Hold the front page, a bakery selling good bread. In most countries proper bakers are commonplace but this is Britain, home of the Chorley Wood Batch Baking Process and the lowest per-capita consumers of bread in Europe. A big cheer, then, for all proper bakers and an extra-big huzzah for Herberts, who are truly special.
It's a 'see-through' bakery: the bakers going about their business can be seen out back. Like a good baker should, they do tend to sell out early on in the day
What to buy: The olive and sun-dried tomato breads are really special. I've seen three people (counting myself!) demolish two loaves. Before we got going on the picnic proper. But all the bread is excellent.
Have you ever found yourself in a seemingly hopeless situation? There I was, searching for a Goliathon 83 Infinity beam Projector - as one does - and Woolworths just couldn't come up with the goods. Marks and Spencer had some rather nice corduroys but they were ridiculously low on Dr Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators. In fact so low, they'd never heard of them. But then I stumbled across the Forbidden Planet!
Now I don't want to disappoint you but this isn't an actual real life planet. Worse than that, it isn't even forbidden. In fact it's a rather large and welcoming shop which opens it's doors to visitors of all shapes and sizes. But don't be put off by that. If you are into sci-fi, cult television, manga and more then this is the place for you.
In truth I had entered the store in search of elusive manga. However a visit initially requested by son number one and a rabidly anime-ardent ladyfriend of ours, soon turned into a personal transport of delight. There were things on sale that I never knew existed. Talking Emma Peel dolls (sadly that's all they do) and a Steed who had run out of batteries (I know the feeling). Obscure Japanese action figures, masks, costume props, dvds, books anime and comics by the shed load. Believe me there is lots to see and far too much to buy. Money was indeed spent but with the memsahib watching, dear Mrs Peel stayed where she was. Thus ended The Major's quest to get together with a gal in a catsuit. Twas ever thus...
Mon - Sat: 10:00am to 07:00pm
Sun: 11:00am to 05:00pm
What to buy: A 300 Spartan shield for £10.79? Dubious leather underwear not included...
What to pay: From pocket money prices to divorce settlement cheque amounts. Lots of nice things for less than a tenner but also plenty of figurines selling for three figures.
I don't believe you can simply 'go' to a shop specialising in graphic novels, manga, anime etc. At the very least it should be fantasy style 'quest' - although having a bus stop conveniently located immmediately outside does make it somewhat less challenging than one might imagine.
The hordes that lie within are of the distinctly non-threating variety but if you took away their laptops and anime I sure they could be provoked into becoming slightly touchy. There are comics here that defy description. I shall not describe them. Needless to say it is less of a Beano and Dandy emporium- though I'm sure they'll be featured in at least one of their specialist books - and more of a cultish, quirky assemblage of stuff. There are posters, tshirts, games and dvds too. Admittedly not on the same scale as the other BIG local store Forbidden Planet but you are still likely to find things here that you wouldn't there and vice-versa.
So what was the noble quest? To seek out the Holy Grail? Defeat dragons for virginal maidens in distress? No. It was to find back issues of One Piece and Shounen Jump. Far too easy. No bloodshed required, not even a soul-destroying riddle to solve. I mean, what self-respecting dragon would accept credit cards?
What to buy: Much manga, all anime, countless comics...
What to pay: From relatively little to quite a lot
Ah, Fresh and Wild. That was my nickname when I was a lad. Or was it the dog's? But I digress...
You would hardly know it to look at me but I am a person of considerable depth and emotional complexity. In fact I have measured my considerable depth and it is at least four and three quarter inches. Did you know for example, that beneath this monocled exterior there lurks an organic stormtrooper! For over 20 years I have been an organic food fetishist and - to the horror of my American chums - bade farewell to car ownership at about the same time. So with an easy conscience (and a holiday hire car) I made my way to Bristol's real food HQ.
I must say I was very impressed by the selection of goods on offer. Not everything sold is organic but if it isn't, it's normally produced from a more environmentally friendly and ethical standpoint. They get extra brownie points for having two particular items on my long time searchlist. Organic lager (never seen it before and a blessing for drinking chums during the BBQ season) and organic cherry juice (haven't come across any since a trip to Budapest but a much yearned for teetotal tipple of mine). The selection of organic breads and cheeses was most impressive and there was also a decent choice of meat. Nice to see, as organic produce is sometimes curiously wedded to vegetarianism. No objection myself but I am partial to the occasional plateful of sausage, egg and chips!
