Bristol vs the world

A travel (and sometimes fashion) blog about exploring Bristol and the rest of the world, one post at a time.

Tag: south Bristol

Read all about it: The Times Newseum, the Paintworks

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I’m just back from ten days in beautiful Portugal (much more on that later – so many blog in my head!). There’s nothing like a holiday to make you realise how much you overlook at home. I’ve said it before, but, despite constantly being on the lookout for new bars, restaurants and shops in Bristol, there’s plenty I think about doing and just simply don’t get round to. When you’re on holiday, you want to cram in everything that sounds of interest, because who knows when you’ll be back. Why don’t we apply the same principle at home, especially to temporary exhibitions? So our new resolution is to act more like tourists our my own city. Whether it’s stopping for a rest on a bench by the harbourside to watch the world go by, treating ourselves to a spontaneous drink ‘just because’, going on road trips to nearby towns and countryside, or making sure we actually go to the things we say sound interesting (well, money permitting that is!).

So a day after getting back and still in holiday/resolution mode, we popped down the road to visit Read All About It, The Times‘ ‘Newseum’ exhibition currently in the Paintworks’ event space.

The exhibition explores The Times’ archives and the delivery of news from 1785 to the present. It has displays on key events such as war, photographing Everest and the expedition to climb it, and JFK’s assassination, and features artifacts such as original copy submitted, typewriters, Dictaphones and notebooks. There’s information on codes used for some stories and five animations that compliment the displays. And the photography on display is incredible, too.

In the centre, there’s also a display of smartphones constantly updating with news from outlets such as Reuters and ATP. When seen next to the rest of the exhibition, it really is amazing how immediately we can get information now – and how much of it there is out there.

Bristol Culture Newseum

You can also print off the front page of The Times from a day of your choosing – we went for our birthdays (though realised later that we should have gone for the day after to get the news from our actual birthdays. Oops!). Though if you choose a date before 1965 (I think? Some time about then), the front page will just show notices and advertisements – imagine that selling a paper today!

Although very interesting (and free!), the exhibition is quite small, taking 30-45 minutes or so to get around. It’s also, as you’d expect, Times-centric, concentrating on how they delivered the news and big stories for them and so it’s certainly not a comprehensive discussion on the evolution of news delivery. For example, I don’t think I saw a single mention of blogging or Tweeting, even though there are probably some comparisons to be made (for example, one correspondent in the ’80s got travellers to deliver censored information – I suppose travellers blogging and tweeting about countries they go to, things they’ve seen from places where news, and certainly uncensored news, isn’t so forthcoming might be today’s equivalent?).

As such, although interesting, the exhibition’s probably not worth a special trip from too far away unless you’ve got an interest in journalism, or the history of the news. That said, that does kind of contradict my new ‘go and see something if you think it sounds interesting’ mentality, so if you like the sound of it ignore me and go! And it’s absolutely worth popping into if you’re in the area. Alternatively, you could make it into a bit of a day trip and combine the exhibition with a drink in Bocabar upstairs, a wander round Arnos Vale or a visit to some of the many other lovely places in nearby Totterdown/Knowle.

Overall, if you overlook the Times-promoting-y/probable data gathering-ness, this is an interesting exhibition. A few gaps as you’d expect but worth your time if in the area or you’re interested in the subject area.

Details
Read all about it! The secrets behind the news, The Times Newseum
Website: http://www.paintworksevents.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-item/view/heroes-and-villains-exhibition/
Entry free
Open 10-6, until 9 July
The Paintworks Event Space, Bristol, BS4 3EH

Photo Credits
Middle and bottom: Bristol Culture
Top: My own, please credit if using

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Balloons!

One of my favourite things about living in Bristol is how, on a clear day, you’re almost guaranteed to see a hot air balloon or three floating in the sky.

And sometimes, on a really special night, you can be sat in the garden with a cup of tea and ten will glide past – a mini balloon fiesta – passing so close that you can hear the roar of the fire in the basket.

