Days out in the UK: The old market town of Bradford on Avon

I have recently started a mission to try and see more of the UK by way of weekend getaways. One of my latest discoveries was the charming old market town of Bradford on Avon. Until just a fews ago, I had no clue about this place. Then I stumbled on a picture of the Bridge Tea Room. A wonderfully quaint and bulbous tea room that dates back to 1502. I simply had to see this place with my own eyes.

What better time to visit than on our way back from a long weekend in Devon? Adding an hour extra to our return trip to Milton Keynes meant we could easily pass through Bradford on Avon. And I am so glad we did.

Set perfectly in the dramatic Avon Valley in west Wiltshire, boasting a rich tapestry of relics from its Roman, Saxon, Norman, Georgian and Victorian past, walking around town feels like stepping back in time. Just one of the reasons why it is ever so popular with tourists.

One of the main attractions for me was the River Avon running through the town. As a native of Istanbul, the city with a sea running through it, I am naturally drawn to towns that have rivers running through.


Old buildings made from Jurassic limestone (Bath Stone) and the bridge over Avon, which once provided power for the wool mills that gave the town its wealth and the town its name “Broad-Ford” add to the charm. The ancient bridge in the centre of the town remains its natural focus and the bridge still retains two of its original 13th-century arches.

Bradford on Avon boasts a wide array of delightful shops and boutiques lining the narrow streets of the town centre. Arriving in late afternoon ruled out any shopping. However, we just had to make time for a quick photo walk and pit stop.

With doggo Doodles in tow, naturally we had to settle on a dog-friendly place, and we need not seek too hard. The Shambles coffee shop which announces its pet policy with a loud and proud ‘Dogs Welcome’ sign.

“Badly behaved kids not so much,” joked owner Tanya as she serves us coffee, cake and boundless hospitality. If you are after a great cup of coffee, a decent range of food and cakes, good value and great service, look no further.

We continued our photo walk after our little break, but before long it was time to hit the road again, hoping one day we would come back to explore more.

Locals refer to Bradford-on-Avon affectionately as Bradford-on-Heaven; with its olde worlde charm, independent shops, cafe and restaurants, old sandstone buildings, winding narrow streets, I’d say they may be on to something.



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