Surprising Bristol – Part One

NB – This blog was originally written in 2011, and therefore the  information can be incorrect. Please use any weblink for accurate information, although this advice applies to all posts on this site.
The city of Bristol’s tourist numbers suffer from it’s close proximity to Bath. (roughly 11 miles)  From our recent trip to the sixth largest city in England, we were surprised to find ourselves with few fellow tourists. Maybe people are put off by the fact that Bristol was extensively bombed during the Second World War due to it’s large dock area at the time. Despite this, we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few styles of architecture that survived, more details will follow below.
The following is a rough guide to a day trip around Bristol’s main sights, and not so well known ones too, utilising the excellent bus services and a little footwork. This can be stretched out over two days or more if you would like to have a more leisurely wander. I will endeavour to provide accurate information on bus times and routes, but as ever, these are subject to change at any time, so I urge you to use the websites provided at the bottom of this page, to get up to date information on routes and times.
I would recommend using the park and ride (from now on referred to as P&R), rather than driving into Bristol’s traffic clogged centre. There are two routes in to the city from three P&R sites.
Locations  and route information here;
If arriving in Bristol by train, you should arrive at Temple Meads station not Bristol Parkway, which is situated in Bristol’s Northern suburbs.
Tour of Bristol & Clifton – Part One
If arriving at Bristol Temple Meads,  just walk down the Station Approach road to Temple Gate. Opposite is the Bus stop ‘TJ’, where people alight from the P&R 904 service.  From this stop follow Temple Gate to the left, entering Redcliffe Way. (A4044) You will see St Mary Redcliffe church ahead on the left. Users of the P&R 902 and 903 services get off at ‘Tt’ stop, opposite the church in Redcliffe Way, just after crossing over the Redcliffe Bridge.

This magnificent church looks like a Cathedral due to the size of the building and also the adornements inside. It has an open positon at the front, which just exagerates the size of the building. As you walk inside, the interior is impressive, with stained glass windows letting light flood in. Look out for an angled mirror in the aisle between the rows of pews on your left as you enter the church. This allows a view of the ceiling without straining your neck muscles.
In the churchyard at the rear, is a tram rail embedded upright in the ground. There was a tram track adjacent to the church, and this is a piece of the rail that flew in to the courtyard when a bomb hit the track. This has been left as a reminder of how close the bombs of WWII came to damaging the church.

From St Mary’s turn right and go back along Redcliffe Way to bus stop ‘Tn’. Take bus number 20 (Get a  Firstday ticket, £4, from the driver) destination Southmead, travel one stop to stop ‘Bq’. Then cross the road and walk through to the centre of Queen square where you will find this statue of William III;

Face the same way as the statue and take the right diagonal path that leads to Queen Charlotte Street (follow this road until you see the red brick building in the picture below and use the directions from after Llandoger Trow)
Alternatively, walk across the zebra crossing outside St Mary Redcliffe church to the other side of Redcliffe Way, turn left towards Redcliffe Bridge, go across the bridge and walk straight on in to Queen Square. Turn right, keeping the square on your left, keep following Queen Charlotte Street until you see this building on your right:

Just past this building on the right is the timber framed building Llandoger Trow, which is an old pub apparently used by smugglers, due to it’s close proximity to the Floating Harbour. You are now in the ‘Old Town’;

Keep Llandoger Trow pub to your left and opposite is Kings street where there is a row of old buildings and some fisherman widows houses, as above. As you exit King Street, you will see a pelican crossing in front and slightly left. Cross to the far side and turn left, you are back in Prince street and heading back to the bus stop (Bq) you alighted from if you caught the bus from St Mary’s.
From the ‘Bq’ stop, take either bus 24 or 25 (destination Horfield or Horfield Common)  and travel five stops to ‘Si’ bus stop in Union street. These two services have a ten minute frequency between them. From this bus top, face the direction of the bus, walk to end of the road, cross to the right and walk down ‘The Horsefair’

where you will find ‘The New Room’ on the right (look for the a-board showing the entrance) Teas and various cakes are on offer at reasonable prices. Look at all three floors with virtually no restriction (Not, unfortunately if you have limited moblility), although being John Wesley’s 18th century first Methodist place of worship it is rather plain, as you can see from the photo in the pamphlet above . The volunteers are very informative and friendly.
Go back the way you came from ‘The New Room’ and turn left in to Union Street again. Trek uphill (sorry) to the junction with Wine Street/ Newgate, go to the right and walk down Wine street on the righthand pavement. Ahead and slightly right you should see the Register Office which is the start of ‘Corn Street’. Walk down to the Corn Exchange. If you are thirsty there is a Wetherspoons along this street, and they had a good selection of milds in early June 2011;

This building will have a red & white clock with three hands on it, and a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the street. There is an indoor ‘St Nicholas Market’ next door to the Corn Exchange. If you are ‘lucky’ enough to miss the street market, there are four ‘nails’ in front of the Corn Exchange. This where the expression ‘pay on the nail’ comes from, as traders used to pay for goods with ‘cash on the nail’. Continue down Corn Sreet where there are quite a few ornate buildings.                                      Looking back along Corn Street towards the Corn Exchange;

Follow Corn Street in to Clare Street to the main road. Cross using the pelican crossing by the large metal brazier like structure to a bus stop straight ahead (Ci) it is in a large paved area with fountains and paddling pools to your left. From this stop in St augustine’s Parade get the Number 8 to Clifton.
The next part of this odysey, Clifton and back to Bristol, is continued in Part 2.
Feel free to leave any feedback, positive (yay!) or negative (boo!). If we need to come round with baseball bats as a consequence, we are sure you will understand. Maybe.  Only kidding.

Tips this time;  Take a (fairly long) piece of string to use as an improvised washing line.  Take some postcards or photo’s of your hometown/area away with you. A great icebreaker in unfamilliar places.Details of all of Bristol’s sights can be found here:  
Walking routes alternative to the bus (saves £4 for the pub!)
Tourist website;
Thanks for reading,
Mr & Mrs G

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