You’d think I’d be bored or at least complacent about them by now, but no – and hopefully I never will be. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about a hot air balloon that never fails to make me smile.

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Food Friday: Beese’s Bar & Tea Gardens, Bristol

Beese's Bristol by Andrew Bennett

On its website Beese’s describes itself as one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets. Considering how buzzing it was on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I’d argue that’s not quite true, but it’s still not the sort of place you’re likely to stumble upon. Nestled on the riverbank on the opposite side to the Bath and Keynsham footpaths, Beese’s has to be sought out – by foot, bike, car or, more unusually, river ferry.

(The river ferry harks back to Beese’s roots. It was founded by a Mrs Beese in 1846 to provide refreshments to passengers on the Conham River Ferry, which her husband captained.)

Beese's Bristol

As well as putting in the effort to find Beese’s, you also have to be patient to experience this lovely pub. Although I say you’re unlikely to stumble upon this lovely pub/bar/restaurant, that’s actually exactly how we discovered it. An impromptu Autumn walk in neighbouring Eastwood Farm Nature Reserve spat us out into the Beese’s car park. But Beese’s is only open from Easter weekend until the end of September, we’d been waiting six months before finally, finally a weekend where it was open coincided with a weekend where it was sunny and a weekend where we had decided to take a break from DIY.

We had decided to have a light lunch so plumped for the baguettes – egg mayonaise and brie and cranberry. Simple food, done very well.

If you wanted something more substantial, the Sunday roasts smelt and looked amazing and the burgers were making our mouths water a little too. We’ll definitely be back for a larger meal next time. Possibly in an evening, so we can sit outside as it goes dark, beneath the lights strung between the trees.

Alternatively if you just want a snack (Tarr’s ice cream, afternoon tea with scones) or a drink (alcoholic or non), they cater for that too.

Eastwood Farm Nature Reserve

It’s also in the perfect location for a post-food walk. Very few people seem to take advantage of Eastwood Farm Nature Reserve, which is right next door. To be fair, that suited us fine (so don’t tell too many people about it!). We sat and watched ducklings paddle round one of the ponds (or ‘lagoons’) and meandered through the woodland and by the river. The perfect end to our lunch date.

Whether you’re planning to eat out with a partner, all the family (it’s very kid-friendly) or catch up with friends, Beese’s is the perfect place to while away a Sunny afternoon or evening in Bristol. Simple, beautiful and just plain lovely.

The Details
Beese’s Bar & Tea Gardens
Wyndham Crescent, Bristol, BS4 4SX

Booking is available and probably recommended for larger parties. However there are a few T&Cs.

Getting There
Public Transport: Get the No 1 bus (which starts at Cribb’s Causeway and goes to the city centre via Park St) to the Good Intent Pub, Brislington

A number of Bristol ferry companies run boat trips from the city centre.

Beese’s has a car park (where you can also leave your bike). If you’re on the other side of the river, you can park in Conham Road car park and contact Beese’s, who will ferry you across!

For more details, see Beese’s informative website

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Picture credits
Header of Beese’s: Andrew Bennett via Flickr
Beese’s beer garden: Good Bristol
Eastwood Farm Nature Reserve landscape: Chopsy Baby
All others my own, please credit if using

Journey south: Totterdown & Knowle, Bristol

colourful Totterdown houses, Bristol
With all these entries about far-flung adventures, I’ve been neglecting the ‘Bristol’ bit of this blog recently (again!). It’s not an excuse, but sometimes I take living in such an exciting city for granted, to the extent that I become uncertain whether what I’ve enjoyed recently is really worthy of a blog post.

And then something happens, like Bristol being named as the best city to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, that makes me appreciate how lucky we are to live here, to have so much right on our doorsteps.

In the spirit of ‘right on the doorstep’, today’s post is all about the first Bristol neighbourhood I called home, Totterdown and Lower Knowle. Although they may not be the most well-known areas of Bristol, both have a lot to offer. And, if you first visited Bristol by train, they also may have even given you your first impression of the city (hopefully a more positive one the beautiful Parcel Force building, too!). If you sit on the left of a carriage, look out for the rows of brightly-coloured houses peering over the cliff edge, marking the start of Totterdown.

