- For other places with the same name, see Bridport (disambiguation).
Bridport (Population 15,000) is a bustling market town in West Dorset adjoining West Bay on the 98 mile-long Jurassic coast. The town has become famous in recent years thanks to the success of the ITV drama 'Broadchurch' starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman that was filmed in and around West Bay.
By public transport: The Number 31 bus operated by First Bus hourly during weekdays runs from Weymouth via Dorchester to Bridport and on to Axminster. It has good connections with South West Trains services at Dorchester and Axminster, both of which have services from Waterloo. From the North you can reach Bridport via Exeter and Axminster. There is an infrequent bus, the No. 47, from Yeovil which can be reached by train from Bristol. The same train also goes to Weymouth via Dorchester West giving the possibility of connection to the more frequent No. 31 bus. There is a National Express coach service from Eastbourne to Helston in Cornwall which calls at Bridport once a day each way.
By car from London and the South East, drive via the M3, M27, A31 and A35. The A35 also gives access from Honiton which is on the A30 from Exeter. From the North, use the M5 to Junction 25, then the A358 via Chard and Axminster, then join the A35. You can also use the A303 but the favourite route via Crewkerne from the A303 uses the A3066 through the Beaminster Tunnel.
Orientation in Bridport is easy. The three main commercial streets of the town form the letter T. South Street is the oldest street, with the city's heart and soul- Bucky Doo Square, the Arts Centre and the George Inn- at its northern end. From here, branching left and right are East and West Streets, two wide streets that have their origin in the 13th century when rope making developed as the main industry and ropes were once dried and twisted. The town's bohemian arts & antiques quarter is known as the South-West Quadrant, centred around the Red Brick Cafe. West Bay is an adjunct to the town, reached via South Street, crossing the Crown roundabout and continuing along West Bay Road.
There are some local bus services in Bridport enabling you to reach Bradpole, Beaminster, West Bay and Bridport Hospital quite easily. There are some cycle routes including one to West Bay although the crossing of the A35 at the Crown Roundabout is not straightforward. There are good local footpaths connecting the town to the surrounding countryside.
By car, parking is usually easy except on Saturday mornings.
- Bucky Doo Square. The area in front of the Town Hall is the heart and soul of Bridport, where locals gather to listen to live music or simply watch as people go by.
- Bridport Museum to discover Bridport's interesting and varied history, and find out why it was the country's most important ropemaking centre in the 13th century.
- Electric Palace Cinema.This oldtime picture house from 1926 has reinvented itself as a multi-purpose venue. Live concerts are a regular event, and ballets and operas are screened live via satellite. Cool place!
- Bridport Arts Centre. Bridport prides itself on its vibrant arts scene; dance, comedy, music & theatre all take place at the Arts Centre, as does a regular second Saturday of the month Farmers' Market.
- Palmers Brewery tour, West Bay Road DT6 4JA. Tel 01308 427500. Take a 2 hour tour of Britain's oldest thatched brewery from 1794. Tours begin at 11.00 and run from Easter until the end of October. Book on line or reserve a place by phone. The price includes liquid samples. Their non-alcoholic ginger beer is delicious!
- Bridport Carnival. 19th August 2017, beginning at 7pm from West Road. A grand procession of colourful floats.
- Melplash Show. Thursday 24th August 2017 at West Bay Show Grounds. A proper agricultural exhibition with sheep, pigs & horses and hundreds of stands selling everything from locally produced food to combine harvesters.
- Bridport Hat Festival. The next will take place on 2nd Sept 2017 when the Mad Hatters of Bridport take to the streets in all manner of self-made hats, which could feature a seagull attacking a take-away box of fish & chips.
- Christmas Tree Festival. Wed 6th December 2017. From 4pm-8pm The United Reform Church displays dozens of beautifully decorated and illuminated trees in aid of various charities. Most shops & banks have an open evening.
- Boxing Day Swim. This great Bridport tradition takes place at midday in fancy dress at West bay Marina. Proceeds are donated to charitable causes.
- Vinyl Saturday. Four times a year music fans flock to the United Reform Church where between 10am and 4pm around 20 stall holders sell both vinyl records and CDs. The dates for 2017 are: 18th February, 20th May, 19th August & 18th November.
