Beautiful Bradford… it’s official!

We recently picked up on a fantastic piece in the Travel section of the Telegraph, all about Bradford on Avon and thought we’d just repost Sarah’s lovely article for you here… nothing like a good bit of free advertising!….

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Bradford-on-Avon: Cotswolds and canals without the crowds

Sarah Baxter

17 MAY 2018 • 4:32PM

As the sunshine descends on the honey-stone of Bath, so do the crowds. But just 11 minutes away by train is the historic market town of Bradford-on-Avon.

It’s a little bit of Bath-lite with its bucolic views of the river, canal and Cotswold fringes, fine old buildings, a raft of good places to eat – but with fewer tourists. It’s full of independents too, with barely a chain in sight. Late May sees the start of the Arts Festival at Iford Manor (ifordarts.org.uk), where opera and jazz are performed in the Italianate cloister.

It might make your home-town jealous

Bradford-on-Avon is almost too good-looking. Built on six centuries of wool and weaving wealth, the town’s fine mix of medieval-shonky and Georgian-grand buildings tumble idyllically down the valley and around the river, hugged by soul-stirring English countryside. Its lanes are dotted with delis, cafés and boutiques so shoppers can browse for hours, despite the town’s compact size. Walkers are truly spoiled with all the glorious rolling hills, while the delightfully flat Kennet and Avon Canal towpath is accessible to all.

For the princely sum of 20p (or free from bradfordheritage.co.uk), you can pick up a self-guided tour of the town. Begin at the small Bradford-on-Avon Museum (bradfordonavonmuseum.co.uk; free) and stroll via the Norman-era Town Bridge, narrow Shambles, Saxon church (built around AD 700) and many handsome 17th and 18th-century houses.

Do take the time to nose in some of those interesting independents. Stop at the Doghouse, a pet shop-cum-café (doghouseboa.co.uk), buy a chunk of Bath Blue from friendly Christophe in The Cheese Shop (cheese-shop.co.uk), get a new/old look at Instant Vintage or find unusual gifts in Strawberry Blue (strawberrybluehome.co.uk) or Made In Bradford, a collective of local artisans’ wares in the old vaults (madeinbradfordonavon.co.uk).

Take a steep, but worthwhile, detour up to Newtown and the Tory to see old weavers’ cottages and views to Salisbury Plain and the Westbury White Horse. Continue up to reach the Wiltshire Music Centre (wiltshiremusic.org.uk).

It’s a hop and a skip to the countryside

To the south of the town centre, reachable via a short, leafy walk along the river, is Barton Farm Country Park (wiltshire.gov.uk; free). Here, the river is guarded by a Second World War pillbox and spanned by the packhorse bridge. This once allowed goods to be carted across to the Tithe Barn (english-heritage.org.uk; free), a magnificent 14th-century limestone grange with a timber cruck roof – one of the best-preserved in the country. It sits within a complex of old agricultural buildings, which now house craft workshops, antique stores and a tea room (tithebarnartscrafts.co.uk).

Beyond the farmyard, there are picnic areas, wild flowers and the Kennet and Avon Canal. An easy mile-long walk leads to Grade II listed Avoncliff Aqueduct and the homemade scones of No. 10 Tea Gardens (avonclifftea.com). Follow the canal via the grand Dundas Aqueduct, another eight miles (13km) and you’ll end up in Bath.

But there are plenty of walking options including the Bradford-on-Avon Wheel (walkbradfordonavon.org; map £5), a 42-mile (68km) network of waymarked trails encircling the town. There’s a six-mile (10km) inner wheel and a 22-mile (35km) outer wheel, with various “spokes” linking the two. En route lie pretty villages (Monkton Farleigh, Limpley Stoke), National Trust properties such as 15th-century Great Chalfield Manor (nationaltrust.org.uk; £6.20 for adults, £3.10 for children), country pubs such as the New Inn (thenewinnwestwood.co.uk) and glorious countryside. The annual Walking Festival (August 31-Sept 2 2018) is a good time to get out and explore.

Bike lovers may prefer the Cycling Festival (July 14-15; boacyclingfestival.com), which includes a family-friendly sportive and a race up Market Street – a thigh-busting elevation gain of 144ft in 500yd (45m). Flat and traffic-free, the canal is perfect for easy rides. Bikes can be hired from the Towpath Trail Hire Centre (ttcycles.co.uk; one-day hire £18 for adults, £12 for children), which also rents family-size Canadian canoes (£12 per hour). Alternatively, take to the water by barge – boat trips aboard the Barbara McLellan run on selected dates from Bradford to Avoncliff or Hilperton (bmac.katrust.org.uk; from £5).

Worked up an appetite?

Interesting new eateries open quite regularly – next will be Il Ponte. For now, try the Weaving Shed (weaving-shed.co.uk; from £13 for mains), which serves seasonal brunches, lunches and dinners in its big-windowed dining room or on its riverside terrace; fat burgers and Cornish fish pie sit alongside fancier Creedy Carver duck breast and Bromham broccoli and chestnut stew.

Pablo’s (pablostapas.com; from £4 for tapas dishes) does proper Spanish sharing plates. There’s lots of choice for veggies, plus authentic fish and meat options.

The best hotels in Bradford-on-Avon

After a long day

Timbrell’s Yard (telegraph.co.uk/tt-timbrells-yard; doubles from £95) is an 18th-century industrialist’s house turned smart pub-with-rooms, right in the heart of Bradford. The restaurant’s menu is a big draw, featuring largely West Country produce, from Quantock venison to Bath Soft Cheese.

