Daycation: A Trip To Bristol

This years Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate show is William Shakespeare's King Lear. The Old Vic has a fantastic reputation for training the next big thing in acting for theatre, TV and film so it's a great way of seeing up and coming talent before they hit the big time and seats to see them come with a hefty price tag. This year, Ad's friend Daniel was in the performance, so we headed down to Bristol for what I'm dubbing a 'Daycation'

We've had this day trip planned for quite a while, neither of us have been to Bristol before and apart from the matinee performance we didn't have any other specific plans of what we wanted to see or do with our day; winging it is quite fun, as is doing it without the aid of google maps, sometimes. Haha.

Catching an early morning train from Birmingham's New Street and arriving at Bristol Temple Meads shortly after 10 we had some time to wander before the show. 
After gathering our bearings on leaving the station we headed towards the main hub of the city. Students were everywhere we looked, as were morning meeting go-ers with their breakfast in a bag and coffee in hand. People watching can tell you so much about a place, we could tell we were in for good coffee and great hangout spaces.

A short walk in and after I'd discovered I'd forgotten to pack an SD card for my camera. Duh. (I had a handy three spare batteries though.) we stopped to visit St Mary's Redcliffe Church. Despite neither myself or Ad being religious, we stopped to appreciate the architecture and art inside the building, we were also treated to a little music recital on the Church's organ. It's a beautiful space, full of light and decorative stain glass windows and an ideal place to seek some peace and quiet.

High ceilings allow the organs' grande acoustics to echo throughout each section of the Church, which is all open to the public free of charge and is visited by people from all parts of the world (I had a flick through their cute visitors book) continuing on our un-guided walk, we walked through Queens Square into the old city. Strolling through the side streets checking out the plethora of eateries, coffee shops and offices before heading over to the centre promenade then down to the harbour side. Taking the back route from the harbour to the Bristol Cathedral, central library and the city hall which are all adjacent to the college green, which is a perfect little picnic area which made us rather hungry and with King Lear being 3 hours long, a hearty lunch was on the menu. 

After arriving back in the old city and fancying Italian (we lurrrrve Italian food) we settled into the family run Europa for what turned out to be a rather large lunch! (Read review here) after well and truly filling out boots we hopped over to the Old Vic for the play. The Old Vic is currently having a 25 million pound renovation so unfortunately the main entrance to the 250 year old theatre is closed, so everyone entered through the back door by the stage door to get into a cool little temporary bar space and pre theatre area. 

It was super busy inside and was a full house, which is great to see. The play was just under 3 hours with a break half way. It's a long one King Lear is and it was in traditional old English dialect which is sometimes hard to grasp without context. Luckily I knew the story before so I could follow what was happening word wise!

After the show we had a quick catch up with Daniel in the bar before he headed off to get ready to do it all over again for the evening performance (the casts stamina is amazing!) and then we walked to the west end of the city to see what shops and independent boutiques the city has to offer.

If you're into vintage, Bristol is the place to be, it's like the stores you'd find on brick lane, but bigger and more spacious, but still with that classic vintage smell. Homeware, gifts and homeware stores are also plentiful and it's nice to see a mix of big names and independent, standalone stores mixed in together. Whilst we were too late to go to the Bristol Art Museum we managed to see a Banksy! Love a bit of Banksy. 

Despite not needing a large meal after the mammoth lunch, we headed back to the old city for a small curry at the city famous 'Raj' Indian (by the time we got home after the train journey it would have been too late to start cooking a dinner!) we ended up splitting their pre theatre dinner menu of a starter, curry and rice with a drink for £16 and it was exactly what we needed; not too little not too much. It was super busy in the underground restaurant, full of pre booked tables and regulars who are so regular they didn't even place orders, their food just arrived tah-da! After our shared curry we were well and truly cream crackered, the walk back to Bristol Temple Meads helped tremendously with the post meal high waisted Jean debarkle and with an after dinner coffee picked up in time for the train, it was time to head home. 

Our 'Daycation' allowed us to explore somewhere new and get a taste of what Bristol has to offer ( a lot of foods and a lot more drinks!) I really enjoyed the journey, day out, food and performance at the Old Vic. I wish the cast every success in the careers they are about to embark on and will be back to see what next years Old Vic graduates have to offer! 

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