It’s no secret that I’m not exactly the most well-travelled gal (despite what I’d like to make you believe when lashing on four layers of fake tan). However one thing that’s pretty bad, even by my standards, is how much of the UK I’m yet to visit. Luckily, I was able to tick one place off my ‘need-to-stop-being-so-lazy-and-go-there’ list towards the end of last year, when I headed to the lovely city of Bristol.
I was kindly gifted a Hotel Escape with Dinner for Two* by Red Letter Days, which meant that James and I had an amazing choice of hotels around the country to stay at. We chose The Grange Hotel – which is part of the Mercure chain for any hotel buffs out there – as it was only around 15 minutes from the centre of Bristol, and so a great base for a day of exploring.
The hotel was stunning from the outside. Set in 18 acres of landscaped gardens, it’s an impressive country hotel. Our room was also brilliant, with a huge comfy bed, HD TV (hangover essential on a night away, dontcha know) and #DemViews.
A few things about the hotel weren’t ideal – they seemed a little understaffed, so service was quite slow at the bar and it was tricky trying to track anyone down after check-in to ask about the dinner or breakfast set-up (and as a girl who can’t concentrate until I know when my next meal is coming, this sent me into a mild panic). There was a wedding on the day we visited, so it’s understandable that they were busy with that – but it did mean that we, along with a few other guests, were left waiting around quite a lot. I think this would have been more of a problem if we were planning to stay in the hotel bar for the night though (as we did on a night away in the summer); however, as we wanted to get out and about into Bristol it wasn’t too much of a big deal for us.
During the day, we headed to Cabot Circus for a bit of shopping (bank balance, I am soz), and then to the Harbourside for lunch. From a friend’s recommendation, we ate at a beautiful little boat restaurant called Under the Stars, which had an amazing choice of both meat and vegetarian dishes. Considering we visited on a Saturday afternoon, it had a lovely, relaxed atmosphere, and was even quiet enough that I managed to get James to take a photo of me without him complaining that I was causing a scene having the flash on. Bristol 1, Coventry 0.
We enjoyed a couple of cocktails and more tapas than is probably healthy for two people to eat, before heading off to a few more bars in the Harbourside area. It has a very relaxed – dare I say it at the risk of exposing myself as an old, uncool person? – cool vibe (yuck), with converted warehouses, renovated containers and barge bars. We risked a slightly chilly drink outside which was still lovely, but I can only imagine that this is an absolute dream in the summer. Unless you fall in the harbour, obviously.
After spending the afternoon here, we headed back to our hotel for a bit of a relax and to get ready before dinner. As part of our Red Letter Days voucher, we had dinner included at the hotel’s restaurant, The Acorn. This was brilliant, and the service and quality of the food more than made up for the smaller problems earlier in the day. We had a couple of drinks in the relaxing restaurant before hopping in a taxi back into the centre. I think the taxi was around £20 each way, so while you wouldn’t want to go back and forth from the hotel to the centre all day, it was really reasonable just to pop out for the evening.
After a few cocktails in another part of the centre, we were pooped (technical term there) and so headed back to the hotel. The bed was as comfy as it looked, and I slept through til it was time to get up for breakfast.
All in all I LOVED my first trip to Bristol, and I can’t wait to go back in the summer when I can enjoy many, many daytime drinks at the Harbourside bars. The Red Letter Days vouchers are amazing value for money, with the hotel, dinner and breakfast offer costing just £149 for 2. I would highly recommend buying one of their short breaks, either as a present or just for yourself.
A huge thank you to Red Letter Days for gifting me with the voucher for our stay. Where in the UK is next on your list to travel?