On our journey we passed the SS Great Britain – the longest boat of her time in 1845. The boat has a fascinating history and having made some remarkable journeys it hosts a wealth of stories. The SS Great Britain was the first iron steamer to journey across the Atlantic ocean. It’s impressive size and structure had the capacity to house 120 crew members and 360 passengers. In 1852 it was used to shuttle immigrants to Australia.
Just under 100 years after the boat was built, running and repairing it was too expensive. Consequently, the SS Great Britain was docked in the Falkland Islands and used as a storage warehouse. Some years later in 1970 a donation was made and the SS Great Britain was returned to Bristol to be restored. Today you can explore the boat and listen to talks.
A little while later we admired another old train station built in 1891. Its old signage was carved into the cliff face.
We reached the eastern side of the famous suspension bridge after around 45 minutes of walking. Strolling up a grassy hill we found an observatory. If you so wish you can pay £4 to enter. For us it was time to rest our tired legs and enjoy the spectacular view. We could see the River Avon meandering across the countryside. To our left was the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve. ‘Lets walk back that way later,’ we decided.
Some hippy had written ‘Be Vegan,’ with a harsh, chemical spray on the rocks in-front of us. I couldn’t think of anything more hypocritical. Yes, lets save the planet and not eat animals. Instead, lets graffiti cliffs with toxic paint, which will run off into the river and kill the fish.
There was time to do some hula hooping while watching birds swoop into the near by trees and admiring the surroundings.
We wondered into Clifton town home to boutiques, sweet cafes and expensive looking designer shops. Buying lunch in Coop we took our food to the park and enjoyed a tasty picnic. Locals walked their obedient dogs and teenagers sat gossiping on the nearby benches. Meanwhile, church goers departed from the aesthetically pleasing church.
We strolled back to the suspension bridge and walked across it. The walk is not for those afraid of heights.
Next, we walked through woodland before reaching the river once more. Taking a slightly different route back we strolled through Queen Square Park. People lay on the grass blaring music, while a pigeon made its self at home on William III‘s head. The statue had been placed there all the way back in 1736.
With a couple of hours to spare we relaxed in Castle Park reading and people watching. When the sun is out people really do flock to the streets. Families, couples and friends sat around enjoying the warmth.
Before our bus home we enjoyed a spot of shopping. Bristol has all the high street shops needed making it a nice shopping city too.
We really made the most of a sunny two days in Bristol and Bath. There is plenty to see and do. A great way of fitting everything in is to hire bikes.
Here are our top tips for your weekend away in Bristol:
Transport – Hopping on the National Express coach at Victoria, it took just over 2 and a half hours to reach Bristol Town center. The coach is a fraction of the price compared to the train and takes only 30 minutes longer.
Accommodation – Look out for last minute hotel deals or stay in a hostel. Check out Booking.com. We stayed in Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel & Spa which was nice. The location was perfect near the Arnolfini (arty, fun area) and the hotel had a small pool too (added bonus).
What happens if it rains? our itinerary involved outdoor activities (cycling and walking). However, if it rains do not fear there is still plenty to do. There are numerous art galleries to wonder around, theaters to enjoy and shops to gawp at. You can visit museums and simply take buses to the attractions instead of walking or cycling. You could easily spend the entire day sitting in quirky cafes drinking hipster coffee and sampling ‘healthy’ snacks.
Tracking your adventure – its nice to know how how far you have walked or cycled and a good way of doing so it turning on your Google timeline. Then at the end of the day when you click on your history and chose the correct date you can see where you have been and how far you have walked or even cycled. Here is a screen shot of our day two. Any pictures you have taken will be added to your story. On my map if you zoom out it also includes the coach journey home (time, distance and mode of transport).
If you know of any other locations that you have enjoyed in Bristol please feel free to share with us below.