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Bristol City Guide: Eat, Drink & Explore

With a host of new openings in the city in gentrified and green pockets of the city, Bristol is the ideal destination for a high-end weekend away

Best of Brunch

You know when The Ivy chooses a new location that that area has got serious kudos. That’s true of The Ivy Clifton Brasserie in Clifton Village where the Georgian building of a former bank has been converted into a glamorous restaurant with two private dining rooms and conservatory (known as The Orangery) with garden views. The space is bright, cosy and terribly British, with fresh flowers, a seat-up bar and mustard and royal blue leather seating. 

Our tip? Make time to visit for brunch. The Ivy is traditionally generous with its portions and extensive with its menu. The vegetarian breakfast includes hunks of avocado, halluomi, mushrooms, potato hash, poached eggs, tomatoes and beans, and other favourite mains include the Eggs Royal with fresh smoked salmon which is served with the creamiest hollandaise we’ve tried in a long time. 

The Ivy being a stalwart of affluent London culture, glasses of Prosecco are near obligatory, but if you’re being healthy stick to the excellent wheatgrass, orange and papaya pressed juice. Although we are impressed that there are at least 12 varieties of tea on offer. 

42-44 Caledonia Place, BS8 4DN, 01172 034 555, ivycliftonbrasserie.com 

Posh Pizza

Ask for a recommendation for an excellent Bristol restaurant and you’ll likely be directed to Casamia, a Michelin-starred restaurant offering a seasonal set menu that has built a cult following since opening in 1999. While its intricate Italian-inspired, fresh fish dishes deserve accolades, if you can’t get a table and are keen for something more casual, head next door to Pi Shop.

From the same Sanchez family, the new Pizzeria specialises in simple flavours done well. That’s fluffy dough, lashings of fresh tomato sauce and toppings that include truffles; 36 month aged Parmesan and Wagyu beef. The setting is pared-back, white and comfortable with the combination of rustic stone and wood adding to a contemporary but romantic and relaxed atmosphere. 

The service is exceptional in a friendly, true West Country-style and the cocktails come courtesy of a talented mixologist playing with ingredients that include Rhubarb, ginger, bubbles and fresh mint. There’s no need to dress up either – order a charcuterie board and enjoy the last of the summer sun from its terrace. 

The General, Lower Guinea Street, BS1 6SY, 0117 925 6872, thepishop.co.uk 

Where to Stay

The smartest address in Bristol is one of the loft suites at Number 38 Clifton. The 19th-century townhouse is booked weeks in advance so plan ahead for the opportunity to snuggle within one of its chic and cosy rooms. There are just ten. Styled in a neutral way, details include free-standing copper bathtubs in the suites, vintage lamps and handsome wooden-panelling to walls that make the space feel cosy and inviting. 

While breakfast is the only meal on offer (cue lots of sourdough toast and home-made treats), you can enjoy a drink from its roof terrace on warmer afternoons. Many of the rooms also have views over Bristol’s Durdham Down. 

38 Upper Belgrave Road, BS8 2XN, 01179 466905, number38clifton.co.uk

Where to Shop 

Spend your day in Bristol pottering about its independent boutiques. Clifton Village is the ideal place to start, whether it’s picking up blooms at Lisa Elliott Floral Design, returning dressed preppier than when you left thanks to a visit to clothing store Maze.

One place you must visit before you leave is Dig Haüshizzle. The antiques and interiors haven was founded by Cassandra and Edward Nicholas in 2010 and has seen the unassuming pair name-checked in publications such as Elle Decoration,

As well as offering taxidermy classes, the boutique is a gallery of trinkets and furniture sourced by the pair from across the UK. Each piece is chosen for its quality and character. Stuffed peacocks, early-edition books, rustic French armchairs and antique writing desks rank among the eclectic and unique items for sale. 

Dig Haüshizzle, 51 Colston Street, Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, BS1 5AX, 07789 145175; Lisa Elliott Floral Design, 1 Waterloo Street, BS8 4BT, 0117 973 2440; Maze Clothing, 26 The Mall, BS8 4DS, 0117 974 4459