It was still sunny and mild when I arrived in Bristol, so I dumped my case at the hotel and headed out. I walked through the old town and then along the river in an unrealistic hope of getting as far as the Clifton suspension bridge before it got too dark. Never mind: it was a good walk anyway.
I know nothing about Bristol except that J B Priestley really liked it in his “English Journey”. I rather like it too, but it is a real mixture. Temple Meads station is from another era; imagine the Tudors had built railway stations and you’ll get the idea. The second thing I saw (I’ll overlook the main-road dross around the station) was the bombed-out Temple Church – which probably accounts for my third sight: some elegantly simple 1960s blocks on Victoria Street. The centre is an absolute hotch potch: old city walls, Georgian stuff, Italianate Victorian stuff, stripped classicism . . . and the picture-book Edward Everard printworks.
Its eclectic style and evidence of past wealth and civic pride reminded me of Leeds, but Bristol looks less prosperous and orderly. However, it does have the river and – judging by the crowds out today – if a city can get rich on restaurants and cafés, then Bristol has it made.
I also saw my first Banksy: