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Bristol, good self-catering place and good location

Bristol, good self-catering place and good location

Mar 30th, 2009, 06:33 AM
  #1  
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Bristol, good self-catering place and good location

My husband and I will be in Bristol, UK beginning August 13, 2009 for 7 nights and would like self-catering lodging. We won't have a car, so would like the lodging to be in a good location for easily getting around by foot and bus. We are in our upper sixties and I can't walk for great distances at a time. What is the best location to stay and a few good restaurants for nighttime dining.? What are the sites we must not miss? Joan
normanius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 07:35 AM
  #2  
 
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I'm not at all sure there's anywhere in Bristol that really meets your requirements - and I'm puzzled you're asking this question.

As in most British cities, few people in Bristol live in the centre. Most Bristol self-catering accommodation is in recently built 'buy to let' developments (like:

http://www.selfcatering-directory.co...ering-8813.htm,
http://www.studentwatchout.co.uk/sel...s-bristol.html
http://www.geometricapartments.com )

These are mostly aimed at the student market, or the medium-term business stay market. They aren't in the kinds of locations you'd find flats being rented out in London, Paris or Rome: they're mainly rather characterless late 20th century developments, built to bring life back to areas the great and good think ought to be revitalised. Not seedy or anything: just not Chelsea or the Marais

And that's not just true of the flats available: there really isn't any life, or things to see, in those parts of town. Bristol's handsome, lively, well-restauranted urban village is Clifton - stunningly located, but a few miles out of town and not - I'd have thought - the ideal place if you want to get round, aren't too happy walking and haven't got a car. There's an OK bus service into town - but, though the city's tourist office puts up a valiant attempt to pretend otherwise, there really isn't that much to see in Bristol when you get there. It absolutely isn't a pleasant city for gentle meandering around in

To be honest, unless there's some really strong magnet drawing you to Bristol (in which case why are you asking us what's worth doing there?), I'd have thought you'd be better off in one of the small handful of British cities with a city-centre population, or at any rate a sufficiently developed city-centre infrastructure of flats, buses, restaurants and things to see.

IMHO - and maybe there's been a revolution in Bristol since I declined the opportunity to move to Clifton a few years ago - to fill a week, you're pretty well limited to:

London
Oxford
Cambridge
Edinburgh
Bath
York (not sure about s/c accomodation, though)
Dublin (it may not be IN Britain, but it's a British city)
Liverpool just about
Maybe Durham, but I can't see it filling a week, and you don't sound as if you're up for walks along Northumbrian beaches.

Perhaps there's a Bristol booster lurking who can offer more enthusiasm. Bristol might be OK as a centre to drive round the West of England- but that's not what you're after
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 08:15 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for your opinion. I would like now to hear from others who have visited Bristol recently to see if they, too, feel we have made a wrong choice for a week-long visit. It's not that I'm opposed to walking around for 2 or 3 hours at a time, I just don't want to walk miles at a time.
normanius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 12:03 PM
  #4  
 
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OK - maybe we should be asking why you picked Bristol. It has a couple of nice museums but is definitely not "tourist central". It is a busy commercial city and flanner has explained the issues w/ staying in Clifton nearby.

I would not consider Bristol for a week's stay unless I was there for work. I have a few friends living in Bristol --- well actually in surrounding suburbs, and I don't even visit them for more than a night or two.

But - you selected Bristol for some reason - right? tell us what that was.

If, on the other hand, you just stuck a pin in a map and landed on Bristol -- then we can help you find a better destination. flanner's list is a good starting point - but there are a few other options.
janisj is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 12:56 PM
  #5  
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We are coming to England this year to take a cruise out of Harwich, but decided to add a week before the cruise and stay somewhere that we would not have to rent a car and that would be easy to get to Harwich for the cruise We chose Bristol mainly because pictures of the water looked pretty, a friend from Stratford-upon-Avon wants to see us while we are in England,she can get a bus from Stratford-upon-Avon and Bristol, and we have never been to Bristol. We do know one person who lives in Bristol and want to see her one day. What suggestions do you have for our destination for the week? I love London, but don't want to stay there for the week this time. We have also spent time in the other cities mentioned by flanner, and would like to see something new. Thanks for any suggestions.
normanius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 01:30 PM
  #6  
 
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Well - Bristol certainly isn't convenient to Harwich which is clear across on the other side of the country.

A better choice IMO would be Oxford, or possibly Stratford-upon-Avon since you have a friend living there. Of course - they are also across the whole country from Harwich. Both would have a better choice of self-catering flats than Bristol. Your Bristol-based friend could visit you. Or, you could stay one night in a hotel in Bristol to see your friend and then move on to a self catering property in Oxford or Stratford -- or even Warwick.

