Bristol Temple Meads - Brunel's Wonder Station!
I travelled by train from Leeds to Bristol Temple Meads by Cross Country Trains. The journey took approximately 3.5 hours and travelling through to Wakefield Westgate, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Birmingham, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads. The service had begun at Edinburgh and continued onto Plymouth. It was a comfortable service and refreshments (at inflated prices) are available to purchase on the train.
I paid 46 gbp (June 2012), one way, from Leeds to Bristol. This was a discounted advance ticket (booked two months before the date of my travel) which I thought was expensive. However it would have been approximately 70-80 one gbp one way if I booked on the day! And if I drove down it would cost even more for petrol! Tip is the earlier you book the cheaper the ticket will be although in some cases there can be last minute discounts by different travels agencies.
Please check Cross Country Trains and National Rail Enquiries for fares and further information to Bristol and the South West.
First Great Western offers discounted advance rail fares from London Paddington. In the past I was able to obtain cheap rail travel to the South West via London and sometimes it can work out a lot cheaper than going direct with Cross Country Trains (even with a stopover in London)! However, on this occasion it worked out cheaper to travel by Cross Country trains.
Arriving at Temple Meads Station is an attraction in itself with Brunel's architectural masterpiece! I've never seen such a grand railway station like this in the UK and I had to spend some time taking in the building's marvels!
- Historical Travel
From Bath you can catch the 339 Bus to Bristol's Bus Station. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes and travels via Brislington, Keynsham, Saltford and Newton St Loe. One way costs 5.30 gbp (June 2012). The bus runs every half an hour on a Sunday and from 1830 every hour till midnight and early morning and late evenings Mondays to Saturdays.
You can also catch the X39 bus from Bath to Bristol Mondays to Saturdays. The buses run every 12-15 minutes during the day.
Bus Station address:
Bristol Bus Station, Malborough Street, Bristol, BS1 3NU
First Travel Shop is opened Monday to Friday at 0830-1730 and Saturday at 0900-1700.
Please check the website for updates.
- Road Trip
Avoid driving in Bristol
If you only plan to visit Bath and Bristol during your stay, DO NOT hire a car as you will spend most of your time sitting in traffic queues and trying to park it. There is an excellent coach service from the Airport to Bristol and an good train service from there to Bath.
- Road Trip
a tangled web
Anybody contemplating leaving their bike locked up at Temple Meads station should take note that this can be a far from simple matter.
First Great Western claim over three hundred bike spaces.
There's an extent of bike parking on one of the platforms-since you need to pass through the ticket barrier to get to these they are strictly for those combining bike and train to make a journey, and some outside.
They are virtually always filled near or over capacity. Leaving a bike at Temple Meads can involve ten or more minutes searching for somewhere to secure one's mount. Often you have to lock your bike over another: generally an antisocial thing to do, but many of the bikes here are corpses, evident by the state of the chain, tyres and brakes.
Bristol is THE cycling city (it was named Cycling City in 2008) and has a huge injection of cash (£22.8 million) to upgrade cycling facilities; these include better signage, more cycle routes, improving existing, training and events.
This is an excellent website where you can plot your own route, pin comments and read others';
It also shows bus routes and all stops on the way.
The newest schemes include resurfacing paths in Eastville Park, the side that comes out at the bottom of Blackberry Hill) and a new bridge over Muller Rd from Locklease which takes you through St Werburghs and into the city centre.
If you'd like any more information on cycling in Bristol please email me; I don't have a car, have never learnt to drive, so get around by leg power!
- Budget Travel
A lovely way to travel.
I like boats. Readers of my other pages will know this and it will come as no surprise that when I spotted a chance to make a journey on a ferry boat through the historic Bristol Docks, I jumped at it. Not only was it a convenient way to get where I was going but it offered a chance to see the place from the water, giving a completely different perspective.
I wouldn't say the service was frequent, only about every half hour or forty minutes weekdays but if you time it right it is well worth doing. Prices range from £1:60 for an adult two stop single up to £20 for an all-day family (two adults and two children) hop on-hop off service with the Bristol Ferry Boat Company. There are a number of other operators as well, all listed on the attached local Government website.
For a short hop trip across the harbour, the Cross Harbour Ferry operates between Porto Quay and the S.S Great Britain with a single fare of 60p and times of
November to March
* Monday to Friday: 07:30 to 09:30 and 16:15 to 18:15
* Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 16:40
April to October
* Monday to Friday: 07:30 to 18:15
* Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 to 17:30
Given the maritime nature of Bristol and the importance of the harbour and associated waterways, I think it would be a shame to visit the city and not have at least a short trip on one of these craft. The photos show a number of the options available.
Good rail connections.
Despite the ridiculously high cost of train travel in the UK, it is my preferred means of transport as I do not drive. There are good train connections from London leaving every fifteen minutes on weekdays. Travel time is only one hour 20 minutes or so but that is to Bristol Parkway which is a little out of town to the North. If you want to reach the centre, add about another 20 minutes to connect to Bristol Temple Meads which is much more central.
As always with my train tips in the UK, I recommend the official webiste attached which is excellent for planning journeys.
