Exploring Bristol

Location: Bristol, England, UK


As I mentioned in my previous post about Bath, on our first day in England my friend and I got a little ambitious and hopped the 15 minute train over to Bristol to start off our trip right with some football (soccer).

When we were planning this trip, we knew that we would be in the UK during the first few weekends of the football season and had to decide between splurging on some Premier League tickets or going to a few lower league games.  When we found out that one of my travel companion's favorite authors, John Green, is an avid Wimbledon FC supporter and that they had a home game during our trip.... our choice started leaning towards the latter option.  

As planning went further, I mapped out all of our potential destinations and noticed how close Bristol was to Bath, and also found out that the local team (Bristol City FC) conveniently had a match the afternoon we arrived.  Our football choice had been made!  We bought tickets ahead of time on the Bristol City website and were able to simply print them out before leaving.  We were unsure of where to sit, so we got some seats right in the corner along the field... which ended up being right in the Bristol supporter section with the Aston Villa supporters in the adjacent goal end.  There was quite a bit of animosity, and a solid number of rowdy fans making violent gestures across the field, and we were right in the middle of it :) What's English football without the extremely committed fans to complete the experience?

I don't know if it was the crazy supporters or if my friend and I can claim being good luck charms... but the match was amazing.  The team started out going down 0-1 in the first half and the crowd was as down as the scoreline.  But then something great happened... they evened the score to 1-1.  And then as the supporters got louder and louder, the score got better and better.  By the time it was all over, Bristol City had managed to take a 3-1 lead over Aston Villa in order to take home the win! If you ever get a chance to catch a football match while in England, I recommend going to a Championship or League 1 game.  The atmosphere is so much more intimate than a big Premier league game and you can really feel the hometown vibe of it all.  

After the game, we decided to explore Bristol on foot in order to make our way back across town to the main train station.  The day was pretty gloomy but we were lucky enough to avoid any rain while we walked around. 

There are a few famous things that will come up whenever you google Bristol, and we were treated to a view of one of them as we left the game: the Clifton Suspension Bridge.  Perched high above bristol along the river, this iconic bridge is really a symbol of the city.  I would have loved to hike up to a better vantage point, or to wait until nighttime to snap a shot of it lit up, but that would have brought our ambitious level to entirely new heights on our first full day and we decided a simple harbor walk would be just the ticket instead. 

The next thing I came across when researching Bristol became my main reason for wanting to go there; Bristol is the home of world-famous street artist Banksy.  I wasn't on a quest to find every one of his works there, but finding at least one was a must.  After crossing over the river, we made our way on to Spike Island and followed signs for the Harbor Walk.  If you do the same, eventually you will come across this beauty hidden in a side alley. 

The entire north side of Spike Island has been opened up to pedestrians and it is a lovely way to see the city.  Even on an overcast day everyone was out and about to enjoy the warmth.

I have a new love of canal boats thanks to all of the great options we saw here!

Bristol was both colorful and quirky. From scrawls on walls to a few classic cars keen to keep on trekking, there were so many fun little things that we got to discover as we walked through town. 

At the other end of Spike Island you'll come to Princes Warf. You can't miss it, since it's market by four towering cranes that used to be a key feature for Bristol as a busy commercial cargo shipping port. They haven't been used for actual cargo since the 1970s, but thanks to restoration they still work! The cranes and a few other things along the harbor are exhibits run by M Shed, a museum dedicated to the history of the city. 

At the end of our harbor walk we crossed over the bridge at Prince Street. We stopped by Queen Square and noticed this house... maybe we saw it because we are both structural engineers... but one of these windows is not like the others! 

Before making our way to the train station to head back to Bath and crash after our long first day, we decided to stop and get some dinner.  Our goal was finding a place to have a cold drink and sit down outside. We came across this pub and while we weren't overly blown away by the food, the outdoor seating area and finding a cider called "Fanny's Bramble" were just the ticket after a long day of walking around. 

After dinner we walked over to the train station and made our way back to Bath to happily pass out!

Thanks for coming with me on a whirlwind day trip to Bristol, I hope if you are ever close by in Bath that you consider taking the quick train over to see this quirky and beautiful city. Our game was at 3pm, so all of this is definitely doable in an afternoon!


~ V


Date & Locations: Saturday, 27 August 2016 - Bristol, England 

Photos taken with: Nikon D5300, Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Lens (Rented from BorrowLenses.com), Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8 Lens