St Nicks covered market in Bristol’s town centre is one of our unique gems. But, the first time I went there with the baby I was a little stressed. It’s busy, it’s buzzy, and it’s hard to navigate even the slimmest of buggies in and out, and around the small stalls and shops.
However, that was a Christmas Saturday. On a Summer Friday at 10.45am, it’s the perfect place to take small children! The sun was streaming into the just-opened market, stallholders were setting up, and there was such a nice atmosphere.
It’s an absolute treat for the senses, especially if you’re little and love looking at all things bright and shiny. And it’s a fantastic place for eating and drinking, everything’s fresh, relatively reasonably priced, and maybe a little bit different.
The Moorish menu at Bab Mansour, for example – full of things little kids love – rice, chickpea stew, soft tasty meat and of course, hummous!
The incredible Big Banana juice bar with piles of fresh fruit and veg ready to make ice cold smoothies and juices which babies would love sucking through big thick straws.
And Sew n Sew, a two-site crafty behemoth of a shop. This is the place for you if you’re stocking up on rainy day activity ammunition, or you enjoy sewing in your spare time.
Every shopkeeper was friendly, nobody sighed when I bashed the Babyjogger into door posts and tables by mistake. However, if you do use a sling or a back carrier, this would be the ideal way to go, as your baby would then be able to see everything from a good height.
Tibbs and I had one of those (rare) perfect lunches, where your child is delighted to be eating and scoffing everything you put in front of them, whilst laughing and smiling at everybody who stopped to talk to her. It made me so happy, and hopeful for many more mother/daughter lunches in the future.
I got the bus to St Nicks from where I live (the 50 or the 2 from the Wells Rd), which cost £1.50 and was the ideal way to travel, as it stops very close to the market.
I didn’t need to use the loo or find changing facilities, which I guess may be the only challenge, but there are great changing places not too far away in places like the Thistle Hotel, The Arnolfini and of course Galleries and Broadmead shopping centres.
If you’re into your music, there are some excellent vinyl and rare recording shops.
For more info on the market, or even some contacts if you suddenly decide you want to get a pitch and sell stuff there, here’s Bristol City Council.