A Weekend for the Girls in Bristol

Inspiration

Ever fancied having a go at glass blowing? You can book a session with one of two companies

With its fantastic shopping, vibrant nightlife, wonderful restaurants, and amazing places of interest, it is not surprising that Bristol is a popular destination for girlie groups of all ages. Whether you plan to spend your time partying hard ‘till the wee small hours, satisfying your retail cravings, relaxing in a spa or taking in a bit of culture, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Bristol. But where to start? To help you plan your weekend we’ve put together this guide of some of the best activities in the city.

Getting here

Bristol is easy to get to by air, rail, bus or car. If you’re flying there is a regular coach connection to the city centre from Bristol International Airport, or you can take a taxi.  Both Temple Meads Railway Station and Bristol Coach Station are situated close to the city centre within walking distance of, or a short taxi ride away from the hotels. The city is well connected to the M4, M5 and M32 motorways so arriving by car is easy. However, be warned; parking can be very expensive. You may do better to consider public transport or book a hotel with parking facilities.
 
Accommodation
 
There is a wealth of accommodation in Bristol, from the cheap and cheerful right up to luxury hotels catering for your every need. Whatever your budget it’s worth choosing a city centre location so you are close to all the entertainment options. Those on a budget could do worse than the YHA, which caters for groups and is situated slap bang on the harbourside. Otherwise, try the Premier Inn on King Street or the Travelodge on Anchor Road. If money is no problem and you are looking for a bit of luxury, take a look at Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel, which has a leisure centre complete with pool and sauna.
 
Eating
 
You won’t have to look far to find a huge range of Bristol restaurants suiting all budgets and tastes as you wander around the city. You should definitely book in advance for eating out in the evening, especially if you are a large group and looking for a table on a Friday or Saturday evening.
 
Lunchtime bites:  Check out No 1 Harbourside; they serve a range of great lunches with the added bonus of a free bowl of soup with each main course. Alternatively, walk a bit further along the harbourside and try either Za Za Bazaar for an all you can eat feast at a set price, or Bordeaux Quay for a range of take-away sandwiches.
 
Dinner on a budget: Many restaurants offer good value pre-theatre meals, great if you plan to move on for other entertainment and don’t mind eating before 7pm. Among the best are Thai Edge and the Glass Boat.
 
Pushing out the boat: If you want to make an evening of it and enjoy fine dining, head for either the Hotel du Vin Bistro or 2nd floor at Harvey Nichols. Both serve exquisite food.
Lido SpaLido SpaBristol HarboursideBristol Harbourside

Drinking

Cocktails are extremely popular in Bristol and there are many great cocktail bars. Browns and Harvey Nichols are great venues for a quick pick me up at the end of your daytime activities or for a pre-dinner drink or two. Later in the evening, head for Harveys Cellars or Goldbrick House for a choice of cocktails, wines and spirits.  Alternatively try Hyde and Co., a stylish speakeasy and a real hidden gem. You must book ahead if you opt for Hyde and Co.
 
Daytime Activities

You can easily spend a few hours wandering around the harbourside watching the coming and going of both boats and people. While you are here why not pop into the M Shed, Bristol’s newest museum, to learn a bit about the history of the city and its people? There is no entry charge. 

Shopping
 
Cabot Circus offers the newest and most central shopping in Bristol. Those looking for the latest fashions will not be disappointed. If you’ve got money to burn, Harvey Nicks is the place for you but if not, there are plenty of high street stores offering quality good in the mid-price range. The budget option is Primark – the low prices here are unbelievable! For unusual, and sometimes quirky goods or vintage clothing head for Clifton Arcade. Market lovers should check out St Nicholas Market for hand-made jewellery, t-shirts, vintage clothing and unusual gifts. 
 
Boat trips 
 
Several companies offer boat trips around the harbour and further afield. If you are a large party why not splash out and hire a boat either for a daytrip or a harbourside pub-crawl in the evening?
 
Themed Guided Walks 
 
Those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground may like to don a pirate hat and join Pirate Pete for a fun filled tour of smuggler and pirate haunts around the harbourside. Alternatively you could hear about the ghostly goings on in Bristol on the spooky Hidden and Haunted walking tour. 
 
Arts and crafts
 
Ever fancied having a go at glass blowing? You can book a session with one of two companies, Bristol Blue Glass and Bristol Blue Glass SW. They both give a fascinating demonstration of this delicate art and then give you the opportunity to have a go.
 
Finally you really shouldn’t leave Bristol without seeing and taking a walk over Clifton Suspension Bridge (take the number 8 or 9 bus from the city centre)
 
Relaxing
 
Robin James Salon and the Sanctuary Spa both offer excellent beauty treatments whilst Nails Inc and the Champagne Nail Bar will prepare your nails for the evening ahead. If you want a truly relaxing experience, and a bit of luxury, head for the unique Lido Pool and Spa. The restored, enticing, Victorian pool is kept at a temperature of 22-25 degrees and the Spa area and treatments provide the ultimate in relaxation.
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Evening entertainment

When evening falls there is plenty of options for Bristol nightlife. 
 
Clubbing 
 
Around the city centre, party animals head for the mainstream clubs including Oceana and the O2 Academy. Both cater for a wide range of musical tastes. Alternatively try The Thekla, a nightclub on a boat that hosts some great live gigs and club nights. Those prepared to venture a little further afield make for Stokes Croft, an emerging area in Bristol that was once considered a no-go area by many. The nightlife here rivals Bristol's commercial chain clubs and pubs playing chart R'n'B and dance music. The heavyweights here are LakotaBlue MountainThe Full Moon, and the deceptively small looking Croft and The Bank. Between them you can find DnB, reggae, dub, dubstep, garage, trance, hardcore, ska, breakbeat, latino funk and hillbilly banjo bands, the lot. 
 
Comedy Clubs 
 
If you are looking for an evening of fun and laughter the Riproar Comedy Club or Jongleurs will fit the bill – following the comedy acts both venues often host “after parties” that continue well into the night.
 
Theatre
 
Theatre lovers should check out the bill at Bristol Hippodrome, for popular West End shows and musicals or the Tobacco Factory for a diverse range of exciting plays and other performing arts productions.
 
Finally if you have any other suggestions to add to this list drop us an email on margaret.abel@mydestination.com and we’ll add it to the list!
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