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!


Admire the Bristol Skyline – By Day/By Night

Despite its size and industrial connections, since arriving here almost three years ago I have come to view Bristol as an unexpectedly beautiful city. From its famous brightly coloured houses, its glorious gorge cutting through the landscape and its patches of welcome greenery supplied by its parks, fields and woods to the majestic old buildings towering high amongst the tower blocks, Bristol’s skyline is truly remarkable. This post is about my favourite spots to admire the beauty of Bristol by day and by night.

By Day: Climb to the top of Cabot Tower to take in the sights

For this daytime sightseeing trip, head to the oldest park in Bristol, Brandon Hill. This beautiful hillside park is a perfect picnic spot with flowers, trees and water features so pack some snacks, maybe a flask of something hot (or, once the weather is a little more forgiving, bring a couple of beers) and enjoy the panoramic views of Bristol. Climb up the cramped, steep, spiral staircase and emerge at the top of the 105ft tower, built in the 1890s to commemorate explorer John Cabot and his voyage to Canada. The tower itself can be seen towering over the city with its winged angel on top – especially at night time when it flashes. From here you can see to Clifton with its iconic bridge, the harbour side dotted with boats, the spires of the Wills Memorial building and its Museum neighbour and beyond. Remember to bring your camera with you – this is the epitome of a kodak moment.


Useful Info.

Admission: Free
Opening Times: From early morning until dusk. 8am – 4pm Winter. 8am- 7pm Summer.
Bring: Your camera. A Picnic.
Address: Brandon Hill Park, Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5RR.
Access via Great George St., Jacob Wells Road and Berkeley Square.
Twitter: (Unofficial – but very funny) @The_Cabot_Tower

Extra hint

On your way home, why not pop into Rocotillos, Clifton’s own American 50’s style diner (featured in the TV show, ‘Skins’), for one of the BEST milkshakes in Bristol. Chocolate and Hazelnut or Cookie Dough are strong choices, but pick from a wide wide selection – including some alcoholic ones and some which sound pretty mad, but are definitely delicious. They also have an extensive menu of breakfasts (including the highly popular American pancakes), lunches and coffees.  Plus, the place itself, complete with booths, mirrors and twizzly retro stools, is so reminiscent of Grease that it gets me humming Summer Lovin’ every time. Check them out!


Useful Info.

Milkshake: A little more or a little less than £4.00
Opening Times: Mon-Wed 08.00 – 18.00. Thu – Sat 08.00 – 19.00. Sunday 10.00-17.00
Address: 1 Queens Row, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1EZ
Website: Here is their Facebook page
Twitter: @Rocotillos

By Night: See the city lights from the Clifton Observatory

Venture up above the Suspension Bridge to the Clifton Observatory and take in the views of Bristol by night. There is something literally magical about seeing the city lights shining beneath you while sitting under the stars, especially with Brunel’s “first love”, the bridge, lit up in the foreground and the outstanding gorge and Avon river winding its way below. It is my go-to place to watch Fireworks on Bonfire Night as you can see them going off all over the city, and in the summer the fireworks display for the Balloon Fiesta over at Ashton Court is also viewable from this spot. Maybe grab some take away fish and chips from Clifton’s (medium-expensive) chippy in the village and if you’re feeling impulsive, buy a bottle of prosecco to accompany your dinner! Enjoy!

Useful Info.

Admission: Free
Opening Times: Always
Bring: Food? Drinks? Gloves?
Address: Clifton Down, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3LT. (Right next to the Suspension Bridge)

Extra Hint

Now’s your chance to pop into the famous Coronation Tap! Clifton’s only cider house, first mentioned in documents in the early 1800s, the Cori Tap is a top destination for anyone over the legal drinking age (bring your ID if you look under 25 because they can be fairly strict at the door). With an enormous selection of ciders, including their very own WORLD FAMOUS ‘Exhibition’, and a calendar full of music events, you’re in for a good night. If you’re feeling daring undertake the legendary Cori-Challenge and attempt to drink 10 Exhibitions before 10pm. However, a word of warning: this stuff is deceptively tasty and yet is so potent that they sell it only by the half pint! You’re not a true Bristolian until you’ve got at least three half-remembered yet mortifying anecdotes to tell about a night at the Cori. Let me know your records! I once managed 5 and the rest of the evening is a blur…

Useful Info.

