In the first and second parts of this series I talked about the Bristol Cathedral, Millenium Square, the Clifton Suspension bridge, the SS Great Britain and the International Balloon Festival in Bristol. In this part I want to talk about the Corn Street market and the Bristol Zoo, as well as the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve.
Any city that holds a regular street market shows the instinctive understanding that I think everyone knows really - market shopping is the most interesting, most fun, weirdest and most social way to shop. Local markets connect people with each other, removing the stale and sterile supermarket experience, where it feels like robots could run the place. Having passionate and expert vendors shouting their prices and competing to sell their goods is so much more alive!
Every Wednesday, from 09:30 to 14:30, this market is open, mostly based on Corn Street (and also Wine Street next to it). Like most markets, it's hard to really nail down a theme or base for the market. You can find a little something of everything here, with food stalls, clothes and services, as well as the Street Food Market in the same spot on Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 to 14:30 and the Nails Market on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00. There are more than 60 different stalls on a busy day, and my favourite part was the farmers and produce part, where you can find the freshest British grown meat and vegetables and fruit, in incredible variety and plenty.
With more than 300 animals across 50 different species, Bristol Zoo hosts gorillas, crocodiles, lemurs, lions, hippos and much more. This zoo opened the first 'Twilight Zone' with darkened areas for nocturnal and low light animals (which is a gloriously creepy and cosy in equal amounts).
My favourite part of the zoo was the Butterfly House. Although I love the larger animals, especially the mammals like the lemurs and gorillas, the Butterfly House was beautiful. Linked to sustainable conservation in Costa Rica, many of these species of butterfly are rare and endangered, and cannot be seen in other places in the UK.
When you feel the need to get out from the man-made side of Bristol, and find some less cultured nature, the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve is the ideal place. 18th and 19th Century abandoned quarries and a pre-Roman hill fort called Stokeleigh Camp are included in the nature reserve, as well as a whole host of colourful and beautiful flowers, bushes and trees. The reserve is known particularly as a fantastic place to come see rare moths and butterflies in the Summer, as well as find several species of orchids that dont grow in many other places in the UK.
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