Portishead Area Guide
Portishead is a modern and vibrant town situated around 11 miles away from Bristol and 5.5 miles from Nailsea centre. Access to the to M5 motorway is immediately on hand at Junction 19. The Almondsbury interchange a short drive away, is the intersection of the M5 and M4 motorways leading to Cardiff and London. Bristol International Airport is approximately 11 miles distant and the nearest mainline rail link is at Nailsea and Backwell around 6 miles from the centre of Portishead.
Some History of Portishead
Portishead has a long history as a fishing port. As a Royal Manor it expanded rapidly during the early 19th century around the docks, with supporting transport infrastructure. A power station and chemical works were added in the 20th century, but the dock and industrial facilities have since closed and been redeveloped into a marina and residential areas. Portishead was also the telephone control centre used by British Telecom (BT) for non-direct dialled calls to maritime vessels, a service known as Portishead Radio.
The town's population is expanding, and Portishead is now primarily a dormitory town for Bristol and its environs, although a range of service industries has grown up. The headquarters of both Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Avon Fire and Rescue Service are in Portishead. The name Portishead derives from the "port at the head of the river". It has been called Portshead and Portschute at times in its history and Portesheve in the Domesday Book, and was locally known as Posset.
The town's recorded history dates back to Roman times, although there is also evidence of prehistoric settlement, including polished flint axe heads. There were also Iron Age settlements in the area, of which Cadbury Camp was the largest. Other sites that have been identified include a 1,200 by 600 feet (370 by 180 m) site that was successively occupied by the Romans, Britons and Danes. There is some evidence that it may have been the western end of the Wansdyke, an early medieval or possibly Roman boundary with a series of defensive linear earthworks extending to the Savernake Forest near Marlborough in Wiltshire.
Portishead benefits from a wealth of green space, conservation and play areas. The seafront Lake Grounds is referred to as the jewel in Portishead’s crown. This relatively unspoilt area, surrounded by trees and bushes, is where families enjoy picnics and you will see cricket being played at weekends. This is also home to the town’s bowls club and tennis club. Football coaches and running clubs utilise the green open space, while others keen to keep fit use the promenade gym equipment. A boating lake operates throughout the warmer months of the year and you will find a variety of play equipment to keep younger visitors happy. The Lakeside Café is situated alongside the lake and play parks, while the Lido Café, run by volunteers, is at the opposite end of the seafront, adjacent to the open air pool.
Access to Bristol is very easy by car taking around half an hour, buses run from all over Portishead at various times of day and there is a convenient rail link at Nailsea and Backwell train station some 6 miles away. There are various cycle routes including Clevedon, Bristol, Taunton, with plentiful main roads leading out of the town heading to Bristol, Nailsea and Yatton.
With a plethora of choice including a host of family oriented pubs and restaurants, we are well served with worldwide cuisine and of course takeaways. Plentiful coffee shops and cafe's offer the perfect spot overlooking the marina to meet with friends. The charming Victorian High Street has retained much of its original character.