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A weekend in Bristol

Bristol coloured houses

In March I travelled to Bristol twice for work and stayed overnight. Having only been to Bristol once before on a day trip for work, it seemed the perfect opportunity to stay the weekend. Here’s what we got up to.

For work I stayed at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel in College Green and it was wonderful. For the weekend though, we chose to stay in an AirBnb near the Cabot Circus shopping mall. The AirBnB owners are clearly inspired and proud of Bristol’s street art scene!

Bristol AirBnB

As my husband only arrived fairly late on Friday night, we just headed to the local Côte Brasserie for dinner. We’ve not been to a Côte for years so it was nice to go back to one and the food and service was great.

On Saturday morning we tried to find a Banksy, in Stokes Croft, that was close to where we were staying but we just couldn’t find it! It was as elusive as Banksy himself… I was determined to find at least one though and I did! This one is called Well Hung Lover and was painted in 2006. You can find it on Park Street, close to the Marriott Royal Hotel. Although sadly some obviously don’t like it, given the blue splotches and the writing over it.

Banksy's well hung lover

Before we saw the Banksy, we stopped off at St Nicholas Market which is Bristol’s largest indoor marker and has three sections: the Exchange Hall, the Glass Arcade and the Covered Market.

As well as lots of stalls, there are also quite a few places to eat too but we were there at around 11 so most of them were just setting up for lunch.

St Nicholas Market Bristol

I spotted a gorgeous old glass bottle on one of the outdoor stalls, which I bought as a vintage vase. Although it meant carrying it around all day and it was rather heavy!

St Nicholas Market outdoor stalls

After the market (and spotting the Banksy), we walked all the way along the river to Wapping Wharf, which had been recommended to me as a great place to have lunch at. We walked past the beautiful Cathedral, through the Harbourside area where we saw the Amphitheatre and crossed over Pero’s Bridge to the over side of the River Avon.

Bristol Cathedral
Bristol Harbourside

It was a beautiful day so lots of people were out and about and eating outside. Wapping Wharf is an area with old shipping containers that have been turned into shops and restaurants. It’s very cool! It’s also next to M Shed, which is a museum dedicated to Bristol life.

Wapping Wharf Bristol
Bristol's Wapping Wharf

Although it was lovely and sunny it wasn’t quite warm enough for us to sit outside. After having a look at all the places to eat, we settled on Gambas which is a tapas restaurant. We had a table by the window and the sun was coming through so it was nice and warm – in fact, I got really hot at one point! We could also see people eating on the terrace and had a view of the river.

Gambas at Wapping Wharf

The food at Gambas was great! We ordered a selection of tapas, including patatas bravas, broccoli, fried aubergine with molasses, grilled whole fish and pork skewers – delicious!

Fish at Gambas Bristol
Tapas dishes at Gambas Bristol

After a delicious lunch, we walked further along the river and spontaneously jumped aboard a boat that was heading on a 45 minute harbour tour. For all you foodies, here’s a list of 11 great places to eat brunch in Bristol.

Our tour guide pointed out sights such as Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the Bristol Harbour Railway which is a steam train – and more. I took this photo of the steam train though when we were walking.

Bristol Steam train

We also sailed past The Matthew of Bristol, which is a replica of a ship sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to North America. It’s really beautiful.

The Matthew of Bristol

I love how there are so many coloured houses in Bristol. They just look so pretty and brighten up the city. Along the river you get some great views of them.

Bristol coloured houses

After our boat ride, we decided to walk to Clifton. From the river, there was a lot of uphill walking to get there! Clifton is an affluent area of Bristol, with lots of boutique shops and Georgian townhouses. In Clifton you’ll find Clifton Village, Clifton Arcade, Bristol Zoo, The Observatory and Clifton Suspension Bridge so it’s definitely an area worth visiting.

Clifton Arcade

For me, a real highlight of Bristol was seeing the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and links Bristol to North Somerset. It’s also 150 years old! To get the best view of it, walk up the hill to where the Observatory is.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

We walked so much that my feet were killing me so we hopped in a taxi to get back to our AirBnb. Although we really only had the Saturday to explore Bristol, we fitted loads in. We loved it and will definitely visit again! Especially as it’s less than 2 hours from London.

Exploring Bristol in the UK

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.




  • Laura

    Bristol looks like a lovely place!

    Laura ||

    • Kirsty Marrins

      It really is Laura! A very cool city.

  • kerry

    Bristol looks like a great City! I am shocked that I knew so little about it. Just the fact that they have Banksy art would get me there! I love the look of the waterfront restaurants too, I think a few cold glasses of the good stuff would go down just right sitting there….. Great post Kirsty xx

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thanks Kerry! I think you’d love Bristol! Lots of culture and great restaurants. I spotted lots of vegan ones too.

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