Bristol has long been a haven for free spirits, with a lively art scene, abundance of veggie restaurants and access to all sorts of alternative therapies. It’s a city packed with personality, so great for a fun, feel-good weekend whether you fancy chilling out in a luxurious spa or want to try something totally different. Here’s our Hip & Healthy Guide to Bristol!
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
This elegant new hotel is housed in two former banks, with no expense spared when it comes to comfort, from the enormous beds with Egyptian cotton sheets to the complimentary decanters of gin and sherry in every room. Even better, there’s a spa. Work out in what were once vaults, for stashing gold bars, before soothing aching muscles in the hydrotherapy pool. Unwind, as pressure jets pummel out the knots in your shoulders and back, then take the temperature up a notch with a session in the sauna and steam room. You’ll want to book in for one of their dreamy aromatherapy massages too.
The Paintworks Apartments
Channelling upscale Airbnb vibes, these arty lofts make the perfect base for exploring this creative city. The luxurious Brick Loft has a peaceful balcony, perfect for savouring your morning coffee, while the serene River Loft has its own secret roof garden.
You could easily miss this reimagined Victorian Lido, situated as it is in a residential neighborhood in Clifton, but that would be an awful shame as it’s one of the most serene spots for breakfast in the city. Savour your smoked salmon and sourdough toast or Turkish poached eggs poolside.
This Stokes Croft stalwart does wholesome veggie food like no one else. Post workout, pre-party, or just because you damn well feel like it, wrap your chops round one of their ridiculously good burgers, made with organic badger beans. They also serve excellent falafel.
Salt & Malt
This Wapping Wharf branch, the second by top chef Josh Eggleton, is part of the cool new Cargo container development of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. Yes, yes, it’s fish and chips (hardly the healthiest): but not as you know it. It’s all gluten free, so you don’t have to worry about causing a scene with special dietary requests and you can finish your cod, wrapped in crisp, light batter, without the usual bloat. Veggies will love the battered halloumi.
In search of a new way to get fit? Try out Bristol’s world-renowned circus scene for size. You’ll find the UK’s first full-time circus school in a reimagined church in St Paul’s. Sign up for one of their monthly taster sessions – in three hours you’ll get to sample a whole range of circus skills, from ground-based acrobatics to aerial silks. And to see how the professionals do it, check out one of their eye-popping shows.
The Nurturists Co.
Glimpse a new wave of wellness at one of The Nurturists Co.’s creative group workshops: from Yoga aboard ‘The Nurturship’ to women’s flower circles. And keep an eye out for the Women’s Nurture Circles, an alternative to baby showers for mums-to-be, with garland making, storytelling and feasting. The collective of practitioners also offer one-to-one and couples treatments in little-known locations around the city.
Words by Hannah Stuart-Leach. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at: @thisretreat.
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