Things to do in Portishead

Portishead is the new sensational residential coastal resort town renowned for its rich heritage. Historically known as a fishing port, Portishead underwent a rapid expansion during the early 19th century, when it became the pivot of chemical industries.

Today there’s plenty to do in Portishead. Portishead is a vast port town at the mouth of river Avon in Bristol, known for its heart-captivating serene beauty and tourist-related recreational areas.

Even though Portishead isn’t a beach town, some attractions are worth visiting; this includes a beloved public outdoor pool, a rocky outcropping with a lighthouse, an esplanade, an Edwardian boating lake and park, and National Trust homes.

Here are some incredible things you can mark on your to-do list when visiting Portishead.

Visit the open air pool Portishead

Although Portishead is a beachy area, it is not recommended for swimming due to dangerously strong water currents, close water traffic, and high tidal range. But there are other options to enjoy a day in the water.

Portishead open-air pool was a well-liked amenity for the first few decades after its opening in 1962 near Battery Point; however, this 33-meter lido faced closure in the early 2000s.

The community of Portishead banded together to create the Portishead Pool Community Trust so that the lido could recover, enjoying its busiest season ever in 2018.

The pool, which is heated using renewable energy, contains a pool for toddlers and a café operated by the local community that serves delicious Fairtrade coffee and finger licking baked goods. The pool is open from April through the end of October (with a shorter schedule at either end of the season).

The scrumptious food and bewildering scenic beauty will make you feel in heaven, and you will not regret a penny.

Visit the lovely coastal town of Portishead

Enjoy the Portishead Quays Marina

Are you looking for a relaxing atmosphere with the best food at service? Well, Portishead offers the most soothing Mediterranean surroundings with eminent cafés and bars to serve you the best you can have.

The number of people arriving by boat and on foot is increasing in Portishead, a lively but laid-back town. It’s an unmissable mooring with a kind welcome because the quayside is lined with eateries, craft brew taverns, and family-friendly areas.

The list of perks you get while visiting Portishead Marina doesn’t end here. It gives you a memorable coastal walk experience at your doorstep, a landmark lido and promenade on a walk of 10mins, plus a craft ale microbrewery next door. In addition, the marina is dog-friendly, and you will experience a buzzy community and boat life.

From the pier beyond the tidal lock, you may stroll along the quaysides, admiring the chic yachts and looking up the estuary to the Severn Bridge and Royal Portbury Dock.

There are bars, eateries, and a few stores facing the water and will not disappoint you in terms of ambiance.

The Portishead Quay Marina as seen from above

See the views at Battery Point

There is no better place to take in these expansive vistas than Portishead Point, which is nowadays maybe more commonly referred to as Battery Point.

The road heading from Eastwood and the steps that run alongside the outdoor pool and Lido Café provides access to Battery Point. When ascending the steps, be aware of openings in badger setts. Several open spaces here offer a place to pause and rest while taking in the scenery.

Due to the strong currents and huge tidal range in the water at Battery Point, extra caution must be exercised, and swimming is not permitted.

A sizable memorial honouring seamen from the past and present who have passed the point is located not far from the brink.

The bell, once used to alert sailors to dangerous sea conditions in the lighthouse, now stands close to the town centre as a reminder of Portishead’s maritime heritage.

Battery Point Portishead

See the gorgeous Tyntesfield House

Tyntesfield is an ornate Victorian gothic revival house with a heart throbbing extensive garden with various flowers and blooming colours.

The National Trust purchased the property in 2002 and has a sizable collection of more than 50,000 items, including the most remarkable Victorian library collection in its possession and a painting by Zambrano.

One hundred fifty acres of parks are located outside, along with a kitchen garden, rose garden, sawmill, orangery, and the Home Farm Visitor Center, which contains a plant centre, craft area, and children’s play area with a farm theme.

Many play areas are nearby, including Woodland Play Area, Sculpture Trail, Pavilion Play Area, and Home Farm Play Area. Furthermore, you can explore the walking routes to witness wildlife and miracles of nature along the path.

The cherry on top is Cow Barn Café, which will serve you the best hot and cold tasty treats, and nearby shops offering you complete retail therapy with seasonal delights.

A mesmerizing place like Tyntesfield seems more enchanting due to its coy cottages where you can dwell for your stay at Portishead.

Tyntesfield House Bristol

Clevedon Court

Clevedon Court, a medieval manor house that belongs to the National Trust, was first inhabited in the early 14th century.

The magnificent great hall, now the house’s main chamber, and the first-floor chapel, which has preserved its splendid Decorated Gothic reticulated tracery and is visible on the south front, are examples of original areas.

You may see collections of Nailsea glass and pictures of the Elton family, who have lived here since 1709, as you make your way through the house. Eltonware, a type of glazed pottery created by Sir Edmund Elton, 8th Baronet, is also on display (1846-1920).

