Bristol is a great place to buy some really good souvenirs. True, there are traditional keyrings and fridge magnets depicting Clifton Suspension Bridge, but there are many other original and quirky ones to discover too! Gloucester Road is a particularly good hunting ground as it has a great number of independent shops. If you are handed a ‘Bristol pound’ this is a special local currency that was launched in 2012 and is used as an incentive. Whilst it is not legal tender, your ‘Bristol pound’ can be spent in independent shops across the city. It is fun to browse in the local markets too – St Nick’s which is daily and Keynsham Farmers’ Market which takes place on the second Saturday each month.
1. Pack some great cider
The Bristol Cider Shop showcases the best local ciders which are all made within a 50 miles radius of the city. The shop is situated on the historic harbor side in Wapping Wharf. All of the ciders are made from 100% freshly pressed apple juice and are suitable for those on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. There is a great selection to choose from including some gift packs and the company has an excellent mail order service if you prefer. There is also the opportunity to sample some excellent draught ciders too.
2. Find fantastic arty & crafty souvenirs
Seventh Sea is situated in Cheltenham Road and has a great selection of homemade tee-shirts, prints, and cards as well as some really stylish jewelry and ceramics – all made locally in Bristol. You can also buy a print of the lovely wildlife design depicted on the Bristol pound note.
3. Or some great foodie gift ideas
Grape & Grind is situated in Gloucester Road and has an interesting selection of wines, craft beers, and quality coffee beans. The shop stocks the Bishopton Preserves range of chutneys and pickles, which are made locally with locally grown and picked fruit. This shop also stocks the very tempting Ooh Chocolata chocolates that are made in nearby Nailsea.
4. Grab some really good local beers
If you are traveling with a suitcase, then it would be a shame not to take some of the city’s excellent craft beers home! There are 15 independent breweries in Bristol including Wiper & True and Arbor Ales and they are all stocked in Brewers Droop Home Brews Supplies in Gloucester Road. This wonderful shop was opened in 1984 and Mike who runs it is a Guinness Book world record holder for brewing the world’s strongest beer – ‘Uncle Igor’s Famous Falling Over Water’ – and of course there is the chance to buy some of this too.
5. Pack a Bristol bear
Romantica in Gloucester Road is a treasure chest for those who love greetings cards and postcards. The shop also stocks the most wonderful limited edition prints of Blueberry Bear – the iconic and cute Bristol bear created by Jess TKLS. As well as Blueberry Bear, Jess has created a wonderful collection of animals that she has named City Animalz.
6. Buy a stylish piece of blue glass to treasure
Bristol Blue Glass had been produced in the city for several hundred years, but in the 1920s production stopped. Thankfully, the tradition was re-established in 1988 and if you visit the studio and shop in Bath Road Brislington, you will be able to watch the glassmakers at work – using the same production methods as were originally used. The stylish pieces of Bristol Blue Glass make a very special reminder of time spent in the city and the glassmakers have recently begun making pieces in a deep ruby red colored glass.
7. Choose some lovely new homeware
Reason Interiors in Gloucester Road is a family run business that works with local artists and focusses on designs made using hand printed linocuts. Beautiful etchings and designs are used to decorate fabrics and homeware including aprons, mats and oven mitts. There is an extensive selection of greeting cards in stock too including lovely ones depicting colorful wildflowers.
8. Be tempted by a colorful scarf
There are two museum shops in Bristol and they both stock a good selection of unusual gift ideas that make perfect gifts. Some of the scarves, jewelry, and toys have been made locally and others have been inspired by recent exhibitions held in the museums. The extra bonus is that any purchases made, help to support the work of the museums. The shops can be found at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and at Blaise Castle House Museum.
9. Don’t forget to pack some cheese
Bristol is located so close to Cheddar Gorge that it would be a great shame not to pack some of the famous Cheddar cheese! Trethowan’s Dairy Shop can be found in the Glass Arcade in St Nick’s Market and is the perfect place for cheese lovers! The choice of cheeses is amazing and as well as excellent Cheddar in different strengths of maturity, there are Welsh cheeses such as Gorwydd Caerphilly and others made from goat’s cheese. The staff members are really knowledgable and tasters are available. Go there at lunchtime for an extra treat, because you can buy fantastic cheese toasties or Raclette to enjoy on the spot!
10. Or opt for some colorful traditional souvenirs
For those who would like to buy some souvenirs depicting the city’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, there are some fun ideas to be found on the city’s online shop – www.bristolshoponline.co.uk – and these include coasters, notebooks and an impressive – and challenging – 3D puzzle! Many of the souvenirs also depict colorful hot air balloons as the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta takes place each August. This is the largest hot air balloon fiesta held in Europe and is well worth seeing.
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