The Southwest of England has a great deal to offer holiday travellers, whether they are from the UK or are international visitors. I never made it to the area until my third visit to Britain and it soon became one of my favourite areas. This year the UK & Ireland Poker Tour will be returning to Bristol for the first time in two years. The UKIPT festivals have proven to be extremely popular with both professional and recreational players from the UK and the EU. Additionally, players from across the EU can win a seat at the event in online tournaments. This means a large number of players will be arriving in Bristol for the first time. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for places the players should visit other than the Rainbow Casino, which is the festival’s home.
The ancient Roman city of Bath is well worth the short (less than 20 miles) drive from Bristol as much for the scenery as for the ancient baths themselves. Bath features numerous small shops and boutiques. Wells Cathedral is located nearby. Solsbury Hill, which inspired Peter Gabriel’s song, has a history which dates back to around 300 BC when it was a hill fort. Nearby you can see the white cliff horses and the medieval burial mounds that dot the hillside. If you want a more up close view of the area and some exercise as well, consider renting a bike. A bike path connects the two towns and the ride can be completed in less than two hours.
Bristol Zoo is small by many standards but is home to a large number of animals, including gorillas, aye-ayes, insects, seals, penguins, and fish. The zoo, founded in 1836, is the world’s oldest provincial zoo and plays an important role in the preservation, study, and breeding of endangered species.
A great deal has been written about the trend toward healthy eating among today’s poker players. The Thali Café is frequently on the lists of top restaurants and is a must visit. The café features as variety of curries and an extensive vegetarian menu. They have recently added some chicken and seafood items to the menu as well. The Clifton Observatory was originally the site of a snuff factory in the 1700s. The Observatory, just across thes suspension bridge, offers great views of the area. The Observatory is also home to one of the two camera obscuras in England and dates back to the early 1800s. The Camera Obscura, which is one of the more interesting viewing devices ever designed and one which is relatively rare, projects a panoramic view (not a mirror image) of the area and is in itself worth the visit.
The Old Market is one of the oldest sections of the city and offers a less trendy, but no less unique, shopping experience. You’ll find shops ranging from those specializing in antiques and vintage clothing to specialty sporting goods shops. The Phoenix, which opened in 1850s, is everything a visitor could ask for when wanting to experience a British pub. Not only does the Phoenix serve traditional pub food, but since the area is home to numerous distilleries and breweries, a unique selection of local beers and spirits are also available.