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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal - Part I (Bradford-on-Avon to Bath)

Most of the pubs featured in this blog are ones that I've visited on our canal holidays over the years. Since we sold our boat Emma Jane last year we've been able to visit 'new' canals that I've never been on before. From a holiday point of view this has been great, but it means that, for this blog, the supply of pubs has diminished somewhat. I've still got quite a few to get through, but as it is still fresh in the mind I'm going to detail the pubs we visited on our most recent trip along the Kennet & Avon Canal. Who knows, in a few years if we revisit the canal again I can add them to the collection.

Our trip started from Bradford-on-Avon with lunch in one of the nearest pubs to the Black Prince hire base.
Canal Tavern, Bradford-on-Avon
Like all of the buildings in Bradford it is built from local stone. Inside it was quite 'pubby' and pleasant for a lunchtime break before our boat was ready.

So, after a good lunch we took charge of the narrowboat Anitra and, after the obligatory boat familiarisation and safety talk we were off towards Bath. We consulted our Nicholson's Guide and expected to be in Bath by the evening. What we hadn't bargained for was the sheer number of moored boats along the way. You have to go very slowly past moored boats and there were few opportunities to get up any speed so we only made it as far as Bathampton.
The George, Bathampton
This was the perfect mooring site as that's our boat you can see right outside the pub! The George, sadly, is a Chef & Brewer pub and it was Saturday night. All of the tables were occupied or reserved and it was fully booked. Not for the last time on this holiday we consulted our smartphones to see what else was available nearby. The bar staff were no help, but technology pointed us towards Bathampton Mill and a quick phone call reserved us a table.
Bathampton Mill
This is an upmarket restaurant in what used to be a large pub by the river...although the riverside setting was rather lost as it was very dark (hence the not so great picture!). I'm not sure I should classify this as a pub, but as it used to be I'll include it even though it is an expensive eatery with a bar area.

Next day we tackled the short journey into Bath, via the six locks and moored up on the River Avon. Time for lunch so we headed into Bath to discover the delights of the city. Fortunately there are lots of street maps because to the unwary tourist Bath can become quite bewildering.
The West Gate, Bath
This was our first port of call - The West Gate is larger than expected and was fairly unatmospheric at that time on a Sunday lunchtime.

Back in May I reported on Britain's Best Real Heritage Pubs and the pubs that I'd visited in there. I'd taken it on holiday expecting to find a few new pubs to explore. There are two in Bath and we discovered one nearby.
The Old Green Tree, Bath
This is a proper old school pub - as you walk in the bar is in front of you, to the left is the front room and another room at the back, which is where we sat.
Allied to very friendly bar staff you get a perfect pub!

Cornish Pasty for lunch, a tour of the sights of Bath and back to the boat for a breather before a second foray into the city for the evening session. After a bit more sightseeing, this was our first pub.
The Huntsman, Bath
The Huntsman is a large fairly characterless pub, but it served its purpose! One pint and it was onwards.
Saracen's Head Tavern, Bath
This is a fairly bog-standard boozer...which is what I like! As we were getting a bit peckish we moved on again, to eat. Then it was back to the pubs and we found this little gem.
Coeur de Lion, Bath
Apparently this is the smallest pub in Bath and I'm not surprised. The upstairs bit was closed (well it was late on a Sunday night), but the downstairs bar is tiny but full of interest. Still time for one more, hopefully!
The Canary Gin & Wine Bar, Bath
My memory is fading (nothing to do with the drink, officer!) as this was our last stop of the evening, but it was a pleasant place. Not quite a pub, but perfectly acceptable for a last drink of the evening.

That seems to be a reasonable point to end this first instalment of our Kennet & Avon adventure. 


  1. The Star in Bath (the other Real Heritage Pub) is also well worth a visit.

  2. Stay tuned to see whether we managed to track it down on our return to Bath later in the holiday!