Morning, noon or night, these are restaurants worth grazing at…
Following the huge success of 2013’s Gromit Unleashed art trail, the good people behind The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, have had the baa-rilliant idea of bringing the event back with everyone’s favourite woolly pal, Shaun the Sheep.
From now until 31 August 2015, the streets and spaces of Bristol will be full of colourful and wonderful Shaun statues to spot, and a great way to track all of these down is to ewe-tilise the official Sheep Spotter App (available on iTunes and Android). The app is a good buy, as not only do the proceeds go towards helping to support children in hospitals around the country, but it also comes loaded with easy and interactive access to all of the trail maps, which are the pre-planned routes the event organisers recommend taking to make the most out of your sheep-seeking time.
Of course, if you’re hoofing it around the trails all day counting sheep, you’re bound to get a little tired. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the places you could stop at to re-energise. As Bristol has an incredible range of restaurants, cafés and bars to offer, we don’t think you wool be disappointed with our selections.
This trail will guide you around some of the city’s historical attractions and buildings, and starts at the famous Bristol Hippodrome: a theatre that dates back to 1912. See? Heritage!
After the first few Shauns on the trail, and specifically after From Dusk ‘til Shaun, return to the top of Park Street and you’ll also discover Goldbrick House, an old Georgian building that has been converted into a classy dining destination. Pop in for some fine British fare at lunch or dinner, or celebrate your Shaun in the City accomplishments with a tipple at the cocktail baa-r.
If, though, you’d prefer something to eat nearer the end of the trail, then look out for Cau – a restaurant near Rex that’s proud to represent the cuisine of Buenos Aires. You’ll find a mixture of Italian and Spanish dishes, complete with mouth-watering Argentinean steaks. The tapas, in particular, are worth visiting for, but Cau can cater for tummy rumbles at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
A little further up, past Flock ‘n Roll at the Victoria Rooms, you could enjoy a baa-guette or top British dish of your choice for just £5 as part of Racks‘ famous lunch offer. Plus, Shaun in the City hunters can show their app to staff when ordering to get a free soft drink, tea or coffee along with their food at this historic wine cellar. Alternatively, just a few more steps up the road still, there’s the Lido, a Grade II* listed building that dates back to 1849. Not only can you round off the heritage trail rather appropriately, but the swim and dine package will definitely provide a revitalising and refreshing experience at any time of day.
Taking in Bristol’s picturesque greenery and parks, the Downs Trail is the longest of the eight walkable routes. And that means you’ll want to ensure you’re well fed and watered throughout.
If you get going in the morning, consider River Cottage Canteen for a breakfast visit, as the delicious, ethically and sustainably sourced food will give you a sure start to the day. Breakfast is only served on weekends, though, so you might want to start later on and pop in for lunch if you’re Shauning in the week. River Cottage Canteen also has the advantage of being mere footsteps down the road from Tutti Frutti, the first statue on the trail.
Conversely, at the trail’s end, just down Coldharbour Road from Groovy Baby!, is The Cambridge Arms, a pleasant Fuller’s pub that’s ready to greet you with hearty plates of food after your long walk.
If you don’t follow the trail route exactly and take a bottom-to-top approach, then you would be well rewarded at the end of a day’s shepherding with a dinner reservation at the Michelin-starred Casamia, which is a short walk away from Bristol Beauty. The prices may be high, but so is the quality.
So named for its crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which Brunel provided the original design for, this route is another heavy-hitter in terms of distance covered.
The Brunel Trail begins at Ashton Court Estate with Buttercup and Flora, but, before you begin, you might like to stop in at The Ashton for an energising bite, as it’s just a short distance away at the bottom of the field. The Ashton starts serving its gastropub fare at lunchtime, though, so if you’d prefer to start walking the trail a little earlier on, it could be best to work up to a breakfast or midday meal at The Bridge Café in the Avon Gorge Hotel instead. Not only does this hotel offer something of top quality for every mealtime alongside gorgeous views over Avon Gorge, but doubles up as the location of Wish Ewe Were Here too!
Towards the end of the trail, the Shauns are, mercifully, closer together. So, after taking in the convivial carnival sculpture that is The Shear Speed Helter Skelter, there’s just a short walk more towards two top dinnertime venues. The Thai stylings of Giggling Squid will surely satisfy those looking for something a little different to end the day on (and if you do go, make sure to try the salt and pepper squid. They don’t actually giggle, but are mighty tasty), whilst St Vincent’s restaurant will take care of any cravings for succulent steaks that long walks tend to develop in people.
Although this trail features the least Shaun sculptures, it can still be a tiring walk! Luckily, all three are near nice cafés.
Sparkles the Unicorn is found near The Cafe on the Common, although this is only open Friday through Sunday, so you might have to hold out for a little while on other days.
The Boston Tea Party on Gloucester Road is home to Star Bake, a favourite Shaun of the Fed Up & Drunk office. Perhaps you could guess why? Tom Hovey, the Great British Bake Off illustrator, is the talent behind this super-sweet sheep, and, if you develop an appetite from appreciating all of the cakes, bakes and buns on the sculpture, then you can head inside Boston Tea Party to enjoy one of Hobbs House Bakery’s iced, raspberry-topped, chocolate-ganache-filled doughnuts, just like is painted on Star Bake’s noggin.
At the end of the trail is Primrose at St. Werburghs City Farm. The City Farm Café is open six days a week and makes as much of its food as possible with salad items, vegetables and meat sourced from the Farm itself. As such, a lot of what you can enjoy here will be traceable in food footsteps rather than food miles.
