Recently I spent a few days in Bristol visiting my friend, I had never been here before so I was not only excited to catch up with her but also get the chance to explore this creative hub of a city together. She lives right in the centre, so it was perfect just to enjoy a little lie in each morning and face the day filled with talkative strolls, window shopping, constant discovery and of course coffee. It was all very chilled but that was just how I wanted it to be.
I stepped out of Temple Meads station around lunchtime and headed towards Starbucks, I actually headed the long way around because my GPS wanted to play games with me but I wasn't at all phased as I was busy absorbing in the city at every corner I passed. I grabbed my skinny latte, sat outside, read Harry Potter and waited for my friend to finish her lecture. When I locked arms with my bessie we headed straight to hers, we passed a beautiful harbour filled with colourful boats and tall buildings. Every corner revealed something new; grand Victorian houses, uneven cobbled roads, crunchy autumnal leaves, graffiti walls and beautiful parks. The main harbour had a row of restaurants, hotels and cafes lined beyond the water and the lights and decoration showed just how unique the city is. It reminded me of Bath but a much more high paced and modern version. I just knew I was going to love it here.
Bristol Cathedral is situated among a beautiful park, if you lived here you would probably want to be outside as much as possible because it's such a lovely place. The cathedral is vast, beautiful and free! I'm not religious myself but I have such an interest in experiencing and appreciating architecture like this. It's well worth the look around, or even walk along beside it among the falling leaves, benches and rows of bikes. It's all these little things which really makes a difference within cities, creating a more natural and peaceful place to escape the city streets.
Bristol is perfect for shopping trips, the streets are filled with big shops, independent stores and plenty of places to get your hands on a coffee. The Primark is huggeeee and it was just lovely to stroll around and window shop, I also fell in love with a coat from Zara and it turns out it was half price online - shout of to the lady who told me that! Nice people are the one. I loved Cabot Circus Shopping Centre and would definitely recommend it. I found Tiger and surprisingly it was the first time I've ever been in one; it was filled with stationary, homeware and bits and bobs you quite frankly don't need but hell, you sure want it. I mean look at THOSE CUPS.
There's no doubt about it that Bristol is well known for its creative outlook, not to mention that this is Banksy's birth place. I was fascinated by the inspirational graffiti scattered across the city with its symbolism and colours branding the city. The architecture, street signs, coffee shops and even people colouring in the street floors, it was an art form of a city which will certainly stay with me. I actually thought that girl on the swing was by Banksy but it turns out the artist is JPS, the photo pictured above shows a Banksy piece within The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (also free).
I wanted to mention Christmas Steps as this is a historic street within the city centre and it was something I really admired and it really cemented my love for the city's identity. It really is just that, a set of steps, you'll just have to go check them out yourself and get back to me with your thoughts! At the bottom of the steps there's a pub with black panels and it has a generally dark and unique presence and I instantly thought that maybe, just maybe I was in Diagon Alley.
The Warehouse and coffee shops
If you walk up the Christmas Steps you'll actually come across The Warehouse, an independent, quirky and cosy cafe serving food, coffee and cake. It was very charming and I had an extremely moist and generous slice of carrot cake, followed by a latte (obviously). Check it out if you go, you won't regret it. Every coffee shop looks amazing and I wish I could have visited them all - comment below your favourites in Bristol! If you're a cocktail lover, you should definitely take yourself down towards the harbour and order a Strawberry Mojito at Turtle Bay, quite a busy environment but exquisite cocktails - I nearly got the espresso martini but I guess I was just being too boring at the time!
One thing I absolutely love is markets and St Nicks Market was a genuine treat. We also managed to catch the street food market on the 16th of October, although very crowded, there were so many stalls with very hungry people, strings of lights, tables piled with cupcakes and music. On the way home, we thought we would treat ourselves to two doughnuts; the man gave us seven and I couldn't help but think this was such a perfect end to the most perfect trip.