48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do!

© The Milk Thistle.
© The Milk Thistle.

Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!

My second glorious press trip to England. Yes, I’m going to Bristol & Bath. Yippee!

But first, did you know that:

I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
  • Bristol is located just 120 miles west of London.
  • It’s the largest city in the south-west of England.
  • Bristol is the only UK city to have won the title ‘European Green Capital’ for 2015 and is one of the first cycling cities in the UK too!
  • Bath is about 12 miles to the east of the city.
  • Bristol is a 45 mile trip across the Bristol Channel to Cardiff in Wales.
  • The city is situated on the rivers Frome and Avon.
  • Bristol has been a wealthy trading port since the Roman era.
  • Bristol is a port city known as the “Birthplace of America”.
  • John Cabot sailed from Bristol to help “discover” North America in 1497.
  • The city played an important role in England’s maritime trade in tobacco, wine, cotton and more.
  • From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, Bristol was involved in a massive slave shipping industry.
  • Bristol is a university city of 400,000.
  • The infamous pirate Captain Blackbeard once had a hideaway cave under St. Mary Redcliffe church. His original birthplace and childhood home still stands on Bristol’s harbourside.
  • Pero’s Bridge is named after Pero Jones, who was the African servant of a plantation owner.
  • John Wesley’s New Room in Broadmead, is the oldest Methodist church in the world!
  • Hollywood legend Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) was born in Horfield, Bristol. Grant’s first role in theatre was working at The Bristol Hippodrome.
  • Bristol is the street party capital of the UK. I know. Bristol!
I'm sorry but I look amazing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As you all know by now and if you don’t, whose blog have you been reading? No! Don’t answer that. Back to me!

As you know, I went to Bristol and I stayed there for two days. In short, just 48 hours. I’m sure that I could have stayed for at least a week but time is tight for many of us so I’m going to tell you how I managed it. And if I can do it, so can you!

Yes, I was working in partnership with Visit Bristol but if you’re looking for maps, brochures, addresses and the like, just log onto their website. It’s free and they’re wonderfully helpful.

So without much ado:


© The Cowshed.
© The Cowshed.
  • Go forth and have an English breakfast. As I told you last week, whenever you’re in England or anywhere else in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you must get yourself a full English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish breakfast. If you’re vegetarian, not to worry, just order a veggie English breakfast instead!
  • Book a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) rather than a hotel as a B&B has a more distinct British flavour. I went to the boutique Brooks GuestHouse B&B situated right next to the St. Nicholas Market!
  • Go on a walking tour: You know how much I like city walking tours here or here! I had my historical walking tour organised by a Blue Badge Guide called Liz Gamlin who even collected me from my B&B! She was lovely and flexible enough to make the walk geared towards my needs. She was also sensitive to my interests, and would stop whenever I wanted to take a photograph of something or needed more info. We got on so well that we eventually left each other about 13:00 instead of 11:30!

Banksy in Bristol.

  • Check out the Street Art: Banksy is huge in Bristol. I didn’t go on a specific street art tour but if you want to, you can contact the guys at The Ultimate Bristol Walking Tour.
  • Visit Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market and soak up the delights of the vibrant marketplace that has been trading since 1743! I really liked it and bought many nostalgic English gifts!
  • Check out the historical buildings. Bristol is centuries old and there’s a lot to see.
  • Ramble and stroll through the cobbled streets. Don’t be afraid to go down a narrow off-street path, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
  • Go into The Commercial Rooms or the Cosy Club on Corn Street. I won’t tell you what’s there. Go see for yourself!
  • Check out the churches: In pretty much every corner is a church or cathedral sticking out or hidden around the corner!
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol. © Gary Newman
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol.
© Gary Newman
  • Take a harbourside stroll along the floating harbour.
  • Have a snack on the river side. What better than with a bag of fish n’ chips!
  • Meet some of the locals at a typical old-time historical pub!
  • Go to the Old City and check out Norman Bristol, Georgian Bristol and Medieval Bristol which look as they did hundreds of years ago!
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor. © Geraint Lewis.
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor.
© Geraint Lewis.
  • Watch pieces of drama at the Bristol Old Vic. I watched an outstanding performance of The Crucible which was marvellous. I totally loved it.

