A day out in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire: Quaint streets and serene canal-side

views of Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire from town bridge

Bradford-on-Avon is a quaint market town in Wiltshire. Located near Bath, this medieval town offers charming cottages, narrow streets, delightful shops, cafés and restaurants, and peaceful river and canal walks. If you are visiting Bath or the Wiltshire region, I would recommend a day out in Bradford-on-Avon to enjoy the atmosphere of the medieval town and visit the top attractions.

Get lost in the quaint medieval streets

Bradford-on-Avon is nested in a lush valley, and built on the banks of the River Avon and the flanks of the surrounding hills. As a result, most of the town’s quaint streets are steep, but well worth climbing to enjoy the charming cottages and, hopefully, the view. Most streets are narrow and painted in the golden Bath stone which lends a picturesque aura to the town.

The Shambles, quaint street in Bradford-on-Avon
The Shambles street

To best enjoy Bradford-on-Avon, put your map and phone away, get lost in the cobbled streets and find the most enchanting cottages. On the way, you can stop at the many delightful shops, cafés and restaurants the town offers. For instance, The Shambles is one of the oldest streets in town; it was the site of the medieval market and is now a quaint pedestrian street full of shops and cafés.

Visit Bradford-on-Avon’s medieval sights

Rebuilt in the 18th century, the town bridge is sited in the heart of Bradford-on-Avon. The bridge’s superb arches straddle the River Avon, and enjoy splendid views of the waterway as well as the cottages built on the hillside. The oval structure on the bridge is the town lock-up, used in the 17th century as a prison.

Bradford-on-Avon town bridge
Bradford-on-Avon’s town bridge

The Tithe barn is another top attraction in Bradford-on-Avon. Located near both the river and the canal, the medieval barn is the largest and best preserved in England. Measuring 51 meters long, the barn was built in the 14th century for the adjacent Barton farm and features an impressive timber vaulted ceiling.

Walk along the serene waterside

Bradford-on-Avon offers two lovely walks along the waterside. The Kennet & Avon canal is a delight to explore with its colourful canal boats moored on its banks and boats floating on its waters. The canal offers a serene escape and the ideal venue for boat spotting.

Bradford-on-Avon canal path with canal boats
The Kennet & Avon canal path

Walking along the River Avon path, you can discover the town from a different viewpoint, admire the town architecture as well as the Wiltshire countryside, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the riverside. You may also spot a few fishermen dotted along the river bank.

Near Bradford-on-Avon: Places to explore

The renowned city of Bath

You cannot visit Bradford-on-Avon without also exploring Bath, which is 20 minutes away. The striking city of Bath is one of the best places to visit in England. From Bath Abbey to the Royal Crescent and the Roman Baths, Bath enjoys arresting Roman, medieval and Georgian architecture. Check out the Bath city tours by A Dragon’s Escape.

The hidden Chalfield Manor

Many National Trust stately houses dot the Somerset and Wiltshire landscape. The Great Chalfield Manor is a stunning medieval manor house worth a visit. Only a 10 minute car journey from Bradford-on-Avon, the house is hidden in the lovely Wiltshire countryside. The key attractions are its remarkable great hall and charming gardens. You can visit the house by guided tour only. Check out the nationaltrust.org.uk for more information.

Great Chalfield Manor house
Great Chalfield Manor (Great British Gardens)

The enchanting Lacock Abbey & Village

Another National Trust gem, Lacock Abbey and Village are top places to visit near Bradford-on-Avon. Also located in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, the enchanting Lacock Abbey and Village let you travel through time from medieval to Victorian times. The landmark’s top attractions are its striking cloisters, enchanting gardens and quaint village streets. Find out more with the Lacock Abbey and Village guide by A Dragon’s Escape.

Plan your escape

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References: Bradford-on-Avon, National Trust

Featured image: Bradford-on-Avon from the town bridge

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