HAPPINESS FOUND IN A BRISTOL AIRBNB
This is the first in my Family Travel Series. Have you found a place that you thought was just great with kids? Leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch with some questions for you.
This week we hear from Cat who recently visited Bristol with her family, staying in a great Airbnb.
If you have never used Airbnb before follow this link to sign up and I get a small kickback to help pay the hosting on the website.
From Cat: Recently my family and I travelled to the United Kingdom. As my husband is British, and I spent a long time in the UK, we both have very strong links to family and friends spread across the country. During our stay, we spent a few nights in Bristol, in the South West. A city which I visited many times, but which I never had the fortune to live in.
Since we have two little boys, our preferred travel option right now is to go self-catered, as that makes it easy to manage our timetable and the children’s routines. And so it was that on AirBnB I came across a lovely maisonette. I usually spend time reading reviews and cross-checking on other websites, just to make sure that what I have found is quality, and this time I was definitely not disappointed.
The house is located in the Horfield neighbourhood of Bristol, northern Gloucester road – which, by the way, is really long and goes all the way through the bars and restaurants part of town, student area and into the city centre – in a quiet cul-de-sac with a family feel. Though not really central, it was ideally located to where we wanted to be, with a big green and a playground just across the road, and with the possibility to catch public transport on Gloucester road.
I liked that I was in touch with the host immediately upon booking and we emailed several times before we even got there, which gave me a sense of security and warmth. We met Erik, the host and owner of the property, upon arrival. He lives next door with his own young family and was available for all our questions and needs. That made it perfect.
The house itself was really lovely and quaint, decorated with all and more, including some board games, children DVDs, very comfy beds and a fully furnished kitchen (with condiments!). We also got a lovely welcome basket with wine and nibbles. It was really super. Everything was really taken care, down to details such as welcome messages on chalkboards.
The definite plus sides of this accommodation are that it has plenty of room for a family of 4 (or even 6 when including the sofa-bed) to enjoy a holiday in Bristol. It is on two levels, first floor and loft, so with small kids, it is best to keep an eye on their movement but, having said that stair gates were also available if needed.
Finally, it is a quiet family area, so this property would not be great for holding parties or having many people over. Also, there is no access to a garden, though that was not important to us as we specifically wanted to visit the Bristol Downs and spend time outside.
I love Bristol because it is a city packed with culture, activities and action, as well as restaurants and bars, a great music scene, lots of green areas, and still offers that hippie relaxed feel of the South-West of England.
WHAT TO DO IN BRISTOL:
VISIT BRISTOL ZOO
During our stay we took the kids to Bristol Zoo, which is not huge but really well managed and has plenty of interactive things for the kids to do.
VISIT THE DOCKLANDS
We went for a long walk to the Docklands where one can visit an exhibition on Brunel and the majestic SS Great Britain.
We spent time enjoying walks around the Clifton Downs and having some very traditional pub meals: one little find for us was the Gloucester Old Spot on Kellaway Road, which we stopped at on the way back from the zoo.
VISIT WE THE CURIOUS
We The Curious reopened in September 2017, formerly the Bristol Science Centre. Here education meets fun in a series of over 300 interactive exhibits. Providing an opportunity for the young and young at heart to learn about the world and beyond.
Bristol is not a very big city so it’s relatively straightforward to learn your way around, but it does have a fair amount of traffic so driving, as we were, may slow things down a little. However, taxis are easily available, though not with kids seats (unless booked in advance) and the bus network is pretty efficient.
I would highly recommend visiting Bristol, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, and taking all its quaintness and character.
Tell us about yourself and your family?
My husband is British and I am Italian, we met in Wales, moved to Ireland, came back via England and moved to Germany in 2012. Our two boys are born here and they are 2 and 5 years old.
What do you love about travel?
Traveling is one of my greatest passions and interests. Exploring a country, meeting the locals, experiencing the local smells and tastes, doing as the locals do, understanding the lives of people in all 4 corners of the world, for me is possibly the most fulfilling thing that one can do in one’s life. I grew up travelling with my parents, and I never felt like there were any boundaries to what I could do and see.
How would you describe your style of travel? How has it changed since having kids?
My style of travelling is adaptable, depending on the type of trip and destination. I was as happy backpacking in Guatemala, as I was enjoying the view of the Taj Mahal from an elegant suite. But I would really say that whatever the trip, I tend to read up and plan a lot ahead, just because I don’t want to miss out on anything!
Since having children things have slowed down, we as parents have felt that we needed to establish certain family routines before swishing them to faraway locations, though we did travel to Thailand with our first born when I was heavily pregnant and managed quite ok. But I can’t wait to be on the move again and to transmit as much as possible of my curiosity to my children.
What are your top travel tips for families?
Try to book flights which fit into the kid’s routines. Bring some fun new books and toys to give to the kids on the flight at the “critical moments”. Wherever you go should be child-friendly, for example staying in a child-friendly hotel or at least having some facilities nearby. Don’t over-plan your schedule: leaving your options open to the possibility of simply taking it easy, playing in the apartment all afternoon, going to the local beach again and again rather than exploring the most remote and hidden ones, are all part of the fun, and of knowing that we are still raising relaxed and happy little travellers.
Thanks Cat for sharing with us.
Do you have a place that you just loved visiting? Please let me know in the comments and I will send you the details on how you can contribute a guest post. I can also link to your social media or website if you are a business owner or blogger.
Have you been to Bristol and have a favourite restaurant or activity? Share with us in the comments below.
Planning a trip to the United Kingdom, check out this post on Edinburgh and this post of Paultons Park near Southhampton for some more ideas on places to visit.