By MARK EASTERBROOK
DIRECTIONS: (Satnav - BS7 9EJ) Take Junction 19 exit from M4 onto the M32. Take the second exit from the M32 and turn right at the roundabout which passes under the motorway. Travel up Muller Road for about a mile and turn left into Ralph Road. At the end of the road, turn left onto Ashley Down Road and then first right into Kennington Avenue. At the end of the road, turn left and you'll see the County Ground entrance in front of you. Public transport from station: Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway are both a fair distance from the ground. There are buses from Temple Meads which will take you up Gloucester Road (close to the ground). Catching a taxi to the ground is probably the best bet from Bristol Parkway Station on the main line London-Wales-South-West.
CAR PARKING: There are a handful of reserved press spaces near the press box. And, if these are full up, the stewards will normally let you park in another space close by for County Championship games. One-day games can be more tricky, but there should be space if you arrive in good time.
FACILITIES: As from the 2015 season, the press box has been situated on the top floor of the Bristol Pavilion. The press room for county matches is a small one, which can only accommodate about a dozen members of the written press. The scorers and radio press are situated in similar-sized rooms across the hallway. For one-day international games, the media are accommodated in a much larger space on the first floor of the Bristol Pavilion. Name and number of PA contact/local paper contact: Mark Easterbrook (07767-894559) or Richard Latham (07802-708352) from the Bristol & West Agency. The main media contact at Gloucestershire is Carolyn Prosser, who can be contacted on 0117-9108003 or 07707-089509 or via email at email@example.com. A hot lunch is provided at games, while tea and coffee-making facilities are also available. Local boozers for lunch time relief: The Sportsman is a five-minute walk from the press box, although local reporters have been known to make it in three or four. Head out the main gates and it's a couple of hundred yards down Nevil Road on the right. The annex has good beers and decent grub. Local sandwich bars/delis/supermarkets: Several on the Gloucester Road, which is about five minutes walk from the ground.
USEFUL NUMBERS: (IT support/garage/doctor, etc.): Local garages include Ashley Autoparts & Accessories Ltd, 5 Ashley Down Road (0800-0375648); Hughenden Road Garage, Hughenden Road, Horfield (0117-9243461); Jarrett & Smith, 1A Elm Road, Horfield (0117-9422152). As for doctors, unfortunately the Grace family practice has long closed. But there is Dr R Sawford & Partners, 521 Filton Avenue, Horfield (0117-9692164) and another practice at Tramway House, 1A Church Road, Horfield (0117-9497774). Southmead Hospitals is about a 15-minute drive away.
ACCOMMODATION: Plenty of big chain hotels in central Bristol. These include the Bristol Marriott Royal, College Green (01179-255100); City Inn, Temple Way (01179-251001, price per person, per night £100 to £250); Express By Holiday Inn, Temple Gate (01179-304800, price per person, per night £50 to £100); Hotel Du Vin, The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead (01179-255577, price per person, per night £100 to £250). Also, Channings Hotel, 20 Pembroke Road, Clifton (01179-733970, price per person, per night £50 to £100) is a smaller hotel situated in one of the best parts of the city. Note: The Bristol Marriott Royal and Hotel Du Vin are particularly plush, as reflected by the price. Location: The hotels mentioned above are all within a ten to 15-minute drive from the ground and cab be reached easily from the M4 and M32. All are also close by to major shopping areas, restaurants and pubs. Why not to stay there? Parking may be a problem. Check with the hotel. Costs: As shown above. Personal experiences: None but I know people who have stayed at these places. Nearest place to buy newspapers/batteries: All these hotels are located close to newsagents.
LEISURE: Plenty of good pubs around Clifton Village, Whiteladies Road and the waterfront in the city centre. Recommendations include the Clifton Sausage Restaurant and Bar, 7-9 Portland Street, Clifton Village, which is popular with the Gloucestershire players (01179-731192); Bar Med, Welsh Back (01179-221846); Blackboy Inn, 171 Whiteladies Road (01179-406130); Clifton Wine Bar, Richmond Terrace, Clifton (01179-732069). Restaurants: Clifton Sausage, as above, is well regarded. Also recommended are Browns, 38 Queens Road, Clifton (01179-304777); Glass Boat, Welsh Back (01179-290704); House of Wong, 70 Whiteladies Road (01179-730409); Sands (Lebanese food), 95 Queens Road (01179-739734). Cinemas/theatres/concert halls/live music/nightclubs, etc: Big cinema complexes at Vue Cinemas, Cribbs Causeway (0871-2240240); Showcase, Avon Meads (01179-723434); Cineworld, Hengrove Way (0871-2208000); Vue Cinemas, Aspects Leisure Park, Longwell Green (0871-2240240). Theatres and concert halls - Bristol Old Vic, King St (01179-877877); Bristol Hippodrome, 10 St Augustine Parade (0870-6077500); Colston Hall, Colston St (01179-223686). Local sights worth seeing on a rainy day/summers night: Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain (by the waterfront), British & Commonwealth Museum (by Temple Meads Station), the @Bristol science centre, The Mall shopping centre at Cribbs Causeway or The Galleries shopping centre in the city centre. Nearby golf courses: Plenty in the area, including The Kendleshire, Henfield Road, Coalpit Heath (01179-567007) and Long Ashton GC, Clarken Coombe Long Ashton (01275-392229). There's also a public course at Tall Pines, Cooks Bridle Path, Backwell (01275-472076, which is by Bristol Airport. Swimming pools/gyms, etc: Public swimming st several places, including Easton Leisure Centre, Thrissell St, near the city centre (01179-558840). Good gyms include David Lloyd Club, Ashton Road (01179-531010) and Fitness First, Cribbs Causeway (01179-593222), but phone first to check availability to non-members. Places to avoid at all costs and why: The Broadmead/Cabot’s Circus shopping area in the city centre is good during the day but not great at night. The waterfront, Clifton Village and Park Street and Whiteladies Road areas are better in the evening for pubs and restaurants.
DIRECTIONS: The much-loved College Ground is situated next to Bath Road, about a mile to the west of the town centre.
FACILITIES: Press facilities are on the balcony of one of the school buildings, square to the wicket. The elevated position, close proximity to the middle and marvellous views of the college chapel and surrounding hills make this a wonderful place from which to watch the action. Power points and a PA phone line are supplied. Plenty of car parking next to the ground. Refreshments: A packed lunch is provided for the press, while food and drinks are available elsewhere in the ground.
ACCOMMODATION: Lots of hotels, including the Thistle Hotel (01242-232691); Cheltenham Townhouse Hotel (01242-221922); The Frogmill (01242-820547); Abbey Hotel (01242-516053) and Montpellier Hotel - close to the ground - (01242-526009).