Home Away From Home: Bristol, UK (Part 1)

In 2011 I began visiting Bristol, UK and since then I've visited a total of 7 times and even moved there in 2015 for 8 months. I consider this city my home away from home. I love Bristol so much that if I could have one wish, it would be to return and live there permanently until my dying day.

Although this is not a complete list of all my favourites (there wouldn't be enough space on this entire blog to list ALL of them), here is part 1 of some of my favourite places to see and things to do in the city's more central areas, should you ever find yourself in Bristol. I've tried to keep each category down to 2-3 recommendations.

Stay tuned for Part 2 soon!

1. The "touristy" stuff:

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The one thing Bristol is most known for is Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge. Be sure to take a walk across the bridge for some spectacular views of the city. Also, since you're already there, go visit the Clifton Observatory to view the Camera Obscura and, if you dare, make your way down a tunnel into the depths of Giant's Cave and emerge onto St. Vincent's Rocks on the cliff face.

SS Great Britain

If you can only do one thing in Bristol, let it be a visit to the SS Great Britain. I've visited this ship now 4 times and I've learned and seen something new each time. The entry fee is £14 but it's well worth the money and you get free unlimited return visits for a year! Believe me when I say you can easily spend an entire afternoon here. For the daredevils out there you can even climb the rigging for an extra £10!

The Matthew of Bristol Avon Gorge Trip

If you're able, try to do a morning trip on The Matthew of Bristol down the Avon Gorge. Although there are a few tour companies that offer this trip, nothing beats floating down the gorge on The Matthew. It is something very special.

2. Sightseeing:

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Bristol is known for its hot air balloons in the spring/summer season. I took a ride in one in July of 2015 (when I snapped this photo) and it's an experience I won't soon forget! Try either Bailey Balloons or Bristol Balloons--both are very well known and operate regularly.

Harbour Ferry Tour

For a very reasonable fee, you can enjoy a fun cruise on Bristol's floating and inner harbours with Bristol Ferry Boats.  You can essentially leave The Pump House and get all the way to Temple Meads and back within about an hour. If you like being on the water, this is a cheap way to enjoy Bristol's harbourside.

Bristol Insight Hop-On Hop-Off

If you're like me, you love it when a city has a hop-on hop off bus and, thankfully, Bristol does! Once you buy your ticket for the Bristol Insight tour, not only will you get a great tour of the city on an open top double-decker bus, you'll get great discount vouchers at other major touristy spots like the Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Blue Glass, and the Bristol Aquarium!

3. Areas:

Clifton Village

Clifton Village is full of unique little shops, great coffee spots, Georgian history, a beautiful arcade, and gorgeous green spaces. Be sure to find the Birdcage Walk--one of my favourite little "not-so-secret, secret" areas.

Southville & Bedminster

If you like independent shops, bars, restaurants and have an eye for art, then you must visit the Southville & Bedminster area of Bristol. Every year in July they celebrate Upfest which you won't want to miss if you're around there that time of year. If not, be sure to see all the previous year's street art on almost every building on North Street. Make a stop at Lounge, which is my all-time favourite spot in this area.

4. Food and Drink:

Marco's Olive Branch

The ambiance, the food, the staff, the prices--it's all fantastic at Marco's Olive Branch. I've been there a few times now to dine in and take away and I've never left disappointed. They serve authentic Sardinian Italian and, just thinking of their food, makes my mouth water. If you're looking for something quick to take away, I'd suggest their pizzas. They're inexpensive and delicious.

The Apple

Since you're in cider country, you must visit The Apple. With around 40 different types of cider to choose from, this is the place to go if you're feeling up for a strong beverage or two or three...

The Cottage Inn

If you're down on the harbourside, be sure to pop in to The Cottage Inn. Order a drink and some food from the bar and then take it all outside to sit along the harbour steps with the rest of the locals. You'll fit right in.

Keep your eyes on my blog for Part 2, coming soon!