Ticket to ride: part 2

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

With the rest of the world to explore, it’s easy to overlook what’s on your doorstep – Blighty! In the second part of our British cities series, we open our address books in Bristol, Cambridge and Southend

Travel specialists Lonely Planet declared Bristol to be “by far and away south western England’s largest and coolest city.” Bristol consists of several unique districts, each with its own special charm.
Culture vulture
With a harbour at its beating heart, no wonder one of Bristol’s star attractions has a nautical theme. When it was launched in 1843, SS Great Britain was the biggest ship in the world. 175 years and an 11.3million pound conservation programme later, the SS Great Britain is back to her best. Away from the harbour, Clifton Village is a pretty Georgian part of town or pop over to Bristol Zoo Gardens – home to the smallest tortoise in the world and the largest ape plus 400 other exotic and endangered species.
Shop till you drop
In the centre of Bristol, Broadmead and The Mall Galleries boast an enticing range of shops with all the familiar high street names plus specialist independent stores.
Eating out
The Primrose Café (1 Clifton Arcade) serves breakfasts until 3.30pm. In the evenings, it switches to a BYO bistro.
Party animal
Situated on the bustling Park Street, The Elbow Room Pool Lounge&Bar takes lounging to new levels of elegance. Expect decent drinks, attentive service and top tunes. There’s a great dance floor upstairs too.


Cambridge is a bustling market town famous for its bicycles, choristers and one of the most respected universities in the world. Cambridge alumni include Prince Charles, Oliver Cromwell and Lord Byron. The latter is said to have bathed naked with his pet bear in a fountain in the Great Court at Trinity College!
Culture vulture
Head for the river. Stock up with treats from Nadia’s cake shop (20 King’s Parade) then pile into a punting boat and drift off down the River Cam. Back on dry land? Check out some of Cambridge’s 312 colleges. Take a stroll through Trinity College where literary greats Dryden and Tennyson studied and you’ll see the 15th century clock tower featured in Chariots of Fire. Nearby in Neville’s Court is the spot where Sir Isaac Newton first calculated the speed of sound. However, the most impressive building is undoubtedly King’s College; a gothic treasure that took 100 years to build.
Shop till you drop
Market Square is at the heart of Cambridge’s shopping district, while the Grafton Shopping Centre is just a few minutes’ walk away. Between them lies a wealth of individual and national outlets.
Eating Out
Clowns (King St) serves cheap, tasty Italian food and boasts a laid back environment.
Party animal
B Bar (Market Passage) is a modern tri-level bar with good food. For a more raucous night out, try Ballare (Heidelberg Gardens). Despite its upmarket name, the DJs play cheesy tunes into the wee small hours.


Southend is a vibrant place full of beaches, bingo halls, fab chip shops, arcades, oh – and the longest pleasure pier in the world. What’s more, it’s the driest part of England. We’re dumping our brollies and coming to town…
Culture vulture
The Southend pier is actually a 1.3mile long bridge to nowhere. It has its very own train to cart the lame or lazy to the end and back. At the far end, you’ll notice the silence. No more rollercoasters or screaming kids, just peace and quiet – bliss.
Shop till you drop
The High Street is home to all the big boys. For more individual shops, Leigh on Sea offers a great range of boutique fashion outlets, home wares, jewellery and gifts. Southend is also under an hour from Lakeside and Bluewater malls.
Eating out
Southend caters for every taste and budget. For a tasty but cheap meal opt for fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf (Western Esplanade). If you’re in the mood for a splurge, go to The Glasshouse (43 Alexandra Street).
Party animal
The Sun Rooms and Clarence Yard are friendly pubs which also serve top notch food. Meanwhile the centre of town is a clubber’s paradise thanks to the presence of places like Mayhem, Zinc, Talk, Storm, Chameleon and Ego.

Log on to the CD Traveller website this Thursday (September 16) for the low-down on London, Durham, Brighton and Bath

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