Local Talk

Bristol is Local Site of the Week – answers to these questions please?

(14 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet Fri 10-May-13 12:11:38

We're starting a Local 'Site of the Week' feature on the main site next week and Bristol is up first! We'd like to canvas your opinions to add some wit and wisdom to the feature. We'd love answers to the following questions?

What's your favourite thing about the area?

... and - confession time - your least favourite?

Which is the best child-friendly cafe? [name more than one if you like, and say why they're good]

... and the best place to go if you want a child-free night out?

Best outside space?

Favourite hidden gem?

Best free visitor attraction?

And finally ... come on, tempt us. Why should we move there?

exexpat Sun 12-May-13 15:56:15

Oh dear, this is looking rather quiet. Do you think you ought to flag it up on the main MN to get all the Bristol people over here?

My answers, FWIW:

Favourite thing about the area - hard to pin down, but mainly that Bristol is big enough to have everything you might want in terms of culture (2 universities, theatres, interesting museums, the zoo, loads of festivals, always lots of stuff going on), amenities, shops, restaurants etc, but is still small enough for everything to be within easy reach, and you are never more than about 15 mins drive from open spaces and real countryside.

Least favourite thing: lack of decent public transport system.

My DCs are a bit old to need child friendly cafes (teenage DS hangs out in cafes with his own friends these days) but I recently went to Playful on Chandos Rd with a couple of other MNers and their toddlers, and it seemed to be the kind of place it would have been useful to have around when mine were tiny: play corner, children's drinks and snacks, and I gather there's a soft play area downstairs, though I didn't go to look.

Child free nights out - well, I'm mainly a quiet pub sort of person, so i like places like the Green Man in Kingsdown, but you will also find me watching foreign films at the Watershed and having something to eat or drink in the bar/restaurant afterwards. That's also where we had our Bristol MN Christmas gathering.

Best outside space: spoilt for choice. The Downs, Ashton Court, and Leigh Woods all have acres of space for runners, dog walkers, bikers etc as well as families. There are some great parks too, like Brandon Hill, St Andrew's park, Blaise Castle and the Oldbury Court estate.

Hidden gem - Goldney Hall - owned by the university, only open to the public for a few days a year, has beautiful gardens and an amazing grotto.

Best free visitor attraction - the museum is very good, but otherwise I'd say the harbourside area in general, and of course a walk around the downs to Clifton suspension bridge.

Why would you want to move here? Umm, isn't all that enough of a reason? There's also the cider, of course...

spookycharlie Mon 13-May-13 13:40:53

I love Bristol because it is really lively and vibrant. There is always something going on! Some many different cultures which means there is an amazing variety of places to eat out.

The water front is beautiful on a summers day. We are a very outdoors family and there are loads of beautiful places to go walking in Bristol and also a little further afar.

My least favourite thing about Bristol is the weather and the traffic! It drives me mad! The busses aren't great either which I think adds to the congestion problems!

Good cafe's.... kairns road church is great they have stay and play sessions for the little ones (mine are a bit too old for this now) they sell yummy cake and bits of food for the kids but its pretty low cost. Asda living eastgate is nice, good food, colouring for the kids, free baby food and high chairs (good baby facilities) nice atmosphere whilst you potter round the shops. I also like the merchants arms pub that sits under the m32. It doesn't look much from the outside but their food is ok (burgers and chips) and doesn't break the bank and the best thing of all is the management are happy for the kids to run around, it is so relaxed in there. The couple that run it seem really nice. They have a beer garden out the back with a small play area, so on a nice day you can sip a cool drink whilst the kids play. And after have a stroll through eastville park. I think it is being refurbished at the moment too so hopefully it will be a bit more inviting inside. They always have free fun days on over the summer too with face painting and bouncy castles which is great!

child free nights out don't happen much for me but there are some great comedy clubs in Bristol, loads of bars and resteraunts. hippodrome always as something on, as does the colston hall. I recently went out for a meal for a friends birthday to "sazz" on north street! It was fabulous! Turkish food, a guy going round playing music at the tables, a belly dancer and crazy hats. It was a really memorable night!

Bristol is great for outdoor space! There are so many great parks here. The local gov have really invested in good play equipment for kids over the past few years so on nice sunny days you are spoilt for choice. They are also beginning to cater for older kids with football/basket ball courts and skate parks popping up all over the city which is great! We love snuff mills and quite often walk up through to vassels park, have an ice cream and a play, then trundle back down to the car for a hot choc! St Andrews park is brilliant, it has a big outdoor pool which is great in the summer. They also have a little tea hut which keeps the kids and the mums happy! I could go on for ages about the open space in Bristol. It really is a very beautiful place! Even the zoo has spectacular landscape grounds.

Im not really sure of any hidden gems but there are loads of festivals on over the summer, st pauls carnival is brilliant, bright colours and an explosion of Jamaican culture. Great music and even better food! The balloon fiesta at ashton court every august, food and drink festivals at the harbour. the kite festival, and the harbour festival. ALL FREE!!!!! just role up and enjoy yourself! They are fantastic!

free visitor attractions I kind of covered above but there is the M shed which we are yet to visit but I have heard wonderful things about. Also city farm and st werberges farm. Both free to get into. They are only small but my children love them!