Local produce from one of Bridport's many individually-owned shops selling local fare, or take in the atmosphere at one of Bridport's regular markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays - the perfect place to find a bargain and discover local produce at its best. Farmers' markets are also very popular, and take place on the second Saturday of each month - make the most of local, organic and seasonal produce from the region. Bridport is unique and interesting because of its wonderful selection of local independent shops.
- Instant Redress. 43, East Street. 01308 420077. Gill has 3,000 fancy dress costumes for hire, as well as bunting, banners, flags and helium balloons. She also hires out formal men's suits and ladies' gloves, and has a great selection of masquerade masks for the next time you are invited to the Ball.
- T Snook Outfitters & Hatters. 32, West Street. 01308 458224. For over 120 years this business has been supplying hats. They do not sell online as they believe hats must be fitted. They also sell jackets, nightgowns, moustache wax and snuff.
- Smith and Smith. Outfitters to the gentlemen of Bridport since 1884. As well as selling classic clothes they can re-wax Barbour jackets.
- Wessex Wines. St Michael's Lane. 01308 427177. Since 1978 Mike has been consistently selling excellent, reliable wines from around the world at a very fair price and delivering free, on request.
Bridport is renowned for its commitment to local, seasonal produce, and regular farmers' markets (held on the second Saturday of each month) are the ideal chance to take a little bit of Bridport's delicous produce home with you. Bridport's local produce has been championed by TV chef Hugh Fernley Whittingstall in his River Cottage Series.
Whatever your preference for a great meal out, look no further than some of the great eating establishments in and around Bridport. Tempt your tastebuds with some hearty pub grub, elegant high teas, fine cuisine and family-friendly dining. Why not sample a traditional fish and chip supper on the harbour at West Bay, once known as Bridport Harbour.
In Bridport Town
- The Olive Tree. 59 East Street". 01308 422882. Coveted Mediterranean lunch & dinner restaurant with pizza and some unusual pasta dishes, as well as a great choice of local shell fish (scallops, lobsters) and sea fish such as sea bass.
- The Galley. 6, South Street. 01308 455688. Formerly known as the Beach & Barnicott, this centrally-located coffee shop-cum bar-cum candle-lit bistro in a flat-fronted Georgian building is set over 2 floors and specialises in Modern British cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Occasional live music adds to its appeal.
- The Stable. 34, East Street. Situated in a courtyard at the back of the historic Bull Inn, this hip & lively venue specialises in umpteen types of cider and gourmet Dorset pizzas. Their £11 pizzas are served on a wooden platter with chili oil (optional). The choice of toppings includes Denhay bacon & mushrooms; Dorset Blue Vinney cheese with spinach, and marinated roast lamb with goat's cheese and tyme-flavoured sweet potatoes. Open from 5pm-11pm Mon-Fri, and from noon to 11pm at weekends. 01308 426876.
- The Red Brick Cafe. 81, St Michael's Trading Estate. Open Wed-Sat lunchtimes and Friday evening. 07868 752325. A shabby-chic bohemian gem, serving home-cooked seasonal produce from local suppliers. No microwaves! Outside seating opposite the antiques & bric-a-brac emporiums of the South-West Quadrant.
- Longs Fish & Chips. 15, King Street. 01308 423199. Pleasant sit-down restaurant next to the take-away section for the best fish & chips in town. They have another good branch in West Street with an upstairs restaurant, and although there the legroom at the tables is a bit tight that branch does have great black & white photos of the restaurant in bygone days grace the walls.
- Taj Mahal. 20, East Street. 01308 458418. No self-respecting English town is complete without a good Indian restaurant and Bridport is no exception.
- Soulshine Cafe. 76, South Street. 01308 422821. Laid back, bohemian cafe a fair way down South Street. Great for veggie and non-veggie breakfasts and light lunch.
On a Budget
- Oh Crumbs Cafe. The Foyer 13, West Allington. Charming service from experienced catering staff working hand-in-hand with trainees with learning difficulties and special needs. The well priced & varied menu includes a delicious lemon cheesecake dessert.
- Morrison's In-Store Cafe. 01308 420616. Great big breakfast and lunch main courses for £5. Add a dessert for £1
At West Bay
- Rachels. 3, The Mound. +44 7974 314277. Although this is a simple kiosk with a few tables in front, John & Rachel's fabulous chowder is the worst kept secret in town!