The Bristol Old Vic is the oldest theatre in Britain and celebrating 250 years with a special year-round anniversary programme that will feature five (5) world-class productions – one from each century of the theatre’s life – as well as a production of a Shakespeare play to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic. © Manuel Harlan.
Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic.
© Manuel Harlan.

With actors like Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, 2016 represents an extraordinary moment in British theatre history.

I’m a lover of the creative arts so this was always going to be something that I would be eager to watch. It was a great performance and surprisingly, the actors came out and mingled with the audience at the end. I’m used to this in Berlin but I’ve never had the luck in England, unless it was a premier night, so I was pleasantly surprised. Saturday, November 7th was effectively, the last performance night and everyone was in a merry mood. I would usually stay and hang out with the cast but was exhausted from the long day, I did however, manage to have a quick chat with the leading actor –  Dean Lennox Kelly – who used to be Kev in the original British series Shameless and who I found to be extremely humble as he told me that he couldn’t quite believe that he was performing in such an establishment as that of the Bristol Old Vic.

Dean Lennox Kelly
Dean Lennox Kelly

I found that charming!

  • Have a snack or a drink at the Llandoger Trow which was built in 1664 and one of the last timber-built buildings in Bristol! It’s also said to be the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and where Daniel Defoe met his Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk!
  • Go on a ghost walking tour!
  • Bristol is surrounded by water so take a ferry ride with Bristol Ferry Boats which provides a scheduled water bus service around Bristol’s unique Floating Harbour. Due to Remembrance Day or Armistice Day on 11 November – a day used to remember all the people who died in wars since the Great War or WWI, I decided to sail with the Bristol Packet Boat Trips.

I was the only customer for half the ride but the skipper and his assistant were friendly and chatty and pointed out the best places to take photographs.

A Whippy 99 flake ice cream! © wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
A Whippy 99 flake ice cream!
© wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
  • Get yourself a Whippy or a 99 flake ice cream and make sure it has an original chocolate flake bar with raspberry or strawberry syrup on it!
  • Go to a museum or gallery. Most of them are completely and utterly free. Hurrah!
  • Take a trip to the M Shed which is on the harbourside. It focuses on the history of Bristol and it’s people and is a historic wharf which has been turned into a museum. I only had 1.5 hours there but I certainly could have spent more!
©Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
©Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I would utterly agree!

If you only have time for one thing, I recommend you do this one! I had a marvellous time sailing the flag, skipping through the decks and imagining what it would have been like to be a passenger on board. It’s got a dockyard museum, a glass sea view of the ship’s hull, a dockyard where you can dress up and take photos, and you can climb up the top deck complete with flags, and then go from deck to deck opening doors and seeing what’s behind them. Some even have sounds and smells!

Myself "sailing" Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
Myself “sailing” Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I liked it so much that I spent three (3) hours there!

