What’s not to like about Thornbury?
“the ultimate lifestyle mix" and praised for its excellent schools, architecture, idiosyncratic character and beautiful countryside.
"it's an attractive small town with a historic centre - there’s been a village here since before the Domesday Book - a castle, a 12th-century church, and attractive 18th-century houses at reasonable prices".
So said The Sunday Times singing the town’s praises of in 2013.
Such attributes leapfrogged the town into the fourth-best place to live in the UK.
In 2015 the same newspaper – in what we can only assume was an expanded list - had Thornbury bubbling under at No 47 in the top 50 towns to live in:
“Fifteen miles north of central Bristol, it’s perfect for commuters preferring a chocolate-box market town to a dull suburb”.
(Yes, that Bristol itself voted the best city to live in by the Sunday Times in 2014).
“the nearby River Severn hosts the local yachties’ sailing regatta, one of the annual big events, along with the July carnival and April arts festival
It’s the day-to-day charm that makes Thornbury special, though. Active cricket, rugby, tennis and football clubs prove that this community of 12,000 is outdoorsy, but if you prefer more hedonistic pleasures, head to the town’s landmark hotel and restaurant — Thornbury Castle”.
Which takes us neatly on to:
1. Thornbury Castle
Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, obtained a royal license to undertake work and transform what was originally a manor into something a little more substantial – a grand castle. Stafford was beheaded in 1521 for treason, on order from his cousin King Henry VIII who once owned the castle.
Speaking of Henry VIII if you want to read how he affected the housing market and Conveyancing go here
The castle is now a popular venue for weddings, and operates as a luxury restaurant and hotel, which has 28 rooms.
2. Britain in Bloom
The annual competition receives thousands of entries each year, from towns, villages and cities, and is the largest horticultural competition in Europe. Groups are assessed on three core pillars: horticultural excellence, environmental responsibility, and community participation.
In 2009 Thornbury won the gold award in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) ‘Best Town in Bloom’ category. Businesses had spent approximately £6,000 on flowers for that year – the investment paid off!
3. Thornbury Arts Festival and More!
The festival is one of the longest running arts festivals in the country – 47 years in fact. It is a charity, made up by a group of volunteers.
The aim is to promote the arts for the benefit of all members of the communities in Thornbury and surrounding areas, including Welsh festival, “Eisteddfod”, The Severn Vale Arts Trail and an Annual school theatre event.
In addition, Thornbury hosts its own carnival, which attracts around 10,000 visitors.
Interesting fact: Thornbury has its own heritage trail.
Thornbury High Street
4. Restaurants and Pubs
Thornbury boasts a selection of great restaurants, including the very best of British and European cuisine at Ronnies, fresh Indian delights at Romy’s Kitchen, and wonderful Italian dishes at La Piazza.
The owner of Romy’s Kitchen, Romy Gill MBE, has done cooking demonstrations across the UK as well as abroad. Unlike most Indian takeouts/restaurants, Romy’s Kitchen avoids the use of ghee and unnatural food colourings (Romy’s Kitchen is also in the November edition of Olive magazine).
Thornbury also features fantastic pubs, including The Anchor Inn, The Wheatsheaf Inn, The Swan and The Black Horse to name but a few.
Interesting Fact: The Swan was originally a coach house and the only other building that was built prior to The Swan was Thornbury Castle.
5. Shops, Markets and More Shops
Thornbury Farmers Market provides locally grown products, which is held on the first and third Thursdays of every month, 9am-1pm.
Supermarkets include Aldi, Tesco and The Co-Op. Independent food stores include Thornbury Deli, Victoria’s Cakes and Pendrey Meat and Veg.
Thornbury has more than everything you need, from hairdressers to barbers, and dentists to doctors. For a full listing, click here.
Interesting fact: Frank Armstrong, inventor of Ribena, was a magistrate in Thornbury for 27 years.
The Castle Secondary School is one of the highest performing schools in South Gloucestershire and the surrounding area. The Vunipola brothers started their rugby careers there and went on to play for the local Thornbury. St. Mary's Church of England Primary School in Thornbury and Christ the King Catholic Primary School have both been rated “Outstanding” and “Good” respectively, by Ofsted.
7. Thornbury Rugby and Football Club
Thornbury Rugby Club play in the Tribute South West 1 Division
Thornbury Football Club play in the Gloucestershire County League Premier Division.
Interesting fact: Thornbury is twinned with Bockenem in Germany.
Looking forward, South Gloucestershire Council’s vision for 2026 and beyond is to have an appropriate amount of housing growth, as well as a better use of Thornbury’s open spaces, an increased amount of employment opportunities, to conserve its heritage, and to enhance the arts, community and cultural provision to name but a few.
It’s safe to say that Thornbury is very much in the mind of South Gloucestershire Council, as it looks to maintain and improve upon the town’s strengths.
Interesting fact: reports as recent as 2015 have included proposals for rail considerations within Thornbury. Passenger services ceased in 1944 – that’s 72 years ago!
9. Transport Links
Thornbury has its own junction (14) off the M5 although there’s a few miles to drive once you leave.
Good bus links with surrounding towns and villages but no railway station. The nearest mainline station is Bristol Parkway just under 9 miles away. You can access all this information in a handy PDF from South Gloucestershire Council here
Thornbury did have a station which opened in 1872 but closed in 1944. The old station site now houses traffic of a different sort – footfall to Tesco.
10. Clutton Cox Have Opened Up in Town!
In fact, we love Thornbury so much we have decided to open up an office there in early October 2016.
And to celebrate – if you are hoping to move home soon we have an intriguing offer for you. Click below to find out more.
Hope to see you soon.