The Ultimate Bristol Suburb Guide: Westbury on Trym
The historic village of Westbury-on-Trym is not in fact a village but a picturesque suburb of Bristol located in the north-west of the city (although it was once a village). Much of the residential property in the area dates from the Victorian era or the 1930s, with the area populated by a number of well-preserved period buildings which greatly enhance the village’s unique character.
There are also lots of unique cottages as well as purpose-built flats and retirement homes. A conservation area can be found at the heart of the village, while the local scenery benefits from the river Trym which flows through it.
Westbury-on-Trym is surrounded by Henbury, Henleaze, Southmead, Stoke Bishop as well as several others. Each of these often feature their own unique offerings which are easily accessed from Westbury. It is also only a short distance from the Downs, a public wide open area of limestone downland consisting of picturesque Durdham Down and Clifton Down.
The main transport route in the vicinity of the village is the A4018 road which runs from Bristol city centre through to Cribbs Causeway where it connects with the M5 motorway. Public transport is well served by nine bus routes, with the closest railway station located in neighbouring Sea Mills.
The History of Westbury-on-Trym
The village of Westbury-on-Trym actually predates the city of Bristol, with significant activity recorded there as early as the 8th century. The area was given to an Anglo-Saxon noble by the then King of Mercia, before it became the site of a monastery in the 10th century.
The monastery was developed over time and eventually became a college in the 13th century. The site was redesigned, rebuilt and destroyed again all by the English Civil War in the 17th century. Many of the original college buildings in the area were restored during the 20th century.
The oldest building in the area remains the Church of the Holy Trinity, which has been rebuilt several times since its original construction but still has a nave and aisles dating from the 13th century. The nave clerestory, chancel, choir area and the church’s north chapel were rebuilt in the middle of the 15th century, while the church tower and the reredos (large altarpieces) both date from the 19th century.
The man responsible for the 15th century restoration work was Bishop Carpenter, and upon his death in 1476 he was entombed in a crypt beneath the main altar.
Shopping in Westbury-on-Trym
The centre of the village provides plenty of shopping options for residents and others staying locally. A medium-sized Co-Op serves as the largest single venue for groceries and the like, with the town unlikely to see that change any time soon. This is because of the locals’ prevailing attitude of opposition to the over-commercialisation of the area.
In fact, the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain was forced to abandon plans to build a much larger store in the village back in the early 2000s thanks to fierce opposition from local residents. Even a much smaller Tesco Metro was opposed by many residents, although that did eventually get built in 2013.
Aside from the mini-mart and supermarket, there are lots of independent stores around the centre of the village. Shoppers can enjoy the delights of unique book shops, artisan florists, craft shops and hardware stores. There are beauty salons and unique gift shops, plus the village also has multiple banks and several charity shops, with two free car parking areas serving the whole central area.
Westbury Bars and Restaurants
The Westbury-on-Trym High Street is home to quite a few traditional pubs that provide enjoyable if not particularly rambunctious evenings out. These include the Prince of Wales, Black Swan and the Mouse and the Victoria.
Despite the departure of michelin starred Casa Mia some years ago, Westbury on Trym still has a smattering of excellent restaurants. There is a Thai restaurant as well as several that specialise in Indian food. There is also the well-reviewed Villager Restaurant on Church Road, which is quaint and cosy and offers a uniquely pleasing experience thanks to the excellent service and their original twists on popular meals.
The village also has multiple cafés including one that serves gourmet coffee along with a variety of snacks which you can enjoy while relaxing around reclaimed furniture. That one can be found on Cranford Lane, straight off the roundabout that also connects the High Street and Westbury Hill, but there are plenty of other options to enjoy exploring all around the village centre.
There are good schools in the area, including two particularly prestigious schools for girls. One of those is Badminton School, which boasts an alumni including the first female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, as well as a couple of royal students in Princess Haya of Jordan and the daughter of the Sultan of Brunei.
Also located in the village is Redmaids’ High School, another independent all girls school notable for being the oldest surviving school for girls in England. It was originally founded as The Red Maids’ School in 1634, before eventually merging with the Redland High School for Girls in 2017 to form its current incarnation.
Other Attractions and Places of Interest
Another interesting place to visit is Blaise Castle on Kings Weston Road to the north-west of Westbury-on-Trym, between the neighbouring suburbs of Sea Mills and Henbury. This popular place of interest is an 18th century Gothic-style castle surrounded by a picturesque estate which also houses a 19th century building which is home to an art museum.
Another nearby sight worth seeing is the University of Bristol Botanical Gardens directly south of Westbury-on-Trym on Stoke Park Road.
Just beyond neighbouring Sea Mills is the Shirehampton Golf Club on Park Hill, where you can enjoy a game of golf while surrounded by lush scenery. But it is not all scenery and gardens in Westbury-on-Trym. The Downs nearby are host to exciting Bristol events and festivals throughout the year.
Famous musicians often perform concerts at the venue, with legendary ska group Madness playing there later this year. Another all-day festival that same weekend boasts a line-up including Neneh Cherry, Grace Jones and Lauren Hill. It is quite an eclectic mix.
There is plenty to appreciate about the village of Westbury-on-Trym, whether you are seeking a more quiet and relaxed time or if you are eager to enjoy a bit more excitement.