  • Potter around a vintage or second-hand bookshops.
  • Hang out and chat with the locals. I spotted quite a few people in fancy costume and one of them was dressed as Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean!
  • Go to fringe theatre performances. Perhaps make a stop at the Tobacco Factory Theatres or the Raucous.
  • If you’re into film culture and media and digital technology, then the Watershed is not to be missed!
  • I haven’t visited myself but I hear that the riverside restaurant – The Glassboat  – is to be considered for that extra something.
  • Take a hop-on-hop-off city sightseeing bus and let a local guide provide a unique and personal experience of Bristol.
  • Explore British artists and go to the gallery.
  • Get yourself a plate of good British grub and chomp on locally served nosh at The Cowshed.
  • Have a pint of ale, craft beer or English cider and scrumpy.
A speakeasy at the Hyde & Co. in Bristol.
A speakeasy in Bristol. ©Hyde & Co.
  • Be creative and search for Bristol’s speakeasies which have secret entrances and payphones to call a waiter, so part of the fun is to find how to get to the entrance in the first place!
  • Go unconventional and chase the white rabbit at the Illusions Magic Bar!
  • Go to the Old Market Quarter which is home to a great selection of vintage fashion and antique shops and also has strong connections to the LGBT community and popular gay-friendly shops, pubs, bars and clubs.
  • Climb up the hill and go to the bohemian village known as Clifton.
  • Be an undergraduate for a day and visit the University of Bristol.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey's Bristol Cream.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey’s Bristol Cream!
  • Get a real taste of Bristol’s heritage at Harvey’s Cellars – the home of Harvey’s Bristol Cream –  and relax while you fantasise about Bristol’s glorious past!
  • Take a discrete peek at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, an independent school for boys and founded in 1586!
  • Go for a walk through the huge protected parkland and countryside known as The Downs.
  • Gasp over the amazing views and wildlife of the Avon Gorge.
  • Have a classy meal or Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel.
  • Prepare yourself for the gorgeous unparalleled views of Brunel’s grade-one-listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. A bridge said to be one of the greatest bridges in the world!
Go for a night out at the Milk Thistle in Bristol.
©The Milk Thistle in Bristol.
  • Go for a night out at any of the 101 bars and restaurants dotted about the Old City, the Harbourside, the West End and Broadmead.
  • Explore Bristol and hop on a bike.
  • Take out your credit card and go shopping at the Bristol Shopping Quarter. You know you want to!
  • Be an artist for a day and join in one of Bristol’s biggest and oldest art trails.
  • Visit The Harbourside Market which describes itself as ‘no ordinary market’ but an independent alternative to the high street, supporting local creativity and providing a safe space for people to shop, eat and relax within a setting rich with tradition. I saw a few food stalls, arts, crafts. It definitely lives up to it’s name!
  • Experience the luxury and glamour of a roof top Retro Rocket. The only one of it’s kind in the UK! More about that next week!
  • Have champagne. Why not!


 A glass of champagne at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol all opinions and the sailing experience and skipping that I indulged in, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you and will continue next week with my final post on Bristol!

In December, I’ll be taking part in The Best of Berlin in 48 Hours campaign.


Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.
Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you have any questions about Bristol or Bath, let me know!

November is going to be frosty!

Watch this space!

48 hours in Bristol - 48 things to do!

Have you ever been to Bristol? Is there anything else you would do on a 48 hour weekend visit to Bristol?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!

An English breakfast at Brooks GuestHouse in Bristol.

Heigh Ho. I went to Bristol!

And what a marvellous time I had. If you recall, a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going on an independent press trip.

In England.

Yes, I was the guest of Visit Bristol who were incredible as were the very people of Bristol themselves and as a result, my press trip was personally designed with my interests and passions in mind.

Thank you so much for your generosity and allowing me press access to various sights and venues.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.


At Bristol Planetarium & Bristol Cathedral. @Bristol
At Bristol Planetarium & Bristol Cathedral.

When tourists and travellers think of England, they think of destinations such as London and Big Ben, Manchester (yay!) and textile powerhouses. They think of OxBridge and a history of intellectual minds. They think of Avon and Shakespeare, the Beatles and Liverpool. But do they ever think of places such as the Lake District, the Peak Districts, the Yorkshire Dales, the Isle of Wight or the Cotswolds?

Do they ever think of Bristol?

Ah. Bristol?

But where is it?

The Llandoger Trow in Bristol.
The Llandoger Trow in Bristol.

Well, Bristol is a county in South West England. It is England’s sixth (6th) most populous city and has a population of about 400,000 people. It began life as a village Brycgstow in Anglo-Saxon times and changed to Brigg stow – Bristol sometime in the 10th century.

Bristol’s history as a trading and important river location stretches back to 1051 when it was listed in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. By the 14th century, Bristol was trading with Spain, Portugal and Iceland, and ships were leaving Bristol to find colonies in the New World and for sadly, that awful blot, that was to become known as the slave trade. In the last two hundred (200) years, Bristol has transformed and grown into a busy commercial port and in modern times, a striving destination to visit due to the Harbourside’s renaissance with contemporary art, theatre performances, literature, history and heritage of the local people. It has also begun to fuse it’s historically elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture with contemporary modernity.