- Tea Caddy is an excellent choice, but just one of around 10 food kiosks in West Bay serving fish & chips to hungry visitors
- Station Kitchen. Station Road. 01307 422845. Breakfasts, Gin cocktails and both fish & meat meals are served at this popular venue at the long defunct railway station.
- Quayside Cafe. This cafe has stunning views over West Bay harbour that makes it an ideal place to sit and enjoy a simple meal. It belongs to West Bay Holiday Park, and inside is the inviting Harbour Bar and a large entertainment area for fun West End-style dancing shows in the evening.
- The Trawlerman. Owner Nicky's father is a fisherman so there's no doubting the freshness of the fresh prawns, winkles, crayfish, scallops and whelks that she sells from her backstreet take-away shop
- Watch House Cafe. 01308 459330. Sister to the famous Hive at Burton Bradstock, this cafe is close to the beach but does not have sea views. They serve breakfast, pizzas from a wood-fired oven (£12-14), seafood dishes and more.
- Riverside Restaurant. 01308 422011. Premium restaurant with great harbourside views on the River Brid. Since 1960 it has been serving up a wide variety of fresh fish, oysters, crab & lobster, with availability according to the daily market.
- George Inn 4, South Street. Long established Palmers pub in the heart of town with above-average food and a separate snug room.
- The Ropemakers, 36 West Street. Cosy, cheerfully decorated late 18th century Palmers pub with good unpretentious food and live music on Friday & Saturday evenings.
- The Pursuit of Hoppiness. 15, West Street. 01308 427111. Tiny premises for such an attractive proposition: over a dozen beers from Yeovil, as well as cider and wine. This latest addition to the Bridport's scene is already creating waves.
- Tiger Inn, 14-16 Barrack Street. A proper good old-fashioned freehouse, with accomodation upstairs. No food.
On a Budget
- The Hope and Anchor, 13, St Michael's Lane. Shabby, but not shabby-chic, this timeworn locals' backstreet boozer serves red cider but no food.
- The Greyhound. Wetherspoons chain pub, popular for its Lavazza coffee, inexpensive freezer-fryer/microwave pub grub, and extensive choice of keenly-priced real ales.
At West Bay
- The George. 18, George Street. 01308 423191. It feels great to sit in the sunshine right outside this early 19th century Palmers pub, or in the adjacent beer garden. Food is Ok, and there is accomodation in 8 rooms upstairs, with some rooms overlooking the harbour.
- Bridport Arms. Tel 01308 422944. Dark north-facing 18th century Palmers pub serving decent food and with accomodation upstairs.
Whether you are looking for an active family holiday, cosy rural retreat or pampering hotel break, you will find what you are looking for in and around Bridport. West Dorset Leisure Holidays have 5 different holiday parks in the area including the popular Highlands End set on the Jurassic Coast cliff top overlooking West Bay. See  for more information.
- Bridge House Hotel..10 basic rooms in an 18th century Georgian townhouse on the east side of town. Single rooms are tiny. The cosy bar/lounge is the best feature of this property.
- The Greyhound. Its 15 bright, modern, newly furbished rooms are good value if you don't mind staying above a Wetherspoons pub. No lift, can be noisy, parking available in municipal car parks. Opposite the excellent George pub, in the heart of town.
- Bull Hotel. 19 rooms in a 16th century former coaching house that has been given a sympathetic boutique hotel makeover, in the centre of town. Breakfast choices include kippers
The Jurassic Coast was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, ranking it alongside the Great Barrier Reef as one of the wonders of the natural world.
Over 40% of the county has been designated an Area Of Oustanding Natural Beauty and you can certainly see why!!
- Fossil-hunting along the Jurassic Coast is a favoured pastime at low-tide, visit Bridport Tourist Information Centre for tide times and fossil-hunting advice.
- Climb Golden Cap, the highest point on the South Coast. For a great 4 hour walk take the Coastliner bus from Bridport to Charmouth and walk up Burrow Hill, continuing to Golden Cap for a picnic or pub lunch at Ship in Seatown, before continuing via Eype to West Bay. There are numerous other stunning walks.
- Visit Abbotsbury Swannery. Open from 19th March to 30th October, from 10am-5pm. £12 adults & £9 for children, with 20% off if you book at least 7 days in advance. Feeding takes place daily at noon and 4pm. The best time to visit is between mid-May and the end of June when fluffy baby swans are born.