“Why do you love Bristol?” I ask my British friends. Beth (my Northerner roommate) states, “It’s a great drunk night out, and I guess the people are lovely too.” Isabelle (a friend from work) replies, “Oh, it’s steeped in history, has a great and proud culture, and it’s very liberal!” And Lou (my local barista) simply looks at me and says, “Two words, darling: gert lush”.
Take a direct Great Western Railway train approximately 117 miles far to the southwest of England, and soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a city called Bristol. Awarded the “best place to live in Britain” in 2017 by Sunday Times and crowned the European Green Capital in 2015, you can hardly begin to dispute why.
Youths drink pints by the Harbourside, children queue up for curious, unorthodox museums, and rooftop lidos are the new beaches. Knees go weak crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, calories are consumed along St Nicholas Market and Gloucester Road praises and pedestals the independents over the merchants. A time capsule of its own, the M Shed museum serves as a treasure trove of Bristol’s memorabilia and maritime history. Steamships, cranes and heritage docksides now sit alongside pubs, shops and contemporary art galleries like The Arnolfini.
For the grand and gastronomical, eat your heart out and shop by quirks along Boyce’s Avenue in the affluent, leafy village of Clifton. Take your pick of the pastel townhouses and Georgian cottages, and make sure to look closer at the beige buildings on Park St, for they become satirical canvases to the anonymous legend of Banksy. Then, keep Brandon Hill in your pocket for the last. Take a bottle of wine, a book, a playlist on the phone, and watch the sun fall over Bristol as the night calls in.
M Shed museum
SS Great Britain
We The Curious
The Matthew Boat
St Nicholas Market
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, Redcliffe Parade
Minimal, modern and maximum boujee-ness at the lowest cost. They have a gym, spa, bar, fitness centre, room service, and a semi-heated swimming pool. It’s only a short 13 minutes walk from Bristol Temple Meads station and to the Harbourside. Oh, and did I mention, it has a POOL?