Bristol Harbourside Highlights

At the heart of the city since Anglo-Saxon times, Bristol’s buzzing Harbourside is a hive of activity and (especially in the warmer months) is a gorgeous part of town to explore. In the three years I’ve spent getting to know Bristol, a trip down Park Street to wander the Harbourside has always proved to be worth the journey. Here are a couple of my favourite Harbourside haunts that I would recommend checking out on your next visit. 

First things first, COFFEE: Sip a latte on the terrace at the Mud Dock. 

Mud dock bristol Above an award winning cycle works, selling bike related goodies and providing bike related knowledge, is one of my favourite Harbourside cafes. The airy and rustic warehouse feel is perfectly complimented by the dangling greenery (and bicycles) and beautiful big windows looking out over the Harbourside and some of bristols famous coloured houses. The real treasure though, is the large South facing balcony, where you can catch come rays, drink some great freshly squeezed orange juice and enjoy the views of the Harbourside.

mud dock 2 Mud dock bristol 3

The deets:

Mud Dock Cafe, 40 the Grove, BS1 4RB.
Open: Monday 10am – 5pm. Tuesday – Friday 10am – 10pm. Saturday 9am – 10pm. Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Americano – £2.00 (Hazelnut latte £2.80)


Check out one of the Harbourside cultural attractions: Learn about Bristol at M Shed.

M Shed Bristol As museums go, I would say that M shed is up there with the most creative, imaginative and engaging. Objects and pictures are incorporated together, things are hung from the ceiling, carefully placed on top of each other and overlooked by enormous buses, bikes and bits of buildings, all to tell the tale of Bristol – of the history of the places we know and love, and the stories of the people who lived there. It gets interactive points too, there are leavers to pull, buttons to press, hats to put on and props to play with – not forgetting the huuuuge map of Bristol on the floor (use one of the magnifying glasses to spot your house!). Pick up a First World War trail at the entrance for a focused trip around the galleries (including a visit to the freestanding Anderson Shelter where you can kit yourself out in WW1 gear and listen to the sound of the sirens – really evocative and medium scary!) to find out stories and facts about the people and places of Bristol and their involvement in the First World War. M Shed Bristol M Shed Bristol

The deets

M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping road, BS1 4RN
Price: FREE
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm. Sat, Sun, Bank Hols. 10am-6pm.

Hungry? (And thirsty?) Grab a pizza and try some cider at The Stable.

The Stable Bristol The stable has a reputation for being good at two things – seriously good pizza, and a seriously large amount of cider, and my friends, these two things are up next in my harbourside highlight tour. If the weather is kind, grab a seat on one of the picnic benches alongside the water (budge up next to some strangers if space is short, don’t be shy!) and enjoy great views of the boats (and swans) whizzing past, as well as the fountains in the centre. It’s especially atmospheric at night with fairy lights strung along the walkway and buskers providing the soundtrack (expect a couple of token renditions of Wander Wall). The Stable Bristol Harbourside The pizza is fantastic. The locally sourced toppings are on sourdough bases, and the selection is fab. My favourite is Billy the Kid (£12) ft. goats cheese, caramelised onions, mushrooms, spinach, tomato, mozzarella and hazelnuts. Delicious. The cider here is also pretty great, and I feel like any day trip in Bristol ought to include at least a pint or two of the apply goodness. For those of you with Menu anxiety or who might be overwhelmed by the choice of over 60 ciders, the stable offer a tasting board of 5 third-pints (£7.50). My friend Olly and I opted for this and, as well as leaving a lot merrier than when we came, decided that they were all “pretty apply”. Give it a go and tell me your reviews. The Stable Bristol Cider

The deets

The Stable, Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bs1 5UH.
Open: Food from 12-10pm. Drink cider until 11.30.
A pint of cider: £3.80

Watch a film you might not otherwise at the Watershed (and then review it)

Bristol Watershed Trips to the Watershed always feel like a really special experience, as not only was the film itself a little bit of a gamble (they tend to show more ‘artsy’ stuff than the type found in Screen 1 at the Odeon) but also the cinema was gorgeous. There are three cinema screens at the watershed and each is much smaller than the average cinema experience, and so much more intimate. Plus, the seats are deliciously comfortable and raised for perfect view. You are encouraged to bring drinks and snacks from the bar (a small glass of wine £3.10) and then to leave thoughts and feedback on the review board – like an IRL twitter feed. Grab a bite to eat at the Watershed’s cafe and bar where they sell organic, seasonal, local food all week – as well as late night snacks until the cinema closes at 23.00. Bristol Watershed Cinema

The deets

Watershed, 1 Canons road, Harbourside. Bs1 5tx.
Box office: 01179275100
Tickets for films before 16.00 – £5.50 full price. £4.00 students.
Tickets for films after 16.00 £8.00 full price. £6.50 students.

More cider?? Yes. All aboard the Apple, Bristol’s waterborne cider house.

