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Bristol City Museum hasn't really got any drop-dead unmissable exhibits, but it's certainly well worth a visit, particularly if you're interested in the history of the city: not only are there old maps showing the development of Bristol from the 12th century onwards but also there are many paintings of local subjects in the collection of paintings and drawings. Which has some very nice works - there's curretly a stunning Howard Hodgekin on display - and the occasional thing of the sort that gives painting a bad name: see photo. Otherwise, there is (inter alia) a small collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts including a very fine late portrait mask and a (barely illuminated) encaustic portrait, some nice china, the mandatory exhibit of dinosaur bones (always a crowd-pleaser) and the replica of a Bristol Boxkite (one of three built for the film 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, and as flyable as something with a maximum speed of 40kt can be.)
The rather fine art-nouveau chandelier is part of the fixtures and fittings.
The cafe does a very good cup of tea and excellent cakes.
Updated Nov 20, 2012
Address: Queen's Road, Clifton
Millenium square is a large public space between the warehouses of St Augustine's Reach and the vast post-modernist Lloyds building. Its most prominent feature is the huge mirrored ball containing @Bristol's planetarium, a great challenge for photographers: there's also a most useful electronic fingerpost, which changes direction and has a varying display which tells you how far away some other lump of the universe is. And there are several examples of the Bristol tradition of very dodgy sculptures depicting famous Bristolians, which occupy some of the benches: Archie Leach (aka Cary Grant) and Thomas Chatterton, seated opposite William Tyndale.
Updated Nov 20, 2012
I stayed just off King Street, in the Old City, during my visit to Bristol. It's one of the oldest streets in Bristol which was laid out in 1650 for developing the Town's Marsh. The street was named after Charles II and the north part of the street was developed first then the south in 1663. It was nice wandering round on the cobbled streets.
There are some interesting historic Buildings of note:-
Merchant Venturers Almshouses (Image 1)
Society of Merchant Venturers built them in 1696 for convalescent and retired sailors. Nowadays, it's run by Society of Merchant Ventureres Almshouses Charity and provides sheltered housing.
Old Free Library (Image 2)
Built in 1738-40. Likely by James Paty, the Elder, and is now a Chinese restaurant (I understand the restaurant has mixed reputations according to our walking tour guide)
Llandoger Trow (1664)
Which began as a merchants' house but now a historic pub with a restaurant (Please see separate tip)
The Old Duke (1780)
A historic pub (Opposite Llangoder Trow)
King Wiliam Ale House (Image 4)
The building dates back from 1670
St Nicholas' Almshouses (Image 5)
Built in 1652. Now student accommodation
My room looked out to Welsh Back, a cobbled street running alongside the Floating Harbour. The street mainly consist of historic buildings housing restaurants, bars and offices. The Welsh Back was originally served trows with cargoes from Wales's Slate Industry. Slate, stone, timber and coal were imported to the docks.
Updated Jul 1, 2012
Address: King Street, Old City, Bristol
The 2 hour walking tours operate on Saturdays seasonally (usually from Easter to end of September but best checking). The two hour walking tour takes you through the new harbour, city centre, old town, markets and historic port. You learn about Bristol's history and the city's personalities who have shaped Bristol what it was and is today!
The tour starts at 11.00 am from the Tourist Information Office, E Shed, Harbourside (near the Harbour steps). We began exploring parts of the Harbourside and were told about Bristol's role in the industrial revolution, merchants activity, the Slave Trade (including one of the slave trade masters, Pinney, and owned plantations in West Indies). We were informed about John Cabot and his explorations, which opened the world, in the 15th Century; William Tyndale who translated the bible into English; and the Berkeley Family who were involved at The Hospital of St Mark (now Lord Mayor's Chapel) in caring for the physical and spiritual health of young men.
The tour guide briefed us about Brunel and his Victorian Engineering wonders including the Temple Meads Railway Station, Clifton Suspension Bridge and SS Great Britain. We learnt about about the city's waterways with the links of Rivers Frome and Avon and how the ships were navigated from sea to port.
We were encouraged to ponder about the post industrial Era and how the era lead to intensive regeneration which is shaping modern Bristol today.
I learnt a lot about Bristol and I highly recommend the tour (shame about the poor weather we had but it didn't spoil things). It cost 5.00 gbp per adult (June 2012) and there is no need to book in advance.
