10 Things We Love About Bristol

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1. From Brooklyn to Bristol: Britain’s Street Art Capital

Bristol’s street art reputation is preceded by its famous and equally elusive export, Banksy. However, Bristol beyond Banksy is an incredible place. A city bound by the shame of its slavery roots and inspired by its historic willingness to stand up and protest, every wall in Bristol (and we mean every wall – plus most doorways and dustbins) tells a story. Across the city centre, the Bearpit, St Paul’s and Stokes Croft; artists come from around the world to stencil, graffiti, paste-up and sticker.

But Bristol isn’t just an art gallery to be admired, it’s a living canvas. The writing on the wall today can be gone tomorrow, so walk with your eyes open and see everything – but especially these:

Cosmo Sarson’s breakdancing Jesus (Hamilton House)

El Mec’s woman and child (Nelson Street) Nick Walker’s suited man pouring red paint (Nelson Street)

Cheo and Minto’s wrap of Lakota (Moon Street)

Banksy’s hanging man (Frogmore Street)

Don’t miss: Bristol’s Upfest – Europe’s largest free street art & graffiti festival, held annually in July.

2. Bristolians

Not one person fell over in shock when Bristol was voted the UK’s kindest city in 2016. Community-minded, liberal and fiercely passionate for their beloved city, the good people of Bristol… we just love you.

3. That accent

All lilting West Country vowels and occasional talk of tractors, having a conversation with a Bristolian is liked being hugged by a big bushel of cider. What we mean is, weak at the knees. Speaking of which…

4. The Cider

Entrance to the orchard-filled fields of the south west, Bristol is famously fond of the cloudy stuff. For lazy Sunday afternoons on the apple sauce, check out The Cori Tap, The Apple, The Crofters Rights and The Lazy Dog.

5 Trading Places

Supporting its foodies, amkers and traders; Bristol loves a market. Take your bag-for-life to the Harbourside Market (Sat & Sun) for a weekly festival of food vans, musicians and handcrafted curiosities; and to iconic St Nicholas Market (Mon – Sat) for independent stalls and lunch hour street eats.

6 Clifton Village

We don’t want to get all period drama about it , but Clifton’s elegant sweeps of pastel terraces, ornate balconies and calm green spaces make us positively swoon. Will someone please pass us a bonnet, stat.

7 Live music

The hometown of Massive Attack and Portishead, Bristol’s live music scene is legendary. Pass by any Bristol pub and you’ll find posters pasted to the graffiti advertising that night’s line-up. Try The Golden Lion, The Canteen, Cosies, The Old Duke, The Louisiana and the legendary Lakota.

8 Proximity to greatness

Bristol is no country bumpkin backwater. Bath, Glastonbury and the Cotswolds are both on its impossibly impressive doorstep. And within 90 minutes of crossing that famous suspension bridge, you can be surfing in South Wales or North Devon; or singing from the mountain tops in the Welsh Brecon Beacons.

9 Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristolians love it, so we love it. Held in the beautiful grounds of Ashton Court Estate, the whole city turns out with a picnic blanket and slab of scrumpy to watch Europe’s biggest balloon festival. It’s held over four days in August.

10 Stokes Croft

Home to Bristol’s creative community, independent shopkeepers and the country’s best street art, there may be more Eggs Benedict available in Stokes Croft nowadays, but this gentrifying neighbourhood hasn’t lost its diversity, not-for-profit pride or its famous rebellious streak (the 18 foot “Think Local, Boycott Tesco” is hard to miss).

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