England, UK.

My goal was to visit and introduce a new destination that perhaps many of you have never heard of, so in the next few weeks, I will be introducing you to the delights of an English weekend and how to have it all, and some, in just 48 hours!

I wanted to see for myself if indeed, Bristol would burst with character and charm. If Bristol would be enveloped within the home of a historical harbour as well as the modern setting of a young university city. If Bristol would be able to offer fascinating attractions, interesting culture, as well as impressive shopping, so I’m going to go backwards and start with the food and then next week, I’m going to tell you what to do in Bristol and where to stay. Get ready for surprises!

©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson
Joanna Henderson

So back to food.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

One of the reasons that I wanted to go to Bristol was to try out the food.

If you recall, I live in Germany and yes, Germany has a reputation for stodge and yes, even though Berlin is a continental hot-spot, crammed with international restaurants over-flowing with cosmopolitan flair, we hardly have anything British at all!

We only have a single restaurant called East London.

A single restaurant!!

I know!

It’s a scandal!

It’s no surprise that I was desperate for some English nosh and Bristol, is where I got it!

Here we go:


Jams and preserves at breakfast. In Bristol.

I stayed at a rather exciting boutique B&B called Brooks Guest House and I slept in a stylish rooftop caravan rocket. Yep! I went glamping, but more about that next week!

Part of what made my visit a success was the breakfast that I had every morning.

It was lovely.

The breakfast staff took some time to warm up to me but by the evening, we were the best of friends, and they were eager to accommodate changes in the breakfast delivery!

And what did I have?

More to the point what should you have whenever you’re in England or anywhere else in Ireland or the British Isles? A Full English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish. That’s what?

A full English breakfast in Bristol!

How about a plate of crispy smoked streaky bacon, sausages, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes and fried eggs?

 An English breakfast in Bristol.

Perhaps smoked streaky bacon with scrambled eggs on sour dough bread?

An English breakfast in Bristol.

What say you to a steaming bowl of porridge dribbled over with honey, slices of strawberries, raspberries and blue berries? Mmm!

A healthy breakfast in Bristol.

And if that doesn’t take your fancy, how about a refreshing glass of Scottish Cranacha – a mixture of whipped cream or yoghurt, jam, honey, toasted oatmeal or home-made muesli with fruit and a little bit of whisky! Since I don’t eat nuts, I had the cream, with jam, cornflakes and fruit.

I left out the whisky LOL!


A Marks & Spencers prawn and cocktail sandwich!

Whenever I’m in England, I like to have a lunchtime snack of prawn and cocktail sandwiches, so I went to the High Street on Broadmead and bought some at Marks & Spencers (M&S).

Oh, I do love my sarnies!

A portion of chips in Bristol.

And if I’m being particularly naughty, I go ahead and get myself a portion of chips. I found a pretty good ration on the Harbourside at a local place called Brunel’s Buttery. Let me tell you, chips (not fries!) are best eaten with salt and vinegar and if I’m lucky, wrapped up in newspaper LOL!

Fresh sausage rolls. ©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson
Fresh sausage rolls.
©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson

My highlight however, were not “real” chips but actually, a sausage roll. Yes, a bit of pork rolled up in pastry and served warmly. A sausage roll with the crumbs gently rolling into my mouth! Heeeeeaven!


The Avon Gorge © Walter-Dirks
The Avon Gorge
© Walter-Dirks

On my last afternoon in Bristol, I decided to walk to Bristol’s most exclusive suburb – Clifton Village. Now I didn’t actually plan to walk all the way there originally. It sort of just happened and well, you know how I like a good walk! Clifton Village features pretty streets, fine boutiques, vintage shopping and the University of Bristol. It was raining but I still spent quite an energetic afternoon darting in and out of second-hand book shops whilst, looking for gifts, trying to avoid getting too wet, and wheezing my way all the way up to (ironically) The Downs!

