The biggest city in the South West is also one of the most vibrant and innovative in England. It has a distinctive Jekyll and Hyde complex, fusing the buzz of its historic harbour awash with late night bars with the sophisticated Georgian streets of Clifton lined with chic cafes. And the Banksy-splattered bohemian districts of Stokes Croft and Montpelier seeping with the sounds of dub and trip-hop with the luscious surroundings of the Clifton Downs. Here’s a short but sweet guide to some of Brizzle’s coolest spots…
Witness some of the biggest names in the global urban art scene bring Nelson Street to life with world-class graffiti. See no Evil is the UK’s largest ongoing street art project, transforming multi-story buildings and mediocre grey walls into a huge open air gallery alive with bursts of pop art and ornately sprayed masterpieces. Don’t forget your camera!
Bristol has hoards of independent shops to dip into. Shuffle through the rails of Cox and Baloney, a treasure trove of vintage goodies complete with a retro tearoom! Or, spend a couple of hours browsing the stalls of St Nicholas Market. Founded in 1743, it’s packed to the rafters with everything from rare vinyl to cupcakes and crafts. Other shopping hotspots include Gloucester Road, Park St and Stokes Croft.
Hop aboard The Grain Barge for pretty harbour views and massive portions of comforting food such as homemade pies drenched in gravy and doorstop sandwiches made with freshly-baked bread. There are also plenty of daily specials cooked with locally-sourced produce. Try the sirloin steak with wild mushroom and parmesan gratin served with salad and thick cut chips. Drool!
Start the Bus is the place to be any night of the week. They play everything from Fleetwood Mac and Tina Turner remixes to the latest indie tracks and forward-thinking house music until 3am. Entry is something silly like £2! The bar-cum-club is also famous for showcasing up-and-coming bands, with gigs taking place throughout the week.
After a night of pulling your best Bristol shapes on the dance floor, head to the Lido the next morning for a refreshing dip in the heated pool. Or if you fancy something a little more intensive there’s always the spa. Choose from a hot stone massage, a rainforest rejuvenation facial or simply sink into the hot tub and then kick back in the sauna.