With all its charm and character, it’s understandably difficult to leave London once you’ve made the pilgrimage to the UK. We get it.
But, in Britain’s southwest, another city is jostling for the title of Britain’s coolest. Home to Banksy and its very own currency, the grit and grunge that’s been forced out of the capital’s gentrified areas is still thriving in Bristol. From the Notting Hill-esque Clifton to the oh-so-cool crowd of Stokes Croft and on-the-up suburb Bedminster, there are a few reasons you should make the trip.
#1 A Thriving Ethical Scene
The thing about Bristol’s community conscious feel is that it’s far from a fad – most the ethical eateries dotted around the city have been there for decades. Genuine support for local and home-grown produce and services is what paved the way for the city’s own currency, which aims to keep money within the community.
With that in mind, there are plenty of cool places to spend your coin, like the stunning, rustic eatery that is The Ethicurean, which uses locally sourced food for eco-chef Tom Hunt’s Michelin-Starred Poco Tapas and applies a 30km sourcing radius to anything on its menu.
There’s also a few not-for-profit cafes, including vegan favourite Café Kino, which sources everything from coffee to salad leaves from local spruikers.
#2 Serious Street Cred
And by street cred, we mean street art cred. Thanks to Banksy, the city of Bristol has an undercurrent of creativity. You can take up walking tours that canvas classic Banksy works and highlight exactly why it’s known as the graffiti capital of the UK.
The city’s independent galleries are no less impressive, either – from the contemporary harbourside Arnolfini to the always-buzzing creative space that is Spike Island, there’s always something to see.
#3 Classic Pubs Abound
An enduring highlight of any British city is an abundance of good old-fashioned pubs. You’ll have no trouble tracking them down in Bristol, where a discernible revival of gastropub is underway: From The Albion Clifton, which is the perfect combination of cosy old pub and “new rustic”, to The Kensington Arms, which offers an array of very-now dining options including a nose-to-tail evening. Then of course, there’s the true classics, like The Hillgrove, complete with chesterfield sofas and coaster-decorated walls.
#4 Beautiful Boutique Hotels
If the boutique hotel scene is any indication, Bristolians seriously know how to host. Number 38 is a faultless townhouse retreat overlooking Clifton Downs, complete with copper clawfoot bathtubs and bay windows. There are only 10 rooms, which adds to its relaxed, exclusive feel. There’s also a local outpost of the boutique hotel chain Hotel du Vin, which does a pretty impressive standalone tub. Its stays are a reflection of Bristol’s dynamic creative scene.
(Lead image: Harshil Shah / Flickr)