Cliftonwood © Andy Maybury
© Andy Maybury

The Downs has amazing views over the Avon Gorge and a few minutes away was the Avon Gorge Hotel where a reservation had been made on my behalf!

Now I don’t know about you but when having a meal in a classy hotel, one of the things that makes it so, is the sight perspective that it affords whether of the people, or it’s surroundings. The Avon Gorge Hotel has one of the best settings in the UK as it offers unparalleled views of Brunel’s grade-one-listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. A bridge said to be one of the greatest bridges in the world!

A glass of champagne at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

I was here to indulge in the luxury of Afternoon Tea in a historic setting.

I was given a really good table and even though it was pouring down, I still had a marvellous view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. There were a wide variety of Afternoon Teas to choose from starting from toasted Clifton tea cake, butter & jam, to the luxurious Bridge Café Champagne Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

The Afternoon Tea was brilliant.

I chose the Champagne Afternoon Tea.

No surprises there!!

There was a selection of finger sandwiches filled with ham, cheese, salmon and cucumber. I also had two huge home-made scones, a pot of strawberry jam, a huge pot of yummy clotted cream, cream cheese and watercress leaves stuffed in a ball, a slice of chocolate, a slice of orange polenta and a delicious fruit pavlova.

A pot of tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

And of course, your choice of a pot of tea.

The selection was presented on a wooden board (certainly different!) and the combination of sandwiches, scones and little cake slices was pleasurable.

Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

I loved it and was utterly stuffed, so much so, that I had to discreetly ask the hotel staff to arrange half of the stuff as a bit of a take-away! They happily obliged. The Afternoon Tea was everything I expected and more.

The premises were in a lovely hotel and was reasonably priced. All around were tables of groups, friends and couples and the staff were attentive and friendly, constantly checking that I was OK, as I was dining alone.

Cost – £21.95 or €31.15 per person.

Would I recommend it?



The Cowshed restaurant in Bristol

I was going to the theatre at the Bristol Old Vic to see an outstanding performance of The Crucible so it was imperative that I had an early pre-theatre dinner. I chose to chomp some excellent nosh at a restaurant called The Cowshed.

The Cowshed is a restaurant whose motto is plain and simple – to serve good, British food with an emphasis on quality, locally sourced ingredients, in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

I arrived at 18:00 by taxi, and reserved another one to take me to the theatre after dinner…!

The Cowshed Restaurant in Bristol.

The Cowshed was in a really nice area not far from Bristol University in Clifton! The restaurant was very nicely furnished with distressed brick walls, attractive staff, an open kitchen and their partner – Ruby & White Butchers – next door.

I was given a window seat so I used my seating optimisation to observe others around me.

It’s a cool trendy place with a mixed clientele. On the one hand, I saw a hipster father with his two teenaged children and on the other hand, I saw a group of young professionals who came in straight from work and various couples in their mid-20’s!

By 18:30, the restaurant began to fill up and I took the time to look outside the window as well.

British elves in Bristol!
British elves in Bristol!

Honestly! You know you’re in England when you see about ten (10) girls dressed up as elves disembark from a taxi, or about twenty (20) young people wearing ponchos and sombrero hats, and walking calmly down the street LOL!

My wood pigeon breast served with pigeon leg, scotched egg, beetroot with a bacon crumb, at the Cowshed Restaurant in Bristol.

I’m so sorry about the awful picture. I hope to find another one. Perhaps the description below would better suffice!

I had the wood pigeon breast served with pigeon leg, scotched egg, beetroot with a bacon crumb. It was served on a wooden board and decorated stretched across with dollops of cream in two places, the beetroot cut into triangles like an ancient sundial, the pigeon breast served delicate and tender, with a scotch egg.

I have absolutely no idea the last time I actually had a scotch egg!

For the British food virgins among you, a scotch egg is a (usually) hard-boiled egg wrapped in pork sausage meat mixed with herbs and spices, coated and rolled in breadcrumbs and baked or deeply fried. It used to be the bane of my childhood but here I was actually enjoying it!

