24 Hours in Bristol

more than a year ago
Bristol isn’t the largest city in the world (Shanghai was, at the time of writing), but there is more than enough going on to keep you engaged during your visit. 24 hours probably isn’t enough — you could easily spend 23 of them on King Street — but sometimes you’ve just got to play the hand you’re dealt. 24 hours in Bristol? Follow the three B’s

Morning: Banksy

The first B of Bristol is obviously the town itself, but the whole ‘day’ thing means we are going to rearrange them a little bit. We’ll start off with Banksy, the most celebrated protest artist of modern times and a man thought to have been born in this very city. His art is everywhere here — the city is understandably proud of the man, born here or not — and seeking out his pieces is a great way to get to know the town. There are many walking tours available, but we fully endorse making your own list and doing the exploring all on your own. Our favourite? We don’t do favourites here at In Your Pocket, but we are certainly partial to The Girl With the Stick and the Well-Hung Lover, two rather different pieces.

Afternoon: Brunel

20th and 21st century art dominates the morning, leaving the afternoon in the hands of 19th century engineering. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is the undisputed king of British engineering, the man voted the second greatest Brit of all time (behind ol’ Churchill) and undoubtedly one of the most productive and prodigious creators of his time. Some of his finest pieces are found in Bristol, none more impactful than the stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge. Cross the bridge on foot to get an idea of its scope, and take advantage of the views from the middle. Be sure to head down below afterwards in order to get that all-important snap of this magnificent feat of humanity.

Clifton Suspension Bridge might lay claim to being Brunel’s finest piece in Bristol, but the SS Great Britain can’t be that far behind. Now found on the Harbourside, this was the largest passenger ship of its time (the mid 19th, if you were wondering) and was also the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. The records don’t end there, but we wholeheartedly recommend nipping into the ship and its various nooks and crannies to get a better idea. Some of the smells simply need to be experienced to be believed. What’s more, if your name is Isambard then you get to enter for free.

The Harbourside is one of the most engaging parts of town and is home to a wide variety of cafes, bars and restaurants. This should give you plenty of choice if the belly starts rumbling, and you can’t really go wrong with any of the options. Our choice? Cargo, because it gives us the opportunity to make a variety of choices. If you’re looking for something a little more formal, make yourself a reservation at Casamia, a Michelin Star champion with seriously good grub.

Evening: Booze

Bristol is one of the great night’s out in England, a city that makes the most of the day before wringing every last drop of cider out of the evening. There are plenty of great pub and bar options in the city centre, but when the weather is good we can’t resist an evening spent trawling the cobblestones of King Street. Our evening usually starts down the bottom at the King Street Brew House, a solid pub with plenty of cask ales and craft options on tap (look out for the monthly charity beer). The Old Duke is as good as next door, a jazz pub for the old fashioned.

There is an inevitability about the night at this point, and it seems to be a countdown of sorts until we find ourselves at Small Bar. A craft beer mecca full of the good stuff, this is the right sort of modern pub, with 31 taps of delicious beer and some of the most engaging staff in the city. The food is pretty good too, tailor made to match with those gorgeous, gorgeous beers. If you’re lucky, you might even get a conversation about Tomohiro Ishii or Hirooki Goto, but that is another story for another time.


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