10 amazing reasons why you should visit Bristol.

@picture-alliance/dpa
@picture-alliance/dpa

As you know, a few weeks ago, I went to England.

And of course, I didn’t just go to Blighty but I decided to Visit Bristol.

Now for international visitors, Bristol isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind but if you’re in London and looking for somewhere different or going to Wales! Do yourself a favour and drop in for a few days.

I was a guest of Visit Bristol and I found Bristol to be engaging and exciting 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.

Here are the previous posts that I wrote:

Ah. Bristol?

Where is it again?

Sigh!

England, UK.

Bristol is in England.

It’s a county in the South West of the country, 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.

Don’t you want to know more?

WHY GO TO BRISTOL?

A coastal course on the Bristol Channel ©VisitBritain Harry Williams
A coastal course on the Bristol Channel
©VisitBritain Harry Williams

So let’s get down to brass tacks. Bristol is delightful. I’m going to give you ten (10) amazing reasons why!

  1. It’s in England: That’s right. The Mother Country. Old Blighty. One of the most respected and most admired nations in the world – Eeeeeengland!
  2. It’s a green city: Bristol takes the environment seriously. It is one of the first cycling cities in the UK and is the only UK city to have won the title ‘European Green Capital’ for 2015!
  3. The architecture is amazing: Everywhere you look is an impressive piece of art from each and every era. Whether you like the Norman, Georgian, Medieval or even Mock-Tudor architecture, just keep walking and you would find it not too far away. People say that Bristol is a miniature version of London and isn’t that something!
  4. It’s a university town: It’s bustling and crammed with a young population. The University of Bristol or Bristol University was founded in 1876 and is not only a red-brick university but also a member of the Russell Group representing the top 24 leading UK universities committed to maintaining the very best research, outstanding teaching and unrivalled links with business and the public sector!
  5. A buzzing nightlife: Bristol doesn’t just buzzes, it thumps, and leaps and jumps around. What with the many speakeasy bars, restaurants and theatres dotted all over the city, it’s a hotspot for a really good night out!
  6. It has a bohemian artistic village: Yes it does! Just a few minutes away from the town centre, you move into the bohemian area called Clifton. And. It’s. Amazing.
  7. It’s small: With a population of just 442,500, everywhere is walkable and very much, within range. Even though I had passes to take the bus, I pretty much girded up my loins and went for a hike up the countryside hill!
  8. English food: OMG! Bristol has got to be one of the best regions for food as Bristol is situated in a major farming area and many regional dishes use a lot of dairy products. Rich, creamy milk, ice cream, clotted cream and a variety of cheeses. I mean, where would we be without Afternoon or High Tea? Nowhere. That’s where!
  9. Bristol has a river: You know what a sucker I am for river destinations having been born in Manchester and now living in Berlin. Bristol is surrounded by water and it’s history, myths and tales all have to do with the river side. Long John Silver anyone!
  10. Because Bristol: If ever there was a city with a story to tell, it’s Bristol.  Enveloped in the hills of South West England, it has its own unmistakable identity, grounded in roots from centuries past and carved out since by passionate locals, spirited fans and a hotbed of artists and creatives!
Bristol Harbour Festival Market. Everyone's here. Are you? ©Plaster Creative Communications
Bristol Harbour Festival Market. Everyone’s here. Are you?
©Plaster Creative Communications

A fine combination if ever I saw one.

TAKE ME THERE?

20 years of EasyJet flying!
I have no qualms flying with EasyJet!

As you know, I was lucky to be a guest of Visit Bristol and so as is the norm, I organised my own transport and flew with EasyJet from Berlin directly into Bristol Airport. KLM, Brussel Airlines and RyanAir (yikes!) also fly into Bristol but of course, you can just as easily fly anywhere into London and take the train from London Paddington into Bristol Temple Meads which takes just 1 hour 39 minutes or 1 hour 55 minutes with one (1) change.

If you’re already in England and looking for a cheaper way to get into Bristol, the bus-coach is the way to go with the National Express or Megabus. It’s not the quickest way being almost 3 hours, but if you book waaaay ahead, tickets are as little as £1.00!

It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!
It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!

I took the last flight and Visit Bristol were enormously generous to have a driver waiting for me who took me into the city.

On the way out, I took the Airport Flyer Express Bus which takes about 30 minutes and has a frequency of (in peak times) every eight (8) minutes and costs just £11.00 for an Adult Return ticket!

Relaxing with Italian nibbles & champagne at the AspirePlus Executive Airport Lounge in Bristol!
Relaxing with Italian nibbles & champagne at the AspirePlus Executive Airport Lounge in Bristol!

Not only that, but Visit Bristol were really generous and also offered me a business lounge pass at the AspirePlus Lounge. I’ve never really been to an executive lounge before (not counting the missed flight in Qatar and thus missed 5 star-luxury hotel, executive lounge, free visa and free driver! And also not counting the horrible time that I had at the Barcelona El Prat Airport in Spain, which didn’t even have free wifi!)  so it was really, really lovely.

The seating was plush and spacious, the staff were welcoming once they got over the fact that I was a guest of the city rather than an executive high flyer, the food was lovely, the atmosphere was relaxing, there was hardly anyone there and I got to have a few chilled glasses of my drink of choice – champagne!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

@Chris Bahn
@Chris Bahn

Hardly!

It’s not your usual destination for international tourists so it’s still a little bit of a secret but I’m writing it here. Right in this here blog so it’s not going to be a secret for very long.

Hurry up!

WHAT IS BRISTOL LIKE?

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

I was only there for two (2) days but Bristol definitely made an impression on me.

It’s charming and fun and the type of place very eager to welcome tourists and entertain you. In fact Bristol is a place is of historical interest, art-inspired and filled with lovely cafés, bars and restaurants as well as museums, art galleries, historical squares and places of worship!

