Bristol has a great range of culture, parks, areas to relax, food and independent businesses, and while we’ve been in lockdown, many of these places and businesses have been finding new ways to thrive. Whether lockdown continues or not, these are great places to check out!
Parks and Places to Chill
There are some amazing parks in Bristol. Brandon Hill has incredible views of the city and the countryside beyond. Have an explore around the tower with the small paths, nature and ponds surrounding it, or take a book and look out at the view from one of the benches under the tower. It’s a great place to chill out and be in a natural environment whilst taking in the city – one of my favourite contrasts in Bristol. There are playgrounds, a basketball hoop and plenty of space for other activities if you need to burn some energy off too.
If you fancy journeying further out of the city, head over to Ashton Court. Ashton Court is so big you could actually make (and would need) multiple trips to explore the whole area. There are massive expanses of fields, trails through forest areas, deer parks, mountain biking routes for different abilities, a golf course, and loads more. Head over with a picnic and make the most of the natural space!
Royal Fort Gardens is part of the University of Bristol but is open to the public. Check out the art installations and various types of plants and trees, or just chill out on the lawns or by the pond. The designers have truly succeeded at bringing nature to the middle of the city; you’ll forget that you’re only a couple of minutes away from busy main roads.
The floating harbour area and Brandon Yard are great, bustling places to go but still feel relaxed. Grab a coffee or ice cream from the cafes and restaurants and then head out onto the docks to catch some sun or dip your toes in the water while you gaze at the S.S. Great Britain. The harbour is such a big part of Bristol so make sure you take the chance to go and see it.
It’s a really good time to visit M-Shed as they are adding exhibitions about the Black Lives Matter protests that happened in Bristol this year. This is a really important addition in acknowledging the struggles of the black community and Bristol’s little-known history of slavery. M-Shed has a bunch of other great exhibitions on various parts of Bristol’s history that you can check out too.
Spike Island is a great place to go to check out art exhibitions, grab a coffee with a friend, or use the workshop space yourself. It’s a little further out of the city centre but definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re a big fan of art and discovering new artists.
Places to Eat
There are some great independent bakeries in Bristol that are great for study sessions and coffee dates. Some of the best are Pinkman’s on Park Street – they have amazing sourdough-nuts and pizzas – and Bakesmith’s on Whiteladies Road as they have great pastries and bread.
Another great place for food is the Wapping Wharf Cargos. There’s something for everyone there and even shops (such as butchers) and businesses (such as yoga classes). Wapping Wharf is a great up-and-coming area and definitely worth checking out.
If you’re looking for a takeaway, check out some local places such as Miss Millie’s Fried Chicken, Pizza Go-Go, Sandwich Sandwich and Taka Taka.
Bristol is well-known for having loads of independent businesses. Check out the Christmas Steps Quarter for independent cafes, pubs, clothing shops, health and fitness businesses, music shops, art shops, hairdressers, and loads more. It’s not far from the BIMM Bristol King’s Square building so is a great place to take a wander and get some lunch after class.
Stokes Croft is a hub of students and young people as well as independent businesses. Make sure to check out the events on there too at independent venues like Café Kino & The Crofter’s Rights. There’s normally up-and-coming artists playing there that you might want to catch before they’re playing bigger stages. There’s a bunch of Banksy artwork in the area too so try and catch a glimpse of those.
Gloucester Road has the longest row of independent shops & businesses in the UK. With loads of great bars, music venues, shops, and places to eat, there’s something for everyone and it’s always bustling with students. There’s always a great atmosphere so make sure you check it out!
Clifton Arcade is a much quieter area but boasts some great independent cafes & shops, including two amazing organic fruit & veg shops. It’s a great place to grab a drink and do some reading or studying. There’s also one of the best fish & chip shops in Bristol just down the road, and, of course, you’re also not far from the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and it’s a Bristol rite of passage to go and see the bridge!
There’s so much to explore in Bristol and when the sun comes out, so does the city! Go and check out some of these spots and enjoy exploring!