Ever since I came back from interrailing for two weeks after my A-levels I have been keen on the idea of doing a big trip. Travelling round lots of different places and being away from home for a substantial amount of time appealed – but these were things I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do. For a start whilst lots of people do gap years, they seem pretty expensive and I was also worried I’d be too scared. It sounds silly but anyone who knows me will know that I worry a lot, so I thought a big trip might just be a bit beyond my reach.

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I first went to see an outdoor play last year when I went to see Sense and Sensibility in the grounds of Lanercost Priory and since then have been hoping to see another. As it happened, a visit home for the bank holiday weekend coincided with another Jane Austen performance by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. This time I was able to see Pride and Prejudice outside the priory and rather than going on my own I was accompanied by James and my family.

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I’ve never really been a big fan of graffiti. Admittedly, most of the graffiti I’ve seen hasn’t been particularly artistic, more like profanities scrawled across the side of buildings or railway tracks. However, due to this fact I never really ‘got’ the concept of street art. Surely the phrase was just trying to make graffiti acceptable? However that was all before I first visited Bristol. As the home of Banksy, Bristol prides itself on its street art, and not just the work that Banksy has produced. It was for this very reason that I found myself going along to Upfest earlier this summer.

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Despite the fact that I have only just moved to Bristol, I have been to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta a few times (in 2016 and in 2014) with James. This weekend was my third time going and it was every bit as magical as the last two. Although the crowds seem to be growing year on year which does make it slightly harder to enjoy, I would still encourage anyone who hasn’t been to go along. It is slightly surreal but also kind of magical, and I certainly haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere.

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If you are going to come to Bristol, then it appears that the summer is the time to do it. There appears to be a different festival every weekend, celebrating everything from barbecues to street art. Which ones are most worth going to seems to vary depending on who you ask, but the two biggest seem to be the Balloon Fiesta and Bristol Harbour Festival. I’ve been to the Balloon Fiesta a couple of times before (and intend to go again this year) but I had never been to the Harbour Festival before. Although the forecast looked terrible, we decided to brave the weather and I’m really glad we did.

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