An exhibition: £2.50
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 17.30, Saturday and Sunday 19.00 – and they usually close about midnight. Get there early-ish if you want a seat, otherwise expect to be standing against a wall somewhere! It can get VERY busy.
Address: The Coronation Tap, 8 Sion Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4AX.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Bristol-based blog posts! Perhaps check out THIS one about my Harbourside Highlights.

Grab a coffee and some brunch at the Birdcage

EDIT: March 2015 – The Birdcage has closed down?!?!?! no. NO. Noo. But I’m keeping this post here just in case (please please please) they reopen.

Congratulations to those of you who have survived the January exam season! This post is for any Bristolians who may be feeling a little worse for wear after post-exam parties and are looking for a coffee/brunch pick me up in a quirky and creative cafe.


The Birdcage, in the heart of the Old City, right next to St Nick’s Market, is a gorgeous, trendy spot to get your caffeine fix. Priding themselves on providing “yesterday’s clothes, today’s coffee and tomorrow’s music”, the Birdcage can give you a bit of whatever you need. Seriously good coffee to go, healthy (gluten free/dairy free/vegan) lunch and an array of cakes or healthy snacks are only a few of the treats available. The charming and eclectic decor, with mismatched leather sofas and armchairs, retro bicycles as wall hangings and cute vintage crockery, makes settling in with a drink and a book both calming and inspiring. They also offer a range of vintage items for sale, as well as a number of (mostly free) music events including a weekly Open Mic Night, perfect spot for an artsy night out. If you haven’t already checked out the Birdcage, do so. You won’t be disappointed.


Useful Info:

* Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am-10/11pm.
Saturday 10am – 11pm. Sunday 10am-6pm.
* Food options: Delicious brunch and lunch menu, with dairy free, gluten free and vegan options, all cooked with local produce. (My favourite – Earl Grey poached pears on porridge with warmed honey and toasted pine nuts – £4.) Also snacks including probably the best vegetarian scotch egg I have ever eaten.
* Cup of Coffee: £1.90 Americano. (£2.65 for a vanilla latte – but be adventurous, they have an extensive drinks menu, including frappes, smoothies, and a large range of loose leaf teas) – Full Drinks Menu HERE
* Bring with you: a good book or a good friend.
* Music Nights – Listings on their Facebook page
* Address: 28 Clare St. Bristol. BS1 1YE
* Phone: 0117 929 1130
* @birdcagebristol


Meet the animals at Bristol Zoo Gardens

I had one of the best days last weekend on my adventure to the brilliant Bristol Zoo Gardens. With over 400 species to gawk at in a beautiful 12 acre zoo, it’s definitely worth a trip into Clifton for this one. Plus, they’re a registered charity, so the admission goes towards their conservation projects – REALLY, then, you might say that you kind of ought to go.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to visit this exciting spot both as part of my anthropology course, but also every week as a volunteer. For a special treat, however, on the last weekend of September (which by some stroke of luck was a pretty sunny day) I got to go back to this fantastic place to explore as a proper visitor.

Highlights for me included catching feeding time in the reptile house and watching the Mountain Chicken Frogs leaping after their agile prey (lots and lots of bugs) while a lazy looking boa eyed up a bunch of mice (gross but also weirdly great). Watching the enormous Western Lowland Gorillas (whose scientific name is Gorilla gorilla gorilla which in my opinion is brilliant) pottering around, climbing and running and picking at their food with their forever-surprising dexterity. Jock (the silverback) weighs an incredible 32 stones of pure muscle, and it’s crazy to watch him peel the lids off yoghurts and licking the inside (You can catch the Gorilla feeding and talk at 14.30). I loved watching the Fur Seals playing and darting around the water. You can see them from above, practically leaping out of the water whenever they surface for a breath, but even better is popping below to see them swimming upside down and shooting around under the water – perfect spot for a SEALFY hahaha (You can watch these guys being fed and listen to the talk at 15.30).


