The 3 Lions and A Robin guide to Ashton Gate and the Wurzels
There are no Pubs for away fans near to Ashton Gate. Due to the closure of the Wedlocks and a serious fire at the Ship and Castle it can be hard even for home fans to get a drink around Ashton Gate. The Coopers Arms becomes extremely packed on match day and Bar BS3 [Formerly the Rising Sun] is strictly City fans only and door staff may ask for a season ticket or match ticket to identify a supporter.
It is inadvisable for away fans to drink in the North Street area e.g. Hen and Chicken. If you do drink in this street please be sensible and keep a very low profile.
Easily the best option for away support is to head to Hotwells or the Harbour Waterfront.
Is a simple and safe ten minute walk to the ground. Hotwells with the backdrop of the Docks is a very pleasant area to drink in and the following pubs are recommended.
The Nova Scotia is a small pub but friendly pub situated on a very pleasant location on the Docks and will packed on match days. Ciders are Black thorn and Thatcher's Traditional dry [highly recommended scrumpy], beers are a guest beer from the Bristol Beer factory, Bass, John Smiths, Courage Best & Guinness, Lagers Kronenbourg and Foster's. There is a menu of home cooked food which is available from 12.30 -3pm. The quality of this pub can be judged by the fact it is busy even on weekday afternoons. Opens at 11am.
Lovely little pub on the corner of the main road just a three or four minute walk away from the Nova Scotia. Ciders are Ashton Press and Westons Organic, beers are Bath ales [Barnstormer, Festivity, Gem, Spa & Wild Hare] Lagers are Budvar, Foster's and San Miguel. Normal pub food is available here. Not open till 12.00
Essentially this is a cider house and for me the very best in Bristol although for non apple believers beer and lager is old engineering yard. Small unpretentious pub very close to the SS Great Britain with wooden benches outside to admire the Old Dock works!! Ciders sold are Thatcher's Dry [truly excellent], Thatcher's Gold, Hecks Kingston Press, Black rat, Blackthorn, Old Rosie and Janet's Jungle Juice. Beers are Bath Gem, 2 Castles, Witches Brew, Butcombe Blonde Cold Filtered and Wychwood Hobgoblin, the lagers are Budwesiers, Fosters and San Miguel. This pub is highly recommended by Bristol City fans but does not always serve food on Saturdays. Sadly does not open till 12.00.
Situated between the Mercants Arms and the Nova Scotia refurbished and under new management in 2007. This Ciderheads opinion is that this pub despite its cracking position right where the Docks meet the Avon lacks the character of its two neighboring pubs. The pub has a reasonable menu, nice Patio and plenty of room with a la carte restaurant upstairs. Ciders are Thatcher's Traditional Cider [Good work Pumphouse!], Lagers are Carlsberg, Fosters, Kronenburg and San Miguel and the beers are Courage Directors, Greene King I.P.A and Theakston Old Peculiar. Opens at 11am
Not amongst my favourites as it is far too expensive due to its location on pricey Baltic Wharf, appealing to tourists and the monied boat fraternity. Its lack of cider for sale says something for the pubs targeted market. Ciders Gaymer's Olde English Cider [ not even from the West Country!!], beers Bristol Beer Factory [Sunrise, No7 and Red], Bath Ales [Gem & Festivity, Flowers and Boddingtons, lagers Staropramen, Castlemaine and Stella Artois. The pub does serve pretty good food but again at a cost. As a one off for visiting fans it has to be said that this pub really does have one of the best views in Bristol. Sitting on the patio watching boats go past then looking at the Suspension bridge may be the perfect relaxing preparation prior to ninety minutes of football. Opens at 11am.
Numerous ubiquitous theme bars stretch along the Waterfront. Despite the all too familiar feel the area is a thoroughly enjoyable area to drink in and quite scenic. Most of the bars provide standard bar food and there are plenty of other places to eat very close by. Football fans often drink here as you will get served, not denied entry to pubs and it provides various easy options for getting to the ground via the A bus, taxis and for some a very enjoyable ride on the Ferry Boat which runs close to Ashton Gate.
