Award-winning food blog, Bristol Bites, covers the best that Bristol has to offer when it comes to eating. Founder Emily shares with us the places that will have you coming back for seconds in her favourite city.
Reasons to love living in Bristol…
I moved from London to Bristol around 5 years ago, and the city never ceases to amaze me. Far from the provincial backwater that many people in the capital believe it to be, Bristol is a hive of activity – and I’m not missing London at all.
Ever since I moved here in August 2009, I’ve likened the city to a ‘mini London’: while Bristol obviously isn’t as big as our capital, there’s still plenty going on.
From a food and drink point of view, I was amazed when I moved here. In Bristol, things are different. The food and drink community is just that – a community – and you’ll find a number of collaborations between food and drink businesses, a great deal of support for start-ups and even competing businesses working together to create a food and drink scene that any city would be proud of.
"Food" Exhibition, At-Bristol
Head to At-Bristol this summer for a fun, family-friendly exhibition that focuses on food. This new permanent exhibition opened on July 23rd and features 11 different exhibits, allowing children (and adults!) to explore the science of food. You’ll be able to pop corn using light energy, milk a cow and take part in a range of foodie experiments.
Bristol’s street food scene is expanding rapidly, with a wide range of different vendors to suit all tastes. From the vegan delights of The Spotless Leopard to the soft serve ice cream of Vee Double Moo; sandwiches and coffee from Ward & Williams or juicy burgers from Chomp; there are plenty of vendors from whom to grab a quick and tasty bite to eat.
Al Fresco Dining
If you’d rather enjoy the sun with a sit down meal, Bristol has some amazing al fresco dining spots. One of my favourites is Riverstation, whose terrace overlooking the river has to be one of the city’s prime outdoor dining spots. Try Beese’s or The Olive Shed for other great riverside spots, or for something a little different, head to the Lido to dine by the pool, which originally opened in 1849.
Al Fresco Drinking
When it comes to beer gardens, we’re blessed with a fair few. In central Bristol, try The Lansdown in Clifton, which has both open and covered areas to choose from, depending on your burnability. The Grain Barge on Hotwell Road has its top deck open for drinkers, with views across the river, while another boat – The Apple – is the perfect place to enjoy an al fresco cider…if you can get a table. Tourists may want to try The White Lion Bar at the Avon Gorge Hotel – its views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge are spectacular.
Trawl Bristol’s Markets
Bristol is home to a number of regular markets, with some great food and drink to be found across the city. Head to the Whiteladies Road Market on the first and third Saturday of each month, or the Ashton Court Producers’ Market on the third Sunday of every month. The Harbourside Market always has stalls selling food to either eat there or takeaway, while I also love the Tobacco Factory Market, which combines local produce with crafts and more.
Enjoy A Cream Tea On A Boat
If you’re looking for a summery cream tea with a difference, book a spot on board one of the Bristol Packet boats between July and September. Their Cream Tea Cruise is a two hour cruise of the harbour with a cream tea included, taking place every Monday and Wednesday during the summer. Priced at £14 for adults, £11.50 for seniors and £10 for children, it’s a great way to see Bristol from a different angle, accompanied by a quintessentially British tradition.
Indulge In Some Pop-Up Dining
Pop-ups are still going strong in Bristol, and there’s plenty to choose from over the summer. The Hungry Caterpillar Play Café is running regular Friday night pop-up dining experiences for families throughout the summer, while Maison Paradiso’s “UTOPIA” event at the Arnolfini on September 13th looks like fun. The Runcible Spoon will be hosting an evening of food and cocktail pairing between August 19th and 21st…essentially, there’s plenty to choose from!
Head To A Local Food Festival
Bristol is home to a plethora of festivals, with most of them taking place over the summer months. While many are now over until next year, there’s still a load of food and drink fun to be had. Head to Weston super Mare for the Weston super Food Festival on September 27th or 28th, or to Puxton Park for their Cider and Cheese Festival, which takes place over the last weekend of August. Alternatively, enjoy the Kingswood RFC Real Ale & Cider Festival on August 16th, or Bristol’s very own Oktoberfest on October 10th and 11th. So much to do, so little time…
Enjoy A Picnic In The Park
Bristol has some beautiful parks – and some fantastic places from which to buy your picnic provisions. Arch House Deli in Clifton Village has a great ready-made picnic service that will suit all budgets: taking the hassle out of preparation and leaving you free to relax in the sun.
Sample A Frozen Treat
Summer = ice cream, no matter whether you’re young or old. In Bristol, we have our very own ice cream companies in the form of Tarr’s in Brislington, whose fourth-generation business is still going strong – as well as Copoazu Ices, who supply Mathilda’s Chilli Bar and The Steam Crane, and whose bike and cart can often be found in various Bristol locations.
You should also try Vee Double Moo for soft serve (including ice cream sundaes), served from a beautiful converted VW camper; as well as both Flavalanche and AngelBerry for frozen yoghurt in a variety of flavours for a slightly healthier treat.