Another definite highlight was the visit to ‘Explorer’s Creek’ (RIGHT where I belong) home of the Rainbow Lorikeets. For a small fee (I think it costs 70p for a pot) you can feed these crazy dudes some nectar and seriously, if they’re feeling greedy, what feels like a whole flock of these fellas’ll come and land on you. At one point I had a lorikeet on my shoulder and another on my head. So much fun! And it was gorgeous to watch Larry’s reaction as these beautiful birds settled on his arm.


To finish off the day we popped into the butterfly house. A lovely, tranquil end to the day watching the beautiful South American butterflies (including Blue Morphos and Pale Owls which are HUGE) fluttering and floating around. If you stay really still, they’ll even stop on your shoulder long enough for you to take a photo.


Although quite an expensive adventure, it was a beautiful day regardless. Bristol Zoo Gardens has a great collection of animals to look at, so if you have a day at your disposal and wildlife and nature is your jam, then a trip to Bristol Zoo is a definite must. Much hilarity will be had and I guarantee you will learn something new and see something that amazes you.


* Admission: £15.95 for adults and £13.90 for students.
(If you buy online you can grab yourself 10% off ticket prices, and if you’re a uni student there are some societies that you can join including BUVZS which gets you discount entry)
* Opening times: 9.00-17:30 peak times and 09.00-17.00 off-peak (i.e. winter).
* The Cafe is open for lunch between 11:45-14:30, but you can get coffees and little snacks there throughout the day. I can’t remember how much a coffee is… Sorry. I’ve let you down.
* Bring with you: a Picnic, A flask of coffee, Your camera.
* Bristol Zoo Gardens,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA
* @Bristolzoogdns


Learn about Egyptians at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

As an archaeology student in my third year at university here, it’s embarrassing to reveal that it has taken me so long to properly explore this treasure trove. But this summer, I finally got round to having a proper mooch around the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and guys, it did not disappoint.

Sitting proudly at the top of Park Street (next to the Will’s Memorial Building… you can’t miss it), the impressive Edwardian building is host to 20 galleries over 3 floors. Whether you’re into geology or inventions, the natural world or archaeology, dinosaurs or painting, there will be something in here to interest you. AND, (best bit), it’s completely free. FREE. Seriously. So there’s no excuse. Even if you’re just popping in for a coffee at their café or going to check out the beautiful architecture and the gorgeous wide entrance hall with high glass roofs, grand staircases and marble floors, it is definitely worth a visit.

Along with some temporary exhibitions (you can see what’s on at the moment HERE), there are some permanent galleries to check out, including a display of the wild life in the West of the England (= taxidermy. Brilliantly creepy), a dinosaur/’sea monster’ gallery (one of the sea monsters was pregnant when it died and you can see it in the fossil?!), and an Egypt exhibition.

The Egyptian exhibition explored the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, looking into the ways that they expressed their views about life, death and the afterlife. There was an enormous collection of beautiful artefacts grouped into these themes, and you could read more about the objects on touch screens and explore and respond to them on computers. I seriously enjoyed this more interactive way of learning about the people that inhabited the area we call Egypt for more than 12000 years. #prehistoricpardy #archaeologyaction

Useful Information:

  • Museum and Gallery opening times – 10.00-17.00 weekdays. 10.00-18.00 weekends.
  • Facilities – Café. Lockers. Toilets. GIFT SHOP!
  • Cup of coffee – £1.90 (Vanilla latte: £2.70)
  • Bring: Your interested self.
  • Bristol Museum and Art Gallery,
    Queens Road, B8 1RL (it’s very very hard to miss)
  • Http://
  • @bristolmuseum

Inamun Coffin Lid and Case – on display in the Egyptian gallery. Over 2,600 years old, dating to the 25th or 26th Dynasty (675-640 BCE) in the Late Period. From Thebes and made of wood, this coffin is typical of the period and is covered with texts and images of gods.


The museum has a large collection of real Egyptian artefacts and has been collecting them for over 150 years. The lighting in the gallery is kept low to preserve the objects.



