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On Day 4 of our trip to England, we took a day trip from Bath to Bristol and our first train ride.

We spent our day on the water and waterfront, using the water ferry as a bus around the city center and walking along the pretty shore line.

Bristol Water Ferry

A water ferry acts as a city bus in Bristol — mostly used by tourists but some residents use it as well.

We were impressed by how much Bristol seems to love their waterfront, with lots of museums, restaurants, and water-view housing. Here are warehouses converted to condos, some units have an assigned boat slip.

Condos in warehouses in Bristol

Waterfront property in Bristol

This was a sailing lesson. The woman in the red motor boat to the left called instructions to the young people learning how to sail.

Sailing lesson in Bristol

I loved the multicolored houses on the hillside

The body of water in this area is known as the floating harbor. We were confused by this term — how can a harbor float? But it turns out that it’s the boats that float. Before the floating harbor was built, the ships keeled over in the mud at low tide. That’s the origin of the phrase “ship-shape and Bristol fashion.” If your ship stopped at Bristol, everything on board had to be secured or it would slide around when the tide went out. Of course, a ship captain might prefer to use a harbor where the water didn’t disappear every day. So, locks were built to keep the water in, even at low tide, to create a floating harbor.

Our main purpose for visiting Bristol was to see the SS Great Britain, a steamship built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I’ll post photos of that next week.





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Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion #BriFri #Photos — 6 Comments

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