across the Severn Estuary and onto the undulating Welsh countryside, as well as a chance to get almost within touching distance of the passing ships. Stroll around the marina in the centre of the town, which holds up to 150 boats and has been recently developed to feel like an old fishing village with a contemporary edge, before wandering onto the high street, which exudes a distinctly Victorian semblance.

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Portishead’s access to the coastal path offers the chance for walkers of all abilities to experience serene views over the Bristol channel as well as the opportunity to venture as far down the coast as Weston-super-Mare or the equally-picturesque town of Clevedon, which boasts one the earliest Victorian piers still in existence. Take a trip to the attractive countryside of Gordano Valley, in particular Clapton Moor, where the wetlands are indicative of Somerset’s Levels and home to a plethora of birdlife, offering the chance to witness the likes of snipe, hobbies and peregrine falcons from a hide.

Where to stay?
Avon View is a lovely B&B in the form of a Georgian guesthouse. The hotel is situated in walking distance of the high street and its rooms enjoy magnificent views across the Bristol Channel. Avon View has been operating as a bed and breakfast under the same proprietor for seventeen years and offers off street parking. The allowance of pets is subject to prior arrangement. Breakfast is an option of either a highly acclaimed traditional or continental breakfast, which uses local and fair trade produce where possible.

Where to eat?
The Windmill Inn on Nore Road possesses highly regarded views across the Severn Estuary, framed by a magnificent, newly constructed split-level extension with a glass wall frontage. As much a restaurant as it is a pub, the Windmill Inn boasts an extensive and affordable food menu, as well as a selection of locally brewed ales. A variety of eateries are also located on the high street, ranging from Thai to Italian cuisine, all at an affordable price.

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Tell us a local secret
If you’re looking for some history, Tyntesfield is a brilliant and largely untouched 19th century Victorian Gothic estate, now acquired by the National Trust, with endless gardens and a recently constructed visitor centre. The estate is a great family day out and its elegant gardens and woodlands are open all year round, while the house itself is closed for maintenance in the winter. A restaurant and café sit in the estate’s converted farm buildings, while an interactive wildlife centre provides a great opportunity for photographers and children alike to enjoy the surroundings.