Part-time travel,  UK

What the Hell is a Micro Gap and How Can I Get One in Bristol?

I’ve lived in Bristol for three years now and every time I’m out and about I discover something different or new or hidden. That’s why I was pretty keen to see what Bristol had to offer on a recent press visit—I spent the day with a group of travel and lifestyle bloggers from London on a ‘micro gap’ and it was fun watching their reactions, but equally, it was fun seeing Bristol from a different perspective.

So, what’s a micro gap then?

Visit Britain are running a cool campaign at the moment (this is me with my marketing hat on) where they are focusing on how you can get all the experiences of a ‘gap year’ without actually leaving the UK and without actually taking a whole year off.

I took a gap year before I went to university and all I did was work. Boring.

I like this campaign because it picks the best bits of places all over the UK and helps you tick off those experiences you might miss out on if you never take that gap year—from some kind of extreme sport (if you’re into that sort of thing) to trying deep-fried tarantula (FYI, I attempted and couldn’t do it, so anyone with the guts—literally and figuratively—to do it has my deepest respect!) and trekking to Machu Picchu to visiting the world’s most amazing museums (more my thing, really). It makes the idea of having amazing experiences affordable and accessible for everyone. Not everyone can afford to go on a weeks-long holiday to South East Asia, let alone months of travelling the world.

“But really, what experiences can I get in Bristol?” I hear you ask. I’ll tell you how you can have a Bristol micro gap!

Get a bit of culture in you

Bristol is home to some amazing artists and some great museums. If nothing else, you can wander around Bristol Museum and see some beautiful art. But, art is everywhere.

For years now, I’ve walked past colourful street art, but I’ve never taken the time to learn about the artists or the meanings behind the brush strokes (or, more appropriately in many cases—spray can). Where the Wall took us for a wander to see some of Bristol’s street art to give us a background to how this city became a hub for artists. Some of the pieces I’d seen many times were given new meaning and, because I’m nosy, it was nice to learn about parts of Bristol I’d not given much thought to before.

Sure, I could go to some capitals of street art, like Berlin or New York, but I don’t have to because the street art in Bristol is varied, bountiful and stunning. And, the people who have created them have come from all over the world and even right here in Bristol (hello, Banksy!). And they are supremely talented. Right now, I’m feeling quite lucky to live here!

After our tour, Where the Wall took us for an introduction to art of spray painting. Like most art, I was rubbish, but we can’t be good at everything, right?

It was a fun experience and I’d be keen to have another go (if only to get it right!).

Snaffle the best food and quaff the best drinks

I couldn’t write a post about Bristol without mentioning some food and drink experiences you’ll think about for ages afterwards. Bristol is known for its food scene and some of the country’s most prominent food critics rate it as the best food city outside of London.

Here are a few suggestions for a bite to eat:

And for drinks:

As for what we got up to, we were lucky enough to go to The Milk Thistle for a Gin Masterclass. If you’re into early 20th Century decor and you love a good cocktail, this is the place for you. We were given the potted history of gin and got to try a few different types. Now, I’m not saying Australia is better at gin than anywhere else, but it was unanimous that the Australian gin was the best of the bunch.

With your new-found knowledge, you can impress your friends and get drunk knowledgeably. What I’m saying is: you’ll most definitely learn something you didn’t know, and you won’t even know you’re learning it!

Some other cool stuff you can do in Bristol

As I mentioned, I’ve been here for three years, so I have some favourite bits that I would like to share:

The other Ladies What Travel also have some good tips for a Bristol micro gap.

Is a micro gap as good as it sounds?

You can go for a street art tour, grab a bite to eat, visit a museum (or for those more active, a Clifton Suspension Bridge walk, or maybe a balloon ride), then have a few drinks (and eat some more) in just one day. You’ll go home satisfied that you’ve had some experiences you can write about on a postcard to your mum (but you don’t have to waste money on an international stamp because you can pop over for lunch on Sunday and stick it on her fridge yourself). You’ll also still have some cash leftover for a couple of pints at your local when you’re done with lunch, because you didn’t have to fork out for a plane ticket or a hotel room.

I’m here for the micro gap and I’m looking forward to many more!

Bristol will give you the street art experience you need in your micro gap.
Drinks and street art in Bristol - get everything you need from a micro gap!

Karis is an Aussie living in Bristol. During the working week, she works in communications, and in her spare time she’s scouring the Internet for cool places to visit and great travel deals, as well as talking about food on her podcast, At the Sauce. She loves good food and history, so her travel itineraries usually reflect this. Places she loves include Vietnam, Japan, France and Spain. Places she can’t wait to get to include Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Poland and Georgia.


  • Clare Thomson

    A micro gap sounds like a very good idea indeed. Love the sound of it and count me in! I’ve got a good friend in Bristol so I think it might be time to go back to visit him to try some of your fab suggestions. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

  • Christine

    I went on an eventful street art tour in Bristol a few years back (half the group got separated from guide at busy road junction, we then got lost). Definitely a gap year type experience! #farawayfiles

  • Sol Solntze

    I’ve always been a fan of local travel, and the micro gap sounds about perfect to me – a bit out of the way but not quite as big a commitment as getting on a plane. I’ve never been to Bristol, either, but I had heard about the street art. Love the idea of getting to have a go yourself! #Farawayfiles

  • Bryna - Dotted Line Travels

    A micro gap sounds great to me! I think it’s easy to overlook what fun experiences you can have when it’s close to home. So often, we travel lovers feel like we’re not truly experience something new unless we go abroad which isn’t true! Also, I thought your attempt at spray painting was not bad at all!

    • Karis

      Absolutely! Even when people ask me what to see in Brisbane (my home town), I can’t think of anything and tell them they are better off going elsewhere! Terrible isn’t it!

  • Paul Healy

    I love Bristol, easily the coolest city in the UK! In my youth, I developed an obsession with 90’s acid jazz bands such as Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead. I only realised they were all from that area when I saw a sign to Portishead on the way down. Didn’t even know it was a place!

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