Bristol

Romance in the city | three romantic hotel breaks in Bristol

Once upon a time, all I knew about Bristol was its pretty impressive suspension bridge and its penchant for creating a great street artist. These are two very important highlights of the city, but it's about so much more than that.

Bristol has an identity of its very own, it’s bohemian, unapologetically independent, it champions the arts, culture and community and this results in an eclectic melting pot of foodie hotspots, secret underground bars, one-off shops, big old buildings with interiors that could’ve been plucked from Venice, and markets selling everything from vinyl to bric a brac.

There’s nothing like a slathering of culture to set the tone for a romantic break. If you want to come away from a city with a full heart, a full belly and a full head of inspiration, then a romantic trip to Bristol is for you.

One more great thing about this city is its affordability. Even some of the fancy former bank building hotels are inexpensive. Here, my pick of the top three, to suit every budget.

A luxury romantic weekend in your own swish Georgian pile at the Berkeley Suites

1/3

Set in one of those lovely crescents that oozes heritage charm, Berkeley Suites has all the perks of a hotel, but with your own grand Georgian pad to call home. The suites sit within a Grade II listed building, they feel fancy from the off, and they’re in a great location in the heart of the city. Pop outside and you’ll find bustling Park Street and Clifton Triangle nearby, with Clifton Village on one side and the Harbourside on the other.

Perfect for cosy escapes, city breaks & special nights in

Romance in the Rooms: Home never looked so good

You’ll get a floor of your own in this stylish Bristol bolthole, which is ideal for whisking your loved one on a romantic weekend away. I would say each suite is a home from home, but if my home looked like this, I’d probably never leave it. The idea here is to provide as much privacy as possible, you’ll soon feel like it’s your own secret little haven for two. Inside expect slick interiors, mid-century furniture, artwork on the walls and a living space and kitchenette in addition to the bedroom and bathroom.

If you fancy a film night while you’re away, shun the cinema for your very own private screening with my favourite feature of this hotel – the digital projector.

Romance in the city: Foodie heaven

The Berkeley Suites sit in the Clifton conservation area, one of Bristol’s most desirable postcodes, oozing all those bygone vibes you’d expect from an ancient British city. You can enjoy the best of both worlds here, whether it’s shopping in Clifton or museum hopping in Bristol centre.

Foodies rejoice, this city was made for you. When I visited, Clifton’s Arch House Deli was a must-see for my cheese gorging boyfriend, while I was enamoured with the sandwiches in Spicer & Cole, think rustic baguettes filled with deli meats, cheese and avocado… and a whole host of fresh salads, quiches and cakes that’ll keep you going back for more. While you’re in Clifton, take a detour through Birdcage Walk, it goes past a graveyard and although that might not sound too romantic, it’s a dreamy passage lined with overhanging trees.

Food takes a fancy flair in the evening with Michelin Star dining at Casamia at the waterside. Go with an appetite, there’s a 14-course tasting menu. The intimate setting of just 35 seats is definitely something special for a romantic trip away.

Berkeley Suites

Bristol, 2.7 km to Ashton Court Estate
8.4 Very good (54 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
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A romantic weekend in a grand old bank at The Bristol Harbour Hotel

1/4

Soaked in all the glory you’d expect from a former banking HQ, the Bristol Harbour Hotel serves a little dose of opulent romance right in the heart of the historic city.

But don’t think that it’s all about city slicking here, serenity awaits deep down underground… head into the vaults for spa time, the swimming pool sits under an arched ceiling while treatment rooms hide behind old safe doors.

Romance in the Rooms: Rich hues and ancient street views

It’s also an opulent affair in the bedrooms. Rich, warm colours are heated up with velvet and leather textures, topped off with lavish extras such as decanters of sherry and gin, Italian marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton sheets and toiletries from The White Company. Here, every feature will make you and your beau feel special.

Choose a corner suite and just try to resist spending the night in the tub under one of the curved windows looking up at the stars.

Romance in the city: Art on tap and hunting for cocktails

The Bristol Harbour Hotel sits on one of the grandest Bristol streets, there are old baking and insurance halls galore, many of which have been refurbed to provide dramatic spaces for restaurants and bars. We enjoyed our first city drink in the Cosy Club, which feels every bit as magnificent as a Venetian palace with its huge high domed ceiling, marble floors, and stone walls filled with ancient grand portraits. Order a bottle of fizz and pretend you’re royalty.

