Bath girl in Bristol

My friend said to me the other day, ‘Why do you cream your pants over living in Bristol, most of it’s a shit hole.’

If you know me you’ll know I’m from the beautiful world heritage city of Bath. Where the Romans bathed and the likes of Charles Dickens and Jane Austin penned the city’s secrets and beauty deep within the pages of their novels. My mum is from Bath, my grandparents lived in Bath, we are Bath born and bred. So it came as a surprise to some of my friends when I decided I was up and moving to the larger than life, neighbouring city of Bristol. If we’re being specific about geographics I’ve actually moved to the South Gloucestershire County.

Since moving here I have definitely raved about it’s culture, and that’s because it oozes it! Bristol is different entirely to Bath, it’s multicultural and it has a history of its own. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the architect for the Clifton Suspension Bridge don’t you know! But I definitely didn’t write this post to argue about which is better as they’re both so beautiful in their differences.

In all seriousness I am a bit Bri-dazzled (see what I did there?) The main reason is, it feels like home. I am more at home here than I’ve ever been. I burned a lot of bridges in Bath, I left behind a version of myself that doesn’t exist anymore. I left behind memories that might of once been good, but were tarnished in some way. I experienced a lot of heartbreak during so much of my adult life there, and so it was liberating saying goodbye to that old house and that old job, and those old friends that aren’t friends anymore. It was time for a fresh start and it may only be twenty minutes down the road but I feel like it’s one of the best moves I’ve ever made.

It just so happens Bristol is about 4 times the size of Bath and I’m enjoying exploring every corner of it. Bath will always have a place in heart as it’s where I’m from, and where my daughter was born, but it’s not home anymore. I have friends there that I still see and always will, I have a history there, but I don’t miss it. I am excited to be a small fish in the huge pond that is the city of Bristol (even if my child has a full on Bristolian accent) ‘Mum I’m cauld’ – ‘There you goes’- ‘can we go to the parrrrrk’

Of course some of Bristol is a shithole, it’s a city, city’s are shitholes in parts, even my favourite cities in the world have grotty bits but it’s all part of its character.

So when I say I love where I live, I’m not digging out my old city, just bigging up my new one.

And if you’re not a Bristol local or native and want to visit I’ve listed some of my fave free attractions below.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Bristol Harbourside

Eastville Park

Willsbridge Mill

Clevedon Pier and beach

Bedminster street art

Other areas I love to frequent for a window shop or a picnic are:

The Gloucester Road

Stokes Croft

St Andrews Park

The Oldbury Court Estate

Hanham Abbots

Leigh Woods

Subscribe to my blog to keep up with the free places we frequent.

In Dublin’s fair city.

My favourite City in the world. Ok so I haven’t been to that many, but it’s still my fav.

Having visited 5 times now I consider myself a bit of a pro, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite places with you and give you a bit of a low down on what’s worth the money and where really isn’t.

You’re bound to of heard of Temple Bar. It’s literally the heart of Dublin if you’re a tourist. And it’s a fun place to be. After always staying close to Connelly Station on the other side of The River Liffey, we chose this time to stay in an apartment in Temple Bar itself, which is great for exploring the city but also pretty noisy, and you should bear in mind if you do this, that it is a tourist attraction and you’re sharing it with other tourists. Culturally though, you miss out on some of the City’s authenticity if you spend your whole trip in Temple Bar so make sure you venture across town too.

One of the most infamous pubs in Dublin’s Temple Bar, aside from The Temple Bar, is Oliver St John Gogarty’s. It’s a huge bar that hosts live music from about 12 lunchtime, all day everyday and is definitely worth a visit if just for photo op value. However, they are specifically aimed at the tourist industry and because of that fact you’re looking at around €8 a pint and €7.50 for a shot of your favourite spirit, then add €3 on top for a mixer. It’s also often aimed to target hen and stag doos so expect a lot of those. Whilst it is a great pub and the music is good it gets very busy and the wait for a drink and food can be long!

