7 things to do with children near Bristol harbour

Bristol is my home city and I love it . The area around Bristol  harbour is particularly popular with tourists and I think it is a lovely place for families to spend a couple of days.  If you are planning to visit Bristol with children I have a few suggestions of activities you might enjoy.  The Bristol tourist office is located on the harbourside and they have a good selection of leaflets, maps and souvenirs. They are also happy to answer any questions.

Bristol used to be an important port but the river Avon is too narrow and tidal for large  modern boats to navigate. The old harbour has been transformed into a popular area for leisure with museums, art galleries, cafes and bars.

Although you can walk around the harbour children might prefer to catch a yellow ferry boat. There are sixteen stops including Millenium Square and the SS. Great Britain. Continue reading “7 things to do with children near Bristol harbour”

Bristol and the slave trade

This week we tackled a more difficult subject for our walk in the past walk – the Bristol slave trade.

It is an uncomfortable but undeniable fact that much of Bristol’s prosperity came from the slave trade. Slavery is thousands of years old. The Romans brought slaves to Britain and Celtic tribes  traded slaves. However with the discovery of America  in 1492 new opportunities for the trade were created.

Europeans found the hot humid conditions of the south difficult to work in but loved crops like cotton, tobacco and sugar that could be grown there.  One solution was to take people from Africa who were used to a hot climate and transport them to America

A triangular trade was started. Manufactured goods and guns were traded along the coast of Africa for slaves who were taken to America and the West Indies and sold for goods like sugar and tobacco which were brought back to Europe.

The numbers involved are staggering. It has been estimated that about 13 million people may have left African ports as slaves. Portugal has the dubious honour of being the most important slave trading nation with Britain second. Continue reading “Bristol and the slave trade”

Walking for health after retirement

Any one reading my blog will know that I enjoy walking. Most weekends I go out with a walk in the past history group and we walk four or five miles often up and down hills.

A cow in the river
A Constable moment

My husband took this photograph near Bradford on Avon on our walk last week.  I love learning more about the history of our local area and visiting the countryside which is looking its best at this time of year. I know walking is good for both my mental and physical health and am keen to encourage others to share my interest. Continue reading “Walking for health after retirement”

Brunel and Bristol

Clifton suspension bridge which spans the river Avon has become the symbol of Bristol.   This post is about the bridge’s designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Last Sunday our walk in the past walking group walked from Temple Meads railway station to Clifton Suspension bridge to see some of his legacy to the city.  Our route round the old docks and up into Clifton is very popular with visitors to Bristol. The river Avon is too tidal and shallow for large boats to come into the heart of Bristol  and the docks have been transformed into an area for pleasure craft with modern flats and restaurants. Continue reading “Brunel and Bristol”

Coombe Down and the story of Bath Stone

Last week Steve the leader of our walk in the past  walking group asked us to meet at the Museum of Bath Stone. in Coombe Down to the east of Bath.  I have to admit my heart sank.  After all quarries are not the most exciting subject. When I was growing up much of Bath was covered in soot from coal fires and steam trains and I always thought that Bath stone made the buildings look dreary. However when Bath was in its heyday in the late 18th century the honey coloured stone must have gleamed in the sunshine. Nowadays planning officials still insist that all building in the centre of town is made from the local stone. Continue reading “Coombe Down and the story of Bath Stone”