"Alright my lover?" Top 5 Page for this destination Bristol by TheLongTone
Bristol Travel Guide: 740 reviews and 1,673 photos
I've always liked Bristol as a place to visit. I do hope living here doesn't change my opinion.
The first thing I like about Bristol is that, being hilly, you are constantly offered vistas over the whole city and open countryside beyond. The result is that the city seems finite, unlike the endless suburban sprawls of other cities. Bristol is the right size: big enough to feel like a city, small enough to be on a human scale.
The second thing I like about Bristol is what one architectural writer has called it's grain . It's very much a city that has accumulated according to it's own needs, and although urban planners and traffic managers have poked their grubby little fingers in, they have not managed to spoil the shape of the city. Which is by no means to say that Bristol has no monstrous carbuncles: in fact its crammed with them. One of the more venerable ones is the Wills Memorial building, the Gothic Revival pile in the header picture. An effective full stop to the view up Park Street (as intended) but it has always reminded me of a truncated version of William Beckford's famous collapsed tower at Fonthill Abbey.
This disorder actually contributes to the charm of the place in my opinion: Bristol feels organic rather than contrived.
Bristol is a curious thing, a seaport without any seaside. The sea is.... well, four or five miles down the Avon is the huge modern port of Avonmouth, where the Avon flows into the Bristol Channel, which hereabouts has the character of river estuary rather than open sea. It's not an obvious place for a port. Especially considering that the tidal range of the Avon, at around eleven metres, is among the largest in the world. This means that the course from Bristol to Avonmouth is only navigable at high tide: it is also the reason for the extensive engineering of the river to create the Floating Harbour. Which, disappointingly, is not a harbour that floats but a harbour in which the ships remain afloat all the time, rather than being stranded twice a day by the tide. This was created in the late eighteenth century by building locks on the Avon (the Cumberland Basin) and diverting the course of the river into the New Cut under the direction of the noted canal engineer William Jessop.
Even with the improvements, it’s still difficult to navigate, another major constraint being the Horseshoe Bend in the Avon near Sea Mills which places a limit on the length of ship which can make the passage.
And once out of Bristol, you have to beat your way down the Bristol Channel against the prevailing westerlies. You had to have your ship in perfect order, hence the expression 'shipshape and Bristol fashion'
Almost any visit to Bristol will involve a brush with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, great visionary engineer and a man whose name alone makes him memorable. His first works were concerned with improving the Floating Harbour, where he devised a system of coping with silting problems that is still basically in use today. This useful if visually unexciting work was soon eclipsed by more spectacular works: the saga of the Clifton suspension bridge, the enormous project of the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol, and the first two of his three mighty but ill-fated steamships, the second of which, the SS Great Britain, has, extraordinarily, survived and is now under restoration in the dock she was built in.
This photo contains two Brunel bridges: the famous suspension bridge and the disused swing-bridge span from his 1840's lock into the Cumberland Basin.
- Pros:Balmy, subtropical climate,
- Cons:Can't reveal my real thoughts because I'll get done over if I do
- In a nutshell:Arrrr! Shipshape and Bristol fashion, me hearties.
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