Bristol: Brunel’s ss Great Britain

Thursday, 11 September.

On our last day in Bristol, we went to visit Brunel’s ss Great Britain.

Brunel’s ss Great Britain was a passenger steamship that used to sail all over the world from 1845 to 1886. She is now a museum ship.

What a beautiful ship!

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We bought our tickets at the counter. It cost £13.75 for Mamae, £7 for Carla, and free for Renan. The tickets permit unlimited return visits for one year, so I hope we can come back soon to visit the museum ship again… *wink!*

This is the ticket. It’s a copy of the ticket given to passengers traveling to Melbourne on the ss Great Britain in 1864. I’d love to go to the wonderful city of Melbourne, but if I had to spend 60 days on board a ship… Hmmm….

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After getting our tickets, we went “under the sea” to have a look at the ship’s hull. Look at the giant propeller!

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We decided to go to the museum, called the Dockyard Museum, before going inside the ship.

You can pose for a portrait wearing Victorian costumes here! The kids were not in the mood of playing dress-up, but Renan was happy to try on a stovepipe hat and a deerstalker.

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We learned a lot about ss Great Britain’s history in the museum. There were paintings, drawings, photos and items belonging to the ship’s passengers. There were also some interactive exhibits that allowed us to try our hand at steering a ship or lifting a giant propeller. Carla enjoyed lifting the giant propeller, what a strong girl!

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It was time to explore the ship! We went to the ship’s top deck. Carla and Renan took turn “steering” the ship. They ran around all over the top deck, and enjoyed looking at the ship’s animals.

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We went inside the ship, and we all immediately felt claustrophobic! Carla actually complained “It’s so stuffy here, I can’t breathe!” and Renan wanted to go back to the top deck immediately…. Oh no!

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We did go back to the top deck to get some fresh air, and then we went back inside. The kids started exploring the ship. They went inside the cabins, the kitchen, the bathrooms and even the toilets! They were quite impressed with the smell from the room where they kept meat and fish, and the toilets…. I thought I could smell sick too, which made me feel ill!

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We went to see the engine room and the beautiful first class dining room, but then Renan started to get cranky and didn’t want to stay in the ship anymore. I immediately thought of the poor mothers on board of the ship…. A fourteen hour flight from Singapore to London with kids was already quite tiring for me, imagine months at the sea with cranky, seasick kids?!

So, we left the museum ship and went to have lunch at the museum cafe.

After lunch, Carla really wanted to do a river cruise, but Renan didn’t want to do it. To make everyone happy, we decided to take the ferry just to cross the river. It worked. Carla stopped asking to “go by boat”, Renan stopped saying “I don’t want to go by boat” 🙂

The kids on board the ferry that took us across the river. It cost us 80 pence.

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That was not too bad, was it, Renan?

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It was only around 3 in the afternoon, still too early to go back to the hotel. So I checked the map, and found a big park nearby, called Brandon Hill nature park. We decided to go there.

The park was really nice. It sits on the hill, overlooking the city.

Of course, the kids went straight to the playground….

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After playing in the playground, we walked up the hill to Cabot Tower. You can’t really see it in the pictures, but it was quite steep! We had to have a rest on the way to the top of the hill. It was nice to sit on the grass and enjoy panoramic view of the city below.

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The kids didn’t seem to be tired, though!

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It was around 5 when we decided to leave. We walked back to the hotel. It was quite a long walk. We stopped at central library, which was halfway between Brandon Hill park and our hotel, to relax and read a few books.

We were very tired when we finally reached the hotel… We had a quick dinner in our room, and then went to sleep. We had to rest well, since the next day we were going back to Singapore.

Friday, 12 September.

Our last day in Bristol… and England. We spent the morning relaxing at the hotel. Around midday, Papai came back from the conference. We got our bags and luggage ready, and walked to the coach station.

We had lunch at the station, and since we were quite early, we went to a park right at the back of the station, to sit on the grass and relax. The park was quite lovely. Lots of flowers everywhere.

Beautiful flowers….

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There’s a church next to the garden, The Priory Church of St. James. Carla took a nice picture of the church.

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St. James’ Priory church is a grade I listed building, just like Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey. Being founded in 1129, it’s the oldest building in Bristol.

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Finally it was time to take the bus straight to Heathrow airport. Bye England, until we meet again!

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