I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.

No need to worry. I'll do the talking! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
No need to worry. I’ll do the talking!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Not. A. Problem.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you.

Oh, and booklets and info pamphlets in the main languages of German, Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese. I didn’t check for Russian, Arabic or Hindu but it’s probably there too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I can’t give you any details but for the more budget conscious traveller, I’m sure there are plenty of hostels and other moderately priced accommodation to be had.

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in their younger days - GB / UK.

Yes indeed!

When we think of England, we think of rose-covered cute cottages and baronial country hotels, but did you know that you can also sleep in a windmill, a treehouse, a pineapple, a gypsy wagon, and a chocolate boutique hotel? Well not only did I find somewhere different but I ended up sleeping in a caravan.

Yep! Yours truly went glamping on a rooftop!

One of the views of theBrooks Guesthouse Airstream Rooftop Caravans in Bristol!
One of the views of the Brooks Guesthouse Airstream Rooftop Caravans in Bristol!

I stayed at a rather exciting boutique Bed and Breakfast (B&B) called Brooks Guest House and I slept in a stylish rooftop caravan rocket! Brooks Guest House is located opposite Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market – and is in the heart of the city centre. It’s a building with a lot of character, a villa gate and a mediterranean feel courtyard garden.

Brooks Guest House has 23 stylish compact rooms and four (4) British-built roof top Retro Rockets capturing not only the glamour of a timeless vintage aluminium design with all the luxury of a modern hotel room, but also as the only vintage airstream-style caravans in Britain!

Yes, you won’t find it anywhere else!

Brooks Guesthouse Airstream Caravans. Glamping in Bristol!
Brooks Guesthouse Airstream Caravans. Glamping in Bristol!

I was given the 16Ft Retro Rocket which (while I was travelling solo) is the smallest of the group, but the largest Rocket at 20ft, has a 5ft double bed, and a seating area that can be converted to two single beds for up to two children.

My 16ft Rocket was on the rooftop and even though I could see some of the bars and restaurants through the rooftop bars, I had a marvellous view of the church temple and my Rocket was extremely quiet on the inside. At night, one of the Rockets had colourful back flourescent lighting and looked pretty jazzy. At first glance, I thought there was a rooftop party! ‘Such a shame that I was the only guest up there.

Perhaps it was too cold.

Speaking of cold. The heating was top-notch and I actually felt that the room was too warm!

At the other end of my 16Ft Retro Rooftop Rocket room in Bristol!
At the other end of my 16Ft Retro Rooftop Rocket room in Bristol!

My rooftop caravan had a 4 ft 6 double bed (large enough for a couple, large enough for a parent and a child, or two very close friends)! It had a flat screen TV, a vintage radio, hanging space for coats and dresses and soft seating at the other end which I used to put my suitcase on and work on my laptop. I had to use my laptop at an angle as the side flap table was rather too small and my laptop was rather too large! I also had a tin box of hot chocolate (yes!), proper tea bags (oh yes!), tea biscuits, milk, sugar and coffee.

The bathroom was a small rain shower compartment and en-suite toilet with bath gels and shampoo, and at the end of a long day was awfully welcoming. I had plenty of fluffy towels, a bed spread and free WiFi!

Some English Scrumpy!
Some English Scrumpy!

The  WiFi didn’t always work and was a little spotty so you had to move around a bit to get into position. For FB & Twitter it was perfectly adequate but for downloading pictures or writing proper, I had to use the WiFi in the lobby.

The lobby was really nice with comfy leather sofas, crisp daily newspapers and glossy magazines. There was also an honesty bar behind the wall but sadly, I didn’t actually see it until my last night, so I had a very nice glass of scrumpy to keep my spirits up instead!

Loooovely!

An English breakfast in Bristol.

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

It was delightful. You could have a Full English with smoked streaky bacon, sausages, roast tomatoes, fried mushroom and eggs of any style, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, French toast with honey, porridge, a selection of cereals, homemade muesli & granola, organic yoghurt, seasonal fruit compote, juice and as much Fair Trade tea and coffee as you wanted!

All this from £80 or €113.53 per night in the 16Ft Retro Rocket which for two (2) people would be £40 or €56.77 a pop!

Delightful!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Sailing along with Bristol Packet Boat Trip.

Bristol is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable.

You could also use the ferry boats or take a bus.

ANYTHING ELSE?

If you’re going to the UK, don’t forget an international adapter so you can plug all your equipment in.

Ooops!

Oh yeah. It’s Britain. It rains so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!

MY VERDICT:

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

I really liked Bristol.

It’s young. It’s got art and culture and has a vibrant history.

If you’re looking for a new British city to visit and a short-trip destination of just 1 hour 40 minutes, then Bristol is just a hop and a skip away from anywhere in Europe!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Absolutely!

Bristol is amazing and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

Vintage nostalgic sweets, toffees and sherbet at Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market.
Vintage nostalgic sweets, toffee and sherbet at Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market.

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol all opinions and the stylish rooftop caravan that I slept in, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you and in the next few weeks I’ll be writing about the city of Bath!

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

Hurrah!

Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.
Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.

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 snowing!

Watch this space!

10 amazing reasons why you should Visit Bristol!

What  do you think about going to Bristol? Any other tips?

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!

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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:

48 HOURS IN BRISTOL – 48 THINGS TO DO!

© 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.

Yay!

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.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BRISTOL?

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

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
©VisitBritain
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:

GO FORTH AND HAVE AN ENGLISH BREAKFAST!

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!

LUNCH TIME SNACKS

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!

AFTERNOON TEA

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
Cliftonwood
© 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?

Absolutely!

EVENING DINNER

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.

Deeeeelish!

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.

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