Tag Archives: bristol

The Greenhouse, Bristol

We recently had the pleasure of spending a weekend at The Greenhouse in Bristol.

The Greenhouse is a small, private guest house on a quiet cul-de-sac, yet just a few minutes’ stroll from Bristol’s bustling harbour area, including Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and the various bars and restaurants of the Tobacco Factory and Southville area.  With free on-street parking, we did not use the car at all during our stay, adding to our relaxation.

Our booking and a few questions we had were dealt with efficiently, and we were given a great welcome by Fran, the owner of the guest house.  Fran was helpful and friendly throughout our stay, always willing to chat, and to provide information about things to do in the local area.  The house itself is relaxing the moment you step through the front door – clean, airy, nicely decorated and well furnished.  Our room was also spotless, with a comfortable bed, real (not instant) coffee, and a restful feel to it. We also enjoyed the garden, a delightful place to chill out, read and enjoy a cup of tea after a day exploring the city. The lounge looked lovely too, although we didn’t use it as the weather was nice enough to be outside.  Breakfast was plentiful and had a good choice, with hot food cooked to order.  All of the products are organic, which is one of the guest house’s selling points.  The large breakfast table creates a real “family” atmosphere, and gives you a chance to talk to other guests, which we enjoyed.

All in all, I would recommend the Greenhouse to anyone looking to spend a few days in Bristol.  Prices are comparable to the chain hotels in the city centre, but the personal service, welcome, and relaxing surroundings are on another level.  We truly felt as though we were guests in Fran’s home and would have no hesitation returning if we are in the city again.

For more ideas of things to see and do in Bristol and the South West, visit our Facebook page and check out our photo albums.

SS Great Britain, Bristol

Regarded as one of Bristol’s leading attractions, and the recipient of various awards in recent years, I was eagerly anticipating my visit to SS Great Britain, especially as I have always loved ships and I’m such a fan of industrial heritage.

I have to say I was not disappointed; in fact the visit exceeded my expectations.  There are a lot of aspects to the SS Great Britain’s story – including engineering, social history, travel and navigation, migration, trade, restoration – and it is a big challenge to deal with these in a way that is accessible and interesting for all, yet still detailed enough for real enthusiasts in each area.  The attraction does this excellently, with clearly laid out and labelled exhibits, documents and audio-visual shows that allow people to explore the information and artefacts at whatever level of detail they choose.

The route around the attraction helps to build up anticipation, as you first see the dockyard, then the underside of the hull (below a tank containing a few inches of water, giving something of an underwater feel), then the exhibition and finally the main ship itself.  One of the best things about the whole experience for me was the level of access you get – there are very few roped-off areas, and you do not feel like you are constantly being watched with suspicion by staff.  This is particularly nice under the hull, where there are plenty of notices warning of the fragility of the structure, but visitors are trusted to behave sensibly when they are close enough to touch.  Obviously, the highlight is getting onto the ship itself, where you can explore the deck and various areas below, including the cabins, the first class dining room and the engines.  There are audio guides for the ship, and you can choose from different characters – the chief engineer for the technical fans, different classes of passenger for the social history fans, and even the ship’s cat for the children!

Throughout the attraction, the attention paid to accessibility is apparent.  Ramps and lifts ensure excellent wheelchair access to all areas, with special narrow wheelchairs available for some parts of the ship. For the deaf or hearing impaired, there are handheld BSL displays, while the visually impaired can use special audio guides and tactile models of the ship. It is no surprise that they have won awards for Accessible Tourism in recent times.

All in all, the SS Great Britain is definitely something I would recommend to anyone visiting Bristol.  It manages to highlight Brunel’s great engineering achievement in a way that is suitable for all. It is great value for money, and ideal for the whole family, while the excellent accessibility makes it something that can be enjoyed easily by anyone with a disability.