A day trip in beautiful Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England

Charming tea rooms, cheerful locals and a tranquil canal, the beautiful town of Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire has the potential to be one of the best day trips you’ll take in the UK this year.

Avon Canal Bicycle Ride from Bradford-on-Avon to Avoncliff, Towpath Bicycle Hire

Sign post in Bradford-on-Avon to Bradford Lock and Avoncliff

For me, exploring Bradford-on-Avon has been well overdue, I visited once as teen and have misty memories of a river bridge and honey coloured buildings. I wanted to return with a completely open mind so did little research and asked the team at Visit Wiltshire if they’d like to organise some of my experience.

Avoncliff cycling path underneath the Aqueduct

My day began at the Towpath Trail hire centre, across the road from a lock on the Kennet and Avon canal. The company hire out bicycles and canoes – had the canal not been starting to freeze over I’d probably be telling you about my paddling adventure to Avoncliff! Instead I tightened my scarf, put on my mittens and fastened a bicycle helmet over my bobble hat for a chilly (but scenic!) peddle.

Further reading: A bicycle tour on the Isle of Wight

Bradford-on-Avon Canal Lock

Bradford-on-Avon to Devizes Trail

The Towpath in Bradford-on-Avon

The Cross Guns Pub and Beer Garden in Avoncliff

Cross Guns pub in Avoncliff

I’m already picturing my family and I enjoying this experience in the summer months, Avoncliff’s 17th century Cross Guns pub has a wonderful aspect over the weir with a decked out beer garden for a refreshing cool off. It’s around 15-20 minutes by bike and 45 minutes in a canoe from my starting point in Bradford-on-Avon. You can ride further to the city of Bath as the canal is 86 miles long in total connecting Bristol to Reading. 

Further reading: A day trip guide to England’s Prettiest Village

The Lock Inn, fun with Dick and Jane, Bradford-on-Avon

Quirky decor inside Bradford-on-Avon's The Lock Inn

The Lock Inn Café with Canal Views, Bradford-on-Avon

THE LOCK INN CAFÉ | Bradford-on-Avon Day Trip Guide 
On return to Bradford-on-Avon I was warmly welcomed in to the canal side Lock Inn Café. This place is as cosy as it gets, beneath a quirky collection of pots and pans I rested beside the roaring fire with a freshly brewed tea. The Lock Inn’s menu is extensive and their famous “Boatman’s breakfast” is a generously sized all-day feast at a reasonable (current price) of £7.75. I had the veggie option and despite my best efforts I made a minor dent in it.

Tea in Bradford-on-Avon

Inside The Lock Inn, Bradford-on-Avon

The famous Boatman's Breakfast from The Lock Inn's menu, Bradford-on-Avon

The Lock Inn also has an outside space containing three summerhouses and a narrowboat which is popular for young families to dine in. 

The Lock Inn exterior space with summer houses

Bradford-on-Avon's Tithe Barn House

One of the more well known tourist attractions in the city, The Tithe Barn is a 14th century architectural wonder. I was so impressed by the original timber roof inside this vast space, it’s well worth checking out. If you’re visiting with children I noticed a nearby play park and grassy area too.

The Tithe Barn and Granary in Bradford-on-Avon

The Tithe Barn, Bradford-on-Avon

Inside view of the Tithe Barn's Medieval Timber Roof, Bradford-on-Avon

River Avon in Bradford-on-Avon

Church in Bradford-on-Avon

My next stop was The Holy Trinity Church, a tip I picked up from Jennifer at Towpath Trail. I do love visiting Churches, they have a special atmosphere and are usually one of the oldest and historically significant buildings in any British town or city.

The Holy Trinity Church, Bradford-on-Avon

Inside The Holy Trinity Church in Bradford-on-Avon

The award winning Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford-on-Avon

THE SHAMBLES | Bradford-on-Avon Day Trip Guide 

My final stop was to the local shops, The Shambles is a historic street lined with timber framed buildings. Before my trip I only knew about The Shambles in York but the name refers to Medieval markets that used to occupy this area. Across the town bridge is The Bridge Tearoom, double-winner of the ‘Top UK Tea Place‘ – just look at the little windows and door, amazing!

Further reading: Three must-see places in The Cotswolds 

The Shambles in Bradford-on-Avon

Coppice Hill in Bradford-on-Avon

The Old Post Office in Bradford-on-Avon

Leaf & Bean in Bradford-on-Avon

Hot chocolate from Leaf & Bean 

If you’re planning a wonderful day out in the UK, Bradford-on-Avon ticks all the boxes and is just minutes away from the popular city of Bath. I particularly like how easy it is to navigate in a day, but I would feel quite content spending the rest of the week/month/year lazing by the river with a cream tea or two… may be next time! 

The Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England

There are car parks available in the centre, but it may be easier to take the train as it’s well connected to the mainline via Bristol to Cardiff and London.
Have you been to Bradford-on-Avon before? Let me know if you have any extra tips to share!

Disclosure: My experience at The Tow Trail and Lock Inn Café was complimentary, all opinions shared are my own. 

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