Good morning. This week we’re headed south west to…Bristol!
The beautiful city of Bristol is full of amazing buildings (such as Bristol Cathedral and Cabot Tower - both, well worth a visit!) and is well known for its bohemian atmosphere, famous street artist (Banksy), hot air balloon festival, harbour and suspension bridge. In this vibrant city there’s plenty of things to fill any length trip.
Need to know…
🚆 Travel time: Bristol can be easily accessed by road (located conveniently on the intersection of the M4 and M5), air (Bristol has a great medium-sized airport) and rail (a train to Bristol is roughly 90 mins from London or Birmingham, 3hrs from Manchester or a fairly eye-watering 6.5hrs from Edinburgh). The main train station is Bristol Temple Meads.
🌡️ Weather: Today a high of 29°c
😋 Must try dishes: If you’re a fan of a pie, then make sure you check out Pieminister. Although the chain has expanded around the country, Pieminister originated in Bristol. After something sweeter? Tarrs ice-cream is a family business that’s been around for over 100 years offering delicious ice-cream and other frozen goodies. Alternatively, why not try a Clifton Puff. Apparently named after the famous suspension bridge, this light pastry is made up of (yep you guessed it) puff pastry wrapped around apples, almonds and other dried fruit.
🚲 Getting around: Bristol can easily be explored by foot, or by scooter! Alternatively jump on a boat giving you access to and from waterfront attractions and key points along the harbourside, or hop on a bus (nearly all accept contactless payment).
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Alright my luvver? (Hello)
Babber (Baby or Friend)
I'm smoovin' the dog (I’m stroking the dog)
Gert (Large or a great amount of)
What to do?
Try the natural slide, smoothed by generations of bums…
🎈 If you’re planning a trip to Bristol, then it’s well worth trying to coincide your visit with the Bristol Balloon Fiesta - Europe’s biggest ballooning event. Taking place every August, around 500k people descend on Bristol to watch over 100 balloons take to the sky at Ashton Court. This is definitely one of the best free festivals you can attend, with plenty of food and drink options, music, children’s rides and of course loads of hot air balloons to watch ascend.
🧗 If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, why not try your hand at some indoor climbing in an unusual setting. The Church of St Werburgh’s has medieval origin but was rebuilt in 1758. In 1877 it was taken down stone by stone and moved to its current location where it was rebuilt and then re-opened in 1879. In the early 1990’s it was transformed into one of the first indoor climbing centres in the UK. The centre has varied walls and angles up to 12m with challenges for all abilities. There are dedicated top-roping and lead climbing areas, a training/stretching space, 2 small bouldering spaces and a mezzanine café. There’s a great community feel here and support for all levels of climbers with taster sessions and beginners course for complete novices to a variety of challenges for establishes climbers.
Ok this section may be a little left field, but there’s some pretty cool natural quirks in Bristol as a result of its hilly disposition. First up, take a trip out to Vale Street. Believed to be the steepest residential street in the UK with an average gradient of 22 degrees, it’s a great place for a walk (if you’re looking for a solid leg workout!).
If you’re more a fan of the downhill then you must check out the Ancient Stone Slider. With great views over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and next to Clifton Observatory, this natural rock slide has become a famous local attraction. The rock has become shiny and smooth thanks to generations of bums sliding down.
📺 OK so there’s no disguising that this next suggestion comes purely from my own nostalgia. Growing up I was a huge fan of the hit tv-series Skins (filmed in Bristol). If you want to visit some of the hotspots that provided a backdrop to years of drama, the Bristol Film Office put together a great map of shooting locations. My favourite is College Green (the perfect spot for a picnic and surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings in the City).
If after scoping out some of the filming locations you’ve got the scavenger hunting bug, then why not take a self-guided tour to hunt out some of the famous Banksy art pieces dotted around the city. Here’s a guide to some of the more famous Bristol works to check out.
🍸 Finally, it wouldn’t be an insider guide without some recommendations on where to eat and drink. We absolutely loved The Cocktail Club. This cosy cocktail bar has the right blend of delicious drinks and great atmosphere. We loved the music and the bartenders swinging the lights above the bar.
For food, we’d recommend trying Lost and Found. Located in the same area as The Cocktail Club (so perfect if you want food before drinks), this stylish restaurant combines whimsy and history to provide some great cocktails and delicious seasonal dishes.
Where to stay?
Sleep in a caravan on a rooftop…
Brooks Guesthouse Bristol
If you want something quirky or unusual then this is the perfect option! Brooks Guesthouse, located in the heart of Bristol’s old town is a boutique B&B. With stylish rooms, a great breakfast and an outdoor courtyard perfect for a morning coffee, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a regular B&B, but the roof holds a secret. In fact it actually holds 4 airstream style caravans! Bet you didn’t see that one coming! I can assure you, there’s probably nowhere else in the UK where you can try some urban glamping in an airstream style caravan on the roof of a building!
Next up, Artist Residence Bristol. Located on a leafy garden square and just a 10 minute walk from the train station, you’ll find this Georgian Townhouse/former Boot factory. This trendy bohemian hotel has been lovingly saved from falling into disrepair, and styled with an eclectic selection of vintage furniture and art-work. The homely feel of this hotel includes a cosy library lounge, and features like a ping pong table in the bar. There’s a private roof terrace to enjoy some great views of the city, and a delicious breakfast served in the Boot Factory bar and café.
For our last suggestion why not consider something a little different in the trendy area of Clifton. Number 38 Clifton is an elegant double-fronted Georgian merchants house providing the perfect location to explore Clifton village. The wood panelled rooms feel homely, and despite not having an onsite restaurant, teas, drinks and room service are available. There’s a cosy lounge with log-burner for chilly nights and a sun-trap terrace out the back.
The steel city - Sheffield
Next week we’ll be exploring the steel city, so called due to its role in inventing and producing steel during the industrial revolution. The city has a strong sporting heritage being home to the world’s oldest football club and ground as well as home to the UK’s first professional ice hockey team and home to the World Snooker Championships.
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited Sheffield, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.