After uni our friendship group split in half. One half went to London and the other half to Bristol, with us situating ourselves somewhere in the middle. We’re now thinking about where we want to live permanently (big decisions) and Bristol felt like a good place to start, so off we went this weekend to explore.
Our 2 day Bristol itinerary
Day 1: Walk around Clifton and Bristol city centre
Day 2: Visit SS Britain and chill by the river
Where we stayed
Our hotel was the Hampton Hilton just by Cabot Circus in the centre of Bristol. I’m not going to lie, from the outside it looked quite grotty but it was very modern on the inside. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that. For us the hotel was in a great location as everything was within walking distance.
How we travelled around
You can walk everywhere in Bristol. It’s a tad hilly in places, particularly Clifton, so I would wear trainers or converses but it’s very walkable. If you need alternative transport then the bus service looked great too.
We were so lucky with the weather – a heat wave in April – can you believe it? With the sun shining we headed straight to Clifton. We walked through the Birdcage Walk which is a path through the graveyard of St Andrews church that has served Clifton since 1154. It may sound a bit sinister but the archway of branches with a carpet of green grass makes it a tranquil spot to take a breath and relax. When you reach the other side you’re hit with stunning views of Bristol. Follow the road along to the right and you reach the beginning of Clifton high street. We had a little wander down some of the side streets and found grand Georgian housing with big windows and character to boot. #HomeGoals. That’s all I’m saying.
Before continuing our exploring we stopped off at the Thali Cafe, which you guessed it, served Thalis. You can read a full review of the Thali Cafe here.
We then walked through the high street to the suspension bridge. You can view it from beneath but the best thing to do is to walk up to Clifton Observatory where there are many viewing points. It’s quite spectacular. You can quite happily take a picnic blanket and nibbles and chill on the grass.
Top tip: With the sun blazing we headed to the Avon Gorge Hotel which has a bar with a ginormous terrace that looks towards Bristol Suspension Bridge and the rolling hills of Somerset. It was heaving with people drinking in the first proper days of Spring.
We then headed back down to the centre of Bristol passing Clifton Arcade with cute vintage shops and cafes and more drool worthy houses. You can dream right? After this we walked through St. Nicholas Arcade. Now please don’t make our mistake and turn up late on a Saturday. Everything was closing when we arrived with the market’s not open on a Sunday, so we’ll have to return. You’ve been warned!
For dinner (not that we hadn’t eaten enough already), we went to Pata Negra, a tapas restaurant which had been recommended to us by friends. It served an ok range of vegan tapas dishes. You can read a full review of Pata Negra here.
Our hotel was on the edge of an area called Stokes Croft which is a slightly more quirky part of town where you can find some of Banksy’s graffiti art. At 10am there was a man cooking some kind of meat on a BBQ outside his shop and a group of people chilling on some sofas in the middle of the road. Enough said? We stopped off at Cafe Kino, an all vegan cafe, to grab a small snack. I had a chai latte with almond milk (which they had made) and a blueberry muffin. There were so many drinks, cakes and dishes to choose from that I could have camped out there, however we had a boat to visit.
With the boyfriend having done a history degree and masters, visiting the SS Great Britain was a must when in Bristol. You’ll find it on Spike Island, which is a harbour area adjoined to the city centre. I was a bit apprehensive about visiting as history isn’t my thing. I’m always yawning as I get dragged around museums, however, with the SS Great Britain that was not the case. They’ve set it up as it would have been in the 1800s, even imitating the smells and sounds that you would have experienced. The information sections are not text heavy and leave you feeling that you’ve learnt something. You can go beneath the boat, on deck and in the cabins below. It was honestly very interesting and a few hours flew by. I would highly recommend visiting, even if you’re not into history like me.
Along the river people were dangling their legs over the waters edge sunbathing with drinks in hand. Instead we headed to the waterfront where there were food stalls aplenty. I got my lunch from Falafel King where I had falafel in laffa with salad and sauces. Their tahini was vegan too and although a big meal, I demolished it. By the waterfront there was a band playing and crowds chilling and chatting with Somerset Cider. A perfect way to end a 2 day whistle stop tour of Bristol.
There was so much of Bristol that we didn’t manage to see, but I loved the vibrancy of the city.
If you have any recommendations for when we next visit Bristol then let me know. Always looking for new places to try.