Woolley Grange (telegraph.co.uk/tt-woolley-grange; doubles from £120) is a grand option for families. The 17th-century manor, a 25-minute walk along the canal from Bradford, has a kids’ club, crèche, toy boxes and an indoor pool. In the garden there’s another pool (heated in summer), a maze a tree swing and more.

Bradford-on-Avon | Know before you go

Watch list

The Tithe Barn has proven a popular period backdrop. It featured in the BBC’s Eighties classic series Robin of Sherwood as well as Wolf Hall (2014) and the Drama channel’s The White Princess (2017). In 2009 film Creation, in which Paul Bettany starred as Charles Darwin, Bradford stood in for the town of Malvern.

A distinctly British sense of fun

Locals are cashing in on the Kennet and Avon with a series of floating markets throughout 2018 (July 28-29, Dec 1-2; facebook.com/kacanalfloatingmarket).

Fun facts

  • The unofficial town icon is the Bradford Gudgeon, a type of freshwater fish
  • Henry Shrapnel, inventor of the explosive shell, was born in Bradford -on-Avon in 1761
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A Great Day!

We’ve waited quite a while for this kind of weather and we couldn’t resist just posting a few pictures of the garden this morning, bathed in glorious sunshine.

There is approximately 5 hours in between the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final where we hope to see some people down at the Tithebarn Workshops!

We would like to wish everyone a very happy day, which ever event you prefer and look forward to seeing you soon.

Good Luck Daryl

We recently heard of the impending departure of Daryl Jones from her position as Tourism and Events Officer for Bradford Town Council. She will be moving onwards and upwards to Chippenham Council at the end of this month. We at the Tithebarn Workshops would like to thank Daryl for all her hard work and endless enthusiasm towards the promotion of this town and in particular her inclusion of the Workshops in the events and activities.

You will be sorely missed Daryl and we would like to wish you all the very best in the future.

We look forward to meeting and working with the incoming Officer soon.

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Christmas Shopping at the Tithebarn Workshops

The Christmas bikes are lit and the units are busy with shoppers at the Tithebarn Workshops.  There is a great selection of gifts to choose from at the various shops, with each one stocking a unique range of items for that perfect present.

We will be open right up to Christmas Eve including another late night shopping event on Sunday 17th December to coincide with the Sing-around the Christmas tree at the Tithe Barn.

We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Tithebarn Workshops Christmas Lights

We would like to thank Daryl (our amazing Tourism Officer) for organising these fantastic Christmas bikes at the Tithebarn Workshops

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We can’t wait for it to get dark now to try them out properly!

Another big thank you has to go to the local businesses who have sponsored this project…

TT Cycles

Widbrook Grange Hotel

Holidays and Cruises

Varn Media

Brian Hill Financial Services

It’s great that they are all installed and ready for our first late night Christmas evening on 28th November.

We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Late Night Christmas Shopping

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This year the Tithebarn Workshops and the Granary are getting together and will be opening for two evenings of late night shopping for their customers.

The first night on Tuesday 28th November is to coincide with the Christmas lights being switched on in town, so you will be able to enjoy the delights offered in the centre and also down here at Barton Farm all on one evening.

The second is on Sunday 17th December when we will be joined by members of the Bradford on Avon Preservation Trust and the public for a sing around the Christmas tree outside the Tithe Barn.  This beautiful event was very well attended for its first year last Christmas and good crowds are expected again this time around.

We will be offering Xmas nibbles and drinks for you to enjoy while you browse and the range of festive products and gift ideas at the Workshops and Granary will certainly tick a few people off your Christmas pressie lists!

If you would like any further information please feel free to contact us at any time and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Barking Mad!

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Well, we had a whole raft of wood related puns lined up for why the kids park was closed behind us here at the Tithebarn Workshops.  And now, this morning, a large Council truck load of wood chips arrived to sort the problem out!

Apparently, there was not enough coverage of bark should anyone fall off the swings etc. As you can imagine there’s been quite a bit of… ‘It wasn’t like that it my day’ being muttered around here!

Anyway, things are all good again and we won’t be losing any business now due to the closure… see you soon.

Summer Floating Market

We would just like to bring your attention to this weekend’s Summer Floating Market taking place on the Kennet & Avon Canal near us here at the Tithebarn Workshops, on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July…

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Now in its second year the Kennet and Avon Canal Floating Market is an event not to be missed. Boats and stalls selling goods made aboard from handicrafts to food to brass and woodwork. Entertainment from the canal community’s wide range of talented musicians and bands. Facepainting and workshops in juggling, ropework and shantys. Learn to play the spoons! Visit the Floating Salon for a pamper.

The market is open from 10am to 6pm both days and we hope to see everybody down in the area for a great time.

A Successful Day

A big thank you to everyone who joined us down at the Bradford on Avon Street Market in Westbury Gardens yesterday…

The weather helped to turn this into a very successful day for the Tithebarn Workshops and we got to meet plenty of existing and prospective customers.  We managed to dish out over 2 dozen of Mel’s delicious scones, which went down extremely well!

We were even right next to the band that struck up in the afternoon, adding to the great atmosphere in the gardens.

We do hope to see many of the new faces down here at the Workshops soon and look forward to next years event.