I’m back home and feeling quite tired after a very hectic, but very enjoyable, 48 hours in Bristol.
We packed loads into our short time there, and managed to see and do most of what we’d wanted to do.
The weather was better than expected. Tuesday afternoon when we arrived was very hot and sunny. The rain that had been forecast for Wednesday and Thursday only really started an hour before we set off home, although we had a little rain for a couple of hours Wednesday afternoon.
We stopped in Brooks Guest House, which was more like a small hotel, really, in the centre of the old city.
Their rooms are small, but very tastefully decorated and equipped
and the public rooms were very nice too. The breakfasts were really good and freshly cooked to order and the staff were all extremely helpful and friendly.
Although it’s several miles inland, it used to be a major port and is proud of it’s maritime heritage, even though for many years that was principally involved with the slave trade. Access to the port was via the tidal River Avon and this was tamed in 1809 Bristol when the “Floating Harbour” was completed. Impractical for modern shipping, the port closed closed in 1975, but today it’s been regenerated with many of the city’s leisure, “heritage” and cultural attractions centred on it.
There’s some good architecture around the city with lots of Georgian houses
and medieval churches.
Of course, most of it funded by the Slave Trade (but that’s true of many of Liverpool’s buildings too). In general the buildings aren’t as grand as those in Liverpool or Manchester, but still good. It’s very different to other Georgian cities though – much less planned in the city centre (but more so in Clifton).
Bristol is a very compact city centre we were able to walk to most places – except for Clifton, but there was a very frequent bus that went up there.
The art on display at the City Museum and Art Gallery was quite limited due to restoration work and the galleries which normally show European Art 1300-1750, Victorian Art and British Art 1600-1840 were all closed, only reopening this summer. But there was a good international exhibition of contemporary art “No Borders” featuring works by artists from Asia, Africa and the Middle East which included a work by Al Wei Wei (a ton of tea – literally).
Contemporary Art was also represented by the Arnolfini Gallery on the waterfront. But then there was the street art. Most of Banky’s stuff is out of the city centre, and we didn’t get out to see it (another time, perhaps) other than one work off Park Street
and another in the City Art Gallery.
But there was an unbelievable collection of street art that lined a street of otherwise scruffy buildings on Nelson Street – "See no evil". I’ll be devoting a post to that.
And then there was Brunel. I’d visited S S Great Britain before and seen the Clifton Suspension Bridge a few times when I was over in Bristol on business, but the great ship is worth a repeated visit a pleasant walk along the Floating Harbour.
And the bridge is so beautiful and in such a fantastic setting I’d never tire of seeing it. It appeals to me both artistically and from an engineering perspective.