Twenty four hours in Bristol

Fast gaining a reputation as a food destination town, Bristol in the southwest of England is polishing up its redundant dock area to become the heart of the restaurant, nightclub and pub scene.

Promoting the life in the City
Promoting the life in the City

Long famous for its sherry (Harveys of Bristol) and the city is now creating a buzz for Michelin-stared food as well as for ‘good, hearty local food’. Harveys has an upmarket cocktail (Harvey Cellars) bar serving drinks including Harveys Balm Cocktail made with their Bristol Cream, Cointreau and orange juice. With the cider drinking renaissance continuing apace, the city is also becoming a hub for the drink produced in huge volumes from orchards in the surrounding Somerset countryside.

Part of Bristol's buzzing Harbourside
Part of Bristol’s buzzing Harbourside

There are at least four places to brush up culinary skills including Bordeaux Quay and  Ruby & White Butchers, where classes focus on game, poultry or beef.

Most visitors and many locals head for the Harbourside area to see sights such as the world first ocean-going iron-hulled passenger vessel, the ss Great Britain. Launched in 1843, it’s now permanently berthed about 250 yards from The Olive Shed, a small, lively waterside restaurant with a tight menu offering soups, mussels and chips and tapas. Currently ranked on Tripadvisor at #277 out of 1,167 restaurants across the city, I think it deserves to be a lot higher, not least for the atmosphere and people watching opportunities.

Another fun place is The Stable, again with a Harbourside view. With a tagline of ‘Pizza, Pies, Cider,’ it’s pretty clear what you’ll get here. Part of a small but growing chain of restaurants with openings planned for cities including Cardiff and Birmingham, I can recommend the Blazing Saddle pizza at £13, with tomato sauce, slow roasted pulled beef, locally smoked bacon, caramelised onion, grilled red pepper and mozzarella topped with sour cream and optional jalapeño chillies, or the Wild Rooster pie with chicken, gammon and leek wrapped in a thyme infused crust. For £7.50 you can get a ‘Cider Tasting Board’ of five drinks selected by the bar staff … great to taste different types of cider, however as they are not labelled you don’t know what you’re drinking making ordering your favourite a challenge!

The Glassboat, great for morning coffee
The Glassboat, great for morning coffee

For a morning Sunday coffee and croissant with the papers, head for the Glassboat on Welsh Back. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the water, it’s a restful place to be for a couple of hours.

As you might expect, there are dozens of hotels, B&Bs and AirB&B apartmetns in which to sleep during your 234 hours in Bristol. Hotels such as The Berkeley Square Hotel and Hotel du Vin, catch the ey, and the wallet (!) which B&Bs such as The Brooks Guesthouse look pretty interesting, with three shiny, Airstream caravan converted to bedrooms, on the roof!!


The Stable          
The Glassboat    
The Olive Shed  


Bordeaux Quay
Ruby & White  


Hotel du Vin                   Hotel du Vin
The Berkeley Square     Berkeley Square
Brooks Guesthouse       Brooks Guest House


Harveys Cellars  
ss Great Britain  

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.

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