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
“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
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:
- Whapping Wharf: Bertha’s Pizza, Squeezed or Pigsty (for something casual) and Root or Box-E (for something fancier).
- The Centre: Swoon (for gelato) Wing’s Diner or Eatchu (for something casual) and Pasta Ripiena or Pata Negra (for something fancier).
- Stokes Croft/Cheltenham Road: Flour & Ash, The Canteen, Bokman or Rice & Things.
- Gloucester Road: Suncraft, The Grace or Bomboloni.
And for drinks:
- Whapping Wharf: Wild Beer or Bristol Cider Shop.
- The Centre: The Milk Thistle or Small Bar (you can get Wing’s Diner while you’re there! Win!)
- Stokes Croft: Masa + Mezcal
- Gloucester Road: The Gallimaufry
- Clifton: The White Lion at The Avon Gorge (for great views of the Suspension Bridge)
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:
- Visit Blaise Castle (and try not to get slightly lost
- See Bristol from Cabot Tower.
- See another one of Brunel’s greatest works—The SS Great Britan.
- Wander the stalls at St Nick’s Market.
- Spot the Banksy at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
- Wander Bristol’s independent shopping district, Gloucester Road.
- Visit Bristol’s most iconic sight (and site!), the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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!