A couple of months back, we visited the UK to attend our daughter’s master’s degree graduation at Oxford. We used the opportunity to visit and catch up with family and some friends as well. Naturally, we managed to fit in some sight-seeing as well. I’ll be posting some of the photographs from that trip here on the blog in instalments. These are some photographs from our time in Bristol, UK.
We spend a couple of days with my good friend, fellow food blogger Jayasri and her family. They were nice enough to show us around Bristol, Bath and a bit of Cardiff Bay. Bristol in the UK, is situated on the River Avon. The name Bristol is possibly a corruption of the 11th century settlement called Brycgstow in old English meaning “place at the bridge”.
The city of Bristol is known mainly for its maritime history, and the earliest exploration voyages used to set out from Bristol. Unfortunately, the old Bristol port was also famous for the slave trade in the 1700-1800s. Today, it is better known for its harbor, its blend of architecture, contribution to the arts and sciences, and its electronics and aerospace industries.
Some other things Bristol is famous for includes an International Balloon Fiesta, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Banksy and other street artists, and pirates. Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard was from Bristol. Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired by the city’s pirate history to create Long John Silver for Treasure Island in Bristol!
One other thing characteristic of Bristol are its colourful houses, Cliftonwood Crescent perhaps the more famous of them. There are equally colourful tales about their origin, and they reflect the character and spirit that is Bristol.
Bristol Cathedral is built on the site of the Abbey of St. Augustine founded in 1140 AD. It is a “Hall Church” where the nave, aisles, and choir are all the same height. Various parts of the Anglican cathedral were built at different times over seven centuries. The official name of Bristol Cathedral is the “Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity”. Its vaulted ceiling, stained glass and architectural details are of note.
There is a statue of Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Bristol just outside the Bristol Cathedral, erected in 1997. He came to England in 1831 as the ambassador of the Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah II. Roy was visiting Bristol where he fell ill with meningitis, and died in 1833. He is interred Arno’s Vale where a “chatthri” marks the spot.
Bristol is a charming and very photogenic city to visit. We didn’t have much time there so didn’t get to see a lot but it still left a lasting impression on us. You can find the old, the new, the colourful and the quaint all coexisting together.
Bristol is situated on the River Avon, which flows into the Severn Estuary and then into the Bristol Channel This Channel has the second greatest tidal range of any river system in the world. Changing water levels meant that ships would get stranded in the mud if their arrival wasn’t perfectly timed.
So the Bristol Floating Harbour was designed and completed in 1809 to solve this problem. The water in the harbour now remains at a constant level unaffected by tides of the River Avon. The entire Floating Harbour is built over 70 acres with over 40 bridges crisscrossing its waterways. Bristol Harbourside is a very happening place with plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. You can find the Millenium Square, pretty fountains, a Sunday Market, water sports options, art and cultural centres, and other landmarks and attractions here.
Bristol is equally famous for its colourful graffiti art. Many are examples of wry humour and displays of pop-culture. Once considered anti-establishment and vandalism, Bristol now celebrates its street art. You can find it in Bristol’s streets, underpasses, back-alleys, across building walls, in parking lots, bridges, and just about everywhere. Bristol’s most famous street artist is the world famous but anonymous Banksy.