Bristol staycation – Part 1

‘Staycation’ a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

‘Staycationing’ has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years. It’s now not deemed uncool or a poor reflection on your salary if you choose to holiday in your local town and country, but instead a chance to beat the queues to the best attractions in your area and catch up on some life admin, something I’m always wishing I had more time for. This is probably because with rising housing and living costs most twenty – thirty somethings just can’t afford a 2-week trip abroad every year especially if you have a family. Myself and Dan have saved up just enough to go abroad for a week in September so there was no way a trip outside driving distance from Bristol was on the cards for June. Almost all the trips and nights out had been at a cost but staying in Bristol meant no accommodation costs and minimal travel costs. All in all, I reckon saved about £1200 compared to a week’s holiday in abroad.

This was my first proper staycation, I’ve taken annual leave and vegged out at home for a week but I don’t think that really counts. This time I planned my week with daily trips and projects to make the most of my time off work. Yes, the odd lazy day was thrown in but I really don’t like to look back at time off and feel it’s been wasted, plus the projects were creative and satisfying so didn’t feel like a chore. I also wrote a list of what I wanted to achieve in my week off.

  • Sense of accomplishment  
  • Relaxation
  • Quality couple time
  • Visit at least 3 new places
  • Keep spend to around £350 for the week

 

June 27 – SOUKitchen & Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This was an exciting day for us, we had some great news about Dan’s old house and decided to go out and celebrate. We decided to go to SOUKitchen for dinner (Whiteladies Road). We have been to SOUKitchen a few times before but only ever for brunch and every time we go we peruse the evening menu and make a promise to have dinner next time, so tonight was the night. SouKitchen advertises itself as a ‘Mediterranean Restaurant’ however (I would say) it’s more of a middle eastern, North African fusion restaurant, so great if you love, sumac, saffron, hummus and rose petals. They were surprisingly busy for a Tuesday evening and you could tell the waiters were rushed off their feet but still the service was courteous and prompt. This was one night out I hadn’t booked but i would next time, it’s also worth noting the only have an early licence (until 10pm) so don’t take walk ins after 8.30pm. We went all out, Meeze to start, sumptuous main course (I had lamb which was gorgeous) and Persian love cake (so cute) to finish, all washed down with a bottle of prosecco. The waiter even commented on the amount we had devoured, I took this with great pride. After eating like middle eastern royalty, we waddled down to Her Majesty’s Secret Service (HMSS) for cocktails. This speakeasy type bar is tucked away behind Whiteladies shopping centre. I would usually suggest booking but we risked it on a Tuesday night and it was fine. Like the other speakeasies in Bristol the decor of this place is top notch. Unfortunately, photographs don’t really work in the low light so you will have to discover this for yourself. Of course, its table service and our waiter was really knowledgeable about the cocktail menu even offering alternatives based on our preferences, you won’t get much change form £20 for 2 drinks but for a late nightcap I thinks it’s one of the best.

  • SOUKitchen – £68 (3 courses and prosecco)
  • HMSS – £18
  • Budget remaining – £264
  • Quality couple time  

June 28 – Avery’s wine tasting & Bristol Harbour Hotel -Gold Bar

I won the actual tasting in a raffle so a nice cheap evening…. or so I thought’. We arrived at Avery’s and were taken downstairs into the wine cellar. Exposed brick and low arches with pops of bright art work made it seem approachable and modern, rather than stuffy and old school (which I would usually associate with wine tastings). We were on a table of about 8 others and the tables was laid out with fresh bread and an assortment of cheeses. These cheeses were meant to be eaten along with the wine but clearly everyone was as peckish as us and tucked in straight away. Our wine connoisseur form Avery’s was called Frank and he had a very relaxed and light-hearted approach to the wine tasting, perfect for beginners. It was less ‘pebbles in the rain’ and more practical analysis of the wine; ‘you will enjoy this wine if you like a fruity flavour’ or ‘this wine is more peppery and compliments red meat’ etc. This tasting was designed to include and even though I saw some bottles for sale which were £200 or more the majority wines we tasted were quite reasonable, coming in at £8 – 16 per bottle.

 

We did splash out a little purchasing 4 bottles but we really did enjoy them so we thought it was worth the splurge. After Avery’s and carrying our wrapped wine haul through town, I thought it would be nice to try the Gold Bar and the Bristol Harbour hotel. I’ve seen some great pictures of this bar on Instagram and the interior design of the place alone was enough to entice me in. The Bar was quiet (it was a Wednesday night after all) but this gave me the perfect people free backdrop for pictures (so sad) and the chance to sink into one of their velvet armchairs without judgement. The decor was in my opinion flawless and comprised of a colour scheme / mix match textures I long to have in my own home. It was moody, dark but modern. Gilded in copper and gold…. gorgeous. The cocktails came out looking equally stylish, I went for a ‘Lady Godiva’, which was gin based (of course) with lavender and lemon, Dan went for a trusty ‘Dark n’ Stormy’ which he admits was very good. To be honest we were a little more than tipsy at this point so only stayed for one. Another good cocktail bar to add to my list.

  • Avery’s Wine Tasting – Free
  • Wine purchased – £48
  • Gold Bar cocktails – £18
  • Remaining budget – £198
  • New places visited -2

 

So halfway through and almost at my new places quota… get in! Plus over £200 to spend. I’ll being sharing what I did for the rest of the week this weekend. Perhaps it will inspire some weekend adventures.

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