Bradford on Avon is a lovely Cotswold market town that is a popular day trip from Bath.
The town dates from Roman times and was a major textile manufacturing centre during the Industrial Revolution. At one stage there were around 30 woollen mills located in the town, however, in the late 19th century Yorkshire became the main focus of the English woollen industry the last woollen mill in Bradford on Avon closed in 1905.
With a population of around 10,000, it is large enough to not be overwhelmed by tourists whilst also having all the amenities of a bustling market town, yet small enough to be a charming alternative to Bath, Bradford on Avon’s larger, more visited, neighbour, which is only 10km (6½ miles) to the west.
Although there is a museum and several historic buildings in the town, Bradford on Avon’s main draw is the town itself, rather than any specific point of interest. Unlike most other English towns and cities, there aren’t a lot of chain businesses in Bradford and most of the town’s shops, cafes and restaurants are independently operated making it a charming town to wander around. Like York, Bradford on Avon has a charming shopping street in the town centre called The Shambles, which is full of independent shops in old buildings dating from medieval times.
There are several stately homes and country gardens located nearby that make a lovely excursion, particularly if you’re a National Trust member.
Bradford on Avon is best visited by rail as roads running through the town can often be congested with traffic and driving to nearby Bath can often take three times as long as taking the train. The station is just east of Bath on the Wessex Main Line, which connects Bristol with Southampton and Portsmouth Harbour.