Earlier in the year a friend invited me to go to Ibiza for her birthday. “Hell yes!” I said; I've been to Ibiza before, but not for a proper girls trip, I was totally down! Fast forward two months and, well, hello Covid! So, that plan went on the back burner and we decided to see if we could travel closer to the time. With restrictions being lifted and travel seeming easier at least in the UK, we then settled on a weekend in Liverpool, before, hey, guess what? Merseyside goes into lockdown! So, there we were, a week before the birthday girl's big day, annual leave booked, but nowhere to go. We tossed a few ideas about between us and decided on Bristol. None of us had ever been before, and none of us really knew what to expect, but we packed our cases and jumped in the car, face masks and all.
We arrived in Bristol on Friday evening, but seeing at this was still a girls' trip the main focus of this evening was eating and drinking and getting very merry. So, starting on the Saturday morning, we set out on a wander around Bristol harbourside. We were staying near to Canon's Wharf, which proved to be a good location within easy walking distance to all of the bars and restaurants along the harbour and just a 15 minute walk from the main shopping area of the city.
In keeping with the theme of the weekend, we headed to Revolution de Cuba for a bottomless brunch and let the Mimosas flow! One of the best parts of a weekend off work (a rarity for me, working in sales) is enjoying a brunch date with friend, so I was excited! A little bit different to your normal brunch, this one had a Mexican twist. I've never had a Mexican brunch before, but now I have, I will certainly be having one again! Paprika covered patatas bravas with a fried egg and delicious chorizo and cheese all mixed in together; divine! I also finally tried a Bloody Mary, although as a result can confirm I will not be having one again – not for me!
After brunch we took a stroll towards the centre of Bristol, and up Park Street towards The Botanist; our next stop for cocktails. Bristol is also the home of Banksy, and any wander through the city also provides a display of artistic graffiti almost in homage to the man. Many houses, particularly in the suburbs, we noticed, had large, intricate and striking works of art sprayed onto the ends of terraced rows. Although we didn't find time to, there are Graffiti Walking Tours of the city that you can join onto to get a real feel for this side of the city's soul.
But, as mentioned, we were heading for drinks, and The Botanist did not disappoint. A chic stop for cocktails and food, there is both a bar and restaurant section to relax in. I enjoyed a Raspberry Mule and took in the sunlight streaming through the glass section of the roof. Oh and also, if you like a well decorated bathroom, a shout out must go to the wallpaper in this place!
From the top of Park Street it is then just a short 10 minute meander down to Bristol's Christmas Steps, a picturesque set of steps adorned with glistening fairy lights. Carry on heading down from the steps onto Christmas Street (cute) and you will end up by St John's Church on Nelson Street, an old church adjoining the city's medieval walls, that now sits next to a tower block that is home to yet more impressive artwork on its side. The next spot to check out is St Nicholas Markets, a selection of covered stalls offering a vintage style feel and everything from old vinyl records and 80's band memorabilia to sweets shops and haberdashery stores. If you haven't headed for brunch like we did, then there is also a selection of food stalls along side the indoor market, spilling out towards City Hall where you will be able to pick up something delicious from the array of vendors busying about their day.
As a city built around it's links to the sea, Bristol's harbourside cannot be forgotten. You can walk for quite some time around the waterside, and if you're luck enough to have a sunny day like we did then there are plenty of bars and pubs lining the water where you can relax with a pint and watch the boats and paddle boarders go by. We met a friend for a pint at The Ostrich, a pub perched on a corner turn of the harbour, and with a fantastic outdoor beer garden. We liked it so much that we even returned the next day to their ‘Top Deck' restaurant for one of the best Roast Dinners I have had out in a long time! The Ostrich sits half way along the harbourside, and from here you can choose which way to carry on your journey. Once direction takes you back towards the harbourside restaurants (including Za Za Bazaar, a great choice for cocktails at 2 for £10 all day!) and also towards the SS Great Britain. Heading in the other direction, you will eventually end up in Bristol's main shopping area, but before you get there I would definitely recommend perching yourself in Castle Park for a while, a lovely long park that lines the water up in this area of the city. At the top of the park you will also find the ruins of an abbey, now shouldered with a quaint and colourful flowering garden, perfect to read a book in sometime.
So, there you have it, a whistle stop tour of a day in Bristol. The city genuinely surprised me with what it had to offer, and just how nice it was to wander around. There is also so much more that the area has to offer if you have the time to explore a little further afield too. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is just two miles away and the Clifton area and Clifton Downs that surround it are also supposed to be lovely. But hey, I guess that just means I'll have to head back to this area some other time too!