West Bay used to be called Bridport Harbour. The lively market town of Bridport is only a five minute drive away, or a twenty-five minute stroll.
There is a choice of ways to walk there from West Bay. You can head up the same way as the cars but it’s more interesting to follow the old railway line footpath from the play area. Or you can take the footpath at the back of the local caravan site. This path goes through fields, along the River Brit, and comes out near Palmers Brewery.
You can easily spend a morning browsing Bridport’s street market. It’s held every Wednesday and Saturday. It sells everything from local food, clothing and hardware, flowers and plants, pictures and paintings to books, antiques and bric-a-brac. On most market days between February and September there is live music for shoppers in Bucky Doo Square in front of the Town Hall. The town also has a monthly Farmer’s Market at the Arts Centre and a Vintage Market within the Art and Vintage Quarter in St Michael’s Trading Estate. You’ll also find the Alleyways Antiques Centre there, with over 50 traders under one roof. Enjoy it while you can as there are plans afoot to convert some of the space into housing.
Bridport has several of the usual high street shops and lots of small, independent ones. These include book shops, a great record shop, clothes, arts, electrical, photography, the list goes on. It is recognised as a Beacon Town for the quality and variety of its locally produced food. Alongside several supermarkets there are smaller groceries and independent butchers, bakers and green grocers. To find out more about shopping in Bridport, here’s a link to a post.
Arts and Culture
Bridport has a flourishing arts and literary scene.
The Electric Palace, built originally as an art deco opera house, provides film and live entertainment.
Bridport Arts Centre hosts a wide variety of productions in theatre, music, comedy, dance and film alongside an programme of exhibitions and two festivals – Bridport’s film festival From Page to Screen and The Bridport Open Book Festival.
The Lyric Theatre, reopened in 2010, has gained a reputation for bringing superb contemporary shows and more ‘fringe’, often children’s, theatre to the area.
There is live music being played somewhere locally most evenings. As well as the three multifunction theatres lots of pubs, bars and restaurants host live music including No10 Bar, The Ropemakers and The Tanners.
Have a look at this video to get a flavour of the art and culture in Bridport and West Bay.
Things To Do
To find out more about the town you can visit the recently redeveloped Bridport Museum on South Street. Bridport was once renowned as the centre of the country’s rope and net-making industry and a local firm continues to supply nets for Wimbledon. Thank goodness there is no longer a market for the “Bridport Dagger”.
Bridport has a local brewery, Palmers, where you can go behind the scenes on a brewery tour.
If you are missing your gym or just enjoy a family swim you can visit Bridport Leisure Centre. It has a 25 meter pool, sports courts, fitness suite and classes. There is pay as you go admission.
Bridport now has Rockburn, an indoor bouldering (low-level climbing) centre perfect for beginners or expert climbers, children and adults. Hone your skills, maintain your climbing fitness or just have fun.
For some outdoor climbing, there’s a pleasant and not too strenuous one up Bridport’s Colmer Hill. Read all about the hill here.
Bridport has an annual calendar of special events, including a Carnival in August and the Bridport Hat Festival the first Saturday in September. There is an annual Open Studios event in late summer which celebrates the vibrant visual arts scene.
Food and Drink
For ideas of places to eat, drink and shop for local produce in Bridport please visit our Fantastic Food and Drink page.