The Ultimate Bristol Suburb Guide: Long Ashton
Long Ashton is a village towards the south-west of Bristol and technically just outside the Bristol city urban area boundary. The village and civil parish fall under the Unitary Authority of North Somerset but is close enough to the centre of Bristol so as to make it an ideal location for visiting this part of the country with easy access to the city.
It is a very cosy place to stay with a population of just over 6,000, with the parish including Leigh Woods and the nearby hamlet of Yanley.
Long Ashton’s properties tend to be very mixed in style with many old ones but plenty of new ones too, as well as a wide variety of sizes ranging from rather large to pretty small. The area is quaint and known for its numerous green areas, woods and open spaces which give it a real country feel despite being situated just over a couple of miles from the busy hub of Bristol city centre.
Long Ashton Location in Bristol
The village was originally built on the slopes of a valley, on the south-facing side that runs east to west. The site of the village is actually on the old road that ran from Bristol down to Weston-super-Mare, though this has long since been replaced in function by the A370. Colitters Way connects Long Ashton to everywhere along the southernmost tip of Gloucestershire, while the aforementioned A370 takes you right into the heart of Bristol city centre.
The surrounding areas around Long Ashton include trendy Southville to the north-east along with Ashton Gate and Ashton Court to the north. The latter includes an old country mansion on a large estate which plays host to numerous events throughout the year and is a popular spot for walkers and mountain bikers (there are several trails in nearby Leigh Woods).
Public transport options aren’t exactly overwhelming in the immediate vicinity of Long Ashton, but there are buses nearby that connect to the rest of Bristol. The closest railway station is Parson Street, located about two and a half miles to the east of Long Ashton. A little further along is Bedminster station. The train services are operated by Great Western Railway.
The History of Long Ashton
Historians generally accept that the village of Long Ashton originated in Saxon times, although it is also true that both prehistoric and Roman artefacts have been unearthed in the area, particularly at the site of the Gatcombe Roman Settlement.
The name ‘Long Ashton’ derives from two waterways the village is close to, one being the Longmoor Brook and the other being the Ashton Brook, thus Long Ashton was formed as a combination of the two. The Domesday Book, compiled by order of William the Conqueror and completed in 1086, records the village name as ‘Estune’, which purportedly means ‘the place by the ash tree’.
The village used to have its own railway connection as a station was built on Yanley Lane back in 1926, but it only lasted fifteen years before it was closed. One place that has stood the test of time is the Angel Inn pub, which was originally a church house built in 1495. There are actually several historically interesting pubs in the area, but the Angel Inn is the oldest, and still in business since being converted into a pub.
Shopping in Long Ashton
As a small village, most of the best shopping will be located nearer the city centre in the more commercial areas, but there are still some nice places in Long Ashton itself. There is Long Ashton Village Market on Keedwell Hill where you can buy fresh produce direct from the source, and Gatcombe Farm Shop a little bit further out on Weston Road in Flax Bourton to the west.
There are a number of independent shops as well, such as the self-explanatory Guitar Finishers on Glebe Road, Sivana Home that sells rugs, and a pottery store called Jane Booth Ceramics.
Long Ashton Bars and Restaurants
Again, there are lots more options the closer to the city centre you get, but even just in and around Long Ashton, there are a good few eating options to consider.
The Ashton is a traditional British pub setting serving real ales and classic pub food in a rustic environment that includes an open fire and beer garden.
The Bird in Hand is another good quality gastropub option, while a bit further out on Gatcombe Lane is the Greedy Goose restaurant.
The Spice Inn on Providence Rise provides lots of lovely Indian food and is open late, while the Sun-Fung Fish Bar on Weston Road offers excellent Chinese food as well as traditional fish and chips. More tasty options are provided by the efficiently-named Piccolo's Fish and Chips and Pizza.
As for pubs, the Angel Inn, the Ashton and the Bird in Hand have featured already but add to those the Miners Rest which is very cosy and features outdoor seating. The Jubilee Inn on Main Road in Flax Bourton to the east is also worth consideration as it is also rather cosy (as are most pubs in this area) and also has outdoor seating to enjoy during the weather.
Other Long Ashton Attractions and Places of Interest
One of the most attractive aspects of living or staying in Long Ashton is all the open spaces and green areas. To the north is Ashton Court Estate, where amongst other events you can witness the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta every August.
It is Europe’s largest annual gathering of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 of them from all over the world. It is held over four days and is completely free to visit, with charges only made for parking. It is an unforgettable event that is definitely worth factoring into your plans.
Even without such an amazing spectacle, the other nearby green spaces make staying in Long Ashton a rewarding and relaxing experience.