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:
Where is it again?
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?
So let’s get down to brass tacks. Bristol is delightful. I’m going to give you ten (10) amazing reasons why!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
A fine combination if ever I saw one.
TAKE ME THERE?
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!
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!
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?
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.
WHAT IS BRISTOL LIKE?
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?
Bristol is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable.
You could also use the ferry boats or take a bus.
If you’re going to the UK, don’t forget an international adapter so you can plug all your equipment in.
Oh yeah. It’s Britain. It rains so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!
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?
Bristol is amazing and I can’t wait to visit again.
Let’s do it!
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.
If you have any questions about Bristol or Bath, let me know!
November is snowing!
Watch this space!
What do you think about going to Bristol? Any other tips?
See you in Berlin.