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Exploring Bristol by Land and Wave



exploring bristol

With some of the UK’s most talented street artists in residence, centuries of history to dig through and winding waterways leading to remote corners of the West Country, Bristol is a city worth exploring. The question is, where best to start?

Bristol Walking Tour

Every day at 10.30am and 2.30pm, a young fella by the name of James can be found outside the Victoria Rooms (at the bottom of Whiteladies Road in the city centre) wearing a bright green t-shirt and a natty backpack. He’s a tour guide with two main aims; sharing insight into the city’s history and heritage, and sharing the love for his hometown.

college green

James in action on College Green 

James leads curious city-walkers up the hill into Clifton, over to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, down Park St to Cabot Tower, onward to College Green then across to the Floating Harbour — actual route may vary — all the while shedding light on the hidden corners of this amazing city. With a flip-book full of images from Bristol’s colorful history to hand, he brings the past to life with enthusiasm.

You don’t need to book to join James’ informative and relaxed tours. He doesn’t charge for his services, you simply pay what you think his tour was worth. Walks take place whatever the weather, and last around two hours.

clifton walking tour

Bringing Clifton’s history to life

Bristol Packet Tour

We’ve all seen ‘em… gorgeous boats of all shapes and sizes cruising along Bristol’s busy Floating Harbour. But do you ever wonder where they all go?

Bristol Packet is one of the city’s more traditional boat companies. Established in 1973, they run four boats from the Floating Harbour out along the waterways. You can follow the harbour past the lock gates toward the Bristol Channel — passing under the Suspension Bridge and following centuries of maritime history — or inland along the pretty Avon River to Beezy’s Tea Rooms.

Bristol river

Fine River Avon views from the bow of Tower Belle, on route to Beezy’s Tea Rooms for a pint.

Perhaps the best thing about Bristol Packet is the boats themselves, and the stories they tell. Bagheera is a sleek sightseeing vessel from Amsterdam, with cozy café-style seating and picture-windows.

The Flower of Bristol is a purpose-built boat bolted together in the early eighties right here in Bristol, with panelled saloon for up to 50 people. Redshank is a traditional narrowboat with a roll-down canopy and bags of character.

And then there’s Tower Belle… perhaps the most beautiful of all the boats in the fleet. She was constructed in the roaring twenties up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (presumably as part of the War effort). Banked and abandoned on London’s Eel Pie Island, she was eventually rescued and brought to Bristol by lorry before being restored to her former glory. She now takes pride of place on the harbour, beaming elegantly at all who pass.

tower belle

Tower Belle, built in the twenties and once banked on the Thames

All of Bristol Packet’s varied vessels boast full bar and WC facilities, and are available for public, private and educational trips.

Further reading

For more details on James’ Bristol walking tours
For more details on the Bristol Packet’s boat tours
For more scribblings from @cjcallaghan




Don’t Be A F***ing No Show, Bristol



Don’t be a Fucking No Show

This is an article I’ve wanted to write for a long time, but the recent chaos that the snow caused in Bristol reminded me to get on with it – as apparently our lives had to stop and we all lost our minds. Restaurant no shows are becoming a real problem in Bristol, especially for our independents. They’re losing money, and if we’re not careful we’ll lose them.

I do understand that plans/life can change, I don’t want to hold a gun to your head and force you to stick to every plan you’ve ever made. However, there are some very easy rules to follow if you want to go out and enjoy a lovely meal at one of our restaurants. They’re called manners. Simple, basic manners.

1. If you book somewhere and then your plans change, maybe you were snowed in or you got sick? Call and fucking cancel!

If you were going to meet a mate and then you couldn’t make it would you just think “ah fuck it, they’ll work it out when I don’t turn up”. No, you’d call, apologise and make new plans (unless you’re a complete prick). If the restaurant knows you aren’t coming they can try and find someone to fill your place, especially if they are popular and have waiting lists – but they need to be allowed the time to do that.

2. Don’t make multiple bookings and then choose one closer to the date and cancel the rest.

This is still complete fuckery. How hard is it for you to make up your mind? Why does the restaurant have to pay for you being a complete wet flannel? It seems that this is quite a common “thing” for people to do and think it’s ok if they cancel far enough in advance, and fair that takes away some of your dickishness, however, there are lots of other people trying to book restaurants. What if they call and can’t book because you’re holding a table just because “you can’t decide” and then they go somewhere else and then you cancel – see how cuntish this is? You’re basically a German hogging a sun bed on holiday, even though you spend all of your time in the pool. (Sorry for the horrible stereotype to my German friends.)

3. You are a grown ass person, start acting like one. The restaurant does not need to call you to remind you of an appointment you made.

Put it in your diary and sort your life out. I am a self-confessed idiot when it comes to organising my life and I still know when I’m booked to eat somewhere (mainly because I get all the food feels and think about what I’m going to eat for days pre-booking). If you fuck up, and we all do it, call to apologise. If the restaurant calls you, apologise. Don’t hang up, or pretend like life isn’t happening outside of your bubble.

That’s it. Three simple points. In summary, if you make a restaurant booking turn up to it, if you can’t make it apologise and cancel, don’t book multiple restaurants and then select your chosen one closer to the date, if you fuck up make sure you apologise. BASIC FUCKING MANNERS.



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Bristol’s First Ever Seabin Could Be Coming To Harbourside



Crowd funder for a Seabin in Bristol

You may not have noticed but Bristol’s harbourside is filled with rubbish, plastic and pollutants.

However ‘The Bristol Seabin Project’ is looking to increase clean up efforts by raising enough money for Bristol’s first ever Seabin.

What’s a Seabin I hear you ask?

sea bin

Well it’s essentially a bin that can catch;

  • 90,000 plastic bags/pieces of debris a year
  • an estimated 1.5 Kgs of floating debris per day (depending on weather and debris volumes) including microplastics up to 2 mm small

seabin catch

And how does a Seabin work?

It will cost £3,000 to get Bristol it’s first Seabin and in the last few days over £2,585 has been raised and it’s looking likely that the target will be hit.

The project has managed to get the full go ahead from Bristol City Council, Harbourmaster and several other organisations now with more support coming in everyday.

You can help the project hit the goal even faster by donating here 

More about Bristol SeaBin Project






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The Downs Bristol Tickets Go On Sale



downs festival
Credit Chris Cooper

Forget the snow, this is the most Bristolian thing you’ll do all summer

Yep, it’s a winter wonderland out there. Bristol looks beautiful in the snow, people have been skiing down Park Street, making snowboards out of ironing boards, and being good Samaritans helping cars and people out of the snow. Bristol, you’re good in the snow. But, know what you’re also good at Bristol? The summer, with a pint of cider in hand and amazing music in your ears.

So, for one minute let’s delay that snow angel, hold fire on the snowball fight, put the toboggan fashioned from a bin lid down because tickets for The Downs are on sale- RIGHT NOW! And this year looks like the best one yet. We’ve got Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Orbital, Basement Jaxx, The Heavy and Goldie and the Heritage Ensemble all playing at what will be Bristol’s biggest outdoor music event. Sweet Bristol goodness!

If you are among the Bristol hardcore today then you can get your ticket in person from the Bristol Ticket Shop in Broadmead and The Love Inn at Stokes Croft.

For the rest of us we can just get the via, and



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