Bristol’s industrial heritage and rich naval history have left the city with some stunning architecture, from the remains of the Norman Bristol Castle, through elegant 18th-century terraced houses, to the landmark Wills Memorial Building, opened in 1925. There is a wealth of interesting accommodation in the city, whether you opt for somewhere cosy and traditional like The Wellington pub, or the grandeur of the Mercure hotel. Below are some of the most unique and intriguing places to stay in Bristol.
The Paintworks Apartments offer a self-catered, well positioned option. Named for Paintworks, the former Victorian paint factory turned cultural space, it comprises a series of loft apartments run by a group who live and work on the premises. Each of the five lofts has a distinct look, feel and character, so you can match the space’s vibe to your own. An ideal choice for those who prefer autonomy in their accommodation.
Like any British city, Bristol has a wide variety of pubs, some of which also offer rooms. The Wellington, which sits just next to Horfield Common, is one of them. The surrounding area, Gloucester Road, is awash with independent cafes and street art, but the pub itself offers comfortable, traditional rooms alongside equally hearty food and drink.
One of Bristol’s most distinguishing features is its harbour, which serves as both a historical landmark and home to many of the more contemporary attractions the city has to offer. The Kyle Blue offers a truly one-of-a-kind way to experience it – aboard the only houseboat on the harbour available for holiday rental. There are five cabins with varying numbers of beds, and a lounge area on the upper deck. Attractions such as the SS Great Britain and MShed are mere minutes away on foot.
Beech House offers a set of serviced apartments in a converted Victorian building, in this case a villa. There are 14 apartments available, as well as a mews building, in the heart of Bristol’s cultural epicentre – St Paul’s. The apartments are all self-catered and the amenities include a fully working kitchen, carefully selected antique furniture and stunning views over the city.
Few hotels in Bristol can boast such rich history as the Mercure Grand. Located in the Old City quarter, just up from St John’s Arch, this Grade II listed building has stood since 1856, and in that time it has seen thousands of guests including Winston Churchill and the The Rolling Stones (who were refused entry to the bar because they didn’t have jackets). Today, the Mercure has a pleasing blend of modern and vintage, as well as Keepers bar and restaurant, and the largest ballroom in Bristol.
Those in search of a more lively experience could do a lot worse than Rock ’n’ Bowl. The rooms are standard hostel fare, but the big advantage of bedding down here is the bowling alley (which guests have discounted entry to), an on-site night club and a bar and kitchen with specialty beers and pizza which is famed across the city. There’s even karaoke for when the beers have done enough to temper guests’ inhibitions.
The St Pauls area has a lengthy bohemian history, which prevails to this day – so what better place to bed down if you’re keen to experience Bristol’s culture? Coming soon to the area is Artist Residence Bristol, occupying a former boot factory. The 23 rooms make inventive use of the space and the hotel and neighbourhood hangout will also include a cafe, bar, kitchen and garden.
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