The company also does tailor made theme walking tours for groups such as Clifton & The Suspension Bridge, Medieval Bristol and Bristol's Historic Wine Merchants.
Updated Jul 1, 2012
Address: Canons Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX
Phone: 0117 968 4638
The Centre Promenade is a city centre space hub for various things including the city's main bus, taxi, ferry and pedestrian travel hub to access other parts of the city centre and the suburbs. The Promenade is surrounded the Old City, Business Districts, the Floating Harbour and near to the College Green. The area is partially pedestrianised with a paved area near the Floating Harbour. The function has been remodelled a few times during the 20th Century.
Updated Jul 1, 2012
Address: Centre Promenade, City Centre
Since the officially opening in 1956 The Council House has been Bristol's civic centre and seat of local government and situated on College Green near the Cathedral.
The listed building was designed by Vincent Harris before World War II and built afterwards. It renowned for its architectural features with the ceremonial entrance overlooking the moat and the use of unique building materials such as marble. The Council House is known for its advanced environmental features.
Updated Jul 1, 2012
Address: College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR
Phone: 0117 922 4737
Queen Square is situated in the Old City where people relax and sometimes public events are held. It was once a sought after residential address before the development of Clifton in the 19th Century. Today, most of the buildings are offices. The site was known as the Town Marsh which was built at the end of the 17th Century until the beginning of the 18th Century. Queen Square was named in honour of Queen Anne, the reigning monarch at the time.
Queen Square was famous for the Bristol Riots, in 1831, where substantial damage was done but were rebuilt and restored. Cars used to drive through Queen Square until 2000 where it was restored as open space once again.
A lot of the buildings are listed including Sydney Smike's Custom House, on the north side, which was built in 1835-37. There is an Equestrian Statue of William III in the centre of square which was erected in 1733 to mark the city's loyalty to the King. It was designed by John Michael Rysbrack.
Updated Jul 1, 2012
Address: Queen Square, Old City, Bristol
Bristol Packet Boat Trips offer a variety of cruises and boats are available for hire. I participated in the City Docks Tour which is approximately 1.5 hours around the Floating Harbour. Tickets and Boats are available either Bristol Packet Pontoon Watershed or Wapping Wharf.
The tour was interesting and informative and I learnt a lot about life around the harbour past and present. I highly recommend to go on this or an equivalent one by another company. It was a pity the rained caved in and had to seek shelter under the covered canvas on the boat. Still it was an enjoyable experience.
Please check out the website for further information.
Updated Jun 23, 2012
Address: Wapping Wharf, Gas Ferry Road, BS1 6UN
Phone: 0117 9268157
The Cathedral was founded as the Abbey of St Augustine in the 12th Century by Robert Fitzhardinge. It is understood though that an example of a 'Hall Church' (where the Nave, Choir and Aisles are the same size size and thus making it a large hall) and also considered one of the country's finest.
I didn't look inside because of the lack of time but hope to next time. Please check out the
website for further information including services.
Updated Jun 22, 2012
Address: College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TJ
Phone: 0117 926 4879
The Bristol Hippodrome is celebrating its 100th year in 2012 it is still the place in the South West that gets the majority of the large London shows as it's far enough away with access to large enough audience numbers.
I've seen Hairspray, Monty Python's Holy Grail, Dara O'Brian, Phantom of the Opera and am looking forwards to seeing the Lion King soon. I've always sat in the high up 'nose bleeder' seats which whilst steep, cramped and not that comfy still offer good views (even with the chandalear in Phantom) and are much cheaper than down below. The Lion King we'll be in the stalls as we got a deal through work with these tickets.
The interior is as you'd expect; gold and red velvet with a beautiful central dome, which does occasionally open up to the sky, there are numerous bars (I like the Holy Ale served during the Monthy Python tour), not too many toilets but if you pick your moment you can get in quickly. I almost passed out during Phantom, it was hot and humid but I did have a cold I went out where there was a waiting area, a fan and an open window so they must reaslise it gets hot up there. The stewards were most kind, offering me water and any help if I needed it.
Being right in what is called 'The Centre' of Bristol it is a local landmark and meeting place where most of the bus service passing by and taxi queues too. Whenever I've been we've gone for food or a drink in one of the many near-by bars.
Written Jun 7, 2012
Phone: 0844 871 3012
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