When you arrive at temple Meads, don't just walk straight out, stoip to admire the wonderful facade (pictured if somewhat tilted!) which is a delight. the original station was designed by the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, although this portion of the station is no longer used, what you see is a later addition. It is impressive nevertheless.
Bristol Temple Mead
One of England's largest and oldest railway stations owned/operated by Network Rail/First Great Western. Classic gothic architecture, Grade 1 listed, designed by the Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it is a hallmark of Bristol in its own essence. It is the gateway for rail, ferry, and bus service into and out of Bristol, England. Bristol is also served by a newer station called Bristol Parkway that is on the northern edge of the city. Temple Mead was opened in August of 1840 as the western terminus for Great Western Railway from London. It is named after the Old English word "Maeds" for "meadow" describing the water meadows along the River Avon part of the parish called Temple Church that was built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 14th century, and destroyed by World War 2 bombings requiring yet another rebuilt. The station once housed the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum until its relocation to London. Over 7 million pass through its gates each year. Stream-lined, centrally located, and an easy access point when entering Bristol - First Great Western has easy to use ticket kiosks and booths. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Cross Harbour Ferry
The small ferry that crosses the harbour between the Howell Road and the SS Great Britain is possibly the most expensive transport, in pence per mile terms, of any way I have travelled, at 60p for the 50 or so metres across the water.
Sixty pence well spent, I'd say. This is a charmingly old fashioned arrangement to find in a modern city. The little boat (or 'baker's tray) hangs about at one or other of the landing stages until a passenger appears. If it's on the other side, pull the cord to raise the signal and over it'll chug to collect you. There's service.
From November to March
weekdays 07:30 to 09:30 and 16:15 to 18:15, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 16:40
April to October
weekdays 07:30 to 18:15, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 17:30
Bristol is easily reached by train from London on Great Western Railway [GWR]. there are two stations, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads.. Bristol Parkway is near Cribbs Causeway shopping centre and on the main London route. Bristol Temple Meads is on lines from Bath , Taunton etc, local lines. It is in the centre of town.
Trains run from Paddington every half hour. If travelling , it is wise to book seats at least 24 hours in advance as at busy times, seats may be hard to find.
How to move around
We walked a lot, I mean a lot! Not to see the sights but just because we loved walking around Bristol or in the parks. Although the city center is walkable you will need some local buses to go up the hills or to avoid the cold for a while :)
A single ticket costs 1.30 pound (you pay at the driver) but we used the “First day ticket” that costs 3.80pounds and it’s actually a daily ticket that gives you unlimited travel all day. You just show it to the driver every time you go on board. This ticket helped us a lot (and we saved some pounds).
A different and funny transport is also the ferrys. The single ticket costs 1.50pound, return 2.50 and for 6pounds you can use it as hop on hop off
I noticed taxis but we didn’t use any. The traffic was heavy during the day at some main streets so I guess using a car isn’t a good idea.
how to go there
There are plenty of choices to reach Bristol:
I visited Bristol by bus from London. Two bus companies that serve the route is National Express and Megabus. I booked the tickets online with Megabus, if you book well in advance you can find tickets for just one 1 pound!! The ride from London Victoria Coach Station was comfortable and lasted about 2,5 hours. Megabus departs/arrivals are at the city center opposite the Colston Hall.
Temple Meads is the train station that serves connection with many UK cities. The station is near the center (15’ walk) but also connected with a public bus (N.8). Although I came to Bristol by bus I visited the station because it was designed by W.Brunel the famous engineer that designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge. There is another train station called Parkway a bit far from the center.
There is an airport 12 km away from Bristol. There is a bus that will take you to the centre in 25’
Two wheels good
Bristol has been awarded a huge sum of money to promote and facilitate cycling in the city. Though not enough to deal with the hills, I'm sure (and I rather like the hills, even if I the combination of 'good cycling country' and 'lots of hills' in the same sentence - as encountered recently in a cycling magazine - to me constitutes an oxymoron.)
The money will probably be spent on more useless-to-hazardous stubs of cyclepath. Slavish use of these can get you into all sorts of trouble.
Buses of Bristol
Bristol is quite an expensive city. The best way though to travel around Bristol is by bus. They have a ticket of £3.50 and its called First Day. With that you can travel everywhere you want within the Bristol area by showing just that ticket that you have purchased earlier.You can change as many buses as you want and travel wherever you want. You can make the tour of the city with just £3.50!! (it can be used all day until the last bus of the day) Trust me with that ticket you SAVE A LOT!!!
Do not count though that the bus will be on time ... (2008 comment) The company has been in the spotlight the past year about their service and prices that go up ever so often. But what can you do..??? Taxis are even more expensive!
Bristol has good transport links with London, the South West and Midlands of England, and with South Wales. It's served by the M4 and M5 motorways. Bristol also has a small airport. The only caveats are that UK trains are considerably more expensive than any other country I've been to, and very often have a dreadful service at the weekend, due to engineering works which never quite seem to end.
NOTE: Bristol Parkway station isn't in Bristol, it's some way distant, so if possible aim for Bristol Temple Meads Station. However it's only about £3 and 15 minutes to get between the two.
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