Bristol is great, its a proper city but in compact form. Everything you need is within close reach. half an hour on the motorway and you are at the beach!!!! wonderful architecture, great open spaces and the people are really friendly! I love this city!!!

spookycharlie Mon 13-May-13 13:42:17

I forgot to mention Gloucester rd.....such a cool place with so many different unique little shops!

WhatsLeft Mon 13-May-13 20:31:07

Bristol is fab! I miss living there so much and will move back as soon as I can. I try and get back as much as possible.

I love Ashton court, the waterfront, Park St, the new Cabot circus for shopping is fab, going up on The Downs, the museum, the cathedral, SS Great Britain, the balloon fiesta, Ashton court festival, the regatta, St Paul's carnival, cider festival, the old vic, the arboretum,

As pp has said, the traffic is terrible especially around Temple Meads - no one is ever in the right lane! But there are so many places so close to Bristol too - Chew valley lakes, Cheddar Gorge, Bath, the Seaside (Weston Super Mare has undergone some re-development and is much improved too!)

Having been to many cafes in Bristol my two fave places are Amores in town - the food is very reasonably priced and is great, the staff are amazing though. Nothing is a problem for them, going for lunch with my dm and when I was heavily pregnant and my dd asleep in her buggy & it was very busy with only tables upstairs. Without me saying a word a waiter called over his colleague and the two of them carried the pram up the stairs and back down without waking dd!

The second is Rimando's on the Gloucester rd, this is a fab café with a disco room and a small soft play area. It is ideal for under 5's and has cctv in the soft play room linked to a tv in the café area so you can have a coffee without having to worry about your dc. They have a great menu - platters for dc with sandwich, raisins, fruit/veg sticks. Cakes and the obligatory pom bears! Staff are really friendly. I have lost several mornings in there, only meaning to pop in to meet a friend for an hour to look at the clock to see 3 hours have passed and dc are still happy!

Not to mention the gert lush vocab you will learn when you listen to the locals!

MrsFionaCharming Mon 13-May-13 21:35:11

My favourite thing about Bristol is how varied it is, from the little independent/hippy shops in Stokes Croft / Gloucester Road, to the fancy designer places in Quakers Friar. I'm shocked about people complaining about the buses. I moved here from the middle of nowhere, with one bus into town a day. I love the buses in Bristol! (Though I wouldn't mind if they were a little cheaper!)

I don't have children, so can't comment on cafes. But ideal night out is partying at Reflex on Baldwin Street! Cheesy 80s music, dance off competitions, and v. cheap drinks.

My favourite place to eat is probably Atomic Burger on Gloucester Road. I'm a bit of a secret nerd, so I really like eating surrounded by all the action figures / toys! Plus the good is very good, and for dessert you can roast marshmellows over a mini table-top campfire!

My favourite outside space is probably Castle Park. Especially nice on a summers day as you can watch the boats go past on the river (and very close to the Apple if you want a cider!)

kelda Wed 15-May-13 15:47:32

I love Bristol. I grow up there and went to university there.

I visit twice a year, which isn't enough.

Bristol has improved vastly since I left. The river used to be black muck; now it is dark green, and I have even seen fishes in itshock.

The harbourside is beautiful to walk along. You can also take a ferry along the river.

There are tons of things to do - the Bristol museum and art gallery and Arnolfini are free and fantastic.

The Aquarium and Bristol Zoo are expensive but worth a visit.

Blaise Castle and Ashton Court are lovely for green space. The Hot Air Balloon festival is in August every year. The sight of hundreds of hot air balloons floating over the Suspension Bridge is iconic.

Southville is a fun place locally. I really like the restaurants along North St, especially The Clove at the top of Luckwell Road.

At the other end of North St, the Tobacco Factory is brilliant for plays and shows. They have had some of the best pantomines I have ever seen - Hansel and Gretal this year was fabulous.

Unfortunately it is very unlikely we will ever move back.

Dashizzle Thu 16-May-13 19:13:26

What everyone else said really.
Favourite things are the culture and all the stuff to do with kids.
Least fave is how far I am from my family but that's not really bristols fault.
Child friendly cafe I'm not sure. I've never really worried about whether they're kid friendly or not just take ds anywhere.
Child free night out I would always choose las iguanas on whiteladies road. They're always quick with the food which is yum and lovely relaxed atmosphere. Excellent customer service in there.
Outside space, there are so many. The downs, canford park, I think blaise is the best though as you can choose what you want to do. Walk in the woods, play park, picnic, etc
The M shed is great as its free and ds loves it. Also the museum is fab and free and has a small child ply area now.
Not free but we have annual membership to the zoo and @bristol which are both fab.
Bristol is great. Fab for families, students and couples.

Jeminbris Sun 19-May-13 22:37:10

Best thing: Bristol's made up of lots of different "villages" with distinct personality - hipster Stokes Croft, posh Clifton, alternative Montpelier/Gloucester Road, family-filled Southville, the waterfront. It's a hugely creative place too.

