Last weekend was bank holiday weekend and most of my friends were away in glamorous locations. EE bestie in Dubai, the Knebworth girls in Benidorm and another Knebworth friend in New York, I was feeling very holiday jealous. So not wanting to be a miserable jealous person we headed for a weekend away with the family to Bristol.
It was a quick 28-hour visit in the end, we arrived at 11am on the Sunday and stayed until 3pm on the Monday, given it’s a 2- 2 1/2-hour drive there we did well to actually get there for 11am! SO what can you pack in to see in this time…a lot it turns out!
We have lots of people we know in Bristol, so we tried to combine our activities with others. My niece and nephew live there, who I grew up with so more like brother and sister. My sister was visiting from Penzance as well and we had some time booked in with my friend of 28 years, Becky.
Mummy blogger friend Amy @mrsandmrstplusthree lives in Bristol so I tapped her up for some advice. And basically we did pretty much everything she said!
We arrived in the morning to a sunny day…yippee. We met my sister at Mshed, an interactive and very children friendly museum celebrating Bristol life and its people. The boys loved the big bus, the air raid shelter and in particular the huge map of Bristol on the floor. They spent a while trying to find the 2 football grounds! This is a great way to start your Bristol trip as it gives you lots of ideas of things to do in the city if you’ve not planned it and its free..hurrah.
It’s located right next to the harbour side and has a lovely café on the ground floor. We had a little snack and the boys had ice-creams as we were having a late roast dinner lunch later. After ice-creams we went on the steam train…located right outside Mshed. We took a trip down the river side to Vauxhall bridge (I think it was) and came back again.
Roast Dinner with Friends
We drove over to Brislington next, one of the Bristol suburbs 10-minute drive out of town, to check out Becky & Dave’s new house and her new baby bump. Becky has been a friend since we were 11 and is preggers with her first baby. Is it very exciting! I have been saving things for Becky if I get any baby related stuff for Mrs Mummypenny, so I walked in with a few gifts. An Aldi high chair, a nappy cake containing tons of essential baby goodies that I made for YouTube, lots of nappies and some pretty stationery (I won a huge bundle of stationery from moonpig!!).
We did a quick tour of the pretty Victorian terraced house with gorgeous high ceilings and then had dinner, roast pork with all the trimmings. I failed to take a photo. But it was such a feast. Very yummy, the boys all approved. Vinny had seconds.
After dinner we went out for a walk to the nearest park. Lovely as it gave us a chance to have a proper catch up. Becky has been through everything with me, she knew my mum and dad really well and spent a lot of time at our house. She was there at both funerals, there for the tears, drunkenness, dark times and happy times. She even did the father of the bride speech at my wedding. And I have been there for her parent’s deaths, bridesmaid for wedding, a divorce, a huge career change and many happy times. We have definitely been there for each other despite always living nowhere near each other. She knows me inside out and always asks the right questions to guide me on my path with a bit more clarity and confidence.
Bristol Hotel Time
We got to the hotel, Novotel in Victoria Street at 7pmish. Not too much time for kids to bounce around in a hotel room. So I do a sneaky thing with hotel rooms, I have 3 children, but I hate the 2 room rule. Besides they are still small at 8,6 and 3. So I always book saying I have 2 children and we take a blow up bed or put all 3 in a bed together. I booked the room through Topcashback where I got 10% cashback through hotels.com on the room rate of £79…so it cost £71 after cashback. Cashback rules especially with travel bookings, click here to sign up for an account and get a free £10 Boots gift card!
So I forgot the blow-up bed! We ended up Dylan and I sharing the fold out bed, was actually comfy. Vinny, Josh and Jack the smaller ones shared the big bed…not helped by Jack lying width ways most of the night.
Now everything about this hotel is great..except the temperature. Quite a biggie. The room was too hot, and the air conditioning was too noisy. So we slept in a room too warm, which meant a very uncomfortable sleep. I complained when we checked out but was told I should have requested a fan. Hmmm not really the answer I was looking for. I doubt we’ll stay there again. Parking at hotel for 24 hours and breakfast cost an extra £26.
SS Great Britain & Boat Trip
Monday morning we enjoyed the tasty buffet breakfast, the boys definitely ate their fair share! The we out early. We walked to the SS Great Britain for a fascinating walk around the big boat. I love a bit of history and my kids like boats. A great combination and Brunel built it, I went to Brunel university. A family ticket cost £37..quite pricey for a boat I thought. It had better be a good tour. It was a really great tour. You start on the deck and work your way down through the accommodation, kitchen, dining room, engine room. Its really well done particularly to keep the children amused. The last bit is a trip down into the dry dock to see the outside of the ship from underneath. We all really enjoyed it, particularly Josh the climber.
We walked out at the perfect time to go on a quick boat tour up the river around the harbour for 45 minutes before lunch. This cost is £18 for a family ticket.
Lunch I won’t dwell on.
We met my niece, nephew and his girlfriend for lunch. It was nice, but they would not cater for the children. Apparently children are normally ‘happy with chips and bread’. Well not mine. A child’s portion of steak and chips was ordered; we were charged full price £18 for it. The food came out in dribs and drabs. Waitress was extremely rude.
After a chat with the manager the full cost of steak was removed. I hate a bad experience like this, but it’s important to complain if you are not happy. The lunch still cost us £75, I do not recommend The Olive Shed.
After lunch we got a Mr Whippy for the kids and walked back to the hotel to collect the car. A long drive home with everyone very tired and sleeping most of the way!
Total cost of weekend, including food was £330. Not really a money saving weekend, but the boys had lots of fun and learnt stuff and we got to catch up with lots of people. It would have been much better value for money without bad service lunch;-)
Parking and Breakfast £30
Tesco snacks for room £15
Lunch Sunday Mshed £20
Lunch Monday Olive Branch £75
SS Great Britain & gift shop purchase £45
Boat Trip £18
Train Ride £12
Wine for Becky & Dave £8