Rob and I have always had Bradford on Avon down as one of those quaint picturesque towns in the South West we’ve been eager to explore, but just never quite got round to visit. When Timbrell’s Yard invited us to come and stay with them we were understandably, delighted. We’ve been long-time advocates of their sister pub, The Swan at Wedmore, so what better opportunity than to visit another potential favourite in a beautiful town we’ve long admired?
Day 1 – Bath & Bradford on Avon
Coming from our home in Bristol, the journey only stands at about 1 hour by car; nonetheless, with Rob eager for his morning hit of caffeine, we stopped by Bath on our eastward course to Bradford on Avon. As we parked up and headed towards the famous old English tea rooms found in Bath’s bustling centre near the Roman Baths – we stumbled upon a local market encircling a stunning tree in full acceptance of its autumnal role, sprouting a multitude of seasonal colours. Autumn has to be one of my favourite seasons, with so much colour, texture and natural beauty on show.
After finally dragging ourselves away from the market and wolfing down teas and coffees at Sally Lunn’s Tea House (alongside an obligatory world famous Sally Lunn Bun) we set course for Bradford on Avon.
Less than 30 minutes later and we were welcomed into the charming town of Bradford on Avon in the glorious sunshine. With it being a Sunday, we admittedly made the mistake of arriving around midday, I say ‘mistake’, because Timbrell’s Yard parking has about 4-5 spaces for guests, and despite being connected to St. Margaret’s Hall short stay car park – both were full. Parking Tip: Arrive early on Sundays, if you need long stay parking, there’s another car park just down the road (BA15 1LF).
Once we were parked up, we checked in and were kindly shown to our absolutely stunning room (the Large Room, #205). The bedroom sits alongside the River Avon in the old gym building, with natural light flowing through large glass windows showcasing heavenly views of the church spire opposite, it’s undoubtedly the jewel in the hotel’s crown.
After we both snapped ourselves out of the room’s magnetising view, we had a few hours to spare before dinner, so decided to explore the nearby hotel surroundings in Bradford on Avon.
As you come out of the hotel, hidden behind St. Margaret’s Hall is a small bridge that overlooks the peaceful flow of the River Avon. Alternatively, if you take a left before taking the bridge, there’s a pathway running parallel with the hotel and river along the canal – there’s plenty to explore for everyone. We basked in the sunshine on the bridge before taking a slow walk through the village, where we were taken aback by the breadth of cafés, restaurants and shops (even one dedicated just for dog owners!). Our cat’s would not have been impressed.
After a tour of the town, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular with tourists, it has that quintessential English feel, steeped in history, with ancient treasures to be found at every turn. It’s perhaps worth noting that visiting in the Autumn months (like October-November) is a good time to avoid the crowds.
With our appetites growing as our legs grew weary, we returned to Timbrell’s Yard to get ready for an early dinner (around 6:30pm).
Making our way to the main restaurant, we took the opportunity to explore the Grade II listed building which was refurbished in 2015; the hotel has 17 en-suite rooms, with a trendy restaurant and well-stocked bar set with a cozy fireplace. On those summery afternoons the courtyard looks like the perfect spot to share a few drinks with friends or family.
Now, when it comes down to dinner, three things are most important to me:
- Local produce
- Seasonal offerings
- Gluten free options!
With the main restaurant’s Autumn menu featuring West Country produce, I was offered all three. Tick. Rob had the Cornish Hake Fillet & Dorset Clams with Wild Rice. I ordered the Ribeye Steak with Garlic & Parsley Butter. I think Rob probably has higher standards than me, especially when it comes to savoury food, so he can be tough to please – but there wasn’t a grain of rice remaining on his main course (which says a lot).
With our appetites looked after, a sumptuous super-king bed awaited our sleepy heads…
Day 2 – Breakfast at Timbrell’s Yard
As much as we’d have liked to have stayed in bed for the entirety of the morning, the duvet being that comfy (I might’ve made a note of the brand)… breakfast awaited.
When we came across the breakfast bar, it was showered in fresh pastries, yoghurts with accompanying compotes, fresh fruit juice & artisanal bread; however, what pleased me most to discover was that the typical ‘continental breakfast’ wasn’t separate from any cooked hot breakfast you wanted (often the frustration at hotels, when you want a cooked breakfast and just a yoghurt on the side).
Rob had smashed avocado on malted toast, while I enjoyed the gluten-free toast and delicious preserves. What earned special praise, was the morning coffee; Rob has become something of a coffee aficionado over the past couple years, the coffee was so good – he had two!
It was nice to know that the menu offerings are kept deliciously seasonal, with breakfast included in your stay if you book direct.
There’s something really special about Timbrell’s Yard, it’s hard to pin it down to just one thing, whether it’s the quirky vintage decorations, the contemporary edge yet in keeping to the area’s heritage – there’s no air of pretentiousness, you feel a sense of home (without the stress).
From £85-145 per night, there’s great value to be found at Timbrell’s Yard hotel (especially with the Large room). It’s no easy task to enhance the visitor’s experience of Bradford on Avon further, but it’s fair to say Timbrell’s Yard did just that.
- Sally Lunn’s Tea House
- Timbrell’s Yard Main Restaurant (overseen by Tom Blake, group chef and ex River Cottage, and his team.)
Activities / Places of Interest:
Sunday 15th October
- Headed to Bath for brunch
- Walked around the market / visited the Tea Rooms / bought some candy.
- Drove to Bradford on Avon for check-in
- Explored the surrounding village / Secret Garden / eyed up the Tapas place
- Relaxed in the room / got ready for Dinner (6:30)
- Went down to try their Autumn dinner
- Chicken & Chorizo, Lentil & Spiced Cashew Nuts, followed by Cornish Hake Fillet & Dorset Clams
- Ribeye Steak with Garlic & Parsley Butter.
- Wonderful night sleep in the comfy bed – even made a note of the duvet brand for future reference!
Monday 16th October
- Relaxing sleep, woke up.
- Headed down to Breakfast
- Smashed avocado on malted toast, chilli sauce, roast tomatoes, nuts & seeds
- Best coffee – had two!
- Gluten-free toast with delicious preserves.
- Checked out that morning (which just happened to be after the hurricane Ophelia pulled in dust and debris from southern Europe and Africa.) to produce a Golden Yellow skyline with a glowing reddish sun.
Timbrell’s Yard kindly covered the cost of our stay, but as always, thoughts are very much my own.