I had a little time to spare in Bristol so took a stroll to the nearby harbourside. I find the city a perplexing place… the local council is simply obsessed with the fact that Wallace & Gromit was made here which quickly becomes a dull fact considering how few people actually made it and have anything to do with the animation company.
What Bristol does have going for it is a serious history of sea-trading, and as a staging post for voyages by Cabot to the New world…. look here’s an old ship to prove it.
This history does, unfortunately, involve a LOT of slave trading…. so i guess trying to link the place more with comedy animation has a logical spin to it.
Along with the slaves of course came tobacco and many other taxable items – which is why there’s still quite a few old-world warehouses dotted around the city, such as this one on Orchard Lane which is to the rear of the Bristol Hippodrome in the city centre.
Just about the only modern building of any note is the Colston Tower – again this is slap in the centre of town and actually ages well….unlike the Lloyds building which looks….. dismal… but presumably made the architects a ton of money. I can’t even bear to photograph the Lloyds building… i am fearful that if i line it up in a viewfinder i may simply black-out as my brain tries to work out how such a cataclysmic turd could be built…. so here’s the Colston Tower instead.
Nearly opposite the Colston Tower is the Colston Hall… a concert venue of some substance and grandeur. Its had a new wing tacked onto the side to accommodate a decent bar and generally bring the venue into the 21st century.. it seems to work.
The last time i was inside there it was to see Motorhead – and yes i did wear ear plugs because i’m a wimp. Lemmy did look old though…. i gave him about a year and i was correct (unfortunately).
Before seeing anything at the Colston Hall (or the nearby O2 Academy) i’d recommend a drink in Bristol’s oldest pub (not that i’ve researched this and verified it… but it’s written on the outside which is good enough for me because i’m credulous as hell).
It’s old, it’s creaky and smells of beer like any good pub should. More importantly it’s cheaper than the bar at the Colston Hall and you can drink like an adult from a glass that’s actually made of glass and not plastic.
From here i walked up toward a local landmark called Christmas steps.
The area houses some quirky pubs, barbers, and a fish and chips place that looks like it belongs in Downton Abbey. It’s worth a visit before returning harbourside and taking in a little ferry ride on one of the yellow harbour tour boats.