Timbrell's Yard

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom Book from £95

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
A dramatic transformation of an old riverside boozer into a stylish boutique hotel, with great food and prices
Despite being a life-long Bristolian, I'd never been to Bradford on Avon before. And when we drove into it, down a steep windy hill, past gorgeous old honey-stone buildings, I was amazed by its beauty. Clusters of 17th-century cottages, cobbled streets and tall weavers' townhouses, with a mellow green river swept by weeping willows. It's a mini Bath (with a ridiculous number of coffee shops).

Yet until last week, there was nowhere special to stay in town; it was more of a day-trip destination. How things will change now that Timbrell's Yard has opened its Farrow & Ball doors. The hotel has the same winning formula as its popular sister properties (the Swan Wedmore and White Hart Somerton); it's stylish, friendly and great value, with great gastro-pub food. The style in the bedrooms, however, is all its own; Nordic in influence, with elegant greys, signature tiling, fishing lamps and bare wood, warmed by fur cushions and witty decorative detail.

Highs

    • Truly relaxing thanks to excellent beds and the tranquil riverside location; ideal for a restorative break
    • Delicious food by Tom Blake (formerly at River Cottage)
    • Friendly staff, who love the area
    • Great value for money, particularly the smaller rooms
    • No need for a car; you're a 2-min walk from the station with regular trains to Bath for day trips (10 mins)

Lows

    • Limited mobile signal (a High for us)
    • Teeny hairdryers
    • The river view from the dining terrace is obstructed by the car park, which seems a shame
    • The town is frequently snarled up with traffic
    • We're yet to view the River Walk Rooms

Best time to go

This would be a great bolthole at any time of year. There's a terrace out front for drinking and dining in warm weather; the dining room is airy with huge glass windows so perfect for spring and autumn months, and there's a wood-burner in the bar for the winter months.

Our top tips

  • We loved the award-winning Bridge Tea Rooms: delicious homemade cake and a perfect brew. Delicate bone china, staff in frilly aprons, and the low ceiling of the 16th-century Blacksmith's cottage makes for an atmospheric pitstop
  • Bring your own hairdryer if you have long or thick hair
  • Great for...

    Cheap & Chic
    Family
    Foodie
    Honeymoon
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 17
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    Room:

    Rooms

    Rooms are individually and elegantly styled, with calm, Nordic influence: stripped-back wood, crisp white linens and various shades of grey. Furnishings are an eclectic mix of iron-wrought tables, wicker chairs, low-hanging fishing lamps and up-styled dressing tables and desks. Our Large Double had a French basket bed; others have leather chairs, cowhide, perhaps a towel ladder. Fur cushions, witty art and drinks coasters add colour.

    We saw 14 rooms and they were all lovely, even the Small Doubles, which are rather dark but a great price if you just want to lay your head for the night. River-side rooms are pared-back, the Mezzanine Doubles with big picture windows; Standard Doubles at the back are snazzy with sleek white shutters and statement wallpaper but no view.

    Bathrooms are a delight, with signature tiling, big powerful showers and a handful of delicious Bramley toiletries. Large Doubles with Bath have a free-standing tub and towelling robes, too, so are worth the splurge if you like a wallow.

    Since our visit, the hotel has added 3 split-level River Walk Rooms. We're yet to view these spaces, but they'll be located on the ground-floor and have a slightly more colourful style to those we have viewed.

    Features include:

    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Ipod dock
    • Radio
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet

    Eating

    The open kitchen is headed up by Tom Blake, formerly of River Cottage, so bring an appetite. We sat in the cool wooden dining room; in summer you can dine on the terrace. Flavours are huge, and everything we ate was perfectly cooked, from the delicious 'Little Things' (chorizo sausage rolls with fennel slaw; parsnip and smoked cheese croquettes), to a moist stuffed bantam chicken breast with purple sprouting broccoli, and a perfect steak. There are imaginative starters (smoked pig's cheeks; pollack souffle) and delectable salads (honey roasted squash with halloumi). And puddings are amazing - we loved the salted caramel ice cream, and pannacotta with ginger biscuits.

    Breakfast is an indulgent affair: pastries, homemade granola with vanilla-bean yoghurt and poached rhubarb, plus cooked options are available. We went for broke: old-spot sausages, vast field mushrooms with fresh rosemary, and rich homemade beans. Delicious.

    Bradford on Avon has lots of independent eateries for a change of scene.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Coffee tea making
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Vegetarian menu
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Wander around Bradford on Avon's cobbled streets, admiring beautiful old houses, the 13th-century main bridge and exploring the independent boutiques. There's a farmers' market every third Thursday
    • Stroll along the river path, past ancient bridges and weeping willows, up to the pretty canal lock. En route stop at the amazing 14th-century Tithe Barn (plus a few artisan shops)
    • You're perfectly placed for a day trip to Bath, just 10 minutes away by train. A world Heritage site, it has stunning Georgian architecture, ancient Roman Baths and a Thermae spa. Great fashion shopping, too
    • Stourhead's stunning National Trust gardens are an easy drive away, as is the pretty market town of Frome

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Museums / galleries
    • Shopping / markets
    • Well being

    Kids

    Children are welcome and all rooms except the Small Doubles can fit a baby cot or extra bed. There are no specific facilities for kids though, and no rooms can fit a family of 4+.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Large Doubles have lots of space, and 2 have a bathtub, which is useful for younger kids; the Mezzanine Doubles have a living area on the lower floor and a bedroom up top, so you could put a child's bed/baby cot on the lower floor.

    Baby equipment:

    Baby cots and high chairs in the restaurant.

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Kids' meals plus child-sized portions of most main meals on request.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    8/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    9/
    Overall

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