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Portishead - My new home
Portishead in general
Member Name: k8eh
Portishead in general
Advantages: Location, Scenery, Walks
Disadvantages: Lack of low price supermarket! Lack of nightlife
Having recently moved to Portishead (England) from Newport (Wales) for work, I thought I'd share my thoughts and opinions of Portishead as a Welsh girl living 'over the bridge'. :)
I'm not going to bore you with the 'what can you do in Portishead?' as there's plenty of websites with that information on but here's a little basic information to be going on with:
Portishead is a town on the Severn Estuary in North Somerset near Bristol, just off Junction 19 of the M5. Historically Portishead was known mostly for it's docks and industrial background, however it is fastly becoming a trendy and popular place to live thanks to the development of the Marina, with many housing developments popping up over the last decade with many more still under construction.
Pros of living in Portishead:
* Location - Beautiful area with plenty of places to walk and lovely surroundings. Also good transport links for any commuters.
* Dining - Plenty of restaurants/pubs with good food (will try to review at a later stage)
* Marina - Lots of boats, working lock, sailing club, surrounded by high spec new build accomodation with trendy bars/restaurants and facilities nearby.
Cons of living in Portishead:
* Cost of living is expensive, parking can be a nightmare!
* No low cost supermarket - we have a waitrose (expensive), a co-op (very poorly stocked), an iceland (which is closed by the time I finish work) and most recently a Lidl. Could really do with a Tesco/Asda/Morrisons/Sainsburys - nearest is at Cribbs Causeway (20min+ drive)
* Nightlife - or lack of it.
As a dog owner, having places to walk nearby is important to me. Here are my top picks:
"The Green" - this is quite literally an expanse of hilly grass and some walk ways outside my house. It is easily accessible and very popular with dog walkers. It has scultures and rocks displaying relics from the Ports former industrial state. It is well maintained and has dog litter bins which are frequently emptied and actually used. My dog loves the green, so many new smells each and every day from all the other doggies enjoying their strolls. I have noticed recently that this has also become the location for a 'bootcamp' session. I like the green as it's convenient and on my door step for poochies toilet breaks :)
"The Windmill" - the windmill is actually the pub next to this walk, but is what me and my partner have named this walk. It's actually the old portishead golf course, but has free parking, a great view over the water and lots and lots of green - brilliant for tiring a springer spaniel out. This is another spot popular with other dog walkers and is also well maintained and clear of any doggy doo doos.
"The Lake Walk" - not too far from the Windmill is Portishead lake, again it's on the edge of the water and popular with all sorts of people - runners (running club meets at the nearby open air pool), families (lakeside play area and cafe), tennis players (courts next to lake), dog walkers and even toy fans - I've seen many a middle aged man playing with his remote controlled boat on the lake. It's a lovely place to visit, again with ample free parking.
"The Beach" - More pebbles, rocks and seaweed than sand but the doggy loves it, you can walk for miles and glance across the water to good old wales, can even see cars driving on the other side on a clear day. It's another beautiful location and again it's free.
The Royal Inn - Prime location with views of the water, lots of outside seating and great food. Perfect place to visit on a summers day when you can sit outside and enjoy the surroundings, however there is a distinct lack of 'lounge' seating inside the pub and unfortunately doesn't have a good old 'pub' atmosphere. The main focus is food and so the only seating is dining tables. No event nights and so not a good place to go for a few drinks and socialising. Lovely food, though slightly on the expensive side - this pub has a slightly stuck up attitude. Best to visit in nice weather so you can sit outside.
The Windmill - Again a prime location. The main part of the pub has a floor to ceiling window giving impressive views over the water. Although this is a family/dog friendly pub (dogs allowed on main floor, family room downstairs, main dining room upstairs), again it's more focused on dining and so not somewhere to go for socialising really. Unfortunately after sampling the food on more than one occasion, my opinion is it's overpriced and not worthy of the price tag, I think you're paying simply for location.
Poacher/Plough - These are located on the high street and are the only 'real' pubs I have so far found in Portishead. The Plough seems to have a 'locals only' vibe and you do not feel welcome when you go in. However it is fairly cheap, has a pool table and a juke box - good old fashioned pub.
The Poacher is my favourite pub, it has a good atmosphere on the weekend and is usually bustling, the only thing it does lack is a pool table (if that's your sort of thing) It has outdoor seating both at the front and back so plenty of space to accomodate pubgoers whereas the plough is a lot smaller.
The Albion - Another pub wanting to be a restaurant, the times I've visited I've felt quite awkward sat at a laid dining table when all I want is a glass of wine - also seems to be the hangout of recently of age teenagers (at least I hope they're of age - they don't look it). If this place had some lounge seating it would improve 100-fold, however the food gets good reviews (though I'm yet to sample any)
Aside from those mentioned above, the only other place in Portishead I've discovered is Jacks Wine Bar. It's located on the Marina and is very trendy and modern. However, it's also very expensive and so is not a place I would start and finish my night (though it's in stumbling distance of my house which is a bonus). A lot of people rave about Jacks and it's very popular with young professionals, I'm yet to find out what all the fuss is about and don't really rate it too highly.
Portishead really isn't the place for shopping, we have a small retail park (New Look, Peacocks, Dreams, Pets at Home, Argos, Homebase) but aside from that there's not really a lot here. However, you're only a short drive away from Cribbs Causeway (about 20 mins) where you can shop til you drop.
The high street is made up of mostly banks, estate agents and charity shops, though there are a few local businesses.
I wrote a chunky paragraph about 'Bottelinos' and 'The Lock Keeper' both restaurants situated on the marina, but accidently deleted it so have decided to review these in more depth separately.
Personally I love Portishead, there is lots of natural perks to the area, as well as all the new and trendy places popping up everywhere. It's perfect for young families with a local school on the Marina and a playground just a short walk away. There's a leisure centre and all your necessities closeby - however for shopping and nightlife you're better off taking a trip into Bristol (£45 taxi return with a local firm - not a bad price!)
I'm hoping that when the time comes to buy a house, I can afford to buy one here. The marina in the summer is beautiful - just like being abroad. There is no litter and I haven't heard police sirens since leaving Newport despite living a few hundered meters from the local police station.
I would recommend a stop off at Portishead to anyone taking a long journey down the M5 simply for the scenery, although if you do live quite closeby and haven't been here yet, do come. It's lovely. :)
Summary: A great place to live
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