The East End has existed since 1928 and was originally called the "Keating Stand" then the stand became known as the "Winterstoke Road End" or the "Covered End." During the early 1970s, the stand became known amongst City support as the East End. The stand holds 5500 but this figure is limited significantly by segregation and away support normally receive 2800 spaces. Sadly though this stand is to be demolish as part of Ashton gates
redevelopment starting in the 2014 close season. (Away fans will be in the Ateyo stand for the 2014/15 season).
To the right of the East End is the Dolman Stand built and opened in 1970. The original cost of this stand was to be £50000 but the cost eventually spiraled to £235000. This cost along with consecutive relegation from he first to the fourth division nearly saw Bristol City disappear from existence in 1982. The stand clearly has seating added to it which occurred in 1995 and now holds 6195. This stand is named after Harry Dolman who was Chairman of Bristol City football club between 1949 - 1974. This stand is also due for a make over after the new Eastend is built.
To the left of the Cow shed is the Williams stand which holds 5553. The Williams was built in 1958 and was originally two tiered with a terrace to the front of the stand. The stand holds hospitality facilities, the press box and the directors box. This stand is also ear marked to be demolished and a new
stand rebuilt in the near future.
Opposite the East End (or soon a building site) is the Atyeo stand and is named after Bristol City's greatest player John Atyeo [ 645 appearances 351 goals for Bristol City]. This stand replaced the Park End terrace in 1994 at a cost of £1.8 million and holds 4249. For the serason 2014/15 this stand will house home and away supporters.
Catering - Despite South Bristol being home to the very wonderful Clarks pies the catering is poor at Ashton Gate. We would advise you to go to the KFC just outside the car park behind the East End before kick off or try the burgers sold from a trailer in the car park.
Chips - The nearest Chip shop Lucky house [Chinese obviously] is a five minute walk away in Ashton Drive near the Robins pub [home fans only] just off of Winterstoke road.
Stewards - Bristol City's fc Stewards are a pleasant bunch unlike those sometimes seen on fans travels. Do not stand in the gangways and the Stewards will keep a low profile.
Flags - Away fans Flags and banners (surfers) have been allowed to be displayed in the past however due to the move around of fans it is advised you contact Bristol city fc in advance about any new arrangements.
Fanzines - One Team In Bristol Fanzine cost £1.20 is normally on sale very regularly outside the ground.
Irenes a slag can also be found intermittently around Ashton Gate and is given out free.
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In many Bristol pubs the majority will drink cider. Note that ordering a pint of Blackthorn, Black Rat, Old Rosie, Taunton traditional, Natch,Thatchers etc with ice may result in funny looks from the locals. Ice in anything other than pseudo ciders like Strongbow and Magners [not a true cider at all] is considered to be either strange, bordering on disrespectful or a clear sign of rampant weirdness.
Some may be surprised to find that Bristol is not a giant farm but do expect to hear Wurzel songs sung in the ground and played in pubs in Bristol. Along with the cider this is not a myth! While Yeovil could as well lay claim on geographical grounds to being Wurzels Bristol City really are the true Wurzels. No other club, Town or City in the West Country is so clearly defined as Wurzel. The wurzels even wrote "One For the Bristol City" to celebrate Citys promotion in 76 and the song was re-released in 2007. The Clubs anthem is "Drink up thy cider" which Adge Cutler
wrote as a city fan and dedicated the song to the club and fans. This song will almost certainly be heard on matchdays along with "I am the cider drinker" which is again another wurzels classic.
Visitors could be disappointed by the lack of sheep and tractors on Bristol's streets. Please do not be disappointed because within a twenty five minute walk of the ground there are indeed at least some Farmyard animals.
Bristol City's support is drawn from all over the West Country but there are clearly defined areas of City support namely North Somerset and South Bristol. If its South of the River Avon dividing Bristol its red. North of the water there is a fifty fifty chance the strange life style choice of being blue could be taken. Bristol has the reputation of being a middle class City but fans at Ashton Gate are far more likely to come from working class Bedminster, Hartcliffe or Knowle West than affluent Cotham, Clifton or Redland.
City fans have a large repertoire of anti Rovers songs and at times it seems that every song coming from the East End concerns the neighbours. A criticism of vocal support can be that more energy is spent singing about the Gas than about our own team but given the parochial relations between sections of support this may never change.