There is also a café within the store. The coffee was pretty good and the cake selection also decent. Customer profiles were generally predictable (and remember I'm part of the movement). Arty types, plenty of wayward hair, frighteningly earnest women...and me in my bowtie. Actually there was more. Whilst we were there an elderly gentlemen came in - obviously a regular - sporting a fine white linen suit and a rather dashing panama hat. Full marks!
Monday–Friday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Buses: 8, 8a, 9, 9a, 43, 55, 54, 99, 624
What to buy: A white linen suit, a panama hat, and some cherry juice.
What to pay: It's not cheap but it is good.
Bristol Farmer's Market takes place every Wednesday at the top of Corn Street. For me the primary attraction are the fishmongers stalls, since the only proper fishmongers I have so far located in Bristol is not only some distance from where I live but, more important (this being Bristol and me being on a bike) considerably higher above sea level. Another favorite is the apple stall when apples are in season: proper apples, none of the deadly grown-for-commerce-not-for-eating stuff that greengrocers or supermarkets sell, wierd varieties you've never heard of....and even the odd quince or medlar. And some good fresh locally grown veg never come amiss.
I love food markets, and always enjoy visiting them when travelling. But when I'm travelling I don't have a kitchen handy and so it's pointless to buy anything other than fruit or whatever else I can eat without more preparation than can be done with a Swiss Army knife. Here, I'm actually shopping, which makes it even more enjoyable.
The fine selection of pumpkins in the photo are displayed on a nail - as in the expression 'cash on the nail': there are several of these outside the old exchange building.
What to buy: ....and of the fishmongers my favorite is the one specialising in smoked fish. Love those smoked prawns, and a kipper or two always goes down a treat. As does the smoked mackeral pate.
Quite a history behind this one. It started off life in 1908 as the worthy and wordy 'Bristol Guild of Applied Art' - basically a showcase for local craftmen. Over the past 100 years (almost!) the name has shortened considerably to 'Guild' or - for the particularly verbose amongst you - 'The Guild'.
The shop meanders over a number of floors in interesting and beguiling ways. The stock is still design driven but it can no longer claim to be the work of local craftsmen alone. Indeed much of it probably isn't even UK sourced but it is interesting and not the sort of stuff you'll find in most city shops. You'll find kitchenware, crafts, gifts, furniture and lighting, toys, jewellery and handbags and even some food. I often come away clutching something but be warned - it isn't cheap! Inevitably I always leave an expensive item sitting on the shelf which I will mope about for weeks afterwards. This year it was a beech bath tidy. Doesn't sound particularly exciting does it, but it's bookrest, candle holder and glass receptacle was rather ravishing in it's wooden finish (see photo). Yours for £85. That'll buy you a lot of spare soap...
What to buy: Luxury bath bits
What to pay: It doesn't come cheap.
Let me make this clear. I'm not the sort of chap who is usually attracted to ladies dresses...at least not in the way you're thinking. However, I know good design when I see it and this Bristol shop is chock full of interesting stuff. They dedicate themselves to those who've ever had to endure being picked last for a sports team. Frankly that includes me, and although I don't intend to don one of their delightful creations I do appreciate their sympathy.
Too respectful to run and snap the customers and the clothing range within, I decided to grab some so-so shop window pics but I still think they give you a pretty good idea about what's available. Belt buckles, migraine inducing stockings (but in a good way), Mexican Day of the Dead dresses, 50s Monster prints etc etc- so at last one can slink in skeletons and wear werewolf. In truth they also stock menswear. So in 2008 I will try my best endeavour to venture within and perhaps pick out a new waistcoat!
What to buy: Don't ask for leather brogues. Although you know, they might just have 'em...
What to pay: Probably too much but I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
I have to admit I'm warming to the Gloucester Road branch of the co-op. I am under a moral obligation to buy some stuff here because the shop has both a front and a back exit and therefore provides a most useful shortcut through to the Gloucester Road, and I do feel that I should usually buy something as I pass through. Even lthough the queues vary from long to ludicrous (those for the tills at the front of the shop can stretch to the back of the shop, snaking alongside the queue for the till at the back, which stretches all the way to the front....)
But I do have to say that the staff are a cheery bunch. And they have a bin to shove your unwanted plastic bags into for recycling. And the canned music is most unusual: Talking Heads, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Massive Attack......have they been at my CD collection?
Really, all supermarkets are ghastly, but I can tolerate this one.
The photo? just thought it was an interesting paint job, just happens to be in the loading bay by the back entrance.
