Welcome to our periodical ‘places to go and things to see’ posting, the ultimate resource to have a look on what places you could go and what things you could go and… well… ‘see’. If that doesn’t sound alarming, we don’t know what does.
A recent survey showed that many people that travel to Britain would not consider Bristol as a place where they would go. further research showed that the main reason for that is that they simply did not think of it. They would go to London, and perhaps make a stop at Canterbury on the way back to Dover and that’s it. What a shame. If you have any interest in arts or feel any fondness for industrial surroundings, Bristol should be high on your ‘must visit’ list of cities in Europe (and it’s also highly recommended for any MTB enthusiasts out there, we still have dreams about the facilities at the Mud Dock).
Walking through the city or along the docks you can still feel the industrial days that have passed since the rise of Liverpool as the dominant harbour city on England’s West coast. Many of the factories and warehouses are still there, even though they’ve been vacated long ago. But the buildings are not abandoned. a lot of them now house so called ‘creative industry’ companies (Like Aardman, production company of the famous ‘Wallace and Gromit’), museums and galleries or pubs and clubs. A clever thing the Bristol city council has done is build a large shopping area ‘Broadmead‘, which means that in the actual city centre, there is more room for culture and leisure and you don’t see those hideous buy-buy-buy signs everywhere.
A couple of things deserve to be mentioned about Bristol (we won’t recommend either visiting the ‘Brunel ss Great Britain‘, it may have been voted best British museum of 2006… it’s just not our ‘cup of tea’). Arnolfini is a great venue for seeing contemporary art. They regularly change exhibitions (we visited the Far West exhibition which was very cool indeed) and since the entrance is free, you will have a few pounds to spend in their bookshop which has one of the greatest collections on art and philosophy we have ever seen. Watershed is just across the canal from Arnolfini. This organisation promotes cultural activity, creativity and innovation but we just went there to catch an arthouse film and have a drink. We absolutely loved the atmosphere there and no doubt, you will as well. From those places it’s just a short stroll over the millennium square (actually, we never saw the name of the square, but it looked exactly like the Millennium Squares you see scattered about in every British city…) that has some really cool architecture to the Harbourside. No match for the Harbourside in Sydney, but a very nice area to walk around in.
You can read about Bristol all you want, but there’s nothing like the actual experience. Go and fill your iPod with Portishead and Massive Attack and book your tickets.