Places like people suffer prejudice. This week, David Philpott speaks about the joy of discovering the City of Bristol - hitherto avoided on the basis of preconceptions - but henceforth embraced as a great place to while away a few days.

SHIP SHAPE AND BRISTOL FASHION

‘Do you and your wife ever go shopping in Bristol?’ I asked Richard, as we drove from Westbury in Wiltshire to Filton, a suburb of the city.

‘No, I can’t say that we do’ said the refined gentleman sitting next to me in the passenger seat.  ‘In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been there once in my entire life’ he went on. ‘Bit of a ghastly place I should think.’

It was a startling confession for a man who has lived for nearly twenty years not more than 50 miles from the very heart of this thriving metropolis, but like me, he had formed an opinion based on supposition and not experience. I remember years ago, driving into Cardiff and expecting urban squalor only to have all my prejudices and preconceptions blown away by the reality of what is a truly lovely city.

It baffles me to think that I have reached the fifth decade of life and yet last week was my first ever proper visit to Bristol. By proper, I mean spending a couple of nights there and having time to take it all in. I have pounded the streets of Oxford and Cambridge too many times to remember, sought out tea shops in Exeter, bought gifts along The Shambles in York, experienced fine dining in Chester – indeed run up a large bar bill in Prague - but for some reason, Bristol never came on my radar as a place worth wasting time in.

I was oh so wrong. 

Were this blog a travelogue I would wax lyrical about Peros Bridge, Floating Harbour and Green Square, but as it is not, you will just have to take my word for it and go there.  As for me, I think I know where I will be doing my Christmas shopping……………..