ALTHOUGH frequently referred to as a modern commuter town, Yate actually boasts a rich heritage stretching back to 770 AD, where it was first mentioned as the site of a religious house.
The South Gloucestershire town is also listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, as a part of an estate owned by Westbury-on-Trym Manor.
Agriculture is at the heart of its history, from Middle Age sheep farming to the modern day dairy industry. Due to a rapid expansion in the 1960s, few working farms remain today, however markets are held on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of every month.
During the Second World War, a major employer for the area was aircraft manufacturer Parnall, who specialised in the production of gun turrets. In 1941, over 50 workers at the factory were killed in raids by the Luftwaffe and when the war was over, the factory produced domestic goods and washing machines.
The town’s mayor, Tony Davis, said that visitors are always surprised to learn that there are many things to do in Yate. He said: “There is a vibrant and dynamic community here that works together to make sure that the town is a great place to live. There are many wonderful parks, open spaces and play areas. We even have a couple of skate parks.”
In 1965, Harry Potter author JK Rowling was born at the now defunct Chipping Sodbury Maternity Hospital on Station Road in Yate. Until the age of four, she lived with her parents in Sundridge Park before moving to nearby village Winterbourne, where she is believed to have drawn inspiration for some of her most popular characters.
What to do
Kingsgate Park, which includes a lake and a playground, is the perfect spot for families and dog walkers looking for a bit of fresh air. Model boats are permitted to be used on the lake, which is home to swans, ducks and newts.
Yate’s Heritage Centre contains extensive archives of the town’s fascinating history, from Roman invaders to Yate’s bombing in World War II. The centre hosts regular exhibitions and events which aim to showcase the area’s cultural, historical and industrial past.
In April last year, the town opened its first ever cinema, which is run by Cineworld and is located on the riverside shopping and leisure complex. The new six-screen theatre cost £12million and screened Captain American: Civil War as its first film.
Where to shop
For shopping, look no further than Yate’s very own shopping centre, a covered outdoor mall containing hundreds of independent and high-street shops. Construction on the riverside complex began in the early-to-mid 1960s, and it was later opened by famous faces including Coronation Street actress Patricia Phoenix and comedian Ted Ray.
From high street names such as Peacocks, Next, and New Look, M&Co, to locally renowned independent stores Meredith’s and Jeweller Abrahams, the shopping centre has plenty to offer.
Among the plethora of community events held at Yate’s Shopping Centre each year is the mall’s annual Christmas lights event.
It draws thousands of visitors to the mall in November, with Peter Andre, Atomic Kitten and Josie Gibson being among the most recent celebs to launch the switch-on.
Where to eat
For good home-cooked food, the recently refurbished Codrington Arms is one of the best pubs in Yate. They also offer Vintage Afternoon Teas, complete with finger sandwiches, patisserie cakes and fresh scones.
Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted by The Vintage Birdcage Cakery, located in a freshly refurbished stable block near Kingsgate Park. Featuring a tempting array of cakes, tiffin and milkshakes, the newly-opened café hits the spot.
Where to stay
Albion Guesthouse is a firm favourite among visitors to Yate, but also worth checking out are The White Lion and Englands Guest House.
Neighbouring town Chipping Sodbury also boasts a wide variety of accommodation – perfect as a base to explore the nearby countrysideand all that Yate has to offer.
Yate sits at the southwest extremity of the Cotswold Hills, bordering nearby market town Chipping Sodbury and lying just 11 miles northeast of Bristol.
The town is accessible from junction 18 of the M4 via the A46 and A432. The A432 links Yate with Bristol, while the A46 links the town to Bath.