For some Bristol dwellers, cycling along the Bristol – Bath Railway Path is the first thought on waking up to a glorious summer day. This 13 mile route has a rather unpromising start, found by passing through an industrial and slightly insalubrious area of Bristol. However, once on it you’re soon away, leaving the city behind as you pass through the cool and dark Staple Hill Tunnel and emerge into the picturesque countryside of South Gloucestershire.
Along the way there are plenty of idyllic picnic spots and opportunities to cool off in the River Avon. You can also take a ride on a heritage steam train at Bitton, or just enjoy watching it puff past. A couple of decent pubs provide refreshments; it’s worth taking the turning for Saltford and heading to the Jolly Sailor to sit in the garden overlooking Saltford Lock supping a local ale. This can be a destination in itself, located 9 miles from Bristol. Otherwise, continue on to Bath and spend a few hours wandering around this pretty spa town. For those who feel this is quite enough exercise for one day, trains run frequently back to Bristol, taking just 10 minutes.
The path can get busy but never unpleasantly so as it remains at a comfortable three metre width for the duration. There are also no significant hills to contend with, meaning it has all the makings of a fun, free and active day out, suitable for all ages and levels – the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of longer days.
www.bristolbathrailwaypath.org.uk contains all the information about the route, history and attractions.
www.avonvalleyrailway.org has information about the heritage railway
www.jollysailorpub.com has menus and photos
Google map: bit.ly/GYAGhT
Like your cider? This is the place for you then. Moored just along the Welsh Back, the Apple has a very small serving bar area but boasts a whole variety of ciders with special deals for students too. The Venue is usually packed during the summer months as they have an enormous seating area which always draws in the crowds. Service is quite quick and prices are reasonable.
This is a great place for either a few drinks in the bars downstairs (The Star bars) or an amazing dinner in the Italian-influenced restaurant upstairs (The Dove). I've done both (the bars several times!) and I love it there! Always have a good time. Really close to Victoria Park so it's the perfect place for a cheeky cider during a day in the sun. Get involved!
The Star & Dove, 75-78 St Luke's Road, Totterdown, Bristol BS3 4RY
0117 300 3712
South of the river in Bristol is a bit of a nightlife black hole if you're not in Southville - but with the arrival of the S&D, the Windmill and the Bocabar, things are becoming slightly more exciting.
The S&D wins out over the other two though, because of its fantastic food, some of the best I've had in Bristol (better than many mediocre but far more expensive restaurants in town - Riverstation I'm looking at you).
It's not totally gastro though - downstairs is a more traditional pub, though wonky and trendy in that reclaimed-furniture style. And it's right by a big park. Lovely!
75-78 St Luke's Road, Totterdown
0117 300 3712
About 15 minutes' walk from the town centre.
It's one of Bristol's oldest pubs with a great history linking it with the abolition of slavery. A small ale house on a cobbled street with old wooden floor and lots of character.
Just off Bristol Bridge in Thomas Lane.
Being a maritime city, what better way to travel than by boat?! Take one of the regular ferries from the centre (by the fountains) and see the new docks developments, The SS Great Britain and The Matthew before getting off at the Nova Scotia pub for a pint of proper cider (or whatever you want!).
Sister pub to The Pipe & Slippers across town. The ethos is much the same, mixing pub and bar culture with a kitchen that does tapas and pieminister pies. The real boon of this place is the 1970s NSM jukebox which only plays vinyl. It won't accept today's new fangled coins mind, so old school 10ps and 50ps are bought from the bar.
14 Windmill Hill, BS3 4LU;
tel: 0117 963 5440;
Take the suburban train line to Bedminster station from Bristol Temple Meads;
A special pub tucked away in Stokes Croft with Bath Ales and locally brewed beers on tap. DJs play eclectic tunes in the evenings to a savvy crowd. There's a little beer garden out the back and they do food too, good chips.
Hillgrove St, Stokes Croft, BS2 8JT;
tel: 0117 909 6612
Pub of the moment. A traditional style boozer that mixes in the best of bar culture. Their Portuguese chef serves up her 'petiscos' and there are Pieminister pies bought in from just down the road. DJs subtly spin their records come the evening.
118 Cheltenham Rd, BS6 5RW;
tel: 0117 942 7711;
Renowned Bristol jazz joint named after Duke Ellington. The live music every night ranges from traditional New Orleans to more modern interpretations. The walls and ceiling are plastered with old and new jazz posters evoking memories of gigs and artists. Each year over the August Bank Holiday weekend The Old Duke holds its own jazz festival which takes over the lower end of King Street.
45 King Street BS1 4ER
If you're in the West Country you've got to have some scrumpy. 'The Corrie Tap' may be small inside but it's worth the fight past students and Bristol City supporters to the bar. The Exhibition cider is reputedly so strong that it can only be served up in half-pint glasses. Gert lush.
Sion Place, or back door entrance on Portland Street, Clifton Village
A pub with a phenomenal jukebox hiding away where the Georgian terraces of Kingsdown juxtapose against the high-rise post-war housing of the 1960s. Manu Chao, Motown, jazz, reggae, all await your jukebox selection.
53 Hillgrove St North, BS2 8LT
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com