Hello all, I am pleased to come to you all with my first travel blog post of 2020 about my day trip to Bristol! I am on a mission to visit all the UK cities that are a straight train ride away from Reading. I have already visited Bath so Bristol was next on my list. I was lucky to be provided with a complimentary pass from Visit Bristol to explore Bristol’s most iconic sights which helped with building my itinerary.
Saturday 11th January
My train was very early in the morning however the train journey was just over an hour so I arrived at Bristol Temple Meads relatively quickly. Once I exited the station, I made my way to the bus stop to get into town (an all day bus ticket cost £5). I had some time to kill before collecting my pass so I took the opportunity to browse through some of the market stalls as that were set up and also used to opportunity to grab some water I needed for the day. After collecting my pass and grabbing some breakfast, I started a making a move to get through my itinerary.
The first on my Bristol day trip was the Bristol Aquarium since it was in very close proximity to the Tourist Information Centre. I was excited to go to the aquarium because I haven’t been to one in quite a long time. Seeing various sea exhibitions at a zoo is nice but sometimes its even better to visit an aquarium that solely focuses on underwater habitats and species. The cool thing is with your ticket you have all the access to the aquarium all day so if intend to come back later on in the day you’re free to do so. I was thoroughly impressed with the variety of the different species of fish both native to the UK and from international waters. It was also nice to wander into the botanical house within the aquarium which showcased look into the different types of trees and plants located from all over the world. Overall, the aquarium was very easy to navigate through due to the designated signposts showing you where to go.
We the Curious
We The Curious was the next stop because it was pretty much opposite the entrance to the aquarium. So for all of my science lovers no matter the discipline, this is the spot for you! We The Curious has a plethora of interactive exhibitions spread over 2 very vast floors. I loved the fact that the exhibitions were interactive in a sense that you can most likely engage much more; it’s reminiscent of the Science Museum located in South Kensington, London. I particularly was drawn to biology focused stations biology stuff such the circulatory system because I am a biological sciences student. In particular, what I stood out to me was the display of the pregnancy cycle from the very beginning of conception to the end. What made it more informative was how they explained the manner in which the foetus grows how to grow in fetus and how exactly this impacts the mother; including the chemical and hormonal changes her body undergoes. I predominantly ventured around the ground floor and due to me throwing myself in the exhibitions I didn’t take to many pictures.
I have a personal thing for going to cathedrals wherever I go because I love surveying the intricate architecture and the compilation of stained-glass art. I love the feeling of being at ease whenever I visit a cathedral and Bristol Cathedral was no exception to this! The cathedral was pretty vast and had lots of different nooks and crannies of various art and seating that I highly recommend people to see. The Cathedral me of reminded me of the St Pierre Cathedral I visited in Geneva in a sense that pretty much everything was located in on one floor but it was quite a big space for you to navigate around and just take in architecture and art on show.
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
The Museum & Art Gallery was located up on a long hill so I jumped on the bus to get to there. I’m pretty embarrassed to say that I fully got lost in this museum/gallery because it’s so big even though there was only like there’s only like 3 floors. The floors however were quite massive with a large variety of art on display so I quickly found myself lost in the ornament section from Eastern Asia I was honestly going around in circles because there was so much stuff to see and take in. I know for a fact that I spent a good chunk of time here in this attraction but I don’t regret it! This is simply because they really have exhibitions in a wide variety of forms such as paintings, sculptures, ornaments and glassware just to name a few. I also felt that it was quite fitting that they had an exhibition on wildlife in the southwestern region of the UK where Bristol is situated. All in all, I was extremely impressed with my time at the museum & art gallery.
In 2017, Bristol was assigned as a UNESCO City of Film as part of the Creative Cities Network recognising Bristol as a centre for creative innovation
Clifton Suspension Bridge & Clifton Observatory
Now can you say you’ve been to Bristol if you haven’t walked across the Clifton Suspension Bridge? I was very very determined to walk across this bridge, just like I did with St Charles’ Bridge in Prague, to take in the views on either side and gaze upon the views over the River Avon. I’m so glad that I did it even though it was quite windy and the bridge was quite narrow when it comes to manoeuvering with oncoming pedestrians. After successfully walking across the bridge, I quickly walked back over the bridge again because I wanted to go to the observatory. However, the Camera Obscura which allows you to have a 360 degrees view of Bristol was closed because of the windy conditions so I had to suffice with just climbing up the stairs to see the views from the observatory. Now in relation to the Giant’s Cave, I do like to try new things that are out of my comfort zone but I highly would NOT recommend the Giant’s Cave if you are claustrophobic and/or afraid of the dark. I must also give a further disclaimer that my fellow tall humans will most likely be contorting and bending whilst descending down the narrow stairs. Nonetheless, I chose to explore since because I was at the attraction to make the most of it. All of that climbing up the stairs and heading down to the cave built up my appetite so I decided to grab some lunch at Bar 44 Bristol which was a nice quaint little pub and I was lucky to catch a quick glimpse of the Arsenal v Crystal Palace game whilst I munched on my lunch.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Another personal thing I like to do when travelling is to visit the zoo no matter what therefore I couldn’t afford to give Bristol Zoo Gardens a miss. Bristol Zoo Gardens was similar to other zoos I have visited such as those in Prague and Copenhagen in terms of the organisation of the different species of animals. I must also add there there is also an aquarium located within the zoo which one could choose to view in addition to the Bristol Aquarium. By the time I arrived, it was starting to get a bit dark and also windy as well so therefore some of the exhibitions/displays were closed by the time I got to zoo. Regardless of this, I was still able to see a variety of animals from around the globe from the red pandas to the flamingos and also the cute little meerkats.
Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Park
It was starting to get dark so I quickly made my way to the Cabot Tower in order to catch some of the views before it’s closing time. In order to capture the views of Bristol I had to climb up some stairs (the joy!). Now, the stairs are quite narrow like that leading to the Giant’s Cave but it’s worth it when you climb on able to get a view of Bristol especially at night. I was able to see the Sky Wheel that’s located near We The Curious. Also, the fact that I was in Brandon Hill Park as an opportunity to attempt taking a picture of myself however the wind was battling with my tripod so I had locate are more weather friendly portion of the park. After, I had taken my adequate pictures I decided that it was time to make my way down for me to grab some dinner so that I could jump on the train back to Reading. I walked down the hill I originally came up on from the cathedral and found myself at Turtle Bay. I have heard good things about the cocktails which certainly didn’t disappoint however I also particularly like the Bara Roti because I am a sucker for all things bread! After finishing my day, I had to draw a close on my Bristol travels.
Bristol is known for having street art located all over the city and I was able to see some at the beginning of my trip. You can easily book a Street Art Walking Tour through Visit Bristol to specifically explore the vast variety of street art that Bristol has to offer especially from the Bristol native artist Banksy.
Overall, I loved my experience and I definitely want to come back during the summer! Day trips have become my new hobby as a way to visit other cities without having the extra hassle of booking a hotel. Visiting the official tourist site of individual cities like Visit Bristol in order to pinpoint the true gems of each city will be beneficial in compiling your itinerary. Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to Visit Bristol for contributing to my Bristol experience with your pass!
Until my next adventure,
*Disclaimer: This post contains a product/service I was gifted with. All views are my own*