Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

Wednesday 1 September 2010
On our last trip to Bath, the train stopped briefly at Bradford-on-Avon but since we were pressed for time, we didn't get down to have a look around. However on this occasion, we had 3 days to spare so I decided we should explore the UK instead of jetting off to Rome.

Bradford-on-Avon is a medieval town where an Iron Age fort can be found along with the remains of a large ancient Roman villa. The town is set in a valley with the Avon river gently meandering through the town centre. The river provided power for the wool mills which in turn created a very successful textile industry, particularly in the 17th century. It is located just 8 miles from Bath. It is simply one of the most beautiful towns I've ever seen. I've traveled to Tuscany to explore the hill towns but a mere 2 hour train ride away and I'm surrounded by breathtaking countryside with rolling hills juxtaposed against bales of hay dotted on the brown fields, sheep and herds of cows grazing on grasslands. 

town bridge
The ancient town bridge was built in the 13th century and widened in the 17th century. 

bradford river
Avon River

bradford hills
The mill sits on the riverside was an integral building during the textile industry boom.

bradford memorial
War memorial at the park

Bradford-on-Avon is what I deem a sleepy town, tiny in size with a population of a little more than 9000 but it seems to be a busy thoroughfare with cars zipping pass non-stop. It's a wealthy town judging by the fine Georgian houses and the hideously expensive real estate prices.

bradford houses2

bradford houses3

bradford georgian house

bradford houses

The town centre is within walking distance from the train centre. I love the colorful potted flowers everywhere. 

bradford swan hotel

bradford park1

bradford flowers

bradford tearoom

Market St runs up a steep path uphill. Further up sat a little shop called Piha (Surf and Ski shop), a familiar name to Aucklanders. It's owned by a New Zealander, Paul Stewart. We didn't drop in to have a look as L was moaning that she was dying of hunger. A friendly local stopped and asked us if she could help. She recommended we try Fat Fowl, a cafe by the roadside. It looked bright and cheerful inside and the menu looked interesting. Famous last words.

I decided on the tuna confit with keimato. Absolutely no idea what keimato was until the dish arrived. The TOMATOES looked like they had been dipped in black ink and soaked with fish. Yes, they tasted fishy. Absolutely foul. The tuna confit was dry and bitter. And the pretty dark brown sauce ? You'd never guess it. Sweet soy sauce. 

Bradford fat fowl tuna confit salad

Steve stoically ate the burger despite the grimace on his face. The beef patty looked dry. The food was pretentious and inedible. The only saving grace was the cheerful staff and the bizarre looking piano sitting outside of the cafe.

bradford interesting piano
fat fowl burger

Families with children gathered by the river and the grounds of Tithe Barn in the weekends. I spotted a family rowing along the river in their kayak.

boating at bradford

The immense size of Tithe Barn astounds me as it rivals that of the Cathedrals I've been to. It was built in the early 14th century by the Shaftesbury Abbey to store produce from their farms and tithes from their tenant farmers.

tithe barn

The Anglo-Saxon church is well over a thousand years old. Small in stature but rich in history. It is still used to this day.

bradford saxon church

bradford saxon church

L in Bradford Saxon Church


  1. Did not realize you were away for 3 days . No wonder no call from you know who !!! LOL
    Such rich history and buildings...great photos and save the best for last !!! like L in black n white,so candid :D

  2. She has your number down to a pat so I guess you'll expect more calls as she gets older with all the latest gossip :P

    L wanted a photoshoot by the Saxon church and this was the only one when she wasn't trying to pose like a model.



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