However just along the road you’ll find The Auld Dubliner and The Old Storehouse, both of which are great bars with real Irish singers and bands, smoking rooms, and a cracking pint of stout. A little further again and you’ll find The Porter House. One heck of a bar, with a whole menu of its own brewed stout and ales, bear in mind they don’t sell Guinness (I know) but they do do a fab Porter which is just as good. And what’s even better is if you buy 6 you get one free so if there’s a group of you it’s a great place to indulge. They also have live music every day, and for me, that’s what Ireland is all about.

Further up on the main road away from the hustle and bustle is Peadar Kearney’s, a typically traditional Irish pub, with the sport on, a singer and a slew of friendly locals happy to welcome you. On Saturday night we visited and they had an Irish Singer who sang everything from The Dubliner’s to Oasis and The Beatles, and even ABBA, all round great entertainment.

The Guinness Storehouse should 100% be on your list of MUST visit places. It’s amazing, the worlds largest pint glass. Even if you don’t like Guinness, the view alone from the gravity bar is a good enough reason to visit. It looks out over the whole city. St James Gate should be on the top of your list of places to see at least once in your lifetime.

The Jameson Distillery is also another must visit if you like an Irish Whiskey of course. While the home of Arthur Guinness is a whole day out, with bars and booze on every floor, not to mention the shop, the Jameson distillery will only take you an hour to walk around and you’ll come out three sheets to the wind.

It’s not all bars, whiskey and Guinness though, although obviously that’s a big part. Dublin has some really great places to visit on foot. Dublin Zoo, is set in Phoenix Park which is the largest green space in any Capital City in Europe. It has a huge collection of animals set in an ‘African Plain’ style environment, even elephants are free to roam here at Dublin Zoo.

Trinity College is a great building to see if you’re an architecture fan and it also houses the book of Kells. An interesting artefact if you’re a history fan.

Whilst you’re sat enjoying a Guinness, you’ll have heard ‘Molly Malone’ sung by one of the many Irish singers you’ve heard on your trip. The Molly Malone statue sits in Dublin’s shopping quarter on Grafton Street. Another one to tick off the bucket list.

St Stephens Green which is a stones throw from Trinity College, is a beautiful park to wander around during a winter morning, and feed the ducks whilst you’re at it.

A few things to remember when travelling across the city, if you’re on your own or in a couple, The Luas is your best friend, use it. Taxis are cheap though so if there’s 4 or more of you, you can travel by car for small change. Another thing to remember or if you’re on a budget, is Dublin can be walked on foot too, the Liffey has a canal path and of course if you’re part of a couple you’ll be wanting to put your lovers lock on the Ha’penny Bridge.

One of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks and here’s a fun fact for you: The Ha’penny bridge was actually cast in Shropshire England in 1816.

So I’ve rambled on about places to visit and drink, but you’ll be wanting to line your stomachs too so, for breakfast, I’d recommend pretty much any of the hotel’s as they all do a fab Irish Breakfast, we’ve stayed in The North Star, opposite Connelly station several times and their breakfast is fantastic.

Boxty’s in Temple Bar do a great American/Irish breakfast with Boxty’s special potato pancakes.

Lunch in The Guinness Storehouse is also great, any of the cafes or restaurants serve good hearty Guinness inspired food.

But our favourite, and it was our third visit this time, is Ciao Bella Roma’s. THE best Italian I’ve ever tasted and that’s not an exaggeration. Authentic, huge portions, the meat is something else and it’s not too expensive.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not cheap but for the quality of food it’s good value, also all the Italians eat there so that tells you something. The service is great too.

Do feel free to message me if I’ve missed anything. Don’t forget to Visit Carroll’s whilst your there and pick up some tacky souvenirs, the Irish love them, and everyone needs a fridge magnet of the Ha’penny bridge.

Enjoy xoxo