The Museum cafe has a wide selection of hot and cold drinks, as well as some food and cakes.

If you liked this you might like to read some more Bristol-based blogs or some more Museum-y ones.

Classy relaxation treat day at the Clifton Lido

Relax with friends at the luxurious Clifton Lido. The outdoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, hot tub and poolside bar make for a gorgeous day of indulgence. It’s £20 for an afternoon pass so is one of the more expensive adventures for this student explorer, but as a special girly treat it was perfect. 

2015/01/img_0304.jpgI am lucky enough to have the self-confessed Queen of disorganisation as one of my very best of friends. She is notorious for triple booking herself -which to prioritise? A frisbee training session, a night out on the town or a 5,000 word essay due in the next morning? – and you can see her bedroom floor biannually at a push (it’s a great event and a wonder to behold.. there’s sometimes even a champagne reception). But the absolute best thing about my glorious best friend’s disorganisation, is that I got to enjoy my Christmas present last week in the gorgeous July sunshine.

As a special luxurious treat, we snuck off to Clifton’s hidden oasis, the fabled Clifton Lido. For £20 each between 13.00 – 16.00 the Lido baths open their doors to the public for swimming – and seriously.. It is so worth SPLASHING out (hahahahaha).

Off St. Paul’s Road and round the corner of Oakfield Place, sits the unimposing Lido, next to the equally unassuming Victoria Pub. But stepping through the doors, first opened in 1849, you find yourself in a completely different land. The outdoor pool, glistening blue and tumbling over the sides sits in the middle, with changing booths with coloured drapes on one side and wooden tables with potted plants overlooking from the other.


It is a world away from the local leisure centre’s warm patches and shrieking, splashing children. It is decidedly classy and ‘grown up’ and we grinned to each other, in our (almost identical, Urban Outfitter) bikinis remarking that it was hard not to feel wealthier and more glamorous with each serene length that you complete (keeping you hair and sunglasses, of course, out of the water). Bathers lounge in the sun at the far end, chatting, laughing, often with prosecco in hand. Diners sit at the tables along the waters edge, nibbling on tapas and freshly made bread.

After having enough of swimming and basking in the heated but refreshing central pool, we nipped into the hot tub, tucked away at the side. Utterly relaxing – lacking only some chilled out music and maybe some mojitos… We then popped into the steam room (which – surprisingly – was pretty hot.. and steamy) once again looking out onto the pool, and then into the sauna and finished off the circuit by pulling a chain that dumped a bucket of cold water onto our heads. Everybody in the pool heard our shrieks and giggles.. Hardly the chic, adult vibe we were aiming for. 


We then spent some time chilling out with some drinks at the tapas bar by the side of the pool. There’s a lengthy menu of exciting drinks and snacks – some of which are naturally more expensive than others – but there is still some choice which isn’t crazy expensive for students wanting to treat themselves. We both decided to enjoy the Lido Classic teas which were only £2.50 for a pot each. Maddy enjoyed a sort of spicy, black and green china tea with ginseng, lapacho bark and lemon fruit, while I (ever the sweet toothed one of our duo) enjoyed a green leaf Indian tea with hawthorn fruit and mint. We also had a small sample from the tapas menu, with the most delicious and light tasting houmous I have ever sampled (£3.00 for a bowl with a little freshly made bread) as well as some syrian lentils (also £3.00).

To end our classy classy day of classiness, we made full use of the Spa Boudoir, overlooking the pool, with vintage dressing tables equipped with hairdryers and straighteners.


Useful Info

  •  Afternoon swimming pass available Mon-Fri, 1pm-4pm for £20. Including full use of pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub.
  • Spa and Poolside Bar opening times – 8am -11pm (9am-6pm Sunday)
  • Cup of coffee – £2.25.
  • BRING: Swimming costumes, towels, conditioner and moisturiser (for afterwards obv).
  • Lido,
    Oakfield Place,
    BS8 2BJ
  • @lidobristol

P.S. Like this post? Read some more of my Bristol-based blogs. Peace outtttt xx