One of Bristol’s trendiest roads, Gloucester Road meanders through the north of the city. Lined with independent shops and cafés, it’s a lot quirkier than the average urban shopping street. It’s the kind of place where you might head out for some organic bread and come back with a hand-crafted table. And with enough health-food shops, artisan bakeries, jewellery stores, and cafés to fill your whole weekend, it’s a fun area to explore.
Lots of interesting things happen on Gloucester Road and Room 212 is at the centre of many of them. Sarah Thorp, the artist who owns both the gallery and Eco House is a force of creativity. She’s also the main organiser of Glos Road Central – a vibrant community of independent traders, who organise art and nature-based events.
Eco House at Room 212
Innovative, bright, and decorated with love, the Eco House is beautiful from start to finish.
Bristol is one of the UK’s greenest cities and Eco House is an example of the progressive, eco-friendly attitude. Wood, mud, straw, and sheep’s wool (for insulation) are all part of the structure of the house. But, fear not, the only straw you’ll see is through the ‘truth window’ halfway up the stairs. The glass panel offers a glimpse of the straw-filled interior of the wall, and it’s a reminder that beautiful buildings can be built in sustainable ways.
The furnishings in the house all fit in with the eco-friendly theme, but there’s no sacrifice on comfort. In the kitchen/dining area, there’s a pretty collection of locally made pans and crockery. The repurposed kitchen cabinets are duck egg blue and the solid oak worktop adds warmth to the room. Sarah’s artistic touches are everywhere. From the paper flowers in a vase on the windowsill to colourful cushions on the sofa, she has created an inspiring and cosy space.
But the bedroom is the real star of the show. Nestled in a raised wooden alcove in the corner of the room, there’s a cloud-like double bed. You have to use the chunky wooden step at the end of the bed to climb into it, which just added to my childlike excitement. And, of course, the wooden beams are upcycled – they came from the roof of an old warehouse.
There’s a single pull-out bed in the corner of the bedroom and the downstairs sofabed means that up to five people can stay. There are also two bathrooms with showers, which are all sparkling tiles and wooden fixtures.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop when you go outside. In the peaceful courtyard, there’s a table and chairs against a backdrop of brightly painted walls and climbing plants. The Eco House and bike shed both have living roofs, where sedums and pollinator plants grow. It rained almost constantly while I was there, but I can imagine how pretty is during the summer.
Room 212 – Art Gallery
Just in front of Eco House, Room 212 is a gallery and shop at the heart of Gloucester Road Central. Cosy and inviting, this place is a treasure trove of arts and crafts. Local Bristol artists sell their work here and almost everything is colourful. You might find yourself in here for a while because there are stacks of prints, paintings, and handmade cards.
Where to Eat
There’s no shortage of places to eat along Gloucester Road. And if you like seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients, you’re in for a treat.
Café Ronak is a popular family run café that’s just a short walk from Eco House and Room 212. Expect wholesome food, comfortable seating, and excellent coffee. Their smoothies are delicious and there are lots of options for veggies on the menu.
Zazu’s Kitchen is a lovely restaurant on Gloucester Road. It’s a relaxed and informal place that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu changes according to the season and the chefs use fresh, local produce.
Planning a Visit?
- Eco House sleeps up to five and prices start at £90 per night.
- To book, contact Sarah at 0770 2598 090 or email her at [email protected].
- Eco House is about 35 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads Station by bus.