My starter also had the bacon crumbs sprinkled with freshly cut herbs.


Cost – £6.50 or €9.21.

The Cowshed is best known for it’s locally reared, hand-picked organic meat and for those of you who like steak, you’ll be in heaven! I’m not a vegetarian of course, but I’m not big on beef either, lamb on the other hand…

I digress.

My Roasted Guinea Fowl Breast 19.50 Served with a Confit Leg Dumpling, Salt Baked Beetroot, Thyme Potatoes, Mirabelle Plum and topped. Without Truffled Hazelnuts at the Cowshed restaurant in Bristol.

For my main dish, I had the roasted guinea fowl breast served with a confit leg dumpling, salt baked beetroot, thyme potatoes, and mirabelle plum. Without the truffled hazelnuts! The guinea fowl was softly firm and tasted nice and sweet with chunks of beetroot, square-cubed potatoes, a stuffed cabbage ball, with a swirling of plum sauce and gravy!

The floor manager was a laugh and had me in stitches such that I spent most of the time chatting away rather than eating, and ended up having to rush my way through the main course and dessert as I had a booked taxi waiting! I made it though, with 10 minutes to spare!


Cost – £19.50 or €27.55.

My Lemon & Raspberry Parfait served in a White Chocolate Pyramid with Meringue Tears and Lemon Gel, at the Cowshed in Bristol.

For my dessert, I had the lemon and raspberry parfait served in a white chocolate pyramid with meringue tears and lemon gel. I don’t like chocolate but this, I could absolutely live with!

Just look at that delicate swirl of raspberry and the bite of white chocolate ice-cream with a raspberry centre crunch!

Cost – £6.50 or €9.21.

Nom! Nom! Nom!

Would I recommend it?

OMG. What!!?

That’s it for now.

p.s. My thoughts and condolences to the people of France over the horrors that took place in Paris. On Friday.

St. Nicholas Market Board. © Graham-Flack
St. Nicholas Market Board.
© Graham-Flack

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol, all opinions and the exquisite delicate pigeon breast that I devoured, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so I will be writing more about Bristol next week!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

November is beginning to be another summer!

Watch this space!

Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK - ©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth
Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK –
©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth

Have you ever had an English Breakfast? Would you like some Afternoon Tea?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Osnabrück – a medieval town in a German valley – the hometown of my German husband!

Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

As you read this, I’m actually in Bath!

Yep! Bath.

In England.

Not the object of your morning ritual!

I was previously in Bristol and it was amazing. Once again, thank you Bristol for making my stay fun and exciting!

More about that next week. For now though, the medieval town of Osnabrück!

When I told The Music Producer that I was going to write about his home-town, he was chuffed and extremely pleased. My hubby is a lovely fellow and so is his hometown, so here we go.


Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!
Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!

I love going to Osnabrück. It’s a quaint town, enveloped in medieval history, quite German-like in nature, pretty to look at, and once known as the happiest place in Germany! What not to like!

What not to like in Osnabrück!
What not to like in Osnabrück!

Osnabrück is a city in the Federal State of Lower-Saxony in North-West Germany.

Even though Osnabrück is regionally based in the region of Lower Saxony, historically, culturally and linguistically, Osnabrück is said to be a part of Westphalia. Osnabrück is situated in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest, has a population of 158,000 people, is the third (3rd) largest city in that State and the only German city situated in a nature reserve that is a 1,220 square kilometer, UNESCO Nature and Geo Park TERRA.vita!


Church tower of St. Mary's Church in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Church tower of St. Mary’s Church in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

The history of Osnabrück began in 780, when Charlemagne – King of the Franks, erected a stone church on the banks of the Hase River – the nucleus of today’s Osnabrück.

The city’s name is presumably a combination of the German words “Ossen” (ox) and “Brügge” (bridge). In 1002, the Bishop of Osnabrück was granted a charter to hold a market, mint coins, and collect customs dues.

Slightly before 803, the city became the seat of the Prince-Diocese of Osnabrück which is believed to make the city the oldest diocese in Lower Saxony! As an old trading route hub and as the seat of a bishop, Osnabrück developed into a thriving center for commerce in the Middle Ages. In 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city its fortification privileges.

