Summer in Somerset

I thought I’d be writing this post from back in New Zealand as we were looking like we were headed home after a rather fruitless couple of months job hunting in the UK. We had our flights back all booked and then Kate got an email asking her to an interview and things have progressed from there. Long story short is it looks like we will be in the UK for a while longer.

We will have a permanent home in the Cotswolds for the foreseeable future and I think we would be hard pressed to find a better area to base ourselves. It will also be novel to not feel like a nomad for a while.

While we were waiting for everything to come together we thought we would head down to Somerset to take a look around. Our base was a little town called Portishead on the Severn Estuary just outside Bristol. If you haven’t visited Somerset before be prepared for a very interesting accent. It still amazes me how the accents change, sometimes quite significantly, over very short distances when travelling around the UK.

Sunset on the Severn

We stayed in the marina area of Portishead and this area had a very lively social scene with a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants doing very good business. We went for a few walks along the Severn Estuary and while it wasn’t the prettiest stretch of water we’ve seen lately, it was nice to be in a semi-rural setting with lots of trails to choose from. They had a number of public sculptures that were interesting as well, and these ranged from a relatively life sized bronze mouse, to three meter high horse shoe nails and a rather Stonehenge like sculpture pictured here.

Portishead Sculptures

Severn Estuary with Wales in the background

Bristol is the largest city in this area and it was an easy bus ride from Portishead. While it is big, it has a population of close to half a million, it has a nice feel to it, especially around the waterfront/harbour area. You could easily eat at a different restaurant for a month in this area alone and it had a great vibe no matter what day we were there.

Bristol Harbour Sailing

We went for a cruise on the river on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the harbour was buzzing with activity. Once again with most places in the UK the history was very interesting. This was the place that the Matthew set sail from in 1497, this ship was accredited with being the first to explore North America (Newfoundland region).

HMS Matthew in Bristol Harbour

SS Great Britain

The old market was another area with quirky stalls selling all manner of food, jewellery and home made goods. It also had a great coffee shop (Small Street Espresso) nearby so we frequented this area a few times. Another drink Somerset is famous for is it’s cider and I would recommend trying a few different varieties. The subtleties of flavour that you get across a range of local products makes the tasting experience very interesting. I think I have a favourite but I may need to taste a few more just to be sure.

Here’s to a new life and a new set of experiences.