I call Bristol home. I’ve lived in or around Bristol since I was 11. My parents moved us from Somerset to a village 5 miles outside of the City, so I could go to a good secondary school. For me, Bristol back then was a place to visit on a Saturday to hang out in HMV and eat McDonalds with friends.
Now, many many years later, I have a small home in South Bristol, with my family and two cats. In that time, I’ve seen Bristol bloom and grow. Developing the once derelict harbourside area into a mecca for banking and now, thankfully, a place to grab a beer and eat great food.
Bristol has come a long way. Known for it’s music scene, it’s University and now is vibrant foodie scene – it’s now one of the best places to visit for a City break.
So if you have ever wanted to come and don’t know where to go, then hopefully this little guide will help you discover areas of the City, places to eat, picnic, let the kids run wild, take great Instagram photos too.
First things first. The best places in the city, tend to be in local neighbourhoods. So be prepared to walk or hire bikes. Steer clear of the City Centre unless you are into kebabs and jager bombs. Instead, be prepared to walk and visit Clifton, the harbourside, cool Gloucester Road or leafy North Street.
My top regions of Bristol are:
My neck of the woods. A stones throw from the City Centre, yet crossing the river you feel the buzz of the city die away and you could be in a village in the outskirts. North Street has many independent shops and cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from. All with views of the hills beyond. My top picks are Mon Pote for scandi homewares, StorySmiths for books and Albatross Cafe for instagram worthy plant filled space.
Harbourside & Wapping Wharf
A few years ago and new development arrived on the water, Wapping Wharf. Blocks of flats with retail premises below. This wonderful new area has breathed life into the harbourside. That and the Cargo (a series of shipping containers) full of independent businesses, it makes this part of the City a must visit destination. On the map below I’ve made a little walking tour, so you can see the sights and take pictures. Don’t forget to visit: Little Victories for coffee, SS Great Britain for views of the harbour and the short ferry crossing to the other side. You can even make a short detour to see the famous ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ by Banksy, which is not far from there.
Clifton village is beautiful. Regency buildings and grassy squares to wander. Plus there are streets of independent shops, restaurants and cafes. A great place to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the views of Avon Gorge. Also home to the very famous Papersmiths – the stationery lovers dream.
Edgy and cool. It’s where the cool kids live, around the neighbourhoods of Bishopston and Montpelier. Think Massive Attack and you will know what I mean. One of the longest streets in the UK to have mainly independent businesses, it’s a great place to wander and find a place to stop. Don’t miss St Andrews Park in the summer, for picnics and splashing in the open air pool. Grab a picnic from Bakers & Co.
Move away from the main centre, and towards Corn Street and St Nicholas Market. A food hall and then some, with stalls serving pittas stuffed falafels, a Moroccan tea tent, Cheese stalls and juice bars. Inside you will find crystal shops to hardwares stores and everything in between. Don’t forget coffee at FCP , shopping at Ottowin and then wander over to Christmas Steps.
Download the map to your phone, so you will have it when you visit:
Bristol people! Do let me know if I have missed anything from the map. I’ve tried to make it broad in taste and styles. Leave me a comment if you would like me to add anything.