There was a bracing cold wind blowing in our faces, as we walked along the seafront at Clevedon.
There was also periodic drizzle on this gloomy Saturday afternoon in February. Despite the weather, there was no shortage of visitors – every parking space was occupied and the cafes were full.
We were there for a large family gathering that we tend to have once a year. This time, it was to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday. I’m not sure what everyone else was there for, but it was certainly a popular place to be.
The old pier is a notable attraction, more for admirers of architecture that for those seeking candyfloss and kiss- me- quick hats. It was described by John Betjeman as the most beautiful pier in England and is the only Grade 1 listed pier that can be visited by the public. It has a visitors centre, a cafe, a shop and quite a few anglers.
Walking south, a pleasant promenade leads to a marine lake, where it is possible to swim in a slightly more sheltered environment than the sea. Behind the lake is a large park, which is home to a miniature railway open all year round (weather permitting). The town itself has a rather Victorian feel.
Apart from a stroll and lunch in a cafe (we went in 3 before finding one with a spare table), we didn’t spend too much time in Clevedon. My father and I went to visit my sick brother while my wife, daughter and her cousins headed off for the more child pleasing delights of nearby Weston-super-Mare. I understand a great time was had by one and all, on the beach and Grand Pier.
As far as the family gathering was concerned, our hotel looked after us very well. We had a private dining room and our own private bar was very welcome during the 6 nations rugby which caused some division between Scottish and Welsh members of the family! The location on the clifftop meant the sea views were unobstructed.
So while Clevedon probably doesn’t have enough to occupy a full weekend, it is a good base from which to explore wider and it worked for us.
Clevedon is on the west coast of England, UK, 13 miles from Bristol
The nearest railway station is Nailsea and Backwell (7 miles)
The nearest airport is Bristol 10 miles
Regular bus services run from Bristol
We stayed at the Walton Park Hotel, about 10 minutes uphill walk from the pier