Top 10 Bristol Sunshine Hangouts

It’s at this time of year, as we have our first sunny weekends, that you hear regular exclamations of how brilliant Bristol is in the summer. We all know that Bristol has some wonderful outdoor spaces but we seem to forget it during the greyer winter months. In celebration of the recent warm weather, and in the hope that it will last longer than it’s forecast to, here’s a run-down of 10 of the best places to enjoy the sunshine in Bristol…

Arnolfini Café/Bar

Arnolfini
If there’s one place in Bristol that’s guaranteed to be full of people as soon as the sun comes out, it’s the area by the river outside the Arnolfini. I can highly recommend getting a fancy beer or a coffee (and a cake) from the excellent café but if your wallet’s feeling a little light, you’re not a proper Bristolian until you’ve dangled your legs over the side, becoming increasingly worried about falling in as you drink the cheap beer you brought with you!
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Queen Square

Queen Square
On weekday lunchtimes and early evenings Queen Square is full of workers from the surrounding Georgian buildings which are almost exclusively the offices of solicitors and accountants but at weekends, unless there’s an event on, it’s surprisingly peaceful in what is probably the prettiest green space in central Bristol.
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The Ostrich

The Ostrich
Not far from the Arnolfini and Queen Square is The Ostrich Inn, across the water from The Thekla. It’s far from Bristol’s best pub but it’s huge number of picnic benches and it’s quiet location by the river make it popular with both locals and a convenient stop on the way to or from Bedminster and Southville.
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The Grain Barge

In the other direction along the North-side of the river is The Grain Barge, a pub-on-a-boat owned by Bristol Beer Factory with the excellent range of beers that that brings and a decent number of picnic benches out on deck from which to enjoy the sun. There are often rowers or sailors out on the water to keep you entertained and as the sun sets and it gets a bit chilly, you can move indoors for a pie and another pint.
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College Green

College Green
Currently fenced off to allow the new layer of turf that was laid after the Occupy protesters were moved on, College Green is always a popular stop for shoppers, skaters, students and anyone who needs a little sit down before heading up Park Street! The fences will be removed soon and we can have our Green back for more temporary occupations.
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Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill
Tucked away to one side of Park Street, it’s always surprising how many people aren’t aware of Brandon Hill. Site of many a student picnic (or “revision session”) during the earlier months of the summer, there’s plenty of grass for everyone and the views from the top of the recently re-opened Cabot Tower are worth the climb (you can get a preview on the Wikipedia page!).
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Boston Tea Party, Park Street

If you like your sunshine with a dose of caffeine then BTP’s secluded garden out back is probably the nicest café garden going in central Bristol. Plus the food’s pretty good and there’s wifi too!
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Temple Meads Ferry Landing

Temple Meads Ferry Station
Many people don’t know there’s a back-door to Temple Meads. If you find it (past the phone boxes) you’ll soon happen upon a bendy bridge and this terraced ferry stop. Providing a peaceful sun-trap for office workers on a weekday lunchtime, there’s also a conveniently located row of shops, including a Starbucks and a Philpotts, round the corner.
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Royal Fort Gardens

Royal Fort Gardens
One of the Bristol University’s best kept secrets, behind the Physics building on Tyndall Avenue is Royal Fort Gardens which is university-owned but they kindly allow the public to enjoy it too. There’s a large pond, pretty buildings, quiet surroundings, plenty of flora and even some fauna (other than university students). Watch out for Frisbees though!
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St Andrews Park

I used to live on the corner of St Andrews Park and throughout the summer weekends it was filled from dawn to dusk (and beyond) with sun-seekers engaging in everything from fire-juggling to dog-walking and many things besides. With an almost festival-like atmosphere, if you can imagine it happening at Glastonbury, it’s may well be going on in St Andrews Park. The noise and aftermath made this pretty unpopular with the local residents and I heard a while back that they were trying to find a way to stop it but until then this is a great place to chill in the sun (as long as you don’t mind the sound of bongos) and the Gloucester Road Coop is just down the road in case you need to restock.
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