Hailed as Bristol’s answer to Sex and The City, Mistresses is filmed around Bath and Bristol. The comparison is perhaps inevitable given that the show is about four 30-something women – played by Sarah Parish, Sharon Small, Shelley Conn and Orla Brady – and their tangled love lives.
Bristol, the largest city in the South West of England and a county as well as a city, is to Mistresses what New York City is to Sex and The City.
There are many areas and districts that make up the city of Bristol and the modern Bristol has a strong emphasis – as you would expect of a city that aims to rival New York for location – on shopping.
The £500 million Cabot Circus, which took more than three years to build, has been instrumental in pushing Bristol forward as a shopping heaven. The UK Telegraph newspaper named both Bristol and Bath in its top six shopping cities in the UK. Cabot Circus, along with Broadmead, makes up the majority of Bristol’s shopping area with department stores, high street names and boutique shops alike.
Bristol’s old city is in sharp contrast to the new; here you can see the city’s medieval heritage in its cobbled, winding streets and relics of the original city. The Exchange, formerly an old corn exchange, is now used as offices and St Nicholas Markets; it is the only surviving 18th-century exchange building left in England.
Bristol was also a port town; its history as a leading, working port stretches back many centuries. There’s a reason for the phrase ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion!’ Bristol’s Harbourside is now a modern development with restaurants, shops and hotels. See the harbour from a Bristol ferry.
Bristol, of course, has an illustrious history on screen, being the location for the BBC’s Saturday night prime time drama Casualty for more than 20 years. Mistresses is continuing the tradition and extends it to nearby Bath.
Bath is designated as a World Heritage City and tourists flock to it for its Roman baths, natural hot springs and its Georgian architecture. The more literary tourists also take pleasure in visiting the Jane Austen Centre, the museum celebrating Bath’s most famous resident.
Bath is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural hot springs. And, of course, you can enjoy a day out to nearby Stonehenge.
Bristol is two hour’s drive from London, Birmingham and Cardiff. The M4 from London and the North-South M5 intersect just a few miles from Bristol. Bristol also has its own international airport.
Regular train services run from Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa station, taking around 12 minutes. Alternatively, take the A4 from Bristol, or even cycle along the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path.