If there’s one city in the UK I would pick as the place to settle down after all my globetrotting, it’s Bristol and I’ll tell you why.
London has all the hot spots, true- if you are into that sort of soiree atmosphere. But as someone who is more laid-back, a city that is calm and cheery with an interesting topography is more of my thing. That city is Bristol.
It is no wonder Bristol has been bestowed with lots of unique awards and titles for its liveable ambience. What’s more, if you are tired of London’s glitz and glam, and you want to opt for a charming environment, Bristol is only a 2-hour bus-trip away!
Here are some things the make this lovely city worth my while.
Are you at home in the outdoors? Perhaps you are a naturalist who loves to conquer the wilds? Bristol has a dozen challenging trails for you to blaze, including a 100-mile long distance path that begins not far away in Bath.
England’s lovely Southwest is brimming with beautiful National Parks and places with natural beauty. Many of these locations promise a delightful route for hiking, even before you cross the bridge that leads to Wales. The next time you feel like a good hike, come to Bristol.
Stunning Sights Everywhere
You don’t need to be a nature lover to appreciate the picturesque views of the city’s landscape. Bristol is renowned for its lovely undulating hills, some steep, others obliquely angled. With high hills come views. Beautiful ones too.
The most popular sights are from the Clifton suspension bridge, and the famous Cabot Tower, on Brandon Hill. Both locations offer extraordinary views of the city- vistas that will have you gongoozling for hours. There were other views that surprised me too, like the top of Ashley Vale allotment. Don’t fail to check it out when you visit.
When it comes to good food, the people of Bristol don’t play. In a recent food guide, detailing cities in the UK with diverse food options, Bristol earned its place as the city outside London with the most entries. Any foodie would be glad to pitch their tent here.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast on the attractive outdoor terrace at The Bristolian. For a different variety, try brunch at Australian-theme Ceres. In Atomic Burger, you can’t help but fall in love with the mouth-filling specials, or the ever-changing menu at the newly-launched The Cauldron. Cargo Cantina served some of the tastiest tacos I ever tasted. I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.
The Liquor Scene
You can’t talk about food without mentioning drinks. Bristol is famous of its range of ciders. The UK is never lacking for its fair share of good cider, and Bristol holds its own nicely. The Bristol Cider Shop is a name that will lure you in, but the array of parch-soothing ciders will keep you glued there.
Imagine a place where you can choose from a wide variety of ciders. There are common ciders and specially brewed ciders. I enjoyed the pubs with a rotating tap for craft cider. Each one produced something delicious to whet my appetite.
Throngs of Independent Stores
While majority of independent stores in other cities are being replaced (or so it seems) by Costa Coffee shops, Bristol seems to have kept its stores in tact- well most of them. If you want, you can buy a double Frappuccino latte from Starbucks, but I guarantee that won’t be your only option.
There are Mom and Pop stores serving home-made coffee, which tastes just as delicious, if not more. The Stokes Croft district, particularly around Cheltenham Road has a satisfying mix of independent shops. In fact, they are quite a lot, that chain stores seem out of place.
The Habour Area
In the past and till date, Bristol has been regarded as one of England’s spirited habour. Since the 13th century, it has served as the commercial hub of the city. In the 1980s, several million pounds were poured into its revival. Today, it is a destination spot worth visiting.
If you happen to visit in summer, you’ll be thrilled by the copper blue rivers with kayakers, and sail boats cruising or bobbing gently along the moorings. As a standup paddleboarder, I spent quite a few evenings admiring the vista from my floating base, and I hope to do so again on my next visit.
What else do you love about Bristol, please share with us here.