Recently refurbished, this is one of London's best museums. It has huge displays on such topics as the history of cruising and interactive exhibits like the ferry piloting simulator. The cafe round the back is rather nice too. A walk across the road will take you into the old naval college, whose chapel has a superb painted ceiling.
Park Row, Greenwich; tel: 020 8858 4422;
A cafe half way up the hills if you are walking from the town. It is in a beautiful Victorian building with a spring still flowing into a fountain inside. A great place to stop for generously portioned food - on the hippy side, but very tasty.
You can eat inside, or on the terraces outside.
or telephone: 01684 560285
Variable opening hours, but sometimes open on Christmas day.
Large and airy, this hostel is in an old textile warehouse. It is in a great location for exploring the city centre by day and the Northern Quarter bars by night. Some of these drinking holes are quite difficult to spot, so sign up for the bar crawl, if you don't mind Australians.
50 Newton St, The Northern Quarter, Manchester; tel: 0800 083 3848 (free in the UK);
It is a very small theatre - the smallest in the world apparently - located in an old public loo. It is beautifully decorated and run by enthusiastic volunteers.
Performances are on demand and last for five minutes. Apparently the runs of shows tend to last a long time as the theatre's founder has to make all the puppets etc from scratch.
I really recommend this as it is such an unusual way to spend five minutes and lets you get your breath back after trekking up the hills.
It's in Malvern town on Edith Walk (uphill on the street between Waitrose and Somerfield).
A 'modern' styled Italian restaurant serving very good old style Italian food. Good wine list too. And something unusual ... the restaurant is situated in what was the old Jack Lilley Triumph motorcycle building.
109 High Street, Shepperton TW17 9BL
Tel: (01932) 269006
A short walk up the high street from Shepperton station.
The Central Library has a beautiful main reading room and free internet access. A good place to read, study and reflect. It's possible to take a tour of the building. The haunted yarn given by the librarians sounds like they've seen the opening scenes in Ghostbusters one too many times.
College Green, BS1 5TL;
tel: 0117 903 7200;
Once a trucker's stop-off under the Cumberland Basin flyover. After a makeover it's become somewhere to have a coffee by the water's edge with a panoramic view of the Suspension Bridge and the ostentatious Clifton terraces. For engineering fans it's possible to walk to Brunel's original 19th century lock which made the floating harbour possible. It now sits unused beneath the flyover.
Brunel Lock Road, Cumberland Basin BS1 6XL;
tel: 0117 925 5800;
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!).
A giant redbrick warehouse sitting between the River Avon and the entrance to the floating harbour in the Cumberland Basin. It's home to environmental think-tanks and the City Council's sustainable development unit. It has a gallery and cafe open to the public. The best part of the centre is the attached Ecohome which anyone is welcome to nose around.
Smeaton Road, BS1 6XN;
tel: 0117 925 0505;
Another reason to visit Stokes Croft. As you come in through the door there's a lounge bar area with a good selection of Spanish & Portuguese beers. Towards the back is the restaurant area. Their tapas is imaginative and well prepared.
130 Cheltenham Road, BS6 5RW;
tel: 0117 944 2442;
A cycle (or walk) along the canals in London will give you a different view of the city, and there are some great places to stop off along the way: start with a coffee in Angel, stop for a stroll around Victoria Park, and end up in Limehouse, from where you can cycle on to Canary Wharf, and even Greenwich, if you want - where you could have a nice lunch.
More info on www.tfl.gov.uk/cycles/routes/leisure-routes.shtml
A 1950's former tea-packing factory now home to a hub of Bristol's artists. It's a pivotal part of the city's artist-led initiatives and is due to be completely refurbished with new gallery space, a reading room and a cafe bar by early 2007. They produce a critical journal and commission works around Bristol entitled 'Spike in the City.' Over the May Bank Holiday weekend each year they host their Open Studios event allowing the public in beyond the galleries. The opening Friday night party for Open Studios is a boozy glut of trendy art types and a lot of fun.
Bristol has greedily twinned herself with a host of cities, Oporto, Hannover, Tbilisi in Georgia, Beira in Mozambique, Guangzhou in China and Puerto Morazan in Nicaragua. Acknowledging the French connection is this ambitious venture which sets out to change attitudes towards food. Within the large dockside premises is a restaurant, deli, cafe, bakery and a cookery school. The food is conscientiously sourced mostly from within a 50 mile radius and is magnificent. Foodie paradise.
Canons Road, BS1 5UH;
enquiries: 0117 906 5550;
reservations: 0117 943 1200;
Before Goldie Lookin Chain sprang on the scene with their über ironic 'joke hop' there was the Bristolian hip-hop of Parlour Talk. Their album 'Padlocked Tonic' is a first-rate blend of varied beats, great scratching, humour, rapping in Bristol accents, and a big dose of funk - West Coast this ain't, rather West Country.
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 lounge club with good drinks and live music. It's in the heart of Clifton so the crowd can be a little stuffy on occasion. However, Thursday nights are a more laid back affair as the club is set aside for live jazz and latin music.
15 Richmond Terrace, BS8 1AA;
tel: 0117 973 0986
An often criminally overlooked asset to the city. The line links Bristol Temple Meads, in the centre of the city, to Severn Beach from where the Severn Bridges and South Wales are clearly visible. The scheduling is sadly erratic but it provides a superb link between east and west Bristol. It's worth travelling to the end of the line as it snakes up the Avon valley providing some beautiful views. Once at the Severn estuary there are some excellent walks.
Stops at Bristol Temple Meads, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Severn Beach;
Bookings and timetable: www.thetrainline.com;
On the outskirts of the city centre lies a place called Bedminster, within Bedminster there lies a bar called Bar Salt. One of the nicest bars you will find in Bedminster, it has everything from great freshly cooked food, a lovely al fresco beer garden to sit in the sunshine and enjoy your drink and pool tables.
As soon as you walk through the doors you're transported to a relaxed and friendly place where you can chill out alone or with friends. It has an excellent quiz every Monday night, DJ'S on Friday night and Open Mic night every Tuesday (hosted by Ryan Kenning, Ricky Martin and Neil Young - no that's really their names!!) which I have to say is the most fun I've ever had! The standard of local talent that gets up and performs is amazing, from guitars to solo singers with stunning voices, not to be confused with karaoke! All in all an excellent place to go any day of the week!
4-6 North Street
Tel: 0117 953 1446
The excitingly designed Harbourside concert hall by architects Behnisch & Partners was set to do for Bristol what the Guggenheim had done for Bilbao. A shameful Arts Council decision cut the funding and the project has never been revived. With this turn of events At-Bristol, with its stunning all-reflective planetarium, became the centrepiece of the Harbourside development. The centre mixes art, science and nature. It includes an Imax cinema, the interactive 'Explore' science museum and 'Wildwalk', a walk through a living section of rainforest.
Harbourside, BS1 5DB;
tel: 0845 345 1235;
More than just a second-hand books and vinyl trader. This shop also sells a range of hats and acts as somewhere you can find out about left-of-centre events going on in Bristol. The profits from their Banksy print t-shirts go towards local NGO Kiptik which supports development projects in the Chiapas region of Mexico.
82 Colston Street, BS1 5BB;
tel: 0117 933 0909
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