A Bank Holiday Visit to Bristol

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Morning all! It’s a bit of a different entry from me today; this week I’ve been pretty caught up with rounding up the school year with the year 7s that I teach. This means a lot of my free time has been spent with 12 year olds to whom the idea of having to remember something they learnt 7 months ago is alien and ‘quite ridiculous’ – as quoted by a student. Whilst I’ve loved doing this, my time in the kitchen has been put on the back burner and as I’ve cleared my back-log of recipes for the time being, I thought that I’d share with you an entry about my recent visit to Bristol – I’ve focused mainly on the foodie side of my visit – did you really expect any different? – but have included a bit of a ramble about what we got up to whilst visiting this brilliant city. Writing isn’t really my forte so this isn’t my greatest entry – but I hope you enjoy it all the same and maybe get a few ideas of where to visit if the pay Bristol a visit 🙂

Brooks Guesthouse

website here

Me and my boyfriend stayed in Brooks Guesthouse after it was recommended to us by my mum and for only £80 for a one night stay including breakfast (the local Travelodge was the same price without the breakfast) there was no question about whether we would stay there or not.

Located right next to St Nicholas Markets, the guesthouse is in a great location that is central to most of attractions in Bristol city centre; Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Art Museum, Cabot Circus and Bristol Zoo are all easily accessible.

You’ve got a little lounge area downstairs with free access to a laptop with wifi and loads of information about the surrounding areas and what’s available to do in and around Bristol. The honesty bar is also down here – serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and nibbles 24/7 – you just pay for what you had when you check out – I thought this was a really great idea and again adds to the homey feel of your stay.

DSC_0286

DSC_0296The shared lounge area & courtyard  at Brooks

Our room was the standard double and had the usual kettle, hair dryer, television and bathroom – one thing that was missed was a small fridge, especially as it was so hot in the room whilst we were staying there. Other than that there were no problems with the room – although slightly on the small side it was just what we needed to relax in after a day of sight seeing!

DSC_0236Our standard double bedroom

Breakfast really was a treat. You take your seat in front of the kitchen breakfast bar and order whatever takes your fancy from the menu (seasonal specials were also available), then sit back and watch it get cooked fresh right in front of you – brilliant!

Breakfast Buffet Bar

I went for French toast with caramelized apples and boyfriend went for a full English – both were finished off with gusto and I have no shame in saying I went up to the help-yourself breakfast bar several times to try out the homemade blueberry muffins and yoghurt with local jams and honey – everything got a thumbs up from me and it was a great start to a day that was going to be full of exploring.

DSC_0291French Toast with Caramelised Apples & Summer Berries

DSC_0292Full English Breakfast

Lunch at Boston Tea Party

website here

We chose to eat here after it was recommended to me by a friend from work. It’s a chain of independently run cafes so although the menu is the same in a lot of the venues all the ingredients are sourced from local and sustainable producers which adds to it’s appeal. On our menu was the goats cheese and caramelised onion sandwich on wholemeal (£4.25) and a salted beef, pickle & swiss cheese sarnie (£5.95) which also came on wholemeal bread. We both agreed that the food looked and tasted gorgeous and have actually been wishing there was one near us here in London so we can visit again!

There was a massive range of freshly baked sweet treats available as well – I chose the Pastel de Nata (£1.50) which again didn’t disappoint – a thumbs up all round!

DSC_0247Our yummy lunch from Boston Tea Party

DSC_0245I hope all Pasteles de Nata taste this good!

From clifton we took a number 8 bus up to clifton Suspension Bridge (you can walk this if you’re a fan of uphill climbs) and took in some of the lovely West Country scenery – a visit to Bristol should definitely include a visit to this spot!

DSC_0253The view from clifton observatory

Dinner at Old India Avant Garde

website here

This was a little Indian restaurant just around the corner from where we were staying and I’m so glad we found this little gem. Unfortunately the atmosphere was a little lacking and the toilets were a bit shabby BUT the food was absolutely gorgeous – my chicken bhuna was the best curry I’ve had in a long time and the vegetarian starter selection we shared was gorgeous and left me almost too full for my curry – very generous portion sizes.

