Ok so I have a confession to make…Yes I am a mum living and raising my children in Tamworth and yes my babies were born in Tamworth (or at least brought home here – one came early in Oxford and the other even earlier in Burton-upon-Trent, but that’s a Blog for another day). I am however in every sense of the word a Bristolian. It is where my family live, where most of my life long childhood friends are, where I went to school and where I grew up in so many ways, I could go on. I love and miss Bristol in equal measure and it will always be my home.
Bristol is the biggest and most populated city in the South West. It has easy access to the beautiful South West coast, London, South Wales and the Midlands. It is a vibriant, diverse and artistic and you will never struggle for something to do or somewhere to eat. So here’s a list of things (I) to love about Bristol
1. Ok I’ll get this one out the way nice and early as its only really relevant to, well, me. It is where my family and friends are. Without doubt the best thing about going to Bristol is seeing F&F. I love you and I miss you, The 100 miles between us feels like 1000. All hail social media. Yes I stalk your lives to feel vaguely connected. Judge me at your leisure.
2. Eating out. It is full of classy establishments serving top notch fine dining cuisine… Whilst Jason Donervan is famous in Bristol you could dine around the world. You could eat authentic Spanish tapas at El Puerto one night, enjoy Jamaican cuisine at Turtle Bay the next followed by Lebanese at Sands. There really are a plethora of restaurants to choose from, something I definitely miss.
3. The night-life. It is full of classy establishments…ok you get the point but in all fairness it certainly is a good night out. My life in Bristol was pre children, so I could do things such as eating out and go ‘ clubbing’. Night-life to me now is literally just that. My life is at night. It means getting up feeding babies and changing nappies at hours that used to reserved for hailing taxis or tucking into a Jason Donervan. But if your nights are spent out of the house then you won’t be stuck for somewhere to go. You can dance to the old cheesey classics, rock at Ramshackle, it is the home of drum n bass or you can enjoy
overpriced cocktails in a number of the city’s secret bars. Whatever genre whatever your ideal night you’re sure to find it…. Nightclub on a boat? Yep.
4. The history. Bristol is a city steeped in history. From its shameful links to the slave trade to its industrial heritage championed by Brunel. The city was once a bustling port which brought prosperity to the city. It was this during this Georgian period that a lot of the city’s architecture is attributed to. Merchants and traders built beautiful imposing homes, with intentional symmetry and grandeur designed to impress and show off their prosperity. As their wealth grew traders started building these homes further away from the centre and the smell and bustle of the port. They started to populate areas like Clifton and Redland. These beautiful homes now attract eye watering prices. The average house in Clifton and Redland currently sells for an average of just under half a million, with some pushing on that seven figure sum. A wonderful example of an historic Georgian House can be seen at the Georgian House Mesuem, which has preserved the house (inside and out) of merchant and slave trader John Pinney. It is definitely worth a visit.
5. Festivals. Throughout the year Bristol plays host to a number of different festivals. August bank holiday always welcomes the balloon fiesta. This includes the ascent of scores of balloons in the day and the fabulous night glow where you can watch balloons ignite to music. The summer months also welcomes the harbour side festival, jazz festival, St Paul’s festival and a personal favourite of mine the food festival – free samples a plenty. All are a great day out with or without kids, serving up a variety of food and drinks with all kinds of music and activities to keep you or your little ones entertained.
6. Greenery. For a large city Bristol boasts a large number of considerable sized parks. As someone who used to work in the city centre I certainly appreciated being able to sit in the park on those lovely summer days during my lunch break. Another fantastic addition to this bristols cycle network. You can cycle the dedicated cycle track (no roads included) into the city centre to avoid the daily commute. Or cycle the leisurely 15 miles along the green (in summer) tree lined track to Bath. There are numerous cafes and pubs you can stop at en route if you are travelling with the little ones or have just built up a thirst. Bristol was in fact named the first cycling city and was awarded £11.4m in grants toward enhancing its cycle network.
7. Art. Bristol is the home of the ever popular Banksy and examples of his work can be seen around the city centre. I never really appreciated this when I lived there but looking back I now view it as something unique that adds character and creativity to the city.
8. Accent. Rite m’luv, this is a controversial one. Marmite you might say. Now don’t get me wrong with a glass of plonk and my nan on hand everyone does becomes my luv and me babber but as a general rule my accent is relatively non existent. My grandma saw to that “Sarah it is butter not bu’eerrr” “it’s birTHday not burfdee”. Not being satisfied with the re-writing the English dictionary Bristolians seemed to have coined entire phrases that don’t really make a great deal of sense, such as where’s it too? and the infamous ‘cheers drive’ . Further every sentence is finished with ‘mind’ and ‘alright?’ Is not actually a question or an adjective it is a greeting. The accent is often one of ridicule (but aren’t most) and I was never really a huge fan growing up there. Now however I hear it and I think I’m ‘ome.