Welcome to our first e-Newsletter and welcome to some beautiful Spring sunshine. My name is Stuart Mann and I'll be sending out regular newsletters throughout the season, letting you know what we're doing in 2011. The weather's great, the Bristol Insight buses are bustling with people enjoying what our city has to offer, and we're ready to go for the new season. Here's a little taster as to who we are and some of the events taking place over the Spring and Summer ahead:
Tour Guides Some newly qualified, some still training ...
Top Sights Our boss, Warwick Hulme, tells us about his favourite Bristol attractions ...
Zoo News Exciting new developments at the Zoo ...
New Guided Tours 'Storytelling' and 'The History of Christianity in Bristol' ...
... and so much more!
I’ve just come back from the NVQ awards ceremony for newly qualified guides, held at the impressive City of Bristol College near Hengrove Park. It was a wonderful evening where we were joined by the Lord Mayor to celebrate 17 of our guides receiving their NVQs from the South Bristol Skills Academy and becoming fully qualified tour guides. Our three brand new guides were there too.
Warwick Hulme (Managing Director, Bristol Insight) had this to say about the training that led to these awards: “The benefit of this course is that it gives each guide an independently assessed and professional, nationally recognised qualification of a high standard. This provides them with added confidence in providing that 'extra special' welcome to our passengers. We are delighted that all those who enrolled on the course which took place over all of last summer were successful.”
Also at the awards night were three new guides: Peter Hayes, Mary Cook and Mike Ham. They have all successfully completed the seven-week indoor part of their training, held at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, and are now nearing the end of the practical aspect of the training. This involves taking out a training bus and practising their tours until they are all set to guide 'for real'. Mary was extremely enthusiastic about her new challenge: “Although I’m Bristol born and bred, I never knew how much I didn't know about this wonderful city! The training has been great and we've been supported every step of the way. It has made me appreciate Bristol so much more, and hopefully if I qualify (later this month) I can't wait to let visitors know what a great place Bristol is.”
Go to the about us page to find out more about the team.
For 2011 our nominated charity will be The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Our staff have already raised money by making monthly donations and arranging events, such as coffee mornings and raffles, and many more events will take place over the summer. Staff will be wearing lapel badges and there will be logos and collecting tins on all the buses. We aim to raise enough money to train a Guide Dog and we will have the honour of choosing a name as well! Visit www.guidedogs.org.uk to find out more about Guide Dogs for the Blind.
We are now running buses daily until the end of October! You can start your tour from any of the 21 stops on the timetable and ‘Hop on and Hop off’ to your heart’s content. We visit many attractions including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Zoo Gardens, ss Great Britain, At-Bristol and many more.
You can also save money travelling with us as there are discounts available at cafes, restaurants and many local attractions such as the Bristol Aquarium, At-Bristol, the Zoo, and lots more! In fact there is currently a fantastic offer of 25% discount at Café Rouge. There is also a bus/boat combination ticket which allows you to combine a bus tour with a ferry trip around the harbour. Tickets for Bristol Ferry Boats are available at No 1 Harbourside, by Cascade Steps.
Visit our map page to see all the stops on the tour.
We have two brand new guided tours that we’re excited to be introducing for 2011 our Storytelling Bus Tour for children and adults and our History of Christianity in Bristol. They offer two contrasting open-top bus experiences which bring Bristol to life in very different ways, and these will be available for groups to hire privately.
Our Storytelling Bus Tour is a unique open-top bus ride exploring Bristol from another time, animated by tall tales, local legends and mysterious myths. Our accomplished storyteller invokes fun, engaging passengers of all ages and creating an atmosphere of suspense and enthrallment, with tales told on the move and around city-based locations. Great entertainment for both children and adults, and a sell-out success at the 2011 Bristol Storytelling Festival!
Our The History of Christianity in Bristol: People and Ideas that Shaped Society tour explores Bristol’s important part in the history of Christianity, the people who lived here and changed the course of history by putting their faith into action to fight for justice, equality, freedom and truth, and who have created the society in which we live today. Mark Van De Poll, our tour guide, talks about William Tyndale, George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, George Muller, Mary Carpenter (and many more), and covers Medieval Bristol, The Reformation and The Spiritual Enlightenment. A fascinating tour!
Our private hire page has lots of ideas for independent tours.
One of the major attractions in Bristol. We think it’s brilliant and there are some really exciting things happening this year. Throughout 2011, Bristol Zoo Gardens will be celebrating a landmark birthday 175! To celebrate this milestone, Bristol Zoo has planned an exciting series of events in a city-wide celebration of all that is great about Bristol Zoo Gardens and the city as a whole.
Wow Gorillas! will bring the arts and business communities together for the benefit of the city, showcasing the creative genius that has given Bristol its unique and vibrant culture. Artists will decorate life-size gorillas, sponsored by local businesses, which will then be placed around the city for 1012 weeks. The Bristol Walk of Fame forms part of celebrations to mark Bristol Zoo’s 175th birthday, and opened at the Zoo on April 9th 2011. The Bristol Walk of Fame will be a trail of specially-designed plaques within the grounds of the Zoo and will celebrate and feature 50 of the city’s most renowned people, places and icons from across the historic, creative, sporting and wildlife spectrum.
Visit www.wow175.org.uk for further details.
I recently interviewed our boss, Warwick Hulme (Managing Director, Bristol Insight), to find out which are his top 5 Bristol attractions and why. Warwick set up his first independent tour in 1993 and joined forces with Bristol Insight in 2000. Here are his choices with supporting comments.
♦ The Avon Gorge Hotel Terrace
“Best place to have a drink, with the Clifton Suspension Bridge seemingly suspended in the air above. My regular birthday spot, which is very fitting as I share that day with my all-time hero, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.” (A few minutes' walk from Stop 9)
♦ The Bristol Packet
“One of the best ways of seeing the Docks from a different angle, with a quirky commentary. Good fun and a good beer on board at the same time: perfect.” (Stop 1)
♦ Brunel’s Buttery
“As one of my guides says, the best bacon sarnies this side of heaven. Great food right on the side of the dock.” (A short stroll from Stop 4)
♦ ss Great Britain
“Built by my hero, Brunel; a sight not to be missed. Had my 40th and 58th birthdays onboard.” (Stop 4)
♦ Sea Walls
“The best place to see Wales from!! Superb views down the Avon Gorge to the Severn Estuary and upstream to Clifton Suspension Bridge, and there is an ice cream van there as well!” (Stop 7)
Our map page shows the locations of the stops mentioned above.