Worst thing: the traffic, no question. As a pedestrian, the hills.

Best family friendly cafes: grounded and boca bar are good for me as a mum of a baby.

Best place to go for a child free night out: there are quite a few speakeasy style cocktail bars, like hausbar, Milk Thistle, Colour Inn. Very grown up.

Best kept secret: an amazing pop up foodie scene. Visit the Bristol Bites website to find out what's on.

Best free attraction: every year the museum hosts the wildlife photographer of the year exhibition - it's brilliant. Also, the playgrounds! There are six playgrounds within a 15 minute walk of my house.

Why you should move here: don't. The house prices are already high enough ;)

MonstersInception Mon 20-May-13 19:44:17

What's your favourite thing about the area?

The variety of the area - Cardiff, Bath, London all close, but then tiny beautiful villages like Castle Combe and Lacock nearby. Many great shopping areas and quirky shops.

... and - confession time - your least favourite?
Driving and parking in it.... Bristol loathes the car.

Which is the best child-friendly cafe? [name more than one if you like, and say why they're good]
I don't have children, wouldn't have a clue!

... and the best place to go if you want a child-free night out?
Cabot Circus cinema, Orpheus, down the Gloucester road, the Lido, Bravas... loads of places!
Best outside space?

Favourite hidden gem?
The abandoned railway by the Cumberland Basin, very evocative.

Best free visitor attraction?
The Downs, I love them.

Reasons to move?
Um... socially diverse city, great communities, interesting architecture? Or stay away - Bath is prettier anyway!

Wrigglebum Mon 20-May-13 20:08:07

Well I got some good tips from here. Atomic burger is now on my to do list smile.

I've been in Bristol just over 4 years and I really like it here. It's big enough to have everything you need but small enough to be friendly and easy enough to get around. The Titchhikers Guide is really useful for things to do with small people.

Best thing is all the outdoor space, brilliantly maintained play areas all around. When I go to playgrounds in other cities they always seem tatty in comparison.

Just a shame it rains here so often- that and the traffic are the worst things.

Almost all cafes here seem pretty family friendly. There are lots if child focused places too like Rimandos, Portico Play etc.

Best outside space is either the Downs or Blaise I think.

Child free night- what's that?! Places around Clifton are always good and there are plenty of places with an older crowd so I don't feel too ancient! I quite like Goldbrick House on Park Street.

For best kept secret, I keep hearing amazing things about the Beehive pub on Wellington Hill West but haven't checked it out yet. Otherwise I might have to say Old Quarry Park on Henleaze Road, a lovely safe little park. It's a really friendly place and children always seem to find a friend there and the mums are usually friendly and chatty too.

So much good free stuff here it's hard to say what's best. There are lots of free family festivals too.

NurseMorag Tue 21-May-13 15:37:24

I agree with all the other posters. I've been here for 11 years now and can't imagine leaving.

What's your favourite thing about the area?
All the outdoor spaces mentioned above. The fact that you can walk everywhere.

... and - confession time - your least favourite?
The primary schools are all way oversubscribed. We live within 20 mins walk of 5 schools but can't get a place in any of them sad.

Which is the best child-friendly cafe? [name more than one if you like, and say why they're good]
Any of the Grounded cafes because they're relaxed about children and do free babycinos (sp?) and smaller versions of the lovely adult food. Boca Bar because it's so spacious and you can meet up with an entire ante natal group with prams and still not be in anyone's way!

... and the best place to go if you want a child-free night out?
I'm not the most up to date source as I have barely been out in the last 4 years...but Grounded again (I've only been to the original in Redfield at night) as they have a licensed bar, a fantastic pizza selection and live music. I used to like going out on Gloucester Rd as there are so many pubs and places to eat.

Best outside space?
Oldbury Court Estate in/near Fishponds. Best play area I've seen, a river walk, lots of green spaces for picnics, ball games etc.

Favourite hidden gem?
Beeses Tea Rooms. A riverside pub. You can travel by ferry from Bristol or walk along the riverside and they collect you in their boat! Amazing food, kid friendly, they lend you a shawl if it gets chilly on a summer night! Also do live bands, quizzes, beer festivals...

Best free visitor attraction?
Hard to choose. The Harbourside festival, balloon fiesta, the Downs, Cabot tower, @Bristol, Blaise...

And finally ... come on, tempt us. Why should we move there?
It's a very relaxed city. There are so many areas to suit everyone. Lots of previously less well thought of areas are now up and coming like Fishponds and Redfield. If my children chose to stay here for the rest of their lives I would not feel that they had made a bad choice.

EmmaMumsnet Tue 21-May-13 15:38:55

Thanks for all your suggestions so far (keep 'em coming). Just thought I'd post a link to the Site of the Week page in case you haven't seen it yet…

NurseMorag Tue 21-May-13 15:40:31

Ooops, @Bristol isn't a free attraction but it's still great and has toddler takeover sessions. Plus the cafe is large and has a play area for toddlers. I used to hang out there for a rest and it only cost me a cuppa!

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