Today, my friend, Katy will be telling to us about Bristol. Like Hannah and Nailya I met Katy through a Facebook blogging group. Also, like Hannah and Nailya, she is really awesome and probably one of the nicest people I've met via the internet. She blogs about faith and modest fashion at CounterCultural CounterCouture. I'm really excited to have her tell us about one of those lesser known areas of Britain. I think the street art alone makes me want to buy a ticket there now!
"I have a confession to make. This post is supposed to be about somewhere I travelled to on holiday. Well, Bristol is kind of one of my local cities. As in, it's under an hour away form my town by train. However, by British standards, an hour is ages away and, although I have loved what I have seen of Bristol in the past, I had never explored it as fully as I felt it deserved. So when my friend, Robbie, was doing a mass visit of his English friends (Robbie is from the Scottish Highlands, so it's a bit expensive to visit us all regularly), it seemed the perfect opportunity to explore one of my favourite cities a little bit more. Plus, I had promised Jasilyn a guest post at some point and really needed an opportunity to take some photos because no one like a blog post without photos.
First, I want to give you a little background on why I think Bristol is so cool, particularly if you're a blogger. Here, in Great Britain, blogging is really beginning to take off with small groups of bloggers springing up all over the place. Outside of London, Bristol is one of the biggest blogger communities, and this is in large part thanks to Sophie and Hayley. They have founded and run #BlogClub for a few years now, encouraging bloggers to meet in real life and learn from each other. Although I've only made two actual #BlogClubs, it has always been a real encouragement that there are places where bloggers are not strange and taking street style shoots is not weird. And really, that is the main reason why I seriously wanted to explore Bristol.
A trip to Bristol for me always includes the train and quite often the bus. As I don't drive, I have become quite the connoisseur of train stations, and Bristol Temple Meads is one of the best I have come across. I even used it as a style shoot location one early Saturday morning when I was traveling to Harrogate. As architecture goes, which I know nothing about, it's quite a stunning building with a lot of original features.
Once I was off the train and bus, my first stop before collecting the boys was Stokes Croft. I've gone through it on the bus dozens of times but never actually got off there. Considering that is where Banksy started and is Bristol's graffiti hub I had to remedy this. I was totally rewarded by some of the most amazing graffiti art I have ever seen, from the political to the absurd. I think my favourite was the giant but realistic blue tit I found down a back street.
All that snapping of graffiti had made me a little hungry, so I headed for the whole food cafe I had spotted before. The Wise Beans definitely had an indie, whole food, little bit hipster vibe but the food was delicious. I had a toasted hummus, tapenade and roast veg sandwich, made with door-wedge worthy slices of granary bread. The lemon verbena tea was great, though a little difficult to drink as the leaves were left loose in the mug. But with free wifi and comfy seats it was ideal for a quick rest before heading back to the station to collect Robbie and Tom.
Our next stop was Cabot Circus, Bristol's shopping centre. We also discovered it was home to a really cute jungle-themed mini golf course. Of course, we had to have a game which ended in a surprise win for Robbie. The course itself was great but pointed out how much I need to work on my mini golf game!
I had already decided that Robbie and Tom needed to take a walk down by the harbour. It's one of Bristol's key features and has been turned into a massive tourist hot spot on one side. We chose to wander along the other side, exploring some church ruins and catching up as we followed the river. Eventually, we ended up at the M-Shed, Bristol's free city museum. We didn't actually go in but instead just sat on the harbourside, chatting and enjoying each other's company. (I have been to M-Shed before and definitely recommend it.) It was nice to give my feet a rest even if dangling my feet over the harbourside did make me feel about 16 again. But hey, knocking 8 years off isn't always a bad thing.
We started to get a bit chilly, eventually, so Tom and I decided it was a good chance to introduce Robbie to Boston Tea Party. BTP started life in Bristol and has since spread across the West Country, becoming one of my favourite places for a variety of teas. We stopped off for smoothies, milkshakes, and a warm up before legging it across Bristol to say our farewells and jump on respective trains.
Fifty minutes later, probably filled by working on the blog and listening to podcasts, I was back home. I love visiting Bristol and this trip was the best one yet. Sharing a city with your friends and discovering new parts of it makes a standard trip into one filled with memories. Next time you're in the UK, I definitely recommend Bristol as a place to make those memories. If you love graffiti, even more so."
Thank you for sharing, Katy. Don't forget to visit her blog, and if you want more you can visit her Instagram! You can read more from the Traveling With... series here. If you're interested in working with me and sharing about your hometown or a favorite place to travel send me a message here. I'd love to hear your ideas and see how we can work together.