Not only is Bristol packed to the gills with amazing restaurants, bars and cafes, but there are also plenty of opportunities to learn from the experts or have a go at making something yourself!
Whether you want to learn how to make sushi or tell a Merlot from a Malbec, here are plenty of tasty experiences across the city…
The Bristol Food Tour
Choose from three walking routes across the city (Stokes Croft, South of the River and East to West), each taking in at least 8 tasters at some of the city’s best independent businesses, from pizza and small plates to street food, gelato and more. They also run a cycling food tour with Cycle the City in the warmer months if you want to cover more ground, or you can book a private tour and pick your own theme!
Heather is seriously passionate about Bristol’s beer scene, and has a range of brewery tours, where you want to do a Triple Brewery Special or take in some Breweries, Brunel and Brigstow. She also does private tours and recently added some self-guided tours to her website, where you’ll be sent a mystery brewery treasure map to discover as you explore, nice! You can book individual tickets or for groups, and there are multiple tours to choose from each month.
These guys run beer tours across the South West, from Cheltenham to Cardiff, and also have a route in Bristol which takes in a mix of brilliant breweries and pubs. Group bookings only, and you’ll need to request a date.
Bristol Brewery Tours
A London-based company which also run monthly tours across the city, one of which involves a boat trip aboard HMS Hops!
In-house brewery tours
Many Bristol breweries now do their own tours at the weekends, but these tend to sell out so make sure you book in advance rather than just showing up. Alternatively, many of them have tap rooms (basically a mini pub in the brewery), so you can cut straight to the drinking. See a list of Bristol’s brewery tap rooms
Did you know that there are some vineyards on the outskirts of Bristol? Not only are there more than you’d think, but you can actually do a tour of one! Tours of the Aldwick Estate run every Wednesday and Sunday from April-October, where you’ll get to see the pretty vineyards and also taste some of their award-winning wine.
6 O’clock Gin
Most of Bristol’s gin distilleries are too dinky to have a proper tour (you can see most of it from the bar), but 6 O’clock Gin are probably the biggest gin company in the area, and so have a gurt unit out in Thornbury for you to explore, and taste a few of their tipples along the way! They also make the tasty Bramley & Gage fruit liqueurs (in fact, that’s what the company first started doing before they got into making damn fine gin). Worth the short trip out of town for sure.
Averys Wine Cellars
I’m still surprised how few people know about this Bristol institution. The Averys have been storing and selling wine from their cellars just below Park St since 1793(!) and not only have the most amazing Aladdin’s Cave of wine as their shop (featuring original items from The Mauretania, and an always-stocked wine tasting table!), but they do a great programme of events throughout the year, including dinners, jazz nights, magic nights and, of course, wine tastings.
Clifton Wine School
This wine school offers courses, dinners and tasting events across Bath and Bristol throughout the month. Prices are very reasonable (£25 for an Introduction to Wine Evening) and go all the way up to an 8 Week World of Wine Course (£200) or the WSET official qualification (starting at £145 for a one-day Level 1 course).
Bristol Wine School
These events also run across Bath and Bristol and have a bit more of a food focus, whether it’s cheese & wine pairing, food & wine workshops or port & chocolate. They also do one-day introductions to particular wine regions, plus gin and sherry masterclasses.
Weber & Trings
A gorgeous little shop at the top of Christmas Steps, not only is it a great place to buy some top notch spirits and wine, but they also do a few tastings throughout the year, including fine whiskies, rums and more.
Bristol Dry Gin
Bristol’s cheekiest distillery, tucked away underneath The Rummer in St Nicholas Market. They’ve made a name for themselves with a few risqué branding choices (Five in the Pink, BDSM Edition, Novichok Vodka), but it suits their gins, rum and vodkas, which pack a real punch of flavour. They run tastings every week at the distillery from Fri-Sun.
Based in an old grocer’s on St Michael’s Hill, you wouldn’t know this tiny distillery-bar was even there. Not only do they make great gin (plus aquavit, absinthe and even premixed Negroni), but they do some seriously good G&Ts and cocktails in the bar too. They do tastings once a month, with themes ranging from spices to Eurovision.
Bristol Cider Shop
Another Bristol institution, this small shop in Wapping Wharf not only sells hundreds of ciders, but does weekly tastings to give you the lowdown on this West Country favourite. Highly recommended, even if you don’t consider yourself a cider fan – you’ll come away with some great trivia and a new fave tipple, I promise.
Bristol Whisky Appreciation Society
Monthly whisky tastings, suitable for both connoisseurs and beginners (I’ve been to a couple and I know nothing about whisky, but I had a lovely time). The events are roughly themed around a region or distillery, and whiskies are tasted blind at first so there’s even more of a level playing field.
Tastings in bars
The gorgeous Milk Thistle does a monthly Gin Club, and you can often find special whisky events at Hyde & Co, rum tastings at Clockwork Rose, gin dinners at Riverstation (preceded by a gin tasting on a boat!) and wine dinners at Hotel du Vin.
A shop specialising in great cheese and beer? The dream! It’s worth paying a visit to this lush shop on Whiteladies Road anyway, but they also do a range of tastings throughout the year, whether it be beer & cheese pairing or an introduction to cider.
Make your own Japanese dumplings
The gyoza masters at Eatchu now do occasional classes to teach you how to make these little dumplings of joy and will also give you a general intro to Japanese cooking. Workshops are every month or so and cost £55, including lunch and a batch of gyoza for you to take home.
Blend your own gin
Want to try your hand at making your own gin creations? Check the latest workshop dates at Psychopomp or Weber & Tring’s – you’ll learn a good amount about gin history and trivia along the way too.
Craft your own chocolates
Zara’s Chocolates on North St do a range of chocolate workshops throughout the month, from bar moulding and easter egg making through to truffles and tempering chocolate. Workshops are £50 each and last approx 2hrs, you’ll also get plenty of tasty treats to take home.
Get a masterclass in sushi
Learn the history of sushi and how to prep it correctly at Yakinori on Park St. £65 per person, minimum of 2 people per booking.
Make some chocolatey gifts
The Chocolate Tart offer a mix of different workshops, from moulded chocolate gifts (shoes and Champagne bottles!) through to personalised chocolate bars and truffles. They also run seasonal workshops for Easter, Christmas and more throughout the year.
I’m a big fan of this small cookery school in Brislington, they do a great range of classes: Moroccan, Thai, Italian and Caribbean cuisine, plus children’s workshops, baking, macarons and plenty more. You’re bound to find something that jumps out!
ANNA Cake Couture
If you want to take your baking and cake decorating to the next level, these are the ones for you. Classes include Celebration Drip Cake, Unicorn Biscuits and how to make wafer paper flowers.
Based in Bath, but I thought I’d include it because the veggie & vegan classes are first rates, and it’s only 15mins away on the train for chrissakes! There’s a broad range of classes to choose from, whether it be 30 Minute Suppers, South Indian Thali, Ethiopian Cookery, Easy Japanese or how to make vegan cheese!
My Thai Kitchen
A lush personal lesson in Thai cookery from Nuch Wills, including favourites such as Pad Thai, Tom Kha Gai and more. Group classes are £58 per person and last 2 hours, or your can also book private lessons.
Let me know if you book onto any of the foodie adventures above, I love knowing what you think! Chat to me over on Twitter or see what I’m eating on Instagram, or you can stay up to date with food news by following A Life Less Organised on Facebook.
Other guides you might like:
- Where to get your sugar fix in Bristol
- Bristol’s Classiest Cocktail Bars
- The 12 Best Brunches in Bristol
- Bristol’s Best Date Locations