Bridgwater is a market town and civil parish in Somerset. It overlooks the River Parrett and lies at the edge of the Somerset Levels. It has a population of more than 41,000, and is twinned with the following places Uherske Hradiste (Czech Republic, La Ciotat (France), Homberg (Germany) and Marsa (Malta). The town has a temperate climate, and sees more rainfall than other parts of the UK.
Bridgewater was first mentioned in around 800AD and began life as a trade centre. In 1202, Bridgwater Castle was built, and plans were also put in place for a new market in the town.
During the Industrial Revolution the town served as a major in-land port and trading hub. It became a manufacturing centre for bricks and clay tiles, and was home to a number of brick and tile companies – the history of which can be observed at the Somerset Brick and Tile Museum. In the years that followed a number of iron foundries were opened up in the town including George Hennet’s Bridgewater Iron Works, responsible for the construction of bridges and railways.
Today, Bridgewater retains its status as a hub for industry. The town is known for its production of engine parts, plastics, foods and industrial chemicals, and is also home to two key distribution centres. Its major landmarks include Castle House, Burrow Mump, and the Somerset Brick and Tile Museum. Other sites worth seeing include The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum. For shopping, head to the Bridgewater shopping centre, and, for a taste of local history, visit the Bridgwater Blake Museum.
The town plays host to Music on the Quantocks - a popular Somerset music series - and a wonderful cultural institution in the form of the Bridgwater Arts Centre. Various local events take place throughout the year in Bridgwater including the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, which attracts some 150,000 people.
Bridgwater is linked by Great Western Railway which offers services to London and Bristol via Bridgwater railway station. A number of buses run through the town and connect its various areas. The closest airport to Bridgewater is Bristol Airport at roughly 26 miles away.
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