We had really wanted to take a boat trip in Bristol. The city centre is interwoven so much with the old floating harbour, that I felt this really is a must-do here. There are lots of boats used as pleasure craft and it seemed like a really good way of getting around - as well as a way to see a lot of interesting sights from a different angle.
The harbour in Bristol is only nowadays actually used by pleasure boats and small working craft. It is, though, still, as in days gone by, very much the heart of this city.
There are several options for a boat trip. Having researched them, we found that Bristol Ferry Boat runs several ferry services around the harbour and stops at various quays en route. It also provides a commuter service between the city centre and the main railway station.
We decided we wanted to take a ride with The Bristol Packet. They offer tours of the docks with commentaries during school holidays and at weekends all through the year.
When we arrived at the departure point, we were really disappointed to find we had missed their last boat by just a couple of minutes. The last boat leaves at 3.30, so they do not carry on, as I had expected, all through the afternoon.
We walked a little way further on, thinking we had missed out on a boat trip, when we saw a man with a sign advertising boat trips around the harbour. We decided to go with him - I was actually glad we had done so. There was no commentary, but the boat was very comfortable - seats with tables and covered over, and took the same route as all the others. We paid £13.00 for a round trip - this was for 2 adults, 2 seniors and 1 child - very reasonable I thought.
The boat trip gave really lovely views of the quays and wharves, old warehouses, bridges and cranes that are all reminders of Bristol's maritime history.
I had wanted a trip with a commentary, but in hindsight thought this was just as good. It was lovely to sit without someone else telling you what you are looking at, and just absorb the sights and views.
We went as far as the SS Great Britain, where 3 other people on the boat got off. We then had it all to ourselves for the rest of the trip. We went down to Temple Meads station and then all the way back to our starting point. The whole trip lasted about 45 minutes and was relaxing and enjoyable.