A Little Guide to Bristol

Bristol is a fabulous place to spend a weekend break in the city- full to the brim with culture and diversity and there always seems to be a new exhibition or even taking place, meaning there is always something different to explore.  I have been here countless times now and I am always keen to find a reason to go back!

Here are a few of my favourite things to do when I am there:

Visit Stokes Croft and search for grafitti

One of Banksy's pieces in Stokes Croft
One of Banksy’s pieces in Stokes Croft

 

I say ‘search’ but you really don’t have to look far- every building in some parts of town are covered in it, especially in Stokes Croft, where you can find some of Banksy’s work.

There is a great pub as you enter this area, called ‘The Full Moon’, which is also a hostel as well.  I was first attracted the outside which had been covered with a painting of a solar system, but as it turns out, it is a great place to sit and people watch as it has a massive beer garden overlooking the main road.  Apparently they hold a market and gigs here as well.

There are some very interesting shops and galleries in this area, my favourite being a massive antiques shop called Stokes Croft Vintage Market where you can spend hours looking at a huge collection of all sorts of bric-a-brac from years gone by.

When crossing from the city centre to Stokes Croft, you have to go in a subway under the road.  This is pretty cool on a summer’s day as it is filled with people skateboarding and rollerblading and there is even a ‘Burrito Bus’- an old double decker converted into a Mexican restaurant!

The Burrito Bus on the subway linking the city centre to Stokes Croft
The Burrito Bus on the subway linking the city centre to Stokes Croft

 

Shopping

One of the many streets of shops and restaurants in the city
One of the many streets of shops and restaurants in the city

 

There are so many different types of shops in Bristol.  I find it great for vintage shopping as there are many quirky little shops on Queens Road, but there is also a main shopping centre with most of your big chain stores and a good few smaller boutiques as well.  On the outskirts of the city, there is a huge shopping centre called Cribs Causeway, which you can definitely spend a day getting lost in!

There are several different markets throughout the city, but the best in my opinion is St Nicholas’ Market which is in the old quarter.  There is a building which houses the majority of the stalls, but several selling clothes, jewellery and hand-made crafts also spill out onto the street outside.

 

‘Bristol Harbour’

Bristol Harbour
Bristol Harbour

 

Bristol Harbour is a great place to go for a wander in the day and a drink in the evening.  During the day there is a small market which sells an array of items such as second hand books and hand made crafts and this is also where you will find a tourist information centre and several bars and restaurants.  In these docks you will also find a ‘floating restaurant’ which is an old boat turned into a cafe.  I have never eaten here but I would like to maybe next time. There are lots of bars and restaurants in this area, including a massive Wetherspoons which is always a reliable go-to for breakfast or a quick and easy meal.

The harbour is home to the M Shed Museum which has a lot of exhibits on how the city was formed and also about how people of many different cultures have come to call Bristol their home.  The museum houses temporary exhibitions too and there is also an old fashioned steam train which can give you a ride across the harbour.  Just a stone’s throw across the water is the science centre which is a fab day out for kids, but not so great for adults (I found that out the hard way by buying a ticket before finding out it was best suited for the under tens, never mind!)

M Shed Museum
M Shed Museum

 

There are several different markets throughout the city, but the best in my opinion is St Nicholas’ Market which is in the old quarter.  There is a building which houses the majority of the stalls, but several selling clothes, jewellery and hand-made crafts also spill out onto the street outside.

 

Eating and Drinking

Like with most major cities, there are endless places to choose from to eat and drink.  As I mentioned above, there are a lot of restaurants in the harbour area, including an ‘all you can eat’ buffet and many popular chains.  The last time I was in Bristol, I went to La Pata Negra which is a Spanish restaurant in the old quarter of the city.  Whilst it wasn’t the cheapest restaurant, I would certainly recommend it for its authentic Spanish dishes and cosy atmosphere.  You can’t make a reservation unless you are a large party, so it’s worth getting there fairly early to ensure you can get a table.  There are several bars in this area, so it is ideal if you are looking for somewhere to go for a drink after food.

Queens Road is another good place to find some smaller cafes and restaurants and it is also where you will find Boston Tea Party which is great for breakfast.

Queens Road
Queens Road

 

Where to stay

I love a long weekend in Bristol and have stayed in many different places.  The most recent time I stayed in the Mercure Grand Hotel, which is right in the city centre and also has a swimming pool and spa which was great for when the weather took a turn for the worst!  There are also a lot of places to stay on Airbnb and if all else fails, there is a Travelodge in the city centre as well!

 

There is so much to do in Bristol and I haven’t even scratched the surface with the things I have mentioned.  What are you your favourite things to do in Bristol, where and what would you recommend?  Leave a comment below!

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