A visit to Bristol was something I had always wanted to undertake. I recently got the opportunity to get there and fulfil two clear objectives: 1. Drive over the Clifton Suspension Bridge; and 2. Visit the SS Great Britain.
One beautiful sunny day (as were most of the days during my stay in the Motherland) I punched in the post code for the bridge, BS8 3PA, and headed out.
Luckily, I pulled over just before I got to the bridge to get the £1 coin out for the toll. While stopped I photographed the approach to the bridge. It was lucky because, after fulfilling my wish and crossing the bridge, I became stuck in traffic and couldn't stop for more photos. When I finally managed to pull over the bridge was no longer in sight.
My one good photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge
That was my bad as it is actually quite easy to get a great view of the bridge and to find out everything you need to know at the Visitors' Centre. But as my major objective was to drive over the bridge, and I had done that, as I seemed to be caught up in some heavy traffic I just kept driving until I could stop.
So when I finally pulled over safely I again punched my satnav with the post code, BS1 6TY, for theSS Great Britain (I didn't really punch the satnav, I just touch the screen).
As luck would have it, my satnav's new directions took me directly under theClifton Suspension Bridge so I took a totally illegal photo as I drove along (but that's just between you and me).
Fortunately, the SS Great Britain site is really easy to find and parking is a snap. There's a public car park right outside where you can pay by the hour – this is actually a devilish trick by the local authorities because you will always over guess your stay to be on the safe side.
Then over to the visitors' centre where tickets are available if you have not already bought them on line . Entry prices are:
Senior (aged 60 and over) £13
Student (valid student identification is required) £11
Child (5 - 17 year olds) £8
Child (4 year olds and under) FREE
Companion or assistant (accompanying a paying visitor who is disabled) FREE
I paid the 'Senior Passenger's' entry fee of £13 and bought the Guide Book for £4.95 and began my own personal homage to the greatest of Victorian engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
This really is a fantastic display. It was everything I had hoped for and more. The first stop on the brochures' tour seems to take you underwater. The ship actually sits in a dry, dry dock but has a sheet of waterproof glass covered with water giving it the appearance of floating on the water. Your 'Passenger's Ticket' entitles you to climb down the stairs, or take the lift, and then walk along underneath the ship. It's here you get to see the huge screw (propeller to us land lubbers) Brunel invented for the ship and all the iron plate used in its construction.
Once you've had enough of being under the water the next stop is the museum. As I walked along the marked pathway I read all about the ship and the various aspects of sailing in the 1800s. Another very interesting fact, for me anyway, is I found out the SS Great Britain used to make regular trips to Australia that included stops in Brisbane.
After the museum it's on to the actual ship. A very interesting display indeed. They have staged humans, cows, pigs, chooks (that's Australian for chickens), horses and all types of props set up in strategic places. We 'Passengers' are allowed to climb down two decks and take in the various staged tableaux. For example, the Galley appears to be in full swing with a human dummy (or should that be a dummy human?) and I am positive it smelt like bacon when I went in! Also interesting were the fancy designs around the cabin doors which I assumed were First Class cabins.
Every cabin has a different portrait above the door
For more information on the Clifton Suspension Bridge check out its web site here and the Facebook page here. You can call the Visitors' Centre on 0117 974 4664 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Then, for more information on the fantastic SS Great Britain display get onto its web page here and Facebook page here. Otherwise, give them a call on 0117 926 0680, email at: email@example.com or make contact through the web page here.
Where:Bridge Rd, Bristol, BS8 3PA and Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol, BS1 6TY
Cost:Bridge Toll is £1; SS Great Britain admissions are: Adult £14 Senior (aged 60 and over) £13 Student (valid student identification is required) £11 Child (5 - 17 year olds) £8 Child (4 year olds and under) FREE