The Apple Cider Bristol Now the cider has transformed into the pre-drinking location of choice for my arch&anth friends and I, so I can tell you from experience, it can get a litttttle busy here, especially in the evenings when the queue for a pint can initially seem a little daunting.. But hold fast, it’s worth the wait. There is a brilliant choice of over 40 different ciders and other apply drinks – and student prices available Mon-thurs!! Most popular is undoubtedly the Old Bristolian – at a whopping 8.4% it is sold by the half-pint, but is especially appealing due to costing only £1.50. Grab a glass and a seat on the deck or on the quayside terrace and laugh about ridiculous exam questions while looking out over the harbour. Perfect. IMG_0508

The deets:

The Apple, Welsh Back, BS1 4SB.
In summer open Midday to Midnight (Sundays midday-10.30pm)
Students get halfpints from £1.50 Monday-Thursday

You should now be feeling medium buzzy. SO time to get your groove on in Thekla – the nautical nightclub.

IMG_0518 Thekla was created as a ship-based theatre in 1982 by Ki Longfellow (married to Vivian Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) and it is now a nightclub/music venue on a cargo ship moored in Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Keep an eye out for acts and ‘nights’ that are put on. I inadvertently found myself dancing away to Gorgon City one night at Thekla and another time (during Bristol’s Dot to Dot Festival) managed to catch a performance by James Bay (just months before he got ‘big’). Thursday nights are ‘Pressure’ nights, when photos are black and white with flashes of red, indie and alternative tunes are boomed out and drinks are two for the price of one. Stumble up and down the warned of stairways to various decks, peer out the griming portholes and find your way to the deck/balcony overlooking the lower dance floor. Further note: they’ve redone the toilets. They are class. IMG_0517

The deets:

Thekla, The Grove, East Mud Dock, BS1 4RB.
Get there from 10pm – but beware. The later you leave it, the longer the queue. It closes around 3am.
I think, depending on who’s playing/what night you’re doing to, entry is something like £4.00 with a student card and nearer to £6.00 without one.
I think a can of Red Stripe costs about £3.50??
The details at this establishment are pretty blurry to be honest. They once also had a slushy alcohol drink. That went down a treat but also probably has something to do with the preciseness of these ‘deets’.
@Theklabristol     IMG_0519And so concludes this mini-tour of my Harbourside highlights. Have I missed anything? Recommendations eagerly received!  And don’t forget to check out my other Bristol-based blog posts!


On finishing university?!?!

So, you guys, don’t freak out, but I have some medium enormous news…

I have completed my degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol.

I admit I am still in shock. I have yet to catch up on sleep (or game of thrones) but I thought a quick post thinking back over the adventure that was my uni experience and also looking forward to the adventures to come would be cute and topical. So here goes:

I have submitted 27 essays. Sat through 9 exams. Written a 13,000 word dissertation. Thrown up 9 times (that I can remember). Been on 3 compulsory zoo trips. Visited 7 castles. Managed 9 (rainy) days of digging. Had 16 housemates. Racked up £27.000 worth of tuition fee debt (and even more student loans) Let’s not talk about that part. Had 6 jobs. And ultimately, survived 3 years – 156 weeks – of studenthood.

Boiling down three years of my life into a list of numbers feels pretty bizarre. A typical anthropologist, qualitative data is more my cup of tea. But where to begin when summarising such a roller coaster of an experience? I have learnt so much. Not just about Aztecs or Athens or Primates or Personhood, but about living with others, drinking cheap cider, making an unknown city a home, and writing entire essays in all-night stints.

The weirdest thing for me now that I’m done is that for literally the first time in my life, I have no real plans or deadlines. From progressing through school, taking GCSEs in order to take A-Levels in order to get into university, I’m suddenly left with… whatever the hell I want. In the next couple of weeks I have arranged to take part as part of the Social Media and Public Engagement team at an archaeological excavation at Berkeley Castle (See more about that here) and I know that I will be spending the summer in the Alps as a holiday representative (more about that to come), as well as a planned family trip to the Isles of Scilly, and a later trip to Istanbul with L. But come September I will be returning to my family home, to my single bedroom in the attic with my cats, and then…. what?

A little bit terrifying to suddenly have infinity choices..

I suppose it’s true that the world is my oyster, but I just wish that it was a slightly smaller oyster and that someone could come and show me how to do that thing with the lemon and the vinegar and the little forks and the gulping – The oyster analogy actually is a little bit confusing. Let’s move on from that. WHAT I MEAN is that I wish someone could come and tell me what to do with my life and how to do it. However, I suppose I just have to have faith that things will work out how they are meant to and that it will soon become clear what my future holds. Or not. Either way, one thing I have definitely learnt in the past three years is that even when things get really really REALLY crap, you are stronger than you think and can and will endure. So there world. Bring it on.

Any advice from those of you who have graduated and have already tackled the Big Bad World of grownuphood? Anyone else in the same boat as me? GUIDANCE PLEASE!