Destination of the Week: Bristol

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Alright my lover? Welcome to Bristol: home to the glorious Clifton Suspension Bridge, full to bursting with cream teas adopted from our southerly neighbours, and officially the UK’s greenest city. Whether you’re exploring museums on drizzly days (and there are more than a few of those down South West!) or roaming the vast open spaces under those blazing blue skies, Bristol begins a love affair with visitors that few ever truly escape. So why are we so entranced? Well, here are a few reasons…

Suspension of Disbelief


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We’re inordinately proud of our beautiful Clifton Suspension Bridge, which spans the River Severn (say it with the accent, now). And what’s not to be proud of? The legendary project of Isambard Kingdom Brunel – though initially designed by Bristolian mother-of-six Sarah Guppy – took a whopping 111 years to complete, and was supposed to be topped with a couple of sphinxes. The Egyptian style was rather popular back then! As the years dragged on (and on), and the popular style changed, the sphinxes were axed – but we think it’s still pretty spectacular, and as such, it features on postcards, guidebooks, and documentaries aplenty. We’re even claiming it as the site of the world’s first bungee jump, taken by some daring students in 1979. The bridge project was fondly referred to by Brunel as “my first love, my darling”… Er, alright Isambard.

Food, Glorious Food


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OK, we can’t claim Oliver Twist as our own, but what we can claim is a huge variety of independent cafes and restaurants. In recent years, Bristol’s relative proximity to London has meant that several savvy chefs have set up shop here, bringing their delicacies to our delighted mouths. There are six restaurants in the city which have achieved coveted Michelin stars, granting Bristol the accolade of having the most Michelin stars outside of London in the whole country, while other favourites like Pasta Loco and classy, cosy Adelina Yard rival anything in the capital. We’re not going to give away all of our favourite spots, though – we want to be able to book a table for ourselves, after all!

It’s Good to be Green


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We’ll say it again: Bristol’s the UK’s greenest city! While this actually refers to our emissions plans – all that cycling and hiking up hills trims down our carbon footprint, as well as our waistlines – we also happen to have a few lovely open spaces, which we do so love to roam (two metres apart from everybody with the same idea, of course). The Downs span 412 acres, and joggers, dog walkers and picnickers take full advantage of the open space. If you wander over to one edge, you’ll be able to spot Clifton Suspension Bridge in all its glory – and bag yourself an ice cream from the ice cream van: it’s a summertime tradition, after all! Then there’s Ashton Court: just a quick 10-minute drive from the centre of Bristol, this elegant estate covers 850 acres, and is home to several cute deer! The manor house itself is a grade I-listed building, and the grounds are a brilliant place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city that’s so nearby. 

Arts for Days


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Amongst Bristol’s most famous residents has to be the mysterious Banksy. His controversial paintings spring up overnight across the city, and you can embark on a full Banksy walking tour to take them in! Then there’s the Beeb: the Natural History Unit of the BBC is based in Bristol, and in fact means that 25 percent of all nature documentaries are filmed right here! Then there’s the music scene, which was sparked in the 1980s and has a strong relationship with graffiti. The spirit of the arts has spread across the city, which now boasts schools for fine art, performing arts, music – you name it, it’s here. 

It’s Weird and Wonderful


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We love all the unexpected facts about Bristol. For example, did you know that we produce more hot air balloons than anywhere else in the world? Or that we invented Ribena and the humble chocolate bar? Yeah, you’re welcome. We’ve been home to pirates (Blackbeard) and Casualty, and we even used to have our own timezone: 10 minutes behind London. Maybe that explains our love of a lie in?