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"Little London"

Some locals call Bristol “Little London”: it has the same vibe, but is much greener, smaller and cosier. After three days in Bristol, I tend to agree with them. Winner of the 2015 European Green Capital Award and rated Best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Bristol has it all: culture, creativity, trendy locals and just a hint of an edge.

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A unique stay

Organic living room

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, book a Rooftop Rocket. The roof of the Brooks Guesthouse features four fifties-style caravans equipped with every conceivable luxury, including TV, LED lighting and a bathroom.The guesthouse reception provides me with various tips.

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One of the staff recommendations is just around the corner: the St Nicolas Market in the old city centre. This indoor market with organic food feels as familiar and cosy as any living room. It’s a great location for a good breakfast. Top choices include the pita breads from Eat a Pitta, and the best pastries in town from Ahh Toots. Simply divine!

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Under the banner of Mike Tekst & Beeld, independent photographer and journalist Mike Raanhuis (1975) works for various advertising agencies, (digital) magazines, and companies. Mike’s images reinforce his writing, while his texts give new dimensions to his photography. Mike specialises in revealing the essence of people and their environment, in articles such as this one.

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    Madrugada Verde
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Bristol by bike

… and grab a water taxi

Of course you can explore the city by taxi, but whizzing around on a trendy folding bike is even more exciting and convenient. I reserve a bike online at Brompton Bike Hire, remove it from the safe at the station and for £5 I have wheels for the day. This is all completely in line with Bristol being awarded the title of European Green Capital for 2015. In 2014, the city has doubled the number of cyclists with this bike initiative.

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Apart from great bike paths, Bristol also boasts various waterways. By ferry, I get a very different perspective of Bristol’s green beauty. I can clearly see the hilltop district of Clifton, which I’ll be visiting later.

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Sion Hannuna

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The SS Great Britain

Ship in a dry dock

The SS Great Britain was built in 1843 and is a must-see. This huge ship lies in a dry dock in the harbour district, near the place where it was first built. To prevent any corrosion of the iron hull (unique for its time), the dock has been waterproofed with a large plate of glass at the water line level.

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And that’s what makes a visit so fascinating: I can walk below the water line, through the dry dock and along the entire underwater portion of the ship. I complete my time travel with a visit to the museum where I peruse authentic letters, diaries and drawings from that era.

The Birdcage

Street art in Stokes Croft

A girl riding a folding bike like mine insists I visit The Birdcage. I take this insider tip and moments later I find myself on a worn Chesterfield, amongst the young and trendy who are working away on their MacBooks, enjoying tea and a slice of cake.

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On the facade it reads 'Yesterday's Clothing, Today's Coffee, Tomorrow's Music'. Everything here is for sale. The vibe is perfectly suited to Stokes Croft, the edgier part of Bristol. I’m amazed at the large amount of free street art that adorns the exteriors of the buildings: it’s like walking through a lifelike picture book.

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eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo

Relax in style

Victorian spa

I bike from the edgiest part of Bristol to the fanciest part of town, the neighbourhood of Clifton. Here, amidst the greenery, vast parks and tree-lined avenues, we see a very different side of Bristol. I walk around the tall, pastel-coloured plastered mansions on my way to the Lido.

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This beautiful Victorian spa has been transformed into a modern oasis with every conceivable luxury. Relax, eat, drink and exercise in style: an ingenious location to conclude my city trip. I can only agree that Bristol has indeed surpassed my expectations. Take a trip and see for yourself!


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