A Mid-Week Exploration of Bristol

St Mary's Redcliffe

Last month I took another excursion to Bristol to, purposefully, stay with Catherine for two nights. (You may remember she put me up for the night of BS8’s lock in.) My mission for the daytime was to show Catherine a different side to Bristol to the one she has seen, which largely involves university buildings, text books and buses. So on the Wednesday, after a morning spent blogging while she had lectures, I caught the bus in to the town centre to begin exploring.

Bristol Habourside Redcliffe Caves

Bristol Habourside Redcliffe Caves

We started off exploring the area around the Cathedral, hoping that we might be able to go inside it. Unfortunately, UWE graduation ceremonies were happening so the Cathedral was out of bounds for those of who weren’t graduating. (Congratualtions to Victoria from She and Hem on graduating.) So we proceeded to venture through the archways and found ourselves heading towards the harbourside. We wandered for a good long while, revisiting places I remembered from my GCSE Geography visit over six years ago! We ended up finding ourselves in Redcliffe starring at a map that had a magic word written on it… CAVES!

The Redcliffe Caves to be exact. Catherine and I (and Annabel) studied Geology A Level so we all have the strange ability to get excited about rocks and various geological features. Thus we headed off to find these caves only to discover that they were blocked off from the public. Seriously Bristol! Public attraction going to waste right there! However, we did still try to look as far in as possible before my imagination ran amok with smugglers and sailors.

Redcliffe Caves Bristol
Bristol M Shed

After this we found ourselves outside the ‘M Shed’, which turned out to be a free museum about Bristol’s history. Free is always good so we headed inside to learn more about Bristol’s somewhat tumultuous past.  Though I was aware of Bristol’s slave-trading history, I learned a lot about the politics of the city. Bristolians have a long history of disagreeing with politics and the ‘M Shed’ told their story really well. I particularly liked the emphasis on independent shops and the various movements and protests that have encouraged people to chose them over the chains and corporations (Tesco, I’m thinking of you). Definitely a fantastic way to spend an hour or so.

On leaving the ‘M Shed’ we discovered that it was a little later and darker than we realised. So off we went looking for a bus to catch home. One stop at the greengrocers and we were home cooking saag aloo while watching Friends. Thus ended my exploration of Bristol with Catherine.

I’m intending to visit Bristol again in 2015 so I’m looking for more places to visit in the city. Even more exciting, it looks like my National Trust membership will get lots of use in the city. So here are to more adventures with Catherine, and hopefully Annabel, exploring a city that has much more to offer!


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