Any TV show you’ve seen featuring a servant or farmer will have included a mangled attempt at a Bristol accent, probably by someone trained at RADA. Why not hear it done properly by the real deal? Expect to be called “my cocker sparrow” or “my luvver” in shops, and make sure you say “cheers drive” when you get off the bus. Brizzle is a cracking city break – here’s the skinny from a purebred Bristolian.
1. The green stuff
Bristol’s really green. And I’m not talking about skunk (although the Daily Mash did once claim that a “fog” enveloping Bristol had a strong aroma of cannabis). Bristol is the European Green Capital for 2015, so it’s the perfect place to get some good West Country air in your clogged lungs as you walk along the Avon or through great swathes of parks and forests. Walk across the Clifton Suspension Bridge from the massive open green space that is the Downs to the rolling Ashton Court estate, checking out the amazing views along the river.
2. On your bike
You don’t actually feel like you are taking your arse in your hands when cycling in Bristol because it’s the UK’s first cycling city, and one of Europe’s most bike-friendly destinations. Bristolians love a good ride and, with plenty of bike hire programs like Cycle The City, there’s no excuse not to get in the saddle. Choose from hangover-busting riverside trails, city-centre cycle lanes and exhilarating, mud-splattered fun on purpose-built woodland tracks.
3. Drink up thy zider
Every Bristolian teenager cut their drinking teeth on scrumpy, said to be made with the rat-infested water from the Avon. Nowadays there’s loads of much better cider options at places like the Bristol Cider Shop, the Coronation Tap in Clifton and the floating boat-pub The Apple.
4. Vintage shopping
St Nicholas Market, a Grade I listed building, was built in 1741 and is the last 18th-century building of its kind. The Rolling Stones played here in the 60s, and you’ll still find plenty of brown sugar (sorry) at coffee vendors dotted throughout. There are different markets on different days, ranging from organic food to gifts, and in the adjoining Glass Arcade you’ll find food from around the world. The whole area is a cosy and charming Dickensian time warp where the hours will fly by.
5. Cave paintings
The vibrant Stokes Croft is the most cohesively graffitied spot in Bristol, including some vintage stencils from Bristol native Banksy. Real fans might also want to get to the suburb of Bedminster (known as Bemmy to the locals) to visit North Street’s Upfest urban art gallery. If you fancy seeing what else the local creatives are making, head to Park Street – which was shortlisted for the Great British High Street Award in 2014 – for an array of indie shops.
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