I visited a magical corner of Bristol with a stunning castle and river

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‘I kept forgetting I was still in Bristol’

Armed with a brolly and my raincoat - which I hoped would not be needed - I easily found my way from the 76 bus stop at Crow Lane to one of the entrances to Blaise Castle Estate - and was immediately greeted by the peaceful aura and the chirping of birds, who would be my companions throughout my visit.

The first building I came across was the museum which had soft, smooth, light brown stone walls contrasting with the vibrant greenery that surrounded it.

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It felt as though I was entering a whole new world as from the vast clear plain near the museum, I entered the forest path and was surrounded by vibrant hues of green with strokes of purples, whites and pinks.

It was magical: I was surrounded by the fragrance of plants, and the branches arched above the concrete paths, creating tunnels speckled with sunlight and small windows to the sky. I kept forgetting I was still in Bristol.

The serene sound of the flowing water was added early into my walking soundtrack as I followed the path by the river and walked past the mill. There was a vast array of picturesque views during the walk, including relaxing small waterfalls, lakes and arching bridges blanketed in greenery.

I felt my shoulders loosen from the stress of everyday life and felt truly at peace as I walked through the grounds of the estates; a thought that was physically manifested by a hand carving on a tree that I came across. The text read: “Observe a tree, grow in peace.”

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Some of the forest path felt like it was out of a fairy tale, leading to a land of fairiesSome of the forest path felt like it was out of a fairy tale, leading to a land of fairies
Some of the forest path felt like it was out of a fairy tale, leading to a land of fairies | Bristol World

The serenity continued as I was lucky to come across a bench overlooking the river, and decided to take a small break and read a chapter of a book I had brought along.

Having built an appetite from the walk, I decided to head back and check the cafe. It was relatively easy to find the path back; this coming from someone who often gets lost following Google Maps.

The concrete paths also appeared to be quite accessible as I came across multiple parents with prams during my walk.

The tracks were also popular with dog walkers as I came across a vast range of cute, friendly dogs of different sizes. Some of the dogs were having a blast as they explored the grounds of Blaise Castle for the first time.

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And the grounds are accessible to all ages. During the walk, I came across a group of primary school students on a school trip. I came across them a second time later by the playground near the cafe.

The panini and hot chocolate from the estate cafeThe panini and hot chocolate from the estate cafe
The panini and hot chocolate from the estate cafe | Bristol World

I was lured to the cafe by the sweet aroma of coffee. It truly seemed like a place that was accessible to dog owners as I spotted the sign for ice cream suitable for dogs available at the cafe.

I was delighted to see they also had cow milk alternatives in their hot drink menu. After debating upon their few options, I decided to buy a ham and cheese panini and a hot chocolate with oats milk and a splash of hazelnut syrup.

The order was ready quite quickly and I was lucky enough to find a table that was free outside the cafe, although they also had picnic tables available nearby.

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The first bite of the panini brought a welcomed warmth. The bread was soft, the cheese was creamy but not overpowering and the ham was slightly chewy. The hot chocolate was light and foamy, paired with the sweetness of the hazelnut.

Having finished the panini, I felt I could still go for another bite so I ordered one of the brownies I had spotted by the till.

The brownie was soft and smooth, with slightly crunchy parts. It had a strong, but not overwhelming chocolate kick which paired well with the hazelnut of the hot chocolate.

I felt at peace reading a book on a bench while on a walk through the woodlandI felt at peace reading a book on a bench while on a walk through the woodland
I felt at peace reading a book on a bench while on a walk through the woodland | Bristol World

Overall, whilst the warmth of the meal was welcomed, the meal totalled £11.50, so I think next time I will be bringing a packed picnic instead.

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Satisfied with the meal, I decided to make the most out of the rare sunny day and sat on the field to practise some life sketching with the museum building. Whilst the occasional wind was off-putting, a cosy warmth was brought by the sunlight bathing my back.

Having rested and satisfied with the sketch, I was filled with a newfound determination to find the closed Blaise Castle and the Nymph’s Cave, whose name had caught my attention when I first saw the map.

It was tricky to find the path to the castle. Eventually - with some help from Google Maps for general orientation - I found the first stone pole with the castle symbol.

It led me away from the concrete path; up some steps and onto one - of many- dirt trails. It was difficult to find any new signs pointing to the castle.

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I prayed in my head I was heading the right way and was glad it was not raining that day, otherwise, it would have been difficult to walk through the path.

However, the view, even if I was unsure of the destination, was worthwhile. It reminded me of a previous trip to Aberdeenshire the previous summer; the forest path felt like it was out of a fairytale, leading to a land of fairies.

Eventually, I came across another stone pole with a castle symbol. It led up a set of steep stairs where I met a pair of friendly ladies walking their dog, who reassured me the trek was easier on the way down.

I felt moved by the contrast of the castle against the green surroundingsI felt moved by the contrast of the castle against the green surroundings
I felt moved by the contrast of the castle against the green surroundings | Bristol World

Standing tall, sleek and proud in a vast green clearing was Blaise Castle. I felt moved as I saw the building, out of place and in stark contrast to the green hues of the field; it felt like the castle was out of a fairy tale.

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After admiring the view, I resumed my quest to find the cave before calling it a day.

Unfortunately, when I came across one of the three caves, it did not have any signs on it to decipher which one it was. I explored the cave which was dark and smooth with some graffiti and cobwebs on the walls which had an eerie feeling to it before continuing my walk.

The grounds spoil you with choices of paths and I picked them instinctively until I came across a clearing which turned out to be near where I had originally started.

I felt in a daze, and somewhat lost and confused coming across the first signs of traffic and modern buildings I had seen in hours but somewhat at peace after my walk.

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One of the caves you could go inside - although it was dark and rather dingyOne of the caves you could go inside - although it was dark and rather dingy
One of the caves you could go inside - although it was dark and rather dingy | Bristol World

In my daze, I made my way to the Blaise Plant Nursery at the edge of the estate. Unfortunately, it was a short trip since there were only around 20 minutes until they closed.

But that was enough to take in the vast range they offered from flower beds to grasses, shrubs, vegetables and trees to name a few. And the prices ranged to suit different budgets.

I was able to find a pink hibiscus flower, one of my favourite flowers, for the first time and decided to buy a pot for £9 before calling it a day at around 4 pm.

Overall, I had a blast and look forward to returning to Blaise Castle Estate soon to explore the museum, castle and gardens, as well as the paths I missed out on. I recommend checking out this gem, especially if you need a relaxing escape from studying or working and are on a tight budget.

Do, however, wear comfortable shoes and clothes you wouldn’t mind getting dirty with mud, especially if it rains the day before your trip and you would like to stray from the concrete paths.”

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