Local Site Of The Week - Bristol
Clifton Bridge, Leigh Woods
The Local Editor of Bristol - our inaugural Local Site of the Week - tells us a bit about herself and her area.
OK, local ed., what's your name and where do you come from?
My name is Selena and I come from *shock* Bristol!
Firstly, I adore Bristol. I've always known that there's an exceptional amount of fun and unique things to do with kids here - but being set the challenge to explore more, to get in touch with local businesses, and to stumble across new and exciting things daily has been a real pleasure.
Secondly, I owe a lot to MNers - they're the ones who kept me sane when I was up at 3am with a baby who refused to sleep, so it's been great to be able to give a little back by building a local community and helping put parents in touch with all the wonderful things this city has to offer. Lastly, I was in need of a new excuse to sit in cafés looking busy whilst eating cake.
What has been your most satisfying moment as a Local Editor?
Someone posted in talk that her pram was broken: in order to have it fixed she had to send it away for two weeks, and she wondered if any kind person would consider lending her one. I tweeted about it, and within a couple of hours had found her one! She was very grateful.
What's your favourite thing about the area?
Has to be the festivals. We truly are spoilt; throughout the summer you're hard pushed to find a weekend without one! It's great to see local business coming together and some of the outstanding local talent showcased, plus the hyped up children running around with painted faces is a sight I'm particularly fond of.
There’s also the Gloucester Road, a road like no other - the righteous king of independent high streets, and a place I call home. There's an incredible sense of community here, one you don't often come across in big cities.
... and - confession time - your least favourite?
Least favourite would have to be the buses. We are sadly lagging behind other cities in public transport, it's over-priced and unreliable.
Best outside space?
By the River Frome. Eastville Park, Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court are all great places to find it. Nothing beats getting up early on a Sunday morning and taking the kids and the dogs for a stroll or bike ride. It's a great escape and the sound of the stream makes you momentarily forget you're in the city. I do also love the floating harbour in the summer, I find being near the boats quite therapeutic!
Which is the best child-friendly cafe?
If you have a baby or pre-school child, Bubbahub on North Street wins hands down. Its slogan is: 'A haven for you and your bubbas' and that's exactly what it is. It's warm, cosy and contained so that mini adventurers can't escape. You can always find another parent to sit and have a natter with over a cup of their fantastic coffee. It even sells pre-loved children’s clothes and there are some fantastic finds.
St.Werburghs City Farm café is also a winner. I must admit I go there far too often when I can't be bothered to cook! It has a fab kids' menu, healthy and homemade without a nugget in sight! Its quirky interior means you almost feel like you're in a treehouse, and kids love it! It has a fab patio overlooking the wooden play area and comes complete with a whole load of farm animals: perfect.
... and the best place to go if you want a child-free night out?
For a child-free night, I would step aboard The Apple. What could be better than cider on a boat? (Yes, it's true what they say about Bristolians and cider.) I'd then cross the river to The Old Bookshop for some grub and live music. Probably the only place where the bar is made from a piano - and they do incredible monkfish. Then (if I were still standing) I'd head to The Milk Thistle for cocktails. If you're going to do cocktails you may as well do them properly and this is a place that certainly knows how!
Best free visitor attraction?
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery - you can visit endless times (I have) and somehow it never gets boring. I love the fact that you can take kids of any age and pretty much guarantee they'll find something to interact with and to keep them entertained. There's even a soft play area for the tiny ones and a place they can dress up and make their own puppet shows.
Favourite hidden gem?
The Birdcage. 'Yesterday's clothes, today's coffee and tomorrow's music'; it's the only place you can shop for a vintage treasure whilst listening to music and sampling yummy treats from the kitchen. I love its old-world character and nostalgic interior, particularly the bundles of lampshades and bicycles hanging from the walls.
And finally ... come on, tempt us. Why should we move there?
Because … between boats, bridges, balloons, Brunel and Banksy, you will never be bored! It's such a diverse and vibrant city and it's just a tad rough around the edges, which is part of the quirky charm. Wherever you are, you can almost always find an outstanding piece of street art lurking round the corner and I can honestly say that Bristolians are a 'proper' friendly bunch.
Favourite thing about the area?
Bristol is big enough to have everything you might want in terms of culture (two 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. exexpat
- There are loads of beautiful places to go walking in Bristol and a little further afield. spookycharlie 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. MrsFionaCharming
Least favourite thing?
The weather and the traffic! spookycharlie
- The traffic is terrible, especially around Temple Meads. WhatsLeft
Child free night out
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. exexpat
- Hippodrome always has something on, as does The Colston Hall. spookycharlie
Best outside space?
There are so many great parks here. The local government 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 pitches, basketball courts and skate parks popping up all over the city which is great! spookycharlieAshtonCourt
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. kelda
Goldney Hall - owned by the university, only open to the public for a few days a year, has beautiful gardens and an amazing grotto. exexpat
- There are loads of festivals on over the summer. St. Paul's 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! spookycharlie
Best free visitor attraction?
The Bristol museum and art gallery and Arnolfini are free and fantastic. kelda
- City Farm and St. Werburghs Farm. Both free to get into. They are only small but my children love them! spookycharlie
Why would you want to move here?
Bristol is great, it's 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
There's also the cider, of course... exexpat