Bristol is a city in the Southwest of England, now known for producing some of electronic music’s biggest artists. The city that brought us Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack is also home to a lot of history and makes a great day trip from London.
Getting to Bristol from London
Trains leave frequently from London’s Paddington Station and the journey takes about an hour and forty-five minutes. National Rail fares start around $70, roundtrip. The first train leaves London around 7:30 a.m. and the last train back departs Bristol around 10:30 p.m., depending on the day of the week.
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery (Queens Road) is a great place to visit, filled with as much interesting artifacts and stuff as it is artwork. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sundays) and admission is free.
The city’s magnificent Bristol Cathedral (College Green) was built in the 1500s and remains a tribute to the Medieval craftsmen who built it. Guided tours are given on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a suggested donation of $7.50.
The Red Lodge Museum (Park Row) is an amazing place. It’s more a preserved piece of Elizabethan history than a museum, as it’s a manor house fairly intact from the Tudor period. It’s fascinating to walk through to see how a rich family would have lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The building was built in 1580 and features seven preserved and restored rooms on two floors. Admission is free and the museum is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The property is closed from November through mid-April.
Eat A Pitta (In the St. Nicholas Market) is the go-to street food place for Bristol foodies. They serve a modern, British take on this classic Middle Eastern dish for about $7.00. Mayflower is a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Bristol that’s also a big hit with the foodie crowd. The place draws many local chefs after service (always the sign of a great restaurant), as Mayflower serves until 3 a.m. each night.
Connections to the U.S.
The city’s sad history with the slave trade connects it to America via the Triangular trade. This took manufactured goods like weapons, textiles and alcohol from British ports like Bristol, to West Africa, where they were sold or traded for slaves. The slaves were then shipped to colonies in the Caribbean and America. The same ships then returned to Bristol with things like cotton, sugar and rum, largely produced by those slaves.
This connection can be visited at the city’s Georgian House Museum (Great George Street), built by a wealthy plantation owner who made his money growing sugar cane harvested and processed by slaves. The house is a perfectly preserved and restored example of a Georgian home of the mid-18th century, down to the furnishings and silverware.
More from this contributor:
My 5 Essential Istanbul Travel Tips
LA’s Best Luxury Hotel Restaurants – Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel
Yet Another Fun Night Out in Hong Kong