Culture vultures will find plenty to gorge on in this part of town. The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is filled with treasures, including some Banksy artwork, although you are on the artist’s home turf here, so it’s worth seeking out his pieces in the city. We loved the self-guided Banksy Walking Tour, it uncovered a few gems we never would have found by ourselves. If gallery hopping is your idea of romance, continue on to the Royal West of England Academy or head to the waterside’s impressive Arnolfini gallery. You can even take the afternoon to stargaze at the We The Curious museum.

I was told that Bristol is the place to hunt for hidden speakeasy-style bars. So we had fun finding Milk Thistle, which has no sign on the door but will reward thirsty explorers with fancy cocktails, huge bouncy leather sofas and Great Gatsby vibes. Hyde & Co is the Thistle’s older sister, and another adventure for you both to hunt down (the entrance is marked with a bowler hat sign). There are plenty of others if you fancy a speakeasy mission together.

Bristol Harbour

Top rated
Bristol, 3.5 km to Ashton Court Estate
8.5 Excellent (387 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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An affordable romantic weekend perched on a cliffside at Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

1/4

A romantic weekend in Bristol doesn’t have to be all about splashing the cash. There’s a huge selection of affordable but stylish boutique hotels for a special trip for two.

Clifton Village sits in the suburbs of Bristol, it’s a destination in its own right, and one of my favourite areas of the city. It’s also where you’ll find Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, which has been recently refurbished.

Boasting a spot atop a cliff, Avon Gorge has one of the best views in Bristol. From cliffside rooms, you can peer into the gorge, and you’ll have unrivalled views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The hotel is found in an old Victorian pile, it packs a prestigious punch in one of the city’s most desirable spots, and is once again living up to its former hotspot glory days – it used to be a favourite with film star Cary Grant. What more could you need for a romantic weekend away?

Romance in the Rooms: Heritage chic and a suite with twin bathtubs

I am a total sucker for the grand looking paintings in the rooms at Avon Gorge. Hung on walls that are sumptuously painted with inky blues and greys, the rooms feel warm and inviting, there’s a touch of colour too – a red headboard here, a dusky pink chair there – it feels chic and elegant and the decor even got a nod from the boyfriend. Make sure you request a ‘Gorge View’ room to wake up to that sweeping vista, the street view rooms are still stylish, but this is really about the unique location. If you want to blow the budget, opt for the Laurent Perrier suite, it has a set of twin bathtubs under the window so you don’t have to feel guilty about taking up all the space in the bubbles.

Romance in the city: The dreamy suspension bridge and meals to die for

With the Clifton Suspension Bridge so nearby, the Avon Gorge hotel gives you the perfect excuse to head to this famous landmark and take in the view. You can see the whole city from here, go just as the sun sets for dreamy pink skies and twinkling lights. If you visit during the day, wander across the bridge into Ashton Court, a huge park and woodland and the perfect place to stroll. Head towards the fancy manor house if you like those dreamy ancient mansion vibes.

The surrounding Clifton Village is filled with foodie hotspots, so there’s plenty of choice for romantic meals out. After a lazy lie in head to Brace & Browns for their bottomless brunch. You’ll find endless Prosecco, a Bloody Mary station and mid-morning goodies such as savoury French toast and crab cakes with poached eggs.

The Lido is a must for a dreamy dinner. I’d wanted to visit for a while, and it didn’t disappoint. Bag a waterside seat in its restaurant and expect big flavours such as wood-roasted beetroot, slow-cooked ox cheek and charcoal grilled venison. If you fancy a dip in the water, head here during the day for a few pre-lunch lengths and some post swim sangria.

Clifton Village is also all about the shops. Take a wander to the Clifton Arcade to find historical little shops all piled up and vying for your attention with vintage jewellery, art and interior treasures. Papersmiths gets my vote every time, if you’re a stationery addict like me, it’ll quench your thirst and isn’t as expensive as it looks. It’s also great for discovering some new indie mags. Head to Maze for clothing, it has great taste and will curb your retail therapy fix with womenswear and menswear, it even got my boyfriend (a shopping hater) interested, which is saying A LOT.

Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

Bristol, 1.4 km to Ashton Court Estate
8.0 Very good (2081 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Laura Feasey

A writer living in London, Laura is currently working on her debut novel – a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. When she’s not checking out the ideal hotel bed thread-count, she’s penning short stories, writing for various publications & brands, and sharing fashion tales on her blog, LauLauLand.
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