Sunday, 13, August 2017
- Filed under:
- The Bristol
An Afternoon on Bristol Harbourside with Heather Cowper
Guest Blog from Bristol Based Blogger, Heather Cowper
We invited Bristol Blogger Heather Cowper to join us for Afternoon Tea and share some of her favourite things to do on Bristol’s Harbourside
Afternoon tea is something of a summertime tradition; scones spread thickly with clotted cream, bite-size cakes and macarons, cucumber sandwiches layered with cream cheese. With so much to enjoy, what could be better than an afternoon spent overindulging with afternoon tea at The Bristol, followed by a walk around Bristol Harbourside to work it all off. When the weather’s fine and the water’s sparkling, you can easily make a day of it.
We recently invited Bristol based travel blogger Heather Cowper to join us and share some of her favourite things to do around the harbour over a few cups of Darjeeling.
M-Shed and the cranes
I love to dip into the M-Shed museum (which is free!), to discover something new about Bristol’s history and people. There’s an exhibition that covers Bristol’s involvement with the slave trade and an early Banksy ‘Grim Reaper’ stencil that was cut off the side of the Thekla ship nearby. My top tip is to go up to the roof terrace on the 2nd floor where you get a fabulous view across the harbour and can look down on the cranes that are part of Bristol’s industrial heritage – they seem to have a personality all of their own.
Take the train along the Quayside
At the weekend, there’s a small steam train manned by enthusiasts that carries passengers from M-Shed along the dockside. Originally these trains might have been used to move tobacco or bananas unloaded from ships, when Bristol as a busy working harbour.
Just beyond M-Shed, you’ll find Wapping Warf, teaming with small restaurants, cafes and shops. It’s a great showcase for Bristol’s thriving independent foodie scene. With many of the businesses housed in old Cargo containers, the area has a buzzing atmosphere when the sun’s out and the terraces are full.
SS Great Britain
This restored iron steamship is one of Bristol’s un-missable attractions. Designed by the great Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it set sail from Bristol in 1843 and was brought back in the 1970s to be restored to its former glory. There’s so much to see, with the cabins showing what life was like on board, a museum to tell you the history and you can even dress up in costume, or climb the rigging like the sailors of old.
The old pumping station for Bristol’s floating harbour is part of the city’s industrial heritage, with an interesting visitor centre and a room dominated by the huge pumping machinery. There’s also a working boat yard, where you can see beautiful wooden yachts being made or restored if you peep into the big shed. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than sitting outside to watch the boats come and go around the harbour.
Take a ferry around the harbour
If you’ve walked the length of the harbour and need to rest your legs, I’d recommend taking one of the ferries that run around the harbour. It’s a fun way to get a different view on the city as you look up from the water and watch the boats, kayaks and even paddle boarders as you head back towards the hotel. If you don’t make it as far as Underfall Yard, there is also a ferry that takes you across the harbour by the SS Great Britain. From there you can walk back on the other side and make a loop through Millennium Square.
This is my favourite place to people-watch on a sunny day, when the open plaza is full of children splashing in the fountains and trick-bikers trying out their moves. I always say hello to the statues of notable Bristolians like Cary Grant, who was born in Bristol as Archibald Leach. There are community vegetable gardens, places to fill up your water bottle and you can even charge your phone using solar energy. The At-Bristol science centre, with the silver ball of the planetarium is always popular with families.
The Bristol’s Vintage Afternoon Tea is available 7 days a week (£17.50 per person + £8 for a glass of bubbles). Booking in advance is advised.