Now - what makes MUCH more sense logistics-wise would be to stay in Colchester or somewhere like that, which is near Harwich. But then you be a loooooong distance from your friends in Bristol and Stratford.

Check out these in Colchester:

http://www.castleroadcottages.com/
http://www.acacia-cottages.co.uk/
janisj is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 01:50 PM
  #7  
 
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"My husband and I will be in Bristol" is the first line of this posting, so let's be positive and not tell her she should go somewhere else. Why not suggest Paris or Krakow - they both have more "must see" sights.

Bristol is trying to promote itself as a tourist destination, and if you want to visit a real city, where most of the people you meet will be ordinary workers or students rather than lost souls worrying about pickpockets and how much that is in dollars, then it is as good as anywhere.

Firstly, Bristol has a harbourside, a medieval city centre, a Georgian suburb, and features like museums, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the SS Great Britain. There is even a hop-on, hop-off open top double decker bus service.

Secondly, it is also within easy reach by public transport of Bath, Wells, Glastonbury and Cardiff, all places of historic and architectural interest, and different from Bristol.

Thirdly, Bristol has a wide range of accommodation, shops and restaurants. I can give recommendations if you wish. Where you may have problems is in finding self-catering accommodation near the city centre. Property in Bristol is expensive, so it is not economic to own it unless it is occupied all year round. However, there are a number of serviced apartments, and these can be found, with all other accommodation at the Bristol Tourism website at http://visitbristol.co.uk/.

Bristol may not be Britain's number one tourist destination, but that will not stop you having a good time there.
chartley is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 02:01 PM
  #8  
 
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Chartley: Yes that is how the OP started out. But it became fairly obvious they really don't know much about the place.

" . . . . and that would be easy to get to Harwich for the cruise We chose Bristol mainly because pictures of the water looked pretty" - Just how is Bristol to Harwich "easy"?

If their friend in Stratford can visit them in Bristol - it makes just as much sense for their Bristol friend to visit then in Stratford - or Oxford - or anywhere else for that matter.

Heck - If they stayed in Colchester, they could take the train into London and meet their friends there for a morning or afternoon.

I personally don't think Bristol makes that much sense for a week in self-catering.
janisj is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 02:14 PM
  #9  
 
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"We do know one person who lives in Bristol and want to see her one day" That seems like a good reason to go to Bristol to me. Is travelling from Harwich or Colchester to London for the day to meet friends from Bristol really your idea of having a good time? Would you want to spend a week in Harwich?

Janisj, how long have you spent in Bristol? What can you tell us about the sights and the restaurants?
chartley is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 02:41 PM
  #10  
 
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I have spent the odd day in Bristol quite often - as I said I have a few friends living in the area. I did say there are some interesting museums, and other attractions - but mostly outside the city. But what generally happens is, I'm in a rental cottage in Dorset or Somerset or Devon or the Cotswolds and my friends want to come visit me and not the other way around.

Visiting their friend for one day does not mean they should necessarily rent a flat for a week - wouldn't you agree? Staying a night (or 2 even) to see their friend makes total sense IMO, Staying a week - not so much . . . . .

But it is their trip.
janisj is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 02:46 PM
  #11  
 
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I visited Bristol for a few hours and stayed overnight after my quick trip to Devon and Cornwall. [Cheap fare on Continental to BRS.] I actually like the place, and I think it'll be fine if one can stay close to the city center or Temple Meads station; that way you can easily do day trips by train or bus to other places in SW England or SE Wales.

But I don't think there's enough to see or do in Bristol/Clifton itself for a week.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 03:58 PM
  #12  
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Thanks to everyone for your opinions. Luckily, we have not yet booked a place for a week in Bristol and since everyone seems to think there is not enough to do to stay an entire week, we may just stay a couple of days and go elsewhere. Since we are from the U.S. the distance of "clear across the country" of England by train does not seem like a great distance to us. We enjoy the British trains and have always enjoyed riding them to see your beautiful countryside. We will check on the websites you gave us. Thanks
normanius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 04:12 PM
  #13  
 
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There's no direct train from Bristol to Harwich. You need to take a train to London Paddington, then take the tube across town to Liverpoool Street, and then another train to Harwich.

Nationalrail.co.uk will give you a 4hr18min itinerary, but that only allows 63 minutes for the London transfer. More realistically, you need to take a train that departs Bristol half an hour earlier, so total travel time will be 4hr48min.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 04:56 PM
  #14  
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Yes, we knew we would have to go to London and change. We plan to do that the day before the cruise so we won't be rushed. Thanks.
normanius is offline  

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