This week on the blog takes us back to Christmas 2015 in the South West of England on the River Avon. Here is my three day visit to the charming cities of both Bristol and Bath.
We arrived in Bristol early afternoon, this would be our base for the next few days giving us the chance to travel around the surrounding area for the long Christmas weekend. After getting to our room the first thing I always check is the view – our room had beautiful views over the river Avon with Christmas lights draping all along the riverfront.
After getting settled we ventured out to experience what the city had to offer. If you have visited Bristol, you will know about the harbour. Beautiful with it’s mix of architecture, modern flats to Victorian red bricked buildings. Bobbing yachts and house boats line the harbour walls, and cool barista cafe’s and bars share the board walk space.
After a walk round the harbour we headed into the city centre which was an effortless 10 minute walk along the river from our hotel. We walked straight into a lively Christmas market – the atmosphere was electric, the smell of chestnuts cooking and Christmas music rung out. I love this time of year, everyone seems so happy.
After a spot of Christmas shopping we stopped by CHOMP, recommended by a fellow blogger, Chomp started life as a converted horse box outside a train station and is now a popular burger joint boasting specially brewed beer and a long list of bourbon.
10 St Nicholas Street
Time to hit the hay.
We couldn’t miss out on the chance to see Bath at Christmas so we jumped on the train from Bristol and spent a day wandering the cobbled streets.
Famous for its Georgian terrace houses, Cream teas, Jane Austin and Thermal spa waters – Bath is one of the most quintessentially English cities. Oozing with English charm Bath bringing visitors from across the world to marvel at its World Heritage sites such as the Roman Baths at its 18th-century Georgian architecture.
Especially at Christmas this charming city comes alive with traditional Christmas markets, decorated across the city.
Off the train a short wander into the town centre we headed straight into the Christmas markets. The markets had typical British feel with the majority of the stallholders Bath based companies and most of the products available were handmade in the UK – although there was still the opportunity to get a huge bratwurst!
Next stop was a tour round the Roman baths. What a fascinating place, free audio tours provide you with a great deal of factual content, and show interesting artifacts associated with the site taking you back to 70AD; but my ‘best bit’ of a trip here is simply walking in the footsteps of Roman bathers, and seeing the buildings as it would have appeared to them! The displays offer great insight into the broader history of Bath, and the Roman settlement that sprung up around the natural springs.
A steep fifteen minute walk from the city centre you can see the finest examples of Georgian architecture. The Royal Circus and Royal Crescent boasts some truly unique architecture with arguable the best views of Bath and surrounding areas. . You can even go back in time to the 18th century inside Number 1 Royal Crescent which has been turned into a museum and see how the Georgians lived, complete with authentic furniture and decoration
1 Royal Crescent
While in Bath you can’t miss Pulteney Bridge, just a short walk from the city centre this is one of the most famous sights in Bath, a shop-lined bridge over the Avon river called Pulteney Bridge, built in 1774 . Best admired when standing down on the river bank.
Just before we left we even managed to squeeze in a bistro dinner before jumping back on the train to Bristol. As always, never enough time to explore.
The day started as all last days start – Checking out of our amazing hotel which had been home for the past two days.
A short wander down the riverside we stumbled upon an incredible coffee place called Spicer & Cole I urge you to visit. Beautiful pastries and the most delightful flat white – what better way to start your final day!
Spicer & Cole
1 Queen Square Ave
A family member recommended visiting the Bristol suburb of Clifton before returning home, so we diverted past and I am so glad we did.
Clifton’s main attraction has to be its breath-taking suspension bridge, opened in 1864 the Clifton Suspension Bridge is set on the spectacular cliffs of the Avon Gorge and has become an important and defining symbol of the city of Bristol. After driving across once we immediately parked up and took a stroll across, admiring the unsurpassed views of the ancient gorge (you can even feel it wobble!).
We took a short walk from the bridge to the observatory which had the most remarkable views of the valleys and the impressive Clifton suspension bridge. I’ve heard this is a great place to come during Bristol’s hot air balloon festival, where you have the opportunity to sit on the hill and watch hundreds of hot air balloons fly past.
After grabbing some lunch in Clifton I quickly stopped by Hoko, a small, independent menswear boutique located in the heart of the village, this space felt as much like a minimalist art gallery as it did a clothes store.
24 The Mall
Before night fell we were on the road again heading home. A quick divert via Stonehenge to marvel at the prehistoric monument was something we couldn’t miss and that nicely concluded our trip.
We had seen so much, but at the same time only scratched the surface. If only we had more time, until next time….