9 August 2013

Welcome to my home town - Bristol

Hi all (and Free People),

When I found out about the Free People competition to be their guest blogger for a month I got very excited. I discovered Free People in New York and it was love at first sight! I am sure that if they do decide to make a permanent home here in the UK there will be lots of others with me welcoming them with open arms. So here is my entry on my home town of Bristol....

Bristol is the heart of the South West, and its where I have lived my whole life. I guess I know it quite well by now. It's such a colourful city, with so many different things happening, a huge diversity of people, and so many interesting places both old and new. I have tried to whittle it down a bit to give you a snap shot of what its like here. I hope you enjoy. Oh, and welcome to Bristol...

St. Nicholas Market is set in the old city, and its brimming with character. Packed with stalls selling everything and anything you can think of. The smells of incense and fresh cooked food entwine and beckon you in (the free falafel samples are pretty tempting too) You can find an amazing bargin here on clothes, fabric or handmade goods. There is even a hot sauce stall! 

 I have always loved the Christmas Steps, they feel like they have jumped out of a Charles Dickens novel. I have never counted all of the steps, but I challenge you to. Dotted along the steps are small boutiques and specialty shops. From vintage furniture, to brass instruments, and the Bristol Cider shop. Each first Saturday of the month there is a crafts market here, another highlight of this little area.

You would have to be walking around with a paper bag over your head to not notice Bristol's amazing street art. Art shall no longer be restrained by the walls of a gallery. The best place to see the street art is Nelson Street, where the walls and buildings that edge the street tower over with giant murals and paintings. My favourite piece of street art has to be the most subtle one. The walls of the old police station became thick with dirt, and by washing away this dirt it exposed the stone underneath. This building has now come to life with birds, swallows and flowers where the wall has been cleaned.

Bristol is Banksey's home town, and he has truly left his mark here (literally) The image on the left is at the bottom of park street, and it always makes me smile. There happened to be art in progress when I had my camera out.

I had to include this place. Flavalanche is my favourite frozen yoghurt place in the UK. It's not been open for more than half a year, but I am already nearly through my first loyalty card (just two more to go!!!!) Self serve can be bit dangerous first time round, as you can't tell how fast its going to come out (I learnt the hard way!) They have a really great flavour selection, and change them frequently (my top picks are mango and the dulce du leche). This is definitely one of my top place in the whole of Bristol.

Cabot Tower is a great place to go to get a view of the city. On a clear day you can see for miles. And if you don't fancy the narrow stair case climb to the top then you can relax on Brandon Hill, along with the ducks and crazy squirrels. Those squirrels can sometimes get a little too friendly (but they do pose for photos on demand)

Welcome to Clifton. Clifton is my favourite area of Bristol. There are lots of vintage shops, quirky interior shops, and loads of independent cafes full of character and delicious smells. Wandering around window shopping here makes for a perfect afternoon, followed up with a cup of tea (well, we are British!)

The Primrose cafe in Clifton is a very popular place to head. The food is amazing and the service is great. Delicious cakes demand room to be left. And sitting alfresco in the sun feels like you could be in another country.

Lunch time today included a falafel wrap with tomato and chilli relish. It was amazingly good. (Mouth watering here as I type)

The Clifton arcade is a treasure trove, lined with vintage shops. There is a great bakery at the end which  fills the arcade with sweet smells.

Shopping for vintage is always exciting, as you never know what you will find (even if its only window shopping) As an avid fashion history fan I love finding out more about different eras of style through the enthusiastic shop owners. And trying on hats is always fun.

Clifton is beautiful, with it's Georgian buildings and quaint cafes. This flower shop had me drawn in with it's arrangements spilling out onto the street.

The Crescent in Clifton looks out with a stunning view. Walking along it feels like you have been transported to a different era. I like imagining who has lived in these houses. There are some lovely flowers edging the balconies and doors of the houses. Oh, and there's me with a post box. 

Finally, finishing up with the Clifton suspension bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This is an iconic image for Bristol, and a handy way of getting from one side of the river avon to the other. Whenever you fly into Bristol, if you are on the right side of the plane you should be able to see this landmark linking the land together.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at Bristol, and if I have inspired you to visit then we would love to see you here.

xox Niamh xox

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