There's much more to this coastal town than just the seafront and tourists. Karen Blake shares a few of her favourites in Weston-super-Mare...

Weston has had a revival in the last few years, with multimillion-pound investments to enhance and improve the seafront, and a regeneration scheme attracting a number of big name chains to the town center.

However, I want to champion the independent businesses in Weston that make it a vibrant place to live. Here is my guide to the best places to eat, take in some culture and enjoy the great outdoors in Weston-super-Mare, all a little off the beaten track…

Loves

This lovely little independent café is my favourite place to hang out in Weston. By day, Loves on West Street is a relaxed eatery serving delicious vegetarian and vegan food, great coffee and (in my humble opinion) the best cakes for miles around. I’m not a veggie, but the food is so delicious you don’t even notice how good it is for you.

By night, Loves becomes an intimate music venue that punches above its weight in terms of acts that play here. Michelle Stoddart from the Magic Numbers and Ben Ottowell of Gomez fame are regulars here, and there is always new live music to discover at the weekends.

Also a champion of the arts, Loves exhibits work from local artists and regularly put on one off events such as yoga and brunch sessions, cinema nights, a book club and creative workshops. If you only choose one place from my list, choose Loves!


Image - Loves

Yoji

Yoji’s is a fab Japanese restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place if situated in some of the more upmarket areas of Bristol. It serves up the most amazing sushi and sashimi; this is where we head for a special occasion.

Actor Nick Cage has eaten here with his Japanese wife, so if its good enough for a Hollywood superstar…


Image - Yoji

Tarantella

We seem to have had a huge influx of chain Italian restaurants recently, so I want to point you instead towards my favourite Italian, Tarantella on St James Street.

This friendly, authentic, family run restaurant is a place I have been coming to since I was a kid. I now bring my own children here; Italians love their children and they always make mine feel very welcome. Order the Pizza Tarantella, or try one of the daily specials cooked with fresh ingredients.


Coco's Canteen at the waterpark

Coco's is an independent coffee shop serving home made and locally sourced food & drinks, with a newly opened branch at the town’s waterpark on the seafront.

The waterpark is worth the trip alone, but it always helps when the kids are playing and the adults can get a good coffee and lunch!  


Image - Coco's

The great outdoors

Much as I love a sunset over the sea at the main beach, there are so many gorgeous spots away from the main tourist drag. Grove Park at the top of the High Street is an oasis from the town center hustle and bustle, and regularly hosts music in the bandstand at weekends.

Take a stroll up through Worlebury Woods to discover the ancient hillfort and experience peace and tranquility. For the best views of the sunset, find a bench in Prince Consort Gardens.

Lastly, I really should tell you about the beautiful, always quiet, sand dune backed beach at Sand Bay, two miles from the main beach. I am not going to give too much away as us locals want to keep this hidden gem quiet, but it is worth getting away from the tourist throngs to find your way here. Just don’t tell all your friends.

Sand Bay Weston
Image - Sand Bay

Replenish Weston

Leading the way in innovative, environmentally conscious shopping is independent business Replenish on Meadow Street. Stocking a wide selection of organic, fairtrade, vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan products with a focus on ‘scoop and weigh’ goods, you can shop local and reduce your plastic consumption.

There is a focus on community in the shop, and you might just make some new friends whilst doing the weekly shop. We LOVE Replenish!

Theatre Tropicana

Banksy’s Dismland put our little town world art map when he brought his Dismaland to our dilapidated outdoor pool on the seafront. Since he left, the place has been far from dismal, and Theatre Orchard have been bringing world class theatre to Weston with their programme of events at Theatre Tropicana.

It’s the sort of theatre us locals would previously have had to travel to Bristol for in venues such as the Wardrobe or Tobacco Factory Theatres, so we love the fact we can now just stroll down the seafront rather than hop on a train.

Dismaland
Image - Dismaland

Papa’s

Lastly, what seaside town locals guide would be complete without a recommendation for the best fish and chips? In my opinion, that accolade goes to Papa’s on Waterloo Street.

Other locals may have their own recommendations, but the queues that are always out the door on a Friday night back me up!

About the author

Karen Blake is a community gardener, artist and enthusiastic wild swimmer based in Weston-super-Mare.

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