Out and about in Bristol

On the train
On the train

The journey started, as journeys often start, by waiting for a bus; to be precise, the 471, which goes from Angel to Waterloo. As is usual with bus travel, every possible bus passed our stop several times except the 471. As usual, the moment we gave up decided to take the next bus, whatever it might be, and change as necessary, the 471 appeared.

We arrived at Waterloo half an hour before our train was due to leave at 9:20, leaving plenty of time to buy baguettes and coffee for breakfast.

Engineering works do not seem to have caused problems on our route, fortunately. The weather is cloudy with sunny intervals. Let’s hope it improves or at least stays the same.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (mosaic)
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (mosaic)
Bristol Station
Bristol Station

We reached Bristol at about 12 noon, our cheap tickets having taken us via Warminster and Bath. More on that anon.

Our hopes for the weather were not fulfilled. During the journey, clouds gathered and the sky darkened. By the time we reached Bristol, the weather settled into a pattern of light showers for the rest of the day.

We took bus number 8 to the centre and then bus 54 to Stockwood. Why, you might ask. Because we were looking for someone. Knowing us, you might be surprised to learn that this person is a minister of religion and we are confident that he is to be found (sometimes) at the church in the photo.

The Church
The Church

We have never met him in the flesh but knew him some time ago online. He is an unusual and interesting character and we hoped we might finally catch up with him. Our hopes were not fulfilled this time but perhaps we will succeed eventually.

Having failed to find our man, we set out to locate a bus stop to return to Bristol. Somehow, we ended up walking – yes, my dears, walking – to Whitchurch. It was a pleasant walk despite a light drizzle and shook out some of the creases acquired during the train ride.

La Grotta, interior
La Grotta, interior

We took the 376 back to Bristol where our first concern was to find lunch. We eventually happened upon La Grotta, where we had a very good meal, including one of my favourites, Mozzarella in carozza. I think we would go there again.

After lunch, we wandered down for a look at the castle grounds. There isn’t much left of the castle apart from some grassy mounds in what is now a landscaped park.

St Peter's
St Peter’s

To one end of the park is the bombed out St Peter’s church.

We now took a bus up the hill to Bristol Museum. We had been here before but it is the sort of museum that is worth several visits. For one thing, the building itself is very beautiful and a full catalogue of its architectural and decorative charms would take a long time – and a lot of photos – to complete.

Bristol Museum
Bristol Museum
Museum detail
Museum detail

Secondly, the exhibits, which extend over three floors, require more than a cursory single visit to appreciate fully.

Emerging from the museum, we had a choice – whether to go on a bus ride or take the train home. We had had quite an active day and may be returning Bristol again soon, so we took the bus to the station. This is where we ran into a problem with the tickets.

Bristol Station Buffet
Bristol Station Buffet

When we go on trips, we are used to simply hopping on a train to London, any train. Not this time. We had bought the cheapest tickets going, which took us via Warminster and Bath, and had to travel home by the same route. Unfortunately, the last direct train of the day had already left and our tickets were not valid on any other route.

Lesser Black-backed gulls
Lesser Black-backed gulls have colonized Bristol station

We therefore had to wait an hour and 40 minutes for a train to Southampton and change there. This is something to take into account for any future trip as it might be worth paying a little extra for a more convenient route.

Though our train arrived on schedule, as did our connection at Southampton, and we completed the journey back to London with scarcely a hitch (the London train was a few minutes late), this lengthened the journey and added to the fatigue. Despite this, it was a good day out and we look forward to our next trip to Bristol.

This might happen quiet soon – watch this space!


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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