Bristol has been home to i-escape HQ for many years now, yet we’re still head-over-heels for this vibrant West Country city. And with its thriving foodie scene, independent ethos and endless activities, what’s not to love? Our Assistant Editor Melissa rounds-up the best of Bristol for your next visit.
Wapping Wharf is a gorgeous new harbourside hub of independent restaurants and shops, many of which reside in industrial shipping containers. Pick up some West Country nibbles at The Bristol Cheesemonger and Bristol Cider Shop, or seek out some decorative mementos at The Mighty Quinns Flower Emporium, Mabboo (bamboo clothing and accessories) and Fig1 (gift and home store).
There’s an unassuming little street nestled in residential Redland, which has inexplicably grown into one of Bristol’s most innovative foodie hotspots. Chandos Road, just a hop, skip and a jump from i-escape’s office, is well worth seeking out for its independent (often Michelin recommended) eateries. One of the newest and most exciting additions is Otira, a tapas bar and restaurant whose menu and wine-list is inspired by the owner’s world-wide travels.
Alternatively, foodies may choose to stay just outside the urban sprawl, at grand country house hotel and restaurant Backwell House. Being just a 15-minute drive from Bristol, you can combine city adventure by day with relaxed fireside cocktails by night. During our recent visit, we revelled in a delectable dinner, ranging from smoky BLT-style appetisers to a tangy deconstructed rhubarb and custard pudding. i-escape guests also receive a complimentary bottle of wine – divine.
Bristol’s Floating Harbour is on many visitor’s must-see list, but how about viewing it from the vantage point of a stand-up paddleboard? Take to the water at dawn and you’ll be gliding past the SS Great Britain as the sun rises. In summer, there’s also a Kids SUP Club, where ages 8-13 can learn the sport, gain confidence on the water, and have lots of fun outdoors.
Built in the 1920s, the Grade II-listed Everyman Cinema building underwent an extensive renovation before re-opening its doors in 2016. Visitors can now enjoy the latest blockbusters, as well as the building’s many original Art-Deco features. This is a truly luxurious cinema experience, complete with comfy armchairs, a cocktail and wine bar and a pizza menu – you can even build you own ice- cream sundae.
For one weekend each summer, south Bristol’s North Street (the high street hub of Bedminster and Southville) plays host to Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival. Artists flock from all over the world to paint at various locations along this 1.3km street. As well as watching the artists at work, you can enjoy outdoor kids’ workshops, music and food throughout the weekend. Combine with a Banksy tour of the city for the ultimate Bristol street-art experience.
For a city break, there’s no finer residence than Georgian townhouse hotel Number Thirty Eight, whose lofty sash windows gaze north to the green expanse of Clifton Down and south over the city’s tumbling rooftops. i-escape guests receive a delectable complimentary cream tea as part of their stay, perfect for refueling after an afternoon perusing the charming boutiques and elegant architecture of Clifton. You’ll also be within an easy walk of Brunel’s famous Suspension Bridge.
Melissa’s taste for travel began during a month-long expedition to Malaysia, and since then she’s taken every opportunity to discover pastures new. From babysitting lion cubs on a South African reserve to trekking the Atlas Mountains. She spent 6 happy years on the i-escape editorial team, before embarking on a freelance editing and writing career.