Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:28 AM PST
Andrew Swift explores some of Bristol's hidden corners, including the site of one of England's largest castles, ruined churches, the remnants of the medieval city walls and two buildings with unexpected links to Bath
As the quickest and easiest way to get to Bristol is by train, the walk starts at Temple Meads. After going through the barriers, instead of turning left through the main exit, carry on to emerge in the original station, where cars now park between the platforms. Following signs for the city centre, cross a car park and continue past a row of shops. Bear left along Temple Back East and cross the dual carriageway to continue along Temple Back. Take the first left along Temple Rose Street and after 75m turn right through gates to follow a tree-lined path towards the shell of Temple Church, founded by the Knights Templar, and destroyed by bombing, like so much of Bristol, in 1940. If you look at its leaning tower, you will see that the top section is at a different angle to the lower stages, the result of an attempt to compensate for subsidence during construction. Go through the gates at the end and carry on to emerge amid a cluster of old buildings. Turn right along the main road, continue across Counterslip and take the next right along Bath Street. After 100m, just before the Premier Inn, turn left along an alleyway to Castle Bridge.
Carry on, following a tree-lined path down to the river, with the tower of another ruined church, St Mary le Port, to your right. Carry on to the traffic lights, cross to St Nicholas Church, bombed but restored and reopened for worship in December 2018. Head past it and turn right up St Nicholas Steps.
Turn left down Broad Street, past the old Council House and Guildhall, and, just past Horts, turn right through an archway into Taylors Court, a hidden but neglected gem. A lavishly decorated shell hood over the entrance to the Merchant Tailors' Hall, 18th-century lead drainpipes, St John's churchyard and the 17th-century Court House are among the treasures of this forgotten corner.
At the end, turn right and then left to The Shakespeare pub, built by John Strahan in 1725 as a townhouse for John Hobbs, a wealthy merchant responsible for developing much of this area. The birds carved in its pediment are hobbies, a type of falcon, and a pun on Hobbs's name. Hobbs also employed Strahan to develop the Kingsmead Square area in Bath, and was instrumental in making the river between the two cities navigable, facilitating the shipment of Bath stone to Bristol.
More walks in Bristol, including the harbourside, city centre, and Clifton, can be found in Andrew Swift's Walks from Bristol's Severn Beach Line, published by Akeman Press.
Featured image: Everard's Print Works
Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:10 AM PST
The dishes on haute cuisine menus have a seductive, musical vibe – some of them, like 'verjus butter' or 'melon gazpacho' are driven by the foreign words, which add a rarified, sexy quality to your pre-perception of a dish. Others earn their place through clever word combinations such as 'wet almonds' or 'sea vegetables'. Others thrive off the cool names of the ingredients like 'violet artichoke' or 'grelot onion'. The naming of dishes sets you up for the gastronomic ride. It's the best sort of spin, frankly.
We were shown first into the grand drawing room, with high ceilings and elaborate, weighty architraving, a Downton Abbey-esque interior and a crackling open fire. It was apéritif and canapé time. I chose a dry martini and the driver had a raspberry spritzer. This was made with raspberry infusion syrup, cloudy apple juice, lime juice and soda water – the hit of the raspberry fizz matched up to any alcoholic cocktail. The canapés were knock-you-down-amazing: goat's cheese cones; round fritters with mozzarella and chilli jam; and dill rice crackers with smoked cod.
The cheese course brought a piled-high trolley, from which we chose five to share, with a strong French emphasis, all served with truffle honey and quince jelly (drooling compulsory). Our pre-dessert was a mini cylinder of sorbet on a stick enclosed in a coat of white chocolate, with a sprinkling of lemon sherbet at the base of the bowl (soooo nice). Dessert brought me a vanilla crème brulée with Agen prunes and bitter orange marmalade doughnut (knock your socks off) and Rob butter-roast pear with buttermilk sorbet and walnut wafers.
Both the vegetarian and the seasonal tasting menus are £110
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Colerne, Chippenham. Tel: 01225 742777, visit: lucknampark.co.uk
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