Interview with a Local : Bristol – home of the balloon fiesta!

 

Today we chat to Justine about her hometown Bristol in the UK. Bristol is the home of the International Balloon Fiesta and is also a shot hop skip and a jump from Bath, a Unesco heritage site. Justine keeps a blog Wanderer of the world  which she writes about her adventures around the world with her fiance Scott. Justine works full time as a content marketing executive and travels in her spare time. You will find articles about many places including Hawaii, Iceland and California on her blog and will soon be going to Tokyo for the Olympics! Check her blog out here.

Justine & Scott at Clifton Suspension Bridge Overlook in Leigh Woods

Where are you living?

I’m living in Bristol – a cool little city in the South West of England.

Tell us about yourself?

Hi, I’m Justine! I’ve lived in Bristol for over 5 years, after moving here to work for a software company in the city centre. Initially I was living here on my own and in house shares, but I now live in a rented house with my fiance with the hope to settle our roots here together … at least for the next few years! Bristol is such a trendy city and I’m happy to call it home.

I was originally born in Germany (in a small town called Osnabruck), but we moved to the UK shortly after I was born. Growing up in Hampshire in the South of England, I became a true country bumpkin at heart. That might be why I chose the suburbs of Bristol rather than the city centre now that I live here.

Aside from travelling extensively, I love to bake (chocolate cheesecake is my specialty), I’m an avid reader (currently reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank after a humbling trip to Amsterdam) and I love visiting National Trust properties here in the UK.

What is your favourite thing about Bristol?

Bristol has got quite a bit of a hipster, trendy vibe to it. With so much to see and do and lots of free festivals throughout the summer months, it’s perfect for 20-somethings. Plus I absolutely love the graffiti art scene and Banksy really put Bristol on the map so to speak!

Bristol Street Artists At Work

What is your favourite thing to do in Bristol with a day off?

It’s definitely to mooch around the independent shops along Gloucester Road, which is one of the longest streets of independent boutiques. You’ll be sure to find some vintage and unique pieces of clothing and home decor here, akin to Portobello Road Market in London.

This is also a great area to see some cool pieces of Banksy street art (Banksy originated in Bristol, don’t ya know?) There’s several pieces of Banksy art near this area and some of my favourites include:

The Three Cloaked Men

The Mousetrap

The Mild Mild West

What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Bristol?

This may be a little cliche but you definitely have to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge whilst in Bristol. If you park up at Leigh Woods, and follow a trail through the woods, you’ll come out in a spot that has the perfect view of the bridge and Avon Gorge! For the history lovers out there, Clifton Suspension Bridge is an iconic work of art designed by Brunel and is actually now a Grade I listed building.

nathan-riley-340629

Also, whilst you’re in Bristol, you should make an effort to head to nearby city: Bath. It’s about 10 minutes on the train and is an amazing city to visit – the whole city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site! In Bath, you should go to the Roman Baths (also known as the Pump Rooms), Bath Abbey, Jane Austen Museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens (which is actually free to visit)!

Any top tips where to go/ what to do on a rainy day? 

You should head to Cox and Baloney’s Tea Room along Cheltenham Road. With about 15 different types of tea on offer, this is a picture perfect place to come for tea and cake or splurge on their full afternoon tea! (You can even opt to add some bubbly)! In my opinion, this is the perfect rainy day activity! And if you really like their tea? They sell it in their shop or online!

Cox-and-Baloney-Afternoon-Tea

Where is your go-to restaurant?

This is definitely Za Za Bazaar at the Harbourside. This place offers views over the harbour (if you sit on the right hand side) and allows you to pick foods from around the world. With each food island being a different travel destination – from India to China to Japan to USA, you really will find something for everyone. There’s even an entire island dedicated to desserts! Come during the lunchtime slot and the food will be cheaper although you won’t get a full selection of everything, but it’s still worth doing … and remember, it’s “all you can eat!” It’d be a shame not to!

Zaza-Bazaar-Food

And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening?

Bristol is a treasure trove for amazing drinking spots, so I’m going to offer a few here:

  • Browns Brasserie Bar in Clifton: It looks like a mini Doges Palace from Venice and offers a vibrant atmosphere for both drinking and eating! Although this is a slightly more “upmarket” bar, you can still get away with keeping it casual if you want.
  • Cosies in Portland Square, St Pauls: Not many people know about this one as it’s hidden away downstairs in a cellar. But the clue is in the name — come here for a quiet drink in a cosy place, complete with caves outside and fairy lights inside. You’ll also spot a church pew or two that are over 100 years old!
  • Full Moon Backpacker Hostel and Attic Bar in Stokes Croft: The perfect place to spot backpackers and meet people from all over the world. Come here on warm evenings and take advantage of the large pub garden outside, complete with Shisha Bar. I recommend the apple flavoured one to share with a group of friends!

Is there one thing not many people know about Bristol?

Well, Bristol’s won a few awards over the years, such as:

  • Awarded European Green Capital in 2015 (the first city in the UK to win this award)
  • Voted the best place to live in the UK for 2017 by The Sunday Times
  • Declared European City of Sport in 2017 by The European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation

Basically, the above shows that it’s not just us locals who love Bristol!

Aside from that, you should also know that Bristol is home to the International Balloon Fiesta (the largest in the world), which is free to attend. And the Harbourside Festival in the summer is also pretty amazing (and big!) … and free!

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Anything else you think we should know?

There’s so much more to say about Bristol, but I’ll leave it with a suggestion to see somewhere pretty damn cool here (which not many people know about).

If you Google an area called St Werberghs in Bristol, you’ll see a housing area and probably be asking why an earth I’m recommending this to you! But if quirky buildings are your thing, then a walk around the houses here is definitely for you! I’ve seen houses that look like boats, wonky houses like something out of a Disney movie and just plain strange looking houses. It’s also a good place to spot local graffiti artists and even come to a city farm! St Werberghs really is for the weird and wacky, but I’d definitely recommend it!

St Werberghs House

And last thing from me (an insider tip): Pick up a copy of the Visit Bristol guide in the Cabot Circus shopping centre or in a tourist information office to get money off coupons for bars, restaurants and top sights in the city!

If you enjoyed this interview then you may like to follow Justine on these links below. As always I’d love to hear your own opinions on Bristol and what to do and see. Living pretty close to Bristol, I’m excited to try out some of Justine’s suggestions soon!

Blog URL: www.wandereroftheworld.co.uk 

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