Length 4.6 km (2.9 miles), terrain has 2 hills, total gain of 80 meters
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I always like getting back to Bristol. It has that historical charm of regional English towns, combined with a lot of dynamic energy. It has an old seafaring tradition and lots of historic sights, plus a big student community and claims the title of lively home-base for the world's street artists.
This route loops through much of the scenic attractions of this southwest English city, and taking in two hefty hills in the process. Bristol is, without a doubt, a very hilly place. So a hill run is just doing it right, running in Bristol fashion.
We will run along the harbor on the River Avon, with its redeveloped waterfront, then head up to the highest hill, with Brandon Hill Park at its peak, then head down to run up the next hill in the university neighborhood. Then we'll run back through the old town to the start.
|Queen Square. Start running in the direction the camera is pointing!|
Turn to face the southwest corner of the square and run off into Farr's Lane. In just a block you'll cross a modern pedestrian bridge over the old harbor. On the other side, you'll see the redeveloped riverfront area spread out before you.
|The redeveloped harbor area|
|The Great Britain|
Turn left at the roundabout and head uphill, but cross the street and go up the stone stairs after you pass the first house.
The stairs lead up into Brandon Hill Park. This is the steepest part of the run.
|Steps up to the park|
|Heading up Brandon Hill Park|
Now turn to the north and run out the exit just 100 meters north of the tower, coming out into Berkeley Square. When you hit the square, keep to the left side of the square itself, along the stone Georgian houses.
|Along Berkeley Square|
Just cross Queens Road and now continue uphill into the university quarter along University Road, with its neo-gothic buildings to each side. When you get to the top of the hill, at Tyndall Avenue, turn right into the entrance to the Royal Fort university building.
|University Street: turn into Royal Fort just past the big chestnut tree in center of picture|
Now, run towards the left, following the signs for the mathematics building, and going down the path through Prince Rupert's Gate, a brick gate for the fort that once stood here.
It's now all downhill from here, for the rest of the run! Follow the street as it curves to the left and ends at St. Michael's Hill street, where you turn right and head downhill.
You will pass an interesting alms house on the left, and some ancient houses and the abandoned St. Michael's church on the right.
|Running down St. Michael's Hill|
In just 100 meters, you'll see steps going down on the left, the Christmas Steps, lined with old houses and shops. Go down this lane.
At the bottom of the Christmas Steps, at Lewins Mead, turn left and run the 20 meters to the next pedestrian crossing, where you cross the street and continue southeast on Christmas Street.
This street ends after one block, at Nelson Street, a street decorated by a big street-art project. You should run down it sometime, but you'll already see a bit of it right here.
|Nelson Street and its street art. Run through that old arch|
At the next crossing, at Corn Street, turn right and run down through this old financial quarter. Both sides of the street are lined with old bank- and exchange buildings. Most of them are now used as pubs and bars. If you come through here on a weekend evening, the streets are full of drunken revelers, as in many English party towns. In every temperature, girls in short skirts and high-heels teeter inelegantly over the cobblestones, loud hen-parties mill around, yelling out front of the pubs, and doormen look nervously around themselves at the highly-energized crowds.
|Corn street, with Saturday market stands|
Run southwards past the fountains, and you will soon come to where the harbor still exists.
Run down along the left (north) side until you come to the pedestrian bridge which you ran across at the beginning of the run.
Turn left here and run the one block along Farr's Lane, back to Queen Square.