The whole meal came to £28 for a starter, two curries, naan, pilau rice and two drinks with a Gourmet Society Card 2-4-1 offer so not a bad deal really and although the setting left a little to be desired, the food was definitely worth that.

20140526_205415Our Indian feast!

Tuesday morning brought with it a lot of rain. The kind of rain that starts of by tricking you into thinking you’re safe to go out in ballet pumps then waits until you’re a good 20 minutes walk away from your hotel before deciding to really let rip… Bad weather aside, I really enjoyed having a mooch around Bristol’s charity and vintage clothes shops with my sister and picking out a few goodies to bring back with me!

Shopping wise in Bristol you’ve got all the expected high street stores with a few great vintage & thrifty shops thrown into the mix. Add to this an amazing frozen yogurt shop – Flavalanche (stocking Nutella flavoured yogurt  WOW) and you’ve got a rainy afternoon spent mooching and spending too much money sorted!

Lunch at The Stable, Harbourside

website here

I love love loved this restaurant and can’t recommend it enough. The menu consists of just pies and pizzas with the addition of a few hot wraps on the lunch time menu and the limited choice is by no means a negative – they can focus more on providing really good quality dishes and this definitely shows.

DSC_0306Open plan dining at The stable

I went for the West Country Porker pizza (Chorizo, tomato, mozzarella & rocket), which was the perfect size for lunch and very reasonably priced at £6. My boyfriend and sister both went for the Ham Pie which was a little bit dearer at £9 but more substantial – served with potato wedges and extra nibbles on the side.

DSC_0312West Country Porker Pizza (lunch time menu)

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Ham Hock Pie with Rosemary Potato Wedges

As well as the fab food, this place has LOADS of local cider on offer (other beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic are also available) which was a must for all of us to try with our lunches. We tried local elderflower, strawberry & lime and a local dry cider. I’m by no means a cider connoisseur (Frosty Jacks can taste good enough to me with enough blackcurrant juice…) but these really were tasty and the fact that they were locally produced made it taste even better. This is a great place to eat if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy local food and drink without spending too much money.

Cocktails at The Vault Room & Start the Bus

Just opposite our guesthouse was a nice looking bar/restaurant that offered cocktails for £4.95 after 4pm. Now, once I hear ‘offer’ and ‘cocktails’ in the same sentence I’m sold so I had to give this place a go. Despite being the only two people in the bar (2 more did come in whilst we were there) we enjoyed the personal service and tasty – if slightly small – cocktails. The menu was filled with tasty sounding tapas dishes but as we were off for our curry later we didn’t indulge in any, but I would be game for trying some should I visit again!

20140526_185550Long Island Iced Tea & Bramble cocktails – mmmmm

Start the Bus can be found just down the road from the St Nicholas Markets and was a really cool little hang out that seemed to be very popular with students of Bristol Uni. There are lots of music events and pub quizzes that take place weekly and we visited both days for a chilled out drink; if live music and indie events are your thing then I would pay this bar a visit – the mojitos and nachos aren’t half bad either! 😉

 

I’m the first person to say that I am not a lover of art. If I’m being honest, art museums bore me and I normally find a seat and get stuck in whatever book I’m reading whilst whoever I’m with strolls around and looks at the various paintings and artwork that is on display. That being said, I was blown away with some of the street art that I got to see on my trip. Obviously Banksy was the artist we went actively looking for (this iTunes app helps you find some) but just strolling around the city we saw so much art all over walls and buildings I was really impressed and it made me think there should be more places in other cities that can be used as canvases for these extremely talented people that quite honestly could regenerate a lot of cities that need a bit of vibrancy and culture!

DSC_0301Banksy paint pot angel

DSC_0298Banksy latest piece – Mobile Lovers

Banksy Mild Mild West

DSC_0241Banksy Naked Man Hanging from Window

I’d really recommend a visit to Bristol if you haven’t been there before. There definitely is something for everyone: art lovers, foodies, shopaholics or ramblers, you won’t be disappointed and will want to return.

Where is your favourite place to visit in Britain?

Helena x

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