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Spotlight on Portishead

PUBLISHED: 10:57 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:57 16 May 2017

Portishead (c) Mike Charles / Shutterstock

Portishead (c) Mike Charles / Shutterstock

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Clare Gladstone takes a look at one of the jewels of North Somerset’s crown – the coastal town of Portishead

Historically, Portishead was a fishing port but expanded in the early 19th century around the docks. Today it has many different areas with Victorian villas and 1930s houses mingling with the more modern developments seen at Portishead Quays Marina.

Once occupied by two power stations and a chemical plant, this has now become an urban village with thousands of homes, flats and office as well as shops, restaurants, pubs and leisure facilities, including the Marina Lake area, scupltures and an art trail. The marina itself is considered to be one of the best in the south west, boasting berths for up to 250 boats.

The town’s Victorian High Street provides Portishead’s main shopping area and is home to a variety of shops, cafes and bars. Other shopping areas in the town include West Hill, Wyndham Way and Harbour Road. Many of Portishead’s streets are lined with flower beds, troughs and baskets filled with plants and, thanks to the work of Portishead in Bloom, the town has maintained a South West in Bloom gold status for the past nine years and has also been awarded gold in the national Britain in Bloom contest.

Portishead’s open air pool, which opened in 1962, is popular in the summer and is enjoying something of a revival following a turnaround in its fortunes. In 2008 it was threatened with closure following years of neglect and a lack of funding but, not wanting to see this historic landmark disappear, supporters helped form the Portishead Pool Community Trust which took over the running of the pool.

While you’re there...

The Portishead Lake Grounds is a beautiful spot for a picnic and the chance to relax or to do quite the opposite and keep active. As well as a children’s playground and tennis courts, you can hire rowing boats and enjoy a jaunt on the water. The lake also hosts a charity raft race every July.

Or spend an evening at...

Somerset Hall Portishead is lucky to have a thriving amateur dramatics group. Portishead Players stage their latest show Guys and Dolls from 27 - 29 April. Somerset Hall also hosts muscial, comedy and other events throughout the year.

Did you know...?

In May 2009 Portishead’s lido was in dire need of renovation and refurbishment but luckily help was at hand in the form of Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington who, along with an army of volunteers, made sure the pool was ready to open following a £200,000 makeover.

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