These communities may be a little out-of-the-way for the average Bristol visitor (or even anyone who lives north of the river), but here are just seven reasons they’re worth turning left out of Temple Meads station.*

The Office

This tiny bar opened in 2012 and has fast become a local favourite. It looks ‘cool’ (exposed brick, industrial-style lights – you know the drill) yet feels welcoming rather than try-hard.  It’s a particularly lovely spot on a warm day, when they open up the glass screen-fronts onto the patio  and the sun streams in. And while a patio set not-too-far-back from the busy Wells Road, one of the main routes out of Bristol, doesn’t sound like the most pleasant of spots, somehow it manages to be a really relaxing place to wile away the hours with a pint (or two). They also serve tapas, which I’ve heard a lot of good things about.

 A Capella, Wells Rd, Totterdown, Bristol

A Capella

Whether you want a full English breakfast, a light (or not-so-light) lunch or a huge pizza, this award-winning restaurant is the place to come for tasty, good value food at any time of day (the pizzas – which can be eaten in or taken away – may not look cheap, but even those with huge appetites would be hard-pushed to finish one on their own). Other bonuses: friendly staff, it’s bring your own and they will put their (amazing) cake in a take-away container if you’re too stuffed to eat it there (or if you’re just walking past and have a craving for a slice or two, but don’t have time to stop). Incidentally, while all the cakes are excellent, I particularly recommend the carrot and ginger ones.  

Interior of Thali Cafe, Totterdown

Thali Café

I may have written about this restaurant before, and it’s not unique to Totterdown, but a list of my favourite places in the area wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the amazing Thali Cafe.

Farrows Fish and Chips

If there almost always being a queue isn’t enough to convince you of how good this takeaway is, the fact that it’s won a number of awards – most recently storming away with the title of Bristol’s best budget eatery – should do.

Victoria Park, Bristol

Victoria Park

Not a local BS3/4er and looking for somewhere to sit with your Farrows chips (or A Capella cake/pizza)? Or just fancy a post-breakfast/lunch/dinner walk? Head down to Victoria Park, one of my favourite spaces in Bristol. It even has a table tennis table (though you do have to supply your own bats and balls). Watching the sun set over the city from the top of the hills is particularly special.

Perrett's Park allotments + balloon

Perrett’s Park

That said, views from Perrett’s Park are arguably even better.

Gaines Greengrocers

This might look like a bit of an odd addition to this list, but I couldn’t not mention Gaines. You’ll recognise it from the bright array of fruit and vegetables spilling onto the pavement (not literally! They have crates and boxes and tables, you don’t have to pick produce off of the floor!). But Gaines doesn’t just sell your five-a-day. This tiny store is a bit like Mary Poppins’ bag, packing in more foodstuffs than you’d ever think possible, including (but not limited to) freshly baked bread (or baking ingredients to make your own), organic grains, fairtrade chocolate, tofu, tasty peanut butter and even matzah. The owner, Jason, and his co-workers are genuinely friendly and helpful, too. Good food served with a smile – sums up the spirit of this part of BS3 and 4 for me!

Totterdown houses from Albert Road railway bridge

*This is far from an extensive list of things to do in Totterdown and Knowle – there are plenty of places that are still on my ‘to visit’ list but I’m assured are really nice (in particular the Star & Dove, Duchess of Totterdown and Assilah Bistro). And I haven’t even started mentioning the many pubs, either!

Image Credits

Colourful Totterdown Houses (first pic): The Guardian

Office Bar and Canteen, A Capella: Courtesy of Tripadvisor

Thali Totterdown: Thali Café website

Victoria Park: Toulouse and the Vegetable

Perrett’s Park: Gaelallan on Panoramio More Totterdown houses (last pic): Rwendland via Wikipedia