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!!

EAT OUT

The Stable                    stablepizza.com
The Glassboat              glassboat.co.uk
The Olive Shed            theoliveshed.co

COOKERY SCHOOLS

Bordeaux Quay          bordeaux-quay.co.uk
Ruby & White            rubyandwhite.com

STAY

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

OTHER

Harveys Cellars            harveyscellars.co.uk
ss Great Britain            ssgreatbritain.org

Bruce McMichael

I am freelance journalist and published author focusing on food and drink; business startups and enterprise; culture and travel. I have also written about the global upstream oil and gas industry, shipping and current affairs. 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.

4 thoughts on “Twenty four hours in Bristol

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