Our series of photographic portraits by Charlotte Stone shows Bristol people at work: March takes a look at Bristol Insight.

As residents of beautiful Bristol, we’d be justified in assuming we know our city pretty well. But that’s just the problem – we are so used to going about our daily lives here, we can sometimes forget to look up and take in the incredible sights that surround us. So this spring, why not step aboard a Bristol Insight tour to find out about the parts of Bristol you might have forgotten. From hidden history, to meaningful monuments, with the odd cheeky story squeezed in between – it’ll really open your eyes. And, if you’re very lucky, you might even end up on head guide Pete Hayes’ bus…

“I trained as a guide six years ago,” says Pete. “I have always been interested in local history, events and architecture – everything that makes Bristol tick. I enquired about the possibility of guiding with Bristol Insight, and was soon on a course organised by the company. I later studied for an NVQ in Customer Care (Tourism) through the company at City of Bristol College, and went on to undertake the Bristol Welcome Host Gold Award.

“Each day at work varies, so the job is always enriching and different. Today, I went out with a driver to show him the new route, mentored a guide through the new route and then attended to some company management and administration, as I’m also the transport and operations manager here at Bristol Insight. After that, I facilitated a guide meeting with the guide trainer and am finishing off on the bus for the last two trips of the day, proudly showing Bristol off to visitors and locals alike.

“Bristol is so diverse and exciting that I could never remember everything about it – all its secret nooks and crannies.”

“I know lots about Bristol. I love the city and county, and am always reading, researching and listening to establish what is what and where it’s at. Bristol is so diverse and exciting that I could never remember everything about it – all its secret nooks and crannies – so travelling round is exciting and exhilarating as it reminds me of clues and reminders that prompt my memory.

“That’s why guiding is never repetitive. And our audience is always lovely, interested and positive, which makes for lots of memorable moments. I’ll never forget the time in 2011, before Shaun the Sheep and Gromit, when the Wow!Gorillas were dotted around Bristol to celebrate Bristol Zoo’s 175th birthday and raise awareness of the extinction crisis facing primates. I was lucky enough – if lucky is the correct term, perhaps I should say gullible enough – to be dressed as a gorilla, and I went on the bus wearing my guide’s uniform over the hairy suit to wave farewell to the 61 gorillas on their last weekend in the city before they went off to auction.

“It was also a real honour to be personally presented with two Customer Service Awards in 2013 and 2014, the first by Destination Bristol and the second by South West Tourism Awards.

“Here at Bristol Insight, we provide specialist tours to suit all needs, including The Brunel Bristol Connection, Festive Twilight and Cream Tea Trips. There are unparalleled views from the top of our busses and our tours cover all the best things about the city – large and small.”


For more information about Bristol Insight tours, or to book your tickets, telephone: 0117 403 1994 or visit: www.bristolinsight.co.uk