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Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

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Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Hi,

I am looking to rent a cottage this December over to holidays for up to 2 weeks to, well basically, skip Christmas. I've been to the UK several times before, twice to London and once to northern England. I have heard Bristol is lovely and was wondering if it might be a nice place to rent a little cottage to hibernate for a couple of weeks while still having access to groceries and internet (for movies and music)?

I don't know much about Bristol other than its maritime history. Is it a friendly place? Is it a walkable city? Are there taxis if my rental is not in downtown Bristol?

My budget won't be too large but I also won't be looking for anything too fancy. Really, I would just like to be in a friendly place, where nobody knows me, that's accessible and easy to get around, has some nice things to look at and allows me a comfortable place to write and listen to music... And maybe on a occasion visit the local pub.

Thank you :)

Robin

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1. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

This sounds a little confusing to me, in my eyes Bristol is a big city, you wont find any little cottages or village pubs, you need to get out into the countryside.

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Bristol
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2. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

I answered on your other thread.

Frankly neither place you have found/suggested so far, meets your remit.

England shuts down on Christmas Day, no Public Transport, barely any shops open, it is a family day....

For "quiet seaside" but still with some shops/food/something-going-on-but-not-in-your-face, try....

Aldeburgh

Southwold

Whitby

For sure other TA'ers can suggest other options.

Member Bajablonde has a TR describing a fab stay in Lavenham (not the seaside) where, with her Mum, they had a fab and interactive time with locals in the pub.....

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Boston...
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3. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Thank you... I will keep looking :)

Bucks, UK
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4. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Not entirely sure what you are looking for - it sounds like you want isolation and plenty of amenities, which is a tough combination to achieve.

Bath is a smaller city that is more likely to have holiday lets for you to rent over the period. It has some nice pubs and restaurants, a small theatre and is 15 mins by train from Bristol.

If you want something smaller, by the seaside, try Cornwall (Mousehole is pretty at Christmas, or try Fowey)or Pembrokeshire (Tenby maybe, or St.Davids, or Newport, N.Pembs)

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5. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

I absolutely get what you are looking for... sounds like my idea of heaven. I have had a few alone time holidays... in Holland, Riding buses in Florida and in deserted seaside places, I even ran away to sea as a youngster.

Bristol is a great city with endless possibilities and it certainly doesn't close down for the holidays.... but Christmas Day is very quiet. The build up is the bit I find the hardest and that is when I get itchy feet... But the day after it is all about the sales and life quickly gets back to 'normal'.

A cottage sounds very rural... although we do have a couple of village type areas within the city (Westbury and Clifton). Within the city local buses run very regularly into and out of the central area £1.50 one way and £4 for a day-rider ticket and it is easy to live without a car. Our current Mayor has made a big deal about cycling and it is very popular and over the holiday period traffic gets slower and much less so it can be a good time to ride. But I can't remember the last time we had snow at Christmas... but rain is never far away and it will drop close to freezing at night.

Some brilliant places for day-trips, some walking groups, loads of parks and gardens, galleries, museums etc. Bristol has long held a reputation for music and art and the 'alternative' street culture is still thriving. You will find live music somewhere every day of the week and a couple of quality theaters. I strongly recommend a trip to see a pantomime... as a fascinating piece of very British tradition most foreign visitors never see.

Somewhere out of town will almost certainly mean you heed transport, many rural bus services only run a few times a day. Hiring a small car will give you the whole driving on the left experience... but stick shift is the norm here, make sure to ask for an automatic when you book if that is what you need (might be easier for a short visit anyway). Booked on-line, in advance, car hire is fairly cheap but fuel is not, so small cars suit our small roads far better. There are some great villages close to Bristol like Chew Magna, that have a culture all of their own.

I think you are onto something here... well worth further investigation.

Edited: 16 June 2014, 09:38
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Boston...
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6. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Thank you Florida :)

P.S. I *can* drive a stick shift lol

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7. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Bristol as a City & County is not huge, but is one of few big cities (in UK term) where there is this good balance between urban and countryside (can see green hills & fields from almost any direction), and probably the only one which will have quaint villages north, south, east & west. Long Ashton, Pill, Blaise/Henbury, Thornbury are villagey. Areas that include the former Avon County now in N Somerset & S Gloucestershire (mostly with Bristol postcodes) that are villagey tend to be pricey, eg Nailsea, Wraxall, Flax Bourton, Blagdon (& lakes), Chew Magna/Chew Valley (lakes) or coastal towns such as Portishead and Clevedon which are just 10-15 miles away, with frequent buses. Wells (in Somerset) would be expensive, but the bus takes about 1 hour into Bristol.

Too many tourists and locals in world heritage Bath always walking around the numerous shops and popping into cafés - very tiresome and pretentious. Great green views as it is set in a splendid valley, but within the City itself it is rather enclosed with very few open spaces or trees.

However, Bristol is the most laid-back and quirky city, and many independent traders have a long break over the holiday, and it tends to be too quiet for me. However, great for interesting and varied walks around the different districts and historic harbourside.

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8. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Florida by bus is just an example of random 'off-grid' thinking. Bristol is my home town and I know it very well but I am always looking for a new adventure on the cheap.

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9. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

I would much rather spend a week in Bristol than in a small village in the middle of winter. There is just so much to do in Bristol by day and night. Much as I like Bath, I would recommend that anyone who likes a bit of fun and friendly pubs etc should base themselves in Bristol and go to Bath for the day.

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10. Re: Is Bristol a good option for a quiet solo Christmas holiday?

Bristol is solo frinedly and easy to walk to the important places or get a bus. Going in the midwinter holiday will take more planning but check for things like services at the Cathedral because the accoustics and singing, even if you aren't usually into that sort of thing, are amazing. The decoration too.

Christmas markets in the streets and a lot of events going on before the big day. As Shoestring says the sales start in the shopping centres usually on Boxing Day and there is quite a buzz.

You could stay at one of the chain hotels like Premier Inn and still get the quiet plus accessibility to transport.

But do be sure you have plans for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as those will be the times that so much is closed.

Pubs tend to open for a couple of hours at lunch but restaurants that are open will be fully booked. Taxis will ba astranomical prices and at a premium.

So look carefully and see what public transport is available if any and when things are open again.

If you want the cottage experience then the coast is a good place to look, perhaps somewhere small where you can go to the pub and walks on the beach.

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