The last time Sam and I went down to Bristol we immediately booked back in with the same lady for the end of May this year. As always with us, a day or so exploring Bristol turned into a lot more and we ended up spending nearly a week road tripping around the South. We visited Bristol as planned, then Brighton to meet some more of Sam's friends, Little Hampton to stay with his family and finally onto Oxford. It was the perfect little holiday and treat after I'd finished my second year of University and a perfect celebration for Sam's promotion.
I fell in love with most of the places we visited and we will definitely be heading back soon.
First port of call upon arriving in Bristol was to hunt down a supermarket and then head over to the apartment. We always stay with a lovely lady called Jenny there who has ended up as a friend now. In a very strange but necessary quest to try and fix something for her we came across so many beautiful pieces of graffiti. This was a personal favourite of mine.
I'm a sucker for anything sci-fi or space themed, especially when it's also neon. I wish I'd taken a photo but there was another unreal portrait of a younger girl in black and white with colourful flowers coming out of her hair.
After a belated start to the holiday we wandered along the river and stopped for a few drinks and a nibble in Revolution de Cuba, the club we went to last time at night where I was coerced into drinking tequila. Yes, I will bring that up at every available opportunity, Sam.
We were really fortunate, on this particular day there was a little food festival on. We didn't get anything to eat but we did get a little gin cocktail and spent a good half an hour to an hour sitting in the late afternoon sun sipping our drinks with our legs dangling off the side of the riverbank. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day. And I didn't fall in!
That evening we headed out for a meal at Pasture. Not far away from where we were staying. What a meal. The minute you walk in you have your breath taken away by the decor. Downstairs is all bar seating with a huge dancefloor and this massive mirror. I couldn't resist a cheeky selfie. There are deep greens, burgundy and greys everywhere. I'd love to know who designed this. Then upstairs where we ate was just as lovely. It was so cool that we couldn't actually see into the kitchen and watch them select the meat then cook it.
Between us, we had the crunchiest pork crackling I've ever had and nocellara olives. My personal favourites. For main I had a small rump steak with bearnaise sauce and truffle parmesan fries. Three of my go-to foods. I don't think I can ever recall ever having steak quite as delicious as this. It honestly just melted in the mouth. Then the truffle fries, oh my god the fries. They were unreal. I'd go back just for those.
Then after a day in Bristol, it was off to Brighton! Little did we know at the time of planning this but the day we were down the Kemptown Carnival was on and the celebration of the Hells Angels forming was taking place. Never have I seen so many bearded and leather-clad men in one area and my god it was so hot there, how they managed I don't know.
The intention behind going to Brighton was to meet up with two of Sam's University friends, Jack and Izzy. I'd not met them before so it was lovely to spend the day with them, I was invited along with Sam to their wedding last October but couldn't get the time off work. They showed us around some of the best places and took us for a night out. First stop though was beer and minigolf. As you can see I was really concentrating...and had to keep swapping between my glasses and sunglasses. I couldn't really see either way honestly!
We went to a few bars one called Shuffle where you could pick the music they played via a website which was super fun. They did an amazing gin and tonic there too. But the highlight of the night was a place called Bar Broadway, a gay bar that exclusively played musical numbers. AND YOU COULD REQUEST THEM. There's nothing quite like a tipsy/drunk room of people slurring along to Mama Mia. It's an experience.
The following morning before we left for Little Hampton we wandered around the lanes and did a little bit of shopping and went for brunch at a lovely restaurant but I can't for the life of me find the name! It was great. Now, I'm eggs royale-ing my way around the UK! Then we went into, possibly my new favourite shop, ever. Oliver's of Brighton. A dedicated Harry Potter Themed store. I've never been into a shop with so much attention to detail in not only the decor but how the items are displayed. Of course, I didn't come out empty handed. I got a little Frank the Thunderbird! Oliver was super sweet too and so happy to have a chat whilst we were wandering around.
Post minigolf (which I came last at...I blame the lack of being able to see) we headed out to celebrate Izzy's birthday and went to Burgers & Cocktails. It was literally called Burgers & Cocktails. Possibly the best burger I've ever had and they did some cracking cocktails. We ended up passing them all round to try each of thm in the end. Not a bad one out of four.
Then we ended the night with these. Oh my god. we walked past the place earlier in the day and I desperately wanted to go. It was called Belgian Chips and you literally just picked toppings for chips. I was left to my own devices with this so Sam was stuck with my choice...which was actually fantastic if I do say so myself. Paprika seasoning and garlic mayo. They were amazing and great to munch on during the walk back to the house.
Then it was off to Little Hampton to stay with Sam's family. We arrived around about 3ish and spent that afternoon in the garden drinking wine with them and then chatting until late around the dinner table.
The first full day we spent there we went to Arundel in the morning where Sam used to work in a restaurant whilst he was at University. The most adorable and postcard-worthy town. It reminded me of the Lake District but warmer!
First stop was brunch in the sweetest little cafe with incredibly generous portions. An absolutely huge portion of salmon and scrambled eggs, I was full for the rest of the day. There was also so many niche little food shops and gifty places. I came away with some lovely presents for people and some fudge for myself. I have the most ridiculous sweet tooth.
Sam's Aunt had mentioned a relatively new Gin bar that had opened so of course, we had to go. The Norfolk Tap was an unusual bar. There was no menu and instead, you told the bartender what kind of flavours you liked and he produced a drink for you based on that. He picked everything from the gin to the garnish and created some truly amazing drinks. It was a great place to spend a few hours.
I fell in love with Arundel and Little Hampton. We'll definitely be going back and hopefully sooner rather than later.
Our final stop of this epic trip was Oxford and sadly neither of us particularly loved this place. Don't get me wrong it had some beautiful places like the Bodleian which we got a tour around. I hadn't realised they'd filmed some of the Harry Potter films there either which was super cool. But in general, there wasn't a massive amount that attracted us to it. It was also ridiculously difficult to navigate with a car as there was so little parking available anywhere that didn't require a residents permit. I'm all for helping the planet in whatever way possible but the number of cyclists and angry cyclists was terrifying. It was a permanent game of chicken even in the pedestrianised areas!
Regardless I'm so glad I could tick going into the Bodleian off my bucket list.
That afternoon we ate in a place called The Plough which was nice but seemed overpriced even for the South. The best part and I need to tell you about this because it was one of those REALLY moments. I said I'd get lunch for the two of us that day as Sam had got dinner the previous day or lunch I forget. We ate a lot. But I handed the lady my card which she then put in the reader, then proceeded to give Sam the cardreader...despite the fact that I'd given her MY card. It was one of those, did that actually happen moments.
A girl can and usually has the ability to treat her guy too! Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
We finished off our trip with a homecooked meal (by Sam of course) of steak, cheese fries, garlic broccoli and beef mayo. The meal I request every time we go away. It's still my favourite. Then we watched a movie. We started watching Storks, the animated baby film but it was kinda odd so changed to The Proposal which is one of my absolute favourite films. It never fails to make me smile. This was definitely the perfect end to our little holiday.
Have you been to any of these places?
What did you think?
Thank you for reading,