We asked local adventure-seeker and organiser of BS5 Market Holly Chalmers for her top tips when it comes to going eastside in Bristol...
Troopers Hill (Credit: Paul Box)
Venture out just a little however, and you’ll see that each of the Bristol neighbourhoods are establishing their own identity, making them an equal draw to visitors and Bristol residents alike.
Having recently moved to Redfield, I am biased when I say that I think this is a great area. But visit for yourself and you'll see the number of people walking up and down Church Road and popping into the independent shops and cafes, be it for veggies for the week or for a quick coffee with friends.
The lake at St George Park (Credit: Harley Thorne)
What ties any community together is their access to green spaces, and we’ve got a couple of corkers.
St George Park
A beautiful Victorian Park - this is the hub of BS5. With great investment and consultation with locals the park has a children’s playground, tennis courts, man-made lake, plenty of mature trees for you to picnic next to and even a skate park. The park is especially beautiful in Autumn when the paths are lined with trees displaying all shades of red, yellow and gold.
A registered local nature reserve, the hill was quarried for years and is recognisable by its crooked chimney that sits on top. If you want a true feeling of escapism Troopers Hill is a fantastic place to climb and look out across Bristol city and the River Avon. It’s also an excellent spot to watch the balloons flying over from the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
Tasty food & cocktails at Bristol Spirit (Credit: Bristol Spirit)
After all that running around, climbing and playing you’re bound to be hungry, and it wouldn’t be Bristol if there wasn’t some great food in the area. Here are a couple of highlights.
Faraway Tree Cafe
As the name already suggests this is a family-friendly establishment, with its cute painted furniture and a play area to keep the children entertained while you finish your meal. A simple day menu consists of classic brunch favourites; from eggs benedict to a slap up veggie fry up, as well as lunchtime fillers of smoked kedgeree, free-range chicken and a selection of open sandwiches. Head in the evening though and be ready for a treat, this is when the team get inventive, I particularly enjoy their dim-sum nights.
Tucked away on a quiet residential road is the latest addition to the area, Bristol Spirit. Run by Sam Espensen, also owner of Espensen Spirit, this quirky bistro offers a relaxed atmosphere and is fast becoming a residents’ favourite. You can always expect there to be a new cocktail on the menu (often themed), the space is regularly offered to the talented chefs of Bristol for pop-ups and takeovers, and if you have the pups with you it’s not a problem for this welcoming team.
The Lock Up
This stylish bar and restaurant opened on Church Road back in 2016 and has done a roaring trade since. A carefully selected range of wines and premium beers are paired with their inventive menu. The Lock Up is one to book in advance if you want to sit down to dinner, especially if it’s Sunday. If you’re just after a relaxing drink you can make yourself comfortable on their terrace, complete with blankets and outdoor heaters for those chillier nights.
Comfort food the way we like it at The Dark Horse (Credit: The Dark Horse)
Being in the South West, we’re famous for our beers and ciders so it would be remiss of me not to include the two best pubs on Church Road.
The Dark Horse
Another new arrival to the area, the Dark Horse features new beers on draught as well as some locally-made ciders. Their Pieminister pies and mash make for simple comfort food and if you’re lucky you might stumble in on an open mic night, where many of our local musicians will share their tales and songs. Also this is yet another great Sunday Roast option - don’t forget to ask for a portion of cauliflower cheese.
The Old Stillage
A proper community pub, The Old Stillage is what my parents would call “very Bristol” (cringe). Graffiti on the outside as well as even more vibrant and inventive street art in the back garden - this establishment isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. They offer a strong selection of local ales and beers and at the weekends you’ll have to squeeze in to catch one of the live bands playing in the evenings, but it’s certainly worth it.
A busy day at BS5 Market (Credit: BS5 Market)
We’ve also got some great events in the area, all celebrating and encouraging the talented people that live here.
Started and run by the locals, Redfest is held on the first weekend of August each year. What started as a small neighbourhood festival has now become a calling for people from all over the city. Hosting bands, DJs, street food, craft stalls and plenty of graffiti, art and kids activities, the whole community gets onboard with supporting this popular event.
Currently in its first ever year, the team behind BS5 market wanted to offer a monthly farmers market that encouraged people to come together and make the most of the park while supporting local start up businesses. The market offers hot food, organic vegetables and artisan crafts and is a great place to meet other friends and families on the first Sunday of each month while stocking up on a mixture of treats and home essentials.