The Grade II listed gardens at Clevedon Court are carved out of the hillside in a series of terraces and are most stunning in the spring and early summer when the peonies, alliums, and lovely magnolias are in flower.

From April until the end of September, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays are open for visits.

Clevedon Court National Trust

Noah’s ark zoo farm

This large zoo has developed over the past 20 years from what was formerly a working farm in the nearby town of Wraxall.

Noah’s Ark also pays homage to its agricultural beginnings with animals including Tamworth pigs, alpacas, Highland cattle, and sheep (with lambs in the spring!).

Take the kids to the enormous hedge labyrinth and enjoy the indoor and outdoor play spaces.

Noah's ark zoo farm

Black Nore lighthouse

You may embark on a picturesque walk west from the Lake Grounds in quest of this Victorian lighthouse, which Trinity House constructed (the 500-year-old lighthouse authority).

The Black Nore Lighthouse, a white-painted metallic building, erected in 1894 to direct boats into and out of Bristol Harbour, was decommissioned in 2010.

It is a fantastic sight from an architectural standpoint because it is a prime example of a Victorian prefabricated building powered by gas in its early years and by a winding mechanism until 2000.

The lighthouse was built over 125 years ago and has undergone little exterior renovations to become a Grade II listed structure.

Visit the Black Nore lighthouse in Portishead

Oakham Treasures

This adjacent museum, Portbury, displays the vast collections of a local farmer collecting vintage clothing, retail wares from the 20th century, and farm equipment since the 1960s.

More than 150 tractors are now on display at the tractor and farm museum, with the oldest being a 1918 Fordson. In addition, several oil and gas-powered farm engines, a straw elevator, a cider press, a potato harvester, and sheep shearers are all linked with this.

In terms of shopping, you can enter a high street from the middle of the 20th century and browse a hardware store, haberdashery, tobacconist, grocery store, off-license, chemist, and sweet shop, all of which are filled with period-accurate signs and packaging.

Oakham Treasures - Portishead old school shopping experience

Prior’s Wood

This museum is adjacent to Portbury and displays the vast collections of a local farmer collecting vintage clothing, retail wares from the 20th century, and farm equipment since the 1960s.

Prior’s Wood is dispersed along the inclining limestone ridge inland from Portishead, where it was formerly part of the Tyntesfield Estate.

You can tell that some woodlands in this area date to the 17th century by the towering sweet chestnut trees, gnarled oaks, hazel, and lime trees.

The main event in Prior’s Wood’s calendar occurs in April and May, when the alluring carpet of bluebells attracts walkers from all over.

Due to their sluggish reproduction rate, bluebells in profusion signify that the nearby woodland has been untouched for many centuries.

If you move slowly, you might see a buzzard, garden warbler, or chiffchaff.

Cory Bristol Forest Walk

Clevedon Coast path

The five-mile westward walk down the estuary to Clevedon is a great place to spend an afternoon in the summer.

The North Somerset Council updated the Clevedon Coast Path in 2018, which leads you past beaches and over sandstone cliffs with uninterrupted views of Wales across the estuary.

The trek starts at Portishead Lake Grounds, and you’ll pass the 17th-century Walton Castle right before you get to Clevedon.

There are a few attractions in Clevedon that will keep you there, including the Salthouse Park’s kid-friendly miniature railroad, a beautiful Grade I pier, and a marine lake.

From Clevedon, you can either go back and retrace your steps on the route or take the 88 or X5 BUS.

Clevedon Coast path

Portbury Wharf nature reserve

This serene marsh area east of Portishead would have looked quite unfamiliar sixty years ago.

The wharf was where waste from two coal-fired power plants was dumped, the Ashlands.

Little survives from that era in this region of ponds, hay meadows, grazing marsh, scrubby woods, and hedgerows.

There are bird hides at three larger pools where you can watch the numerous migratory birds that pause at the Severn Estuary on their lengthy trips.

These could be curlews, redshanks, spoonbills, or bitterns, while a variety of wildfowl, including water rails, shovellers, lapwings, wigeons, snipes, and water rails, spend the winter at the reserve.

Portbury Wharf nature reserve

Black Horse pub

Black horse pub is a great ancient pub in a white structure on Clevedon Lane, a mile outside Portishead proper.

The Black Horse, which dates its origins to the 1300s, has all the characteristics of a Medieval tavern, including stone-flagged flooring, exposed ceiling beams, and roaring fireplaces.

The classic settles (high-backed benches) and pews, taken from St Michael’s Church down the lane, also contain a significant amount of furniture that dates back hundreds of years.

The bar was next to a coal mine, most likely named after the horses and ponies that transported the coal to Portishead’s docks.

Court House Farm

The lovely collection of Tudor and Medieval farm structures belonged to Gertie Gale, a well-liked member of the Portishead neighbourhood.

The farm fell into disarray after her death in the early 2000s, and it wasn’t until recently that it was taken over and rehabilitated.

Although Court House Farm was still undergoing restoration at the time, some rooms were rented out for lodging and as wedding venues.

You can visit the gardens outside in the spring and summer, and there are regular gardening activities like workshops and markets on the weekends.

The garden’s 2019 highlights included a meadow maze, sweetcorn circle, wigwam plantation, and lovely ribbon planting.

Court House Farm

Boat trips

Channel Explorer Charters, based at Portishead Marina, organizes cruises and fishing excursions on its quick blue and white catamaran.

Almost every day of the year, the boat departs for up to 12-hour fishing adventures.

The species in the Bristol Channel vary depending on the season, but cod, rays, dogfish, and conger eels are common from October to spring.

Additionally available with notice are rod rentals and bait.

You might prefer to take in the scenery in the Bristol Channel, and skipper Chris will take you there for a better view of the enormous Severn Bridge. Learn more about the estuary’s natural beauty and historical significance, Bristol Harbour’s comings and goings, and the Channel’s rich natural resources.

Take a boat in Portishead

Portishead lake grounds

The primary park in Portishead is around an artificial lake made in the 2000s.

The Esplanade skirts the Portishead Lake Grounds to the west, providing views of the estuary and lake.

The park has several amenities, including pedal boats, a few kid-friendly rides, a lakeside café, well-kept lawns, a rose garden, numerous specimen trees, a cricket field, a bowling alley, and tennis courts.

Bring some food for the ducks (use corn or oats instead of bread) and enjoy a picnic on the grass.

Portishead lake grounds

Team sport laser tag Bristol

Visit TeamSport Bristol Laser Tag to elevate your game experience! The best kind of live-action, this is perfect for families who want to take the kids away from the Xbox!

You’ll shoot harmless infrared beams at each other while using awesome-looking, completely innocent laser phasors to try to strike the sophisticated, lightweight sensors on your bodies.

It is the most fantastic game of hiding and seeks you’ll ever play when broken down to its most basic components.

Children will enjoy an immersive experience in the misty, dimly lit, and full of unique sounds and lights arena! Every player and kid character may find a way to play that suits them because there are many rooms to explore and shady nooks to conceal bravely.

There are missions to fit every occasion and budget, so if you’ve never played laser tag before, we think it’s about time you did. Offers and events are constantly coming at us, so there’s always something going on. You won’t be let down.

Room full of lasers

Ladye Beach

The beach is the best place to be when summer hits, so slather the kids in sunscreen and head to Ladye Bay near Clevedon for the day.

This charming small beach is an uncrowded strip of sand hidden between craggy rocks and sheer cliffs and is surrounded by lush flora. It’s a lovely setting where you can soak up the sun and work on your tan as the kids play in the sand and construct sandcastles.

An enjoyable family tradition is spending a peaceful day at the beach, where you can relax while listening to children playing and the sound of the waves lapping against the coast. However, you should know that swimming at Ladye Bay is not advised if you are a novice swimmer due to the strong tides.

Beach near to the pier in Portishead

Portishead national nautical school

If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to see the Portishead national nautical school.

The school was established in 1906, on a 15-acre site overlooking the Bristol Channel. The institution would take boys committed by the magistrates court to train them for the Royal and Merchant Navy. There were some boys there on voluntary basis as well.

The boys were required to be between 10 and 14 and to provide a payment of £23 per year.

The school closed in 1983 and the building has now been converted to flats. The site is now know as Fedden Park.

Portishead national nautical school

The Clifton suspension bridge

Families can use the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Center by the Leigh Woods toll booth on the Bridge to learn valuable facts about the Bridge’s history, including how it was built and maintained today. Additionally, you can purchase activity kits, novels, postcards, and souvenirs.

From Observatory Hill in Clifton, you can get a spectacular view of the Bridge; take the footpaths up. Then, if you’re feeling brave (or under pressure from kids), you can ride the wonderful Rock Slide back down to the bottom, which Bristolians have used for hundreds of years to smooth out their tails.

You and the kids can also visit the Camera Obscura and Giant’s Cave at Clifton Observatory for a nominal additional charge. Worthwhile adds to a day of discovery and fun for the family!

Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge Top

Love the South West? Don’t forget to check out more things about Bristol, the best things to do in Gloucester, the best things to do in Cheltenham and epic things to do in Ledbury. Take a day trip to Cardiff and from Bristol, you can easily get to the most beautiful places in Cornwall or enjoy the county of Gloucestershire.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


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