After enjoying city breaks in London, Edinburgh and Birmingham we decided to head to the south west of England for our next weekend away. My journey on board a CrossCountry train was pleasant, having an interesting conversation with an Edinburgh green keeper, learning about life on one of Scotland’s premier golf courses as we journeyed south.
After three and a half hours, my train pulled into Bristol Temple Meads station just five minutes behind schedule at 1.45 p.m. and it was good to find my son waiting to greet me as I stepped onto the platform.
Temple Meads station was opened in 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington. This railway station was the first to be designed by the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is now a Grade 1 listed building.
Our first stop was to the Bristol Central Travelodge on Mitchell Street, conveniently located for visiting the majority of the city’s attractions and not very far from the station. After checking into our room and leaving our luggage, we were ready for a bite to eat so we settled down in the Knight’s Templar pub where we planned our afternoon activities over a light lunch.
An hour later and we were ready to begin our tour of the city. Our first stop was at Temple Quay which lies to the west of the station and is a waterside development including a significant amount of office accommodation. It’s also the starting point for the Bristol Ferry’s service, which operate regularly through the city.
Continuing further, we arrived at Bristol’s Harbourside which at one time was the Port of Bristol’s busy dock area where merchants traded goods and ships sailed on voyages of discovery. Strolling along the quayside, we discovered that the area has been transformed into an attractive tourist attraction with shops, restaurants and cultural highlights lining the waterfront. Former warehouses have been converted into museums and galleries overlooking historic ships moored on the quay.
A quick check of our map followed and soon we had arrived at College Green which is surrounded by Bristol Cathedral, City Hall, the Lord Mayor’s Chapel and the Abbey Gatehouse. Entrance to the cathedral is free of charge and so we took an opportunity to admire the interior with its tall, gothic windows and clustered columns along the nave towards the main altar.
From the Cathedral we made our way to the top of Park Street so that we could take a look at the landmark building of the University of Bristol. Known as the Will’s Memorial Building, this neo-gothic tower was completed in 1925 and is considered to be one of the last, great Gothic buildings to be constructed in this country. We were able to walk into the entrance but public access is not permitted beyond this point.
It then started raining heavily, so we took shelter looking around the Broadmead shopping centre with its festive lights helping to brighten up a dark, damp evening. Finishing shopping, our feet were beginning to tire so we found a city centre pub to rest awhile, enjoy a meal and finalise plans for our next day’s activities.
There was only a slight drizzle when we returned outdoors and made our way to Millennium Square by the harbour to enjoy the Christmas Market with its ice rink, Ferris wheel and enchanting small wooden huts decorated with twinkling fairy lights.
Being a lover of Ferris wheels, we couldn’t resist the temptation of a ride on the Sky View Wheel for some stunning nighttime views of the city skyline from a height of 35m. The Bristol Christmas Market continues until 16th January 2018 allowing plenty of opportunities for visitors to come and enjoy the festivities.
It was then getting late, so we returned to the hotel to get a good night’s rest as we wanted to make an early start the next day.