With fantastic restaurants, a stunning pier and a thriving culture of independent shops, there’s never been a better time to visit Somerset’s hippest seaside town. Sarah Ball picks the seven places you need on your to-visit list. Photography Kym Grimshaw
Once described by Sir John Betjeman as “the most beautiful pier in England” and constructed with sections from one of Brunel’s railways, many know Clevedon for its spectacular pier – its most recent claim to fame is as the backdrop for One Direction’s You and I music video, or you might recognise the town’s picturesque streets from ITV’s award-winning drama Broadchurch, much of which was filmed in Clevedon. But the town is so much more.
There’s the Victorian architecture, a vibrant mix of independent boutiques, bakeries and coffee shops plus a brilliant artisan market on the first Sunday of the month (April – September). So it’s little surprise that the town notched-up a huge 11.6% house price rise in 2017 (the biggest increase in the whole of the UK, according to property website Zoopla).
So earmark a weekend to drive down from Bath (it’ll take under an hour) for some fresh sea air, a great meal (or two) and some serious shopping. We’ve also done the legwork for you by cherry-picking the seven best spots to visit.
1. FOR: HOMEMAKERS
This quaint store on the corner of Alexandra Road – founded by design gurus Katherine Midgley and Seamus Green – has an air of old-world charm, stocking timeless, functional products for the home. Shop for intricate fox-print cushions from Dorset’s Bonfield Block Printers; there’s Japanese-style pottery hand-made by Carmarthenshire potter Tim Lake; and chunky beeswax candles that make the perfect suits-all gift. They’ve also done a one-off collaboration with Wild Grove, a lavender and patchouli hand soap made in Bristol exclusively for the store.
FIND IT: Midgley Green, 26 Alexandra Road, Clevedon, BS21 7QH
Tel: 01275 871989; visit: midgleygreen.com
2. FOR: MOVIE BUFFS
Since opening its doors in 1912, The Curzon cinema has hosted mainstream and art house films, live comedy and music performances and generally become a centre for creativity and the community. Now known as one of the oldest continually running purpose-built cinemas in the world, even a trip to see the most recent sequel to the latest blockbuster franchise is a cultural affair. Sit amongst original 1920s design and munch on popcorn surrounded by an internationally recognised piece of cinema history. Families can enjoy earlier child-friendly showings and film aficionados will be in their element at the 35mm film screenings.
FIND IT: Curzon Community Cinema, 46 Old Church Road, Clevedon, BS21 6NN
Tel: 01275 879 115; visit: curzon.org.uk
3. FOR: SEASIDE NOSTALGIA
Delicately dramatic, the pier is the jewel in the crown of Clevedon, cementing its charm as a Victorian seaside resort with a front that has not been defaced by chip shops and amusement arcades. It was first opened in 1869 to receive paddle-steamer passengers from Devon and Wales and now has a museum, gift shop and smart little restaurant sporting unparalleled views across the Bristol Channel. The modest entrance fee of a few pounds is well worth it.
FIND IT: Clevedon Pier, The Toll House, The Beach, Clevedon, BS21 7QU
Tel: 01275 878846; clevedonpier.co.uk
4. FOR: FOODIES
The best of British and Italian fare sit side by side at Murrays of Clevedon, a family-run deli and restaurant which has been open for more than 30 years. The atmosphere is confident and informal, the staff are welcoming and knowledgeable and the food is freshly prepared and fairly priced. Arrive hungry and feast on dishes like Tuscan pork and fennel sausages with spiced Umbrian lentils, cremini mushrooms, candied mustard fruits and rocket. The team also cranks out spot-on pizzas with toppings like caramelised tropea onions and Ortiz tuna. Before you head home swing by the deli which is packed to the rafters with delectable balsamic vinegars, Italian wines and quirky pasta.
FIND IT: Murrays of Clevedon, 91 Hill Road, Clevedon BS21 7PN
Tel: 01275 341555; visit: murraysofclevedon.co.uk
5. FOR: ARTISANS
Elegantly curated for a cool and ruggedly handsome home, Nineteen is a perfect marriage of interiors store and workshop studio. It sells everything from locally illustrated prints to vintage antique furniture and has lots of one-off pieces: you’ll find specially commissioned mono-print Clevedon pier mugs in the store this month. It has a reputation for running brilliant workshops too. In the line-up for this month is lampshade making (Friday 16 February, £39) and screen-printing with Kathy Hutton (Saturday 24 February, £45) but whatever your crafty passion, be it macramé, leather goods or hand lettering, you’ll find a class to fit you here.
FIND IT: Nineteen, 19 Alexandra Road, Clevedon BS21 7QH
Tel: 01275 340563; visit: 19alexandraroad.co.uk
6. FOR: COFFEE & CUTS
At 67 Barista Barber you can get a short back and sides alongside a perfectly poured flat white (tea drinkers can sup on a loose tea brew from Tea Pigs). This brilliant coffee-shop-meets-barber hybrid opened last November on Hill Road and has been an instant hit. Owners Sue and Steve Copper wanted to create a laid-back pub atmosphere. But they’ve done even better than that; the place brims with personality thanks to décor rooted out from Wells Reclamation, orginal formica café tables and superb coffee (they get their fairtrade beans from Devon-based roaster Voyager). Sue does all the baking herself and is known for her moreish ginger cake. They also organise bike rides that set off from the salon and popular dads and lads Saturday morning cutting sessions for fathers and sons – boys get a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate with their cut.
FIND IT: 67 Barista Barber, 67 Hill Rd, Clevedon BS21 7PD
Tel: 01275 217740