eightbitlife Travel & Real Life

Visiting Bristol for the very first time.

It was rush-hour when we left Glasgow to head to Bristol, and the middle of April so it was still cold and dark with cars lined up each one with eager commuters inside attempting to make it home. It took us twenty minutes to get from the still bustling roads of the centre onto the M8 and into the quieter roads of the airport.

We’d arrived early, so early that we weren’t allowed to drop our bags off with easyJet. So we decided to use our time wisely and find some food.

Glasgow Airport is great for pre-security food, but I was close to gnawing my own arm off so we decided the best and quickest option would be Wetherspoons. I’m not one for going to these restaurants much, a bad experience too many had forced me away.  But I must admit that the service was great and we were fed and full in no time and ready to drop our bags off, to the relief of my arms.

I always like visiting Glasgow airport, it has to be one of my favourites. Every time we have visited there has been some change to the layout or the shops. Security is always a breeze at this time in the evening, a few flights left to take off. We were in and out quicker than you could count to ten and I hit the smiley face, on the “how was your visit survey”. Next, we wandered off through the perfume scented duty-free store to wait for our flight in the ever-changing departure lounge where it would just be us and a handful of leftover holidaymakers.

We arrived in Bristol in darkness

We landed in Bristol close to 10pm, the cabin lights being dimmed as we headed closer to the miniature villages below.  It was still much quicker than driving and even though we’d been on a plane for an hour, knees so close to the strangers in front we almost made new friends, we were both still wide awake and ready to continue on our journey. We headed into the main terminal of Bristol airport, I held onto our prebooked “airport flyer” tickets as if they were £100 notes knowing that they were our only way to civilization and a bed for the night.

Even though the airport is only twenty minutes outside of the centre of Bristol, the journey always feels longer. I blame the winding roads across the lower half of Bristol’s council area. Though all in all, the journey into the city was good, sometimes the dark roads make you lose track of where you are but that slowly gets put to rest and you reach the city centre lights.

We disembarked, not knowing where to go next as we’d both never properly been into the centre of Bristol. We’d flirted with the fringes as taxis and family cars had taken us to and from the airport but that was it. Even though we were completely lost, we didn’t feel unsafe, the street was lit by various lamps up and down and the regular buses and taxis going through the city kept a close eye on you.

A bar or a hotel? The sign said one thing. The bar said another

The hotel was booked by Roslyn, a complete guess in terms of location, but I must applaud her investigation skills. When the sun rose the next day, we found out the hotel was in the city, opposite Bristol’s science museum and right next to the docks. Although in the dark we struggled to find it at first, wandering in and out of streets next to the science centre, past a closed and dodgy looking ferris wheel.

We almost mistook it for a trendy bar when we walked next to it, but the ibis cushion logo beckoned us through a mass of Friday-night party-goers who had come straight from the office and weren’t looking to go home anytime soon. But that didn’t matter to us, at this point all we could think of was heading straight to our weekend hired bed with expensive snacks from the hotel bar.

If you are interested in seeing the hotel for yourself you can visit the ibis hotel website ».

A room so simple it wouldn’t be out of place in London’s trendy Shoreditch borough

We entered the room we would call our own for the next two days to the creak of new laminate below our feet, the room dark until you found the tiny hole to put your fancy ibis keycard into the wall. Although we all think we know how hotels work, I’m sure each chain has a different style of card. As the light flickered into life, we saw a room that was simple and wouldn’t be out of place in the trendier areas of London.

S.S Great Britain is one of the major tourist spots in Bristol.

The single light illuminated a massive bed in the middle of the room, that at this time of night looked so welcoming. The walk dragging suitcases across cobbles and up path and road really tired you out. A quick glance around the room helped you note the essentials, the kettle was right in front of the window and was handily placed nowhere near a plug but nicely placed on a desk. The TV was attached to the wall and was so close to the bed you could almost turn it off with your feet and the bathroom was directly behind us at this point and looked like it had been extracted from a budget caravan.

My first action in our cosy new room once I had relieved my arms once again from the heavy bags, at least for a few days, was to make myself a hotel cuppa. There is something quite refreshing about getting to a hotel room, anywhere in the world and gulping down the usually terrible tea.

The plug for the kettle was placed helpfully right next to the window, so you could look out whilst you waited for it to boil. Looking down from the 3rd floor of the hotel, through the mist of the now boiling kettle which was collecting on the window, was a walkway shrouded in darkness at each end so you couldn’t see huge amounts and anything closer than that was still covered by the office party-goers who still didn’t know when to end their booze filled frenzy.

The walkway was beautiful in the night light, covered with trees that were just blossoming from the spring air, which were covered in beautiful fairy lights probably leftover from the Christmas period. But who were we to complain? It added to the charm of a city that would over the next few days capture our hearts and would likely end up becoming one of the cities we plan to regularly visit.

More about Bristol

This is one of the many visits we plan to make to the city and if you are interested in visiting yourself you can find out more by gointg to the Visit Bristol website.

More Travel

Enjoyed my post about Bristol? You can read my post about a trip to London in 2016, which is broken into a series on Travel, Food, and Attractions.