Friday, December 20, 2013

Bristol, UK

As part of my goal to see more of the UK before I graduate in the new year, I've been trying to get ahead of my to-see list! Last Sunday, my friend Allison and I took a train to Bristol!  Allison is a first-year on the MPA programme.

The train ride from Paddington took a little less than two hours.  We loaded our bags up with coffee and snacks to begin our girls mini-weekend.

When we got to Bristol, it was raining- typical England. We quickly dropped our bags at our hotel  before we set off to explore the city. We had chosen to stay over night in order to get a full day in as well as have time Monday morning.

Our hotel was located only a ten-minute walk from the old city centre and five minutes from the train station. The old city centre was where we found Bristol Cathedral and College Green- the location of the present-day City Hall!

Bristol Cathedral
On our casual walk up towards the Senate House and the University of Bristol, we came across one of the three Banksy paintings that are located in Bristol. We never found the other two given time constraints, but we did find the "Window Lovers."

Window Lovers
Stopping for another coffee refill, we soon hopped on a city bus tour to learn more about the city's history and to see many sights that we didn't have time to visit. We learned about famous residents of Bristol including the man who invented self-rising flour, Henry Cabot, and even Blackbeard!

On our city tour, we got to see the SS Brunel. The SS Brunel was the first modern steamship in the world.

SS Brunel
Next to the museum that is now at the SS Brunel is the building for Aardman Animations. Not familiar with the name Aardman Animations? Familiar with "Wallace and Gromit?" They are the creators of the iconic show and characters. Unfortunately, the studio was not open for tours, and the Gromit statues had been auctioned off for charity.

Cold from the rain (oh, England), we stopped in to a pub for some ale and a serving of Sunday Roast.

Refueled, we embraced the cold and rain to go see the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Allison and me

View of Bristol from the Bridge
As we made our way back to the city centre and our hotel, the weather took a turn for the worse. A storm brewed with strong winds that forced us to camp out in our hotel room for the evening. It was a girl's weekend after all, so we turned on the X-Factor Finale, ordered some wine, and caught up.

Monday morning before our train left, we wandered over to Broadmead to view the German Christmas Market and grab some breakfast.

Before hopping on the train, we stopped quickly to view St. Mary Redcliffe Cathedral where William Penn is buried!

All in all, it was an awesome mini trip to Bristol. It's not at the top of many people's lists when visiting places outside of London, but I would say that it needs to be! Would love to go back in the Spring! 

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