This post contains paid for content for National Express.
When National Express got in touch with me asking if i’d like to collaborate on some travel content, I was pretty over the moon. I love weekends away, I love exploring new places and I’m always open to different travel options.
I’ve been wanting to visit Bristol for a very long time and so, this was the perfect opportunity to visit somewhere new and travel via a method I wouldn’t usually travel, coach!
We booked ourselves onto a mid-morning coach from Birmingham Coach station, which is a 5 min walk from the Bullring. We didn’t have any problem finding a seat, we plonked ourselves on the leather seats, got comfy and got ready for the couple of hours journey. People probably have some pre-conceived ideas of coaches being stuffy and cramped and noisy, but honestly we had the opposite experience. We had plenty of room, there was air con, a light for reading, a toilet, plug sockets, everything you could really need. We also had a really great coach driver on the way there who’s updates were funny and charming, he definitely was one of the highlights of the journey!
We arrived in Bristol around 1pm and we couldn’t check into the hotel till 3, so we had a nice little wander around just familiarising ourselves with the city. Stumbling on St Peter’s Church which is dilapidated, we then crossed Castle Bridge over the river to look at all the food places on the side of the river. We hadn’t had any lunch so when we stumbled on Three Brothers Burgers we hunkered down inside to hide from the rain and wind. This was probably the find of the century, the food here was incredible. I had the best chicken burger I’ve ever had (not even kidding), Chris found his new favourite stout (which I’ve ordered him a 12 pack for his birthday since!) and we had an immense vegan Oreo milkshake. It’s so hard to find vegan milkshakes so we were pretty impressed with this one! All in all, it was hard to not come back again in the evening for dinner…although we did think about it quite a lot…
After a little more waddling around with our bellies full, we headed to check in to our hotel, The Grand. We had a little afternoon break at this point, as the weather was horrendously windy and rainy but we did eventually decide to brave it and head out again around 6/7pm to find some dinner.
After walking around for an hour we ended up having a (much needed and very expensive) drink in the hotel bar and ordering some food there instead. We liked being able to call it quits on socialising and just heading upstairs when we were done. We actually took it pretty easy on the Saturday, I think the weather didn’t really help so we headed to bed for an early start and jam packed day on the Sunday.
We got up super early on Sunday, checked out of our hotel and headed for the bus stop to take us up to The Clifton Suspension Bridge. We headed to the visitor centre first to check out the little exhibition about the bridge, how it was built and who built it. It was really interesting to see all this before actually going to look at the bridge itself. The bridge was really impressive, we had every intention of walking over it but i’m terrified of heights and standing on the edge and seeing it move in the wind completely put me off, sorry Chris.
We decided to walk all the way back down the hill into town with the intention of stopping at the bottom to get a cool look at the bridge. The weather was so much nicer on the Sunday, it was great to get out and walk in the parks and take in the views. We met the most adorable long haired sausage dog and played with her in the park and admired the street art, so worth while not walking over the bridge after all.
The next destination stop was to find our first Banksy piece, The Girl With a Pierced Eardrum. The walk around the docks to find this art piece was really pretty, a lot of the houses are painted bright colours, the sun was shining, lots of people were enjoying the walk. Chris and I were talking about how we’d only been in Bristol less than 24 hours but we loved the city and it’s vibe already and talked about coming back again at some point to do all the other things we didn’t have time to do this time.
After seeing the Banksy, we headed on round to the SS Great Britian Museum. This boat was designed by the same guy who designed the suspension bridge in Bristol, Brunel. The boat is docked in a dry dock so you can go underneath, inside and on-top of it which is pretty cool. We spent a good few hours exploring the museum, reading about it’s history and seeing the tiny little beds and rooms people used to stay in.
By this point we’d walked around 20k steps and had certainly worked up an appetite, so we headed further down the little island to Wapping Wharf to find some food. This place is really cool with lots of converted shipping containers, there is the M Shed which we didn’t have time to explore but is on the list for the next visit! We settled on a place called Wild Beer for fish and chips and a well earned rest.
Our National Express coach home was booked for 4pm so after eating we took a stroll back through different areas of Bristol we hadn’t seen yet so we could add things to the list of ‘what to see next time’ and enjoyed some more of the street art. The coach home was exactly what we needed, we were pooped by this point so just relaxed, gazed out the window at the sun setting after a whirlwind 27 hours in Bristol.
The coach was super cheap and quite an easy option, the only problem we had is that none of the coaches go from Leamington Spa where we live, so we had to add extra time to the journey getting to and from Birmingham station, but that can’t really be helped. Was travelling by coach something I thought about doing before? Nope. Is it something I would do again? Absolutely. We had no complaints at all from our gifted journey, it was all super simple, quick and comfortable for both our journeys, we even arrived earlier than expected on both coaches, which was a little bonus.
Have you ever been to Bristol?
What were your favourite things about the city? Have I missed any amazing spots that I need to visit next time I’m here? I think next time we might bring the car so we can explore places more on the outskirts of town.
How do you feel about travelling via National Express coaches? Is it something you would consider as a cheaper and comfier alternative for your UK weekend breaks? If so, you can check out their range of travel destinations here.
Thank you to National Express for working with me on the blog post!