Rovers supporters often accuse City's fans of being arrogant and despite supporting a team which has spent most of the last twenty five years in the bottom two divisions for some of us this is true. Many do consider Bristol City to be a bigger and better club than Rovers, Some do not care and others believe Cardiff City burnt the Christians!
City fans do not care about Swindon Town fc at all despite them constantly really really wanting us to.
A section of Bristol City fans support the national side in numbers far exceeding what should be expected from a club of Bristol City's size. Membership of the National sides official supporters club englandfans is well above that of most premiership sides. It is not unknown for Wurzel fans to travel abroad in groups of over hundred to watch England. This may because City have underperformed for decades or something to do with you can see Wales from Severn beach! City's support for England does put other fans chants of "small town in Wales" into perspective.
Walking to the Gate from Wurzel TM [Temple Meads]
The ground is a twenty five minute walk if you are fit and if you are not fit …….could be a hour!! Walk out of the station, cross the road then turn left at the Reckless Engineer pub then take the first right. Cross the road by the garage and walk over the first foot bridge then keep the river on you right hand side. You will then enter Coronation road and walk past Asda and the Little Grosvenor pub [on your left hand side] with the river still on you right hand side. Keep on this road [roughly one and half miles] until you reach Greville Smythe Park and the lovely big red thing is on your left through the Park.
Temple Meads to Wurzel Gate should cost £ 6 plus and takes ten -fifteen minutes. Hotwells or the Waterfront are a five minute taxi ride. There are taxi ranks directly outside Temple Meads station and to the right of the silly wee wee [when working] like fountains in the City centre when you look towards Colston Tower [has a clock] just off the Waterfront.
Buses to Ashton Gate
There is bus service specifically ran for fans going to the ground. The A bus charges a flat fare of £1 and collects from - Wurzel TM [Temple Meads outside Reckless Engineer pub opposite station], Haymarket [outside Jollys opposite Church], Centre[ stops by wee wee Fountains opposite the Hippodrome] , Anchor Road, Hotwells. The buses return to Wurzel TM by all those destinations. The bus stop at Ashton Gate is opposite Greville Smythe Park [Right out of away end, right again and look towards the left hand side of the road where several double Decker A buses will be parked directly after the end of the game. Away fans regularly use this service. The A bus can be identified easily as they are pale yellow and maroon with the service on the front [A is Ashton Gate]. This service picks up from Temple Meads etc around an hour [be early] before kick off. The drivers are City fans who normally attend the game and are very helpful. http://www.abus.co.uk/
First Bus company - Notorious for being late, expensive and if you can get to the ground using this company hats of to you because they are ####!!
Ferry's are used all year round by commuters, tourists and football fans all year round in Bristol. There are various stops including Temple Meads, the City Centre, the SS Great Britain and the Cottage and Nova Scotia Pubs Hotwells [near the ground]. A through trip from Temple Meads to Hotwells costs £3.20 and is cheaper than a taxi. Explain you wish to go the football/pub and you will be dropped off at the most convenient stop. http://www.bristolferry.com/
The Ferry's route stops at the SS Great Britain in both directions. Most will know of the significance of Isambard Kingdom Brunels ship and if not - http://www.ssgreatbritain.org/index.php Moored alongside the SS Great Britain is a replica ship called the Matthew. Now in 1497 a Italian Ciderhead called John Cabot set sail from Wurzel City and eventually discovered America several years before the Spanish lot got there. Sadly for poor old Johnny world wide Christopher Columbus like fame was not to be his as he really thought he was heading to Asia!
Bristol International Airport is a fifteen minute taxi ride from Ashton Gate and taxis can be booked in advance via Checker Cars 01275 475000 email@example.com
Exit the M5 at Junction 18, drive along the Portway (A4) and follow the signs for the Bristol Airport/Taunton (A38). Drive over the swing bridge (Brunel Way), branching left into Winterstoke Road, and the ground is on your left. There is still street parking but you will need to Park around the ground quite early and there is only parking at the ground by permit only. Map http://www.multimap.com/maps/?&hloc=GB|BS32EJ