The Harbourside Trail is a pleasant jaunt around a part of Bristol’s celebrated waterways. Depending on whether or not you follow the suggested route, you could begin this oval trip at the western end with breakfast or lunch at Lockside, which is an equi-distance away from both Sgt. Shepherd and Jarsberry Ram, or, for the eastern end of the trail, at Mud Dock Café in Queen’s Square, a few skips away from Shaun Bean.
Speaking of Shaun Bean, you may notice that the trail map even lists its location as ‘on the corner by Arnolfini, which just so happens to be a great café-bar. Arnolfini also opens for breakfast, but this venue comes alive with its lunch service as people flock to enjoy the outside seating in the afternoon sunshine.
For an evening dining recommendation, The Olive Shed, next to the Pirate Captain sculpture, is exactly the kind of relaxed, informal venue you’d want to unwind at. Don’t let the name fool you – the menu’s Mediterranean vibes will offer up more than just olives, although the deli shop next door is there to provide if that is what you’d be looking for. Alternatively, The Pump House, back by good ol’ Jarsberry Ram again, is a fine place to visit too.
On the other side of the harbour – the south bank, if you will – this trail will lead you through Southville and into Victoria Park. Between Jasmine and Shear-lock Holmes, just along North Street (or a little off it), there are quite a few locations you could stop to eat at.
At lunch or dinner, The Ashville is a trendy gastropub worth checking out that’s a preferred local for many, and Souk Kitchen is an Arabic restaurant that will almost certainly prove to be an exciting culinary discovery.
Prefer breakfast or brunch? Well, North St Standard and Zazu’s Kitchen will have you covered in that regard. North St Standard will be your go-to breakfast destination thanks to its menu focusing keenly on yummy morning delicacies (French brioche toast with berry compote, creme fraiche and toasted almonds anyone?), whilst Zazu’s can provide your brunch-y options (hello field mushrooms on sourdough toast topped with a fried duck egg).
Old City Trail
This ye olde trail leads keen Shauners around Bristol’s medieval heritage spots like the old city walls and St Nicholas Market. Thankfully, St Nick’s is both home to the adorable Woolly Wonderland and many awesome places where you can grab a bite to eat. I’d probably be found mulling over Pieminister’s wares.
Prefer a sit-down meal? Well, The Rummer Hotel is just along from the main marketplace, and offers lunch and fine dining dinner options in classy surroundings. For a unique and equally high-class experience, you might also consider The Glassboat. There’s no need to feel sheepish about being on the water as you eat, as there’s a barely perceivable bobbing and anything you might feel is soon forgotten about regardless. Besides, the food and views are too good to miss out on for such a reason…
Elsewhere, the trail will guide you into Cabot Circus to see Bagpuss Shaun. Pose with the froggy-topped sheep-cat and you can then decide between which of England’s favourite branded restaurants you can pay a visit to – there are many that will tempt.
Encompassing the historic Temple parish and All Other Things In Bristol With Temple In Its Name, this trail will undoubtedly serve as a starting point for many simply because it begins at a busy entry point into the city: Bristol Temple Meads railway station.
Get the train in and start early by tagging Alright Me Babber? and The Bristol Express outside the station’s central entrance, and then grab a bite to eat from Hart’s Bakery, an artisanal venue down the road that’s open between Tuesday and Saturday and serves some of the best breads, toasties, cakes and pastries in the city. Plus, it’s in a cool railway arch, and it’s not every day you can say you’ve had breakfast or lunch in one of those.
Further up the trail, a cartwheel’s distance away from Sheepish, is Marco’s Olive Branch, a corner Italian restaurant that runs a fantastic lunchtime buffet. For £8.95 you can sit in (or out on the corner to be in view of Sheepish if you so desired) and enjoy a drink and unlimited access to the bevy of Mediterranean treats the Marco’s team lays on. Alternatively, you can get a buffet box to go and keep hitting the trail, and for a fraction of the price to boot.
When you finish at Queen’s Square where Justice Lamb and King of the Carnival reside, there’s a number of dining options to consider in the surrounding area. If you skipped breakfast back at Temple Meads and Hart’s, you could pop into Mud Dock Café and then make your way onto the Harbourside Trail (and our other recommendations written above). Alternatively, for a spot of lunch or dinner, you’d be very wool-come at Graze. This particular Graze comes equipped with a Josper charcoal oven, a specialist piece of kitchen equipment that will seal, grill and smoke your steak all at the same time for an original, deep flavour profile. Pro tip: if you’re feeling flush, try the Chateaubriand: it’s like beef nirvana.
The Sheep Drive trail requires you hit the road to finish your Shaun spotting checklist, and encourages people to explore Bristol’s surrounding areas just as much as the city centre.
If you finish up at Cribbs Causeway to see Fab-ewe-lous, Shrek Shaun and Bee-dazzled!, then you’ll find plenty of places to pop your feet up at. I’d most likely be found stuffing my face at Krispy Kreme, but for a fuller meal there’s the likes of Carluccio’s, Café Rouge and Wagamama, to name but a few.
If you do the trail in order, though, you’ll be finishing at a spot that’s a little more out of the way. THE PIG-near Bath is just a 20-minute drive away from Frank, the stamp-covered Shaun at Knowle. THE PIG is a shabby-chic restaurant characterised by its commitment to home-grown, foraged and local fare, and is well worth shepherding your family to.
Thanks to Holly Bradford and Hannah Burton for their suggestions of restaurants to add to this article, and to Nicole Stroud (hi Mum!) for her photos of the Shaun sculptures.