The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.

Most of the towers that were part of the medieval fortification are still visible in the city and are a rather interesting, energetic  photographic walk!

From 1412 to 1669, Osnabrück became an influential member of the “Hanse” or Hanseatic League, which was the most important trading alliance of its time and brought great stature and wealth to its member cities. Magnificent town houses and other prestigious buildings reflected the power and wealth of the medieval merchants.

Friedensdokumente_Referat-Medien, Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück also became hugely important during the negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia that took place here as well as in Münster between 1643 – 1648. In fact, it was this treaty in October 1648, that finally ended the Thirty Years’ War and changed the face of Europe forever. To commemorate this event, the treaty is annually recreated by local children with a hobby-horse parade! Osnabrück also adopted the official title of Friedensstadt known as the “city of peace.”

While the Catholics used Münster as a venue, the Protestants resided in Osnabrück. As a result, Osnabrück was alternately peacefully ruled by both Catholic and Protestant bishops, until 1803!

In contemporary times, the old trade routes have been turned into pleasant streets and the mixture of historic quarters and modern architecture is the hallmark of Osnabrück today, not only as a university city, but also a cultural and commercial trading centre in industries such as automobile, paper, steel and perishables.

Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place. ©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place.
©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

Due to it’s industrial importance, Osnabrück was heavily damaged during WWII although the Old Town, had it’s medieval architecture reconstructed.

It’s just so lovely that the locals still come together in places where merchants used to meet in the old market place, also known as the “Markt.” You can regularly find either the farmers’ market, local festivals, or the native German Christmas Market right there and we’ve always enjoyed either having an organic grilled sausage of some sort or organic home-made cheese. Don’t even get me started on their historic craft beer and fine German wine!

The Christmas market in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.

Osnabrück’s picturesque flair is formed by the Town Hall, the various churches, the Romanesque St Peter’s Cathedral and the high gables of the old merchant houses.

Osnabrück is surrounded by charming countryside and around 2,300 km of long distance and circular footpaths in a romantic landscape, and 1,500 km of bike paths. The ridges of the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehen Hills shape Osnabrück’s surroundings, and most of the region is part of the UNESCO nature reserve Geo Park TERRA.vita, a European network of nature parks.

"The Music Producer" looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Music Producer” looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

Now when I first met my husband, I actually thought he was Danish as his English was incredibly good, with a slight North American tilt! Hardly any wonder when Osnabrück used to be home to the largest British garrison (outside of the UK), in the world!


Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Osnabrück is a really sweet place and so we tend to go for the May Week Festival locally known as Mai Woche. Mai Woche is a bit like dancing round the May Day pole in England and is a unique festival with ten (10) days of music, comedy and open-air shows and entertainment. This takes place annually during the second (2nd) week in May.
  • Visit the picturesque Market Square and the wander through the weekly Farmer’s Market.
  • Visit the historical Town Hall and engross yourself in the history of Osnabrück, with the help of the Town Hall museum.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück. © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück.
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
  • Get out and cycle or bring your own bike! Osnabrück has ten (10) attractive cycling tours, four (4) long distance bike trails and a total of 2,500 kilometers marked routes.
  • Drink wine! Osnabrück always has local wine tasting sessions in the Old Town. And why not, it’s Germany after all!
  • Eat chocolate! I don’t like chocolate but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in one of Germany’s oldest family owned chocolate shop. The 106 year old Leysieffer is a confectionery that is famous world-wide for it’s hand-made chocolate truffles and chocolate bars, with exotic flavours such as chili peppers or sea salt!
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
  • For one night only. Experience the cultural diversity of outstanding cultural entertainment in Osnabrück. On the last Saturday in August. At night!
  • Check out the traditional and historical Christmas Market from the end of November to December 22nd.
  • Visit the “Dom St. Peter” also known as St. Peter’s Cathedral which has been a place of worship for more than 1,225 years!
  • Visit other churches!
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
  • Make it a point of duty to get to grips with the Felix Nussbaum Museum which houses the impressive life collection of Felix Nussbaum as a German-Jewish surrealist painter, in a desperate state of living, in Holocaust Europe.
  • If you aren’t short on time, visit other museums such as the Museum of Cultural History or the Museum of Industrial Culture. I guess you can see a running theme here, I like museums LOL!
  • Discover Osnabrück’s history with the Romans!
  • Eat a variety of delicious rustic German food such as asparagus – Spargel – green cabbage – Grünkohl – served with cured and slightly smoked thick cuts of pork – Kasseler –  or a traditional blood sausage made out of pig’s blood, pig offal and buckwheat stuffed in a pig intestine flavored with onions, black pepper, and marjoram – Grützwurst!
  • Go high-brow and dine at Osnabrück’s most famous three (3) Michelin star exquisite La Vie restaurant and don’t forget to make a reservation!
  • Have a bite and a rest at Walhalla – Osnabrück’s oldest inn built in 1690!
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Drink litres of German beer in large beer steins and glasses at the merchant-friendly Rampendahl brewery re-collected in historical books as far back as 1177! Go upstairs for a better view and don’t forget that you can even go on a tour of the brewery itself!
  • Go shopping and really stroll around into nooks and crannies and cobble-stoned streets!
  • Track down dinosaurs!
  • Go to as many monasteries as you can muster.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Take a walk down memory lane and go to the most exquisite Old Town in Osnabrück. Think taverns bustling with merchants. Think black and white half-timbered houses and Romanesque vault buildings and monuments from the 13th century. Think knights , ladies and serfs, from the Middle Ages!
  • Visit one of the earliest baroque palaces in Germany built in 1668 with it’s stylish palace gardens, palace´s terrace, palace statues and palace fountains. Now a part of the University of Osnabrück but open to the general public and quite enchanting!
  • Visit the various castles in Osnabrück.
"The Tall Young Gentleman" at Bad Rothenfelde - the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” at Bad Rothenfelde – the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Go to the spa town of Bad Rothenfelde where my husband’s father grew up. It has a spa garden and the famous Saline Rothenfelde salt works. The water is warm and you can really taste the salt!
  • If you’ve got a couple of days, you could get yourself the Osnabrück City Card. It allows you access to every bus within the city, free admission to six museums in Osnabrück, plus a voucher booklet for other interesting cultural activities. Prices for 24 hours are €8.00 per person (adults & children 14 and above), €11.00 for a family (two adults with a maximum of two children up to the age of 14). Tickets for 48 hours are €11.00 per person or €16.00 per family. Valid for any two days within a period of three months.


Osnabrück - The City of Peace.
Osnabrück – The City of Peace.
  • By train: The train station that you would need to get to is Osnabrück Hbf (Main Train Station) via Germany’s Deutsche Bahn. It’s about  four (4) hours from Berlin.
  • By plane: The nearest airport is the Münster/Osnabrück International Airport. It’s about 30 minutes from Osnabrück and has an airport express bus that operates regularly.
  • By bus: Many coach/bus companies also travel to Osnabrück and within Osnabrück itself, the public transport network is highly efficient throughout the day and night!
  • By car: You can reach Osnabrück via the motorways A30 Amsterdam – Bad Oeynhausen, A33 Diepholz – Bielefeld and A1 Hamburg – Dortmund.
My husband - "The Music Producer" and "The Tall Young Gentleman" in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.
My husband – “The Music Producer” and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

I might be biased but I really like Osnabruck as the German traditions are still very much sought after for example, my husband told me that there is an ancient custom that unmarried men who are 30 years old must sweep the streets in front of the town hall or have their houses covered with paper and plastic, until they are kissed by a virgin. As punishment!

Go see for yourself!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the wonderful time that I had in Bristol.

Get out your brolly and put on your wellies!

See you next week.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

Osnabrück - the hometown of my German husband!

Would you go to a medieval town? Have you ever been to Germany? Isn’t my husband cute?

See you in Berlin.

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