What to buy: Milk, the Guardian, some toilet paper. And actually they seem to sell better bananas than the nearby greengrocers.
In Bristol prices are lower than in London so if you want to do some heavy shopping in a mall with hundreds of different shops you can go to the MALL BRISTOL. It is a big shopping mall in 3 storey building that was built in the 80s. Most of the shops are focusing on clothes with many brand names around but we also saw shops with electronics, furnishings and gifts. There are several cafes too to relax for a while before you shop till you drop! :)
I got bored after a while like always because I don’t like big department stores but I’m sure some other will have different opinion. The xmas decoration was kitch but nice and made the difference during our visit though.
The mall is open daily 9.00-18.00 (Sundays 11.00-17.00)
St Nickoals Market is probably the most charming market in Bristol. It is a glass covered market that was built in 1743. We walked a bit around here and we say many little stalls that have vegetables, tourist souvenirs, some antiques, sweet shops, craft shops, books, tshirts etc
The market is open daily 9.30-17.00
Licata's is a family-run Italian - or strictly speaking Sicilian - grocers shop. Pasta, olives, salami, that sort of stuff. A general grocers shop, please. This is not, heaven forfend, a deli. There is no vast and baffling array of esoteric sausages and such: simply a very good basic selection (but including such items as proper Italian salted lard). There is, natch, a lot of pasta to choose from, including the top-quality Barilla stuff: their own-brand canned tomatos (including canned cherry tomatos) but this is emphatically somewher simply to buy day to day groceries, albeit one perhaps acceptable to someone who doesn't suffer the gastronomic handicap of being English. The family are properly bilingual in Italian and Bristolian and the shop has been there ages, well before Picton Street became fashionable and started sprouting retro clothes shops.
What to buy: Coffee, pasta, (Fusilli today), a couple of cans of tomatoes, a bunch of coriander, some mushrooms, a lemon, and a packet of Garibaldi biscuits... Licatas don't have a huge range of English biscuits, concentrating more on amaretti & so on, but charmingly does sell Happy Shopper brand Garibaldi biscuits* And their home-made tiramisu is pretty damn fine.
*Named after the famous Italian patriot Guiseppi Biscuit.
What to pay: Well, I get through a lot of coffee and the kilo bags of beans are an absolute steal. Otherwise Licata's is neither cheap nor expensive. But it does give good value.
Late September 2008 was probably not the best of times to be opening a swanky mall or retail development or whatever you care to call this shoddily detailed architecturally illiterate confection of escalators capped by the kind of curved glass and steel roof that we have CAD to blame for, all providing an experience that is creepily like being in an AutoCAD-generated walkthrough. So I'm not going to be nasty. And I can't improve on the graffito spotted near Stokes Croft:
' I Love Cabot Circus......
....Pity about the shops'
All there is to say about this place is....if you don't need it, you'll find it here.
Beast Clothes are responsible for a huge range of joke Bristol t-shirts, widely available in Bristol. I'm particularly fond of the 'Severn Beach ' one. You probably do need to have visted Severn Beach in order to understand its utter lack of palm trees, but if you suffer from insatiable curiosity follow the link
On examining the photograph I'm amused to note that the 'Cheers Drive' tee is also available in
What to buy? Small? Medium? Large? Who am I to judge, whether you are buying a T-shirt or a pair of smartie-patterbed wellies. Polish....
What to pay: Tees are a reasonable £9.99
Very firmly an 'other' Appropriate Type
The headquarters or the PRSC (People's Republic of Stoke's Croft) is worth a visit if only to clock the fine tilework fish on the facade.
What to buy: They sell beautiful ceramic pieces by a local artist at very reasonable prices, and there are T-shirts, postcards and of course Stoke Croft fudge.
This looks like an ordinary butchers shop but appearances are deceptive: its a powerhouse of sausage manufacture, apparently churning out a ton of sausages a week. Which accounts both for why they are only open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and also the grave demeanor of the men who run it. A ton of sausages is serious business indeed: enough to stretch from here to Bath. Or something like that.
Very good sausages they are. Mostly 100% meat, they need to be eaten within a couple of days of purchase, because they are not crammed with presevatives. (This is not a problem.)
Note that these are British bangers rather than post-modern language-driven sausages. No venison with cranberry, walnuts and eye of newt here.
What to buy: Half of smoked back and four pork, honey and mustard sausages, please.
What to pay: Surprisingly little for such good sausages.