Bristol is perhaps one of the best UK cities for a photowalk*
Well, Bristol is a vibrant British city with a rich history involving slave trade, engineering and so much more. As an industrial city, Bristol was heavily bombed in World With II. While this may have meant losing many beautiful old buildings, it also allowed for the city to build new buildings and create a multi-layered skyline. The city thrives on this multi-faceted image and is the perfect canvas for the likes of Banksy and other graffiti artists.
There are so many things to see in the inner square mile of the city. While Bristol offers so many family activities, a simple wander through the city will also make for a fabulous day out.
* What is a photowalk:
Arm yourself and the kids with a camera.
Set out with a map or with no set agenda at all, follow your planned route, or just follow where your curiosity takes you; taking photos along the way.
Spot the details big and small along your route.
Stop for a bite or two and cuppa along the way. Look through the photos, learning about photography and observing details we so often miss hurrying through life.
This is slow travel at it’s best!
Spot the art and get creative with your lens
There is proper art everywhere you look in Bristol. The graffiti on the walls, the beautiful sculptures in the details of the buildings, the shapes and shadows of how buildings relate to each other. It is literally everywhere in Bristol!
A photowalk through the town will allow you to observe how the old marries up with the new, the angular with the soft shapes and how light plays with shapes.
Learn about history
Bristol has a canny way of bringing history alive. It’s not just the street names- the likes of Whiteladies road and Blackboy Hill, thought to be references to the city’s slave trading past- but also through buildings, places and everyday activity.
On our walk we came across the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century businessman and Bristol’s most famous philanthropist. A man, till recently, referred to as the “father of the city”, Bristol’s “patron saint”.
At the foot of the state were clay figures laid on the ground, around it we found little plaques “fruit picker”, “nail bar worker”, “domestic servant”, “carwash assistant”, “sex worker”
“here and now”
It didn’t make sense… till we read a little more about Colston. The man made a fortune as he rose through the ranks of the Royal Africa Company. During his time at the company, some 84,500 people were taken on slave ships from West Africa to the Caribbean, many dying along the way. (A total of over 6 million people were displaced during the nearly 200 years of slave trade.)
Here we were talking about how things have changed, yet they haven’t. An interesting discussion followed!
Just a few steps further we found an enthusiastic group of activists, campaigning to stop Brexit. The clouds above them were as ominous as the prospects of what Brexit may bring.
The industrial city and the docks
On our travels we are often drawn to the water. It was no different in Bristol. The docks are easy to find, right in the heart of the city.
With locks and swing bridges, water taxis and sightseeing boats there seems to be something happening all the time.
We found some old cranes and a working steam engine, run by a group of enthusiasts a couple of times a year.
This time we didn’t make it to the SS Great Britain, but that is certainly worth walking down to. And while on the water’s edge, circling the basin, don’t forget to look up to see the pretty colourful terraces of Bristol.
In Bristol there is always something happening, especially on the weekends. This particular Saturday had a flea market, a proper flea market with antiques. I was very tempted by these beautiful old maps.
And I couldn’t resist scratching Molly’s head and dropping a pound into her collection box for the Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue (Check out Molly’s FB page. Such a docile, good tempered dog!
In Bristol, like any cosmopolitan city, you can find every single type of food you could imagine. Choose from food stores on the market or gourmet restaurants along the waterfront.
Capturing these vibrant active scenes on you photowalk is great fun, looking back at the photos and those flavours flooding back into your memory, even more amazing.
A photowalk is not about cramming lots into a day, but slowing down and observing the details. Living in the moment. Beauty of a photowalk is that you do it again and again in the same place and have a totally different expereince, come away with very different pictures.
Bristol has lots to offer, beyond the people watching, photo snapping too.
Bit more formal wanderings
For those a little reluctant to wander aimlessly in a new city, the tourist office has some lovely self-guided walks. Pop over to find out details of the walks and download maps.
Want to explore Bristol further? Here are some fabulous articles from trusted family travel writers about other things to do and see in Bristol:
Nichola, a Bristol local, shares her top 10 tips for activities in Bristol
I absolutely love the SS Great Britain and Lisa gives a fabulous overview of this historic attraction. – https://www.travellovingfamily.com/uk-family-attractions/things-to-do-with-kids-in-bristol-ss-great-britain
Kirsty’s walk focussed mostly on the street art and she’s captured some of the most beautiful pieces in her article. I really love this piece
Cathy’s weekend in Bristol was focussed on Brunel the city’s prominent architect and engineer.