A definitive ranking of the very best and worst Brandon Hill benches

Put on your overpriced North Face puffer and get over to Brandon


Brandon Hill, home to ignorantly dreadlocked white folk, Cassie wannabes and a strange amount of boys reading 1984 by George Orwell. Aside from these concerning creatures, Brandon Hill is also home to a plethora of benches ranging from highly comfortable to highly likely to break at any given moment. 

Being a serious journalist, I took it upon myself to report on the 10 benches on the hill that took my fancy, ranking them from worst to best. So try and find a free bench (you may struggle) and dig in for the official Brandon bench ranking.  

10. Ye Olde Nightmare

Let’s start the list with a bench that genuinely frightened me. Located round the back of Cabot Tower and facing the prison-esque building of QEH, this bench gives off pure OLD energy and not in a cute vintage way. Damp, dark and alone, this bench threatens you with visions of Victorian child ghosts and the amphetamines that have inevitably been absorbed into its creaky boards.

This bench caused such trauma that I even called the Student Wellbeing Service afterwards, who inevitably told me to have a cup of tea and a bath and that the feelings will fade away. Naturally, they didn’t.

9. The Shitter

The previous bench caused so much distress I clearly lost my bearings and like an angsty teen in The Blair Witch Project, I found myself disoriented. I awoke to find my housemate taking the above photo of me, as I had clearly confused benches and toilets somewhere along my journey.

The fact I have actively decided to rank this nasty toilet above the Ye Olde Nightmare bench speaks absolute volumes about the previous entry. Also the toilet was very much warmed up by a previous visitor, so that was pleasant.

8. A World of Stone

This bench was clearly built for sociopaths who enjoy the sight of Georgian red brick and nothing more. I have so many questions for the city planners who thought that placing a bench here was even slightly practical.

With a tiny seating space and a 70 degree angle that seems hellbent on forcing me into a back spasm, further anxiety was developed by the ease in which some sick individual could lean over and give me a noogie. Unless you are looking for an appropriate space to feel confused, I would leave this bench be.

7. I will not STAND for this

The energy of this one is simply not right. When I first placed my pancake-esque derriere on this cold slab of wood I repulsed, my body rejecting the “seat” below and launching me into the air. My solution? I would stand on this bench as a protest for my arses harsh treatment.

What did I do to deserve such a bench? Facing a muddy hill and an ugly child kicking a ball around, I would sooner recommend a sharp stone than this rusty disaster. To give this bench any more time would be an insult to benches everywhere. Onto the next. 

6. The Lone Ranger

Located near the southern entrance to the park, the existence of this seat is so inoffensive it offends me. Standing alone (and hopefully thinking about what it’s done), this bench is a hat trick of mediocrities; fragile, mossy and isolating.

With an overpriced car park as its most alluring view (I paid £3.10 for just ONE HOUR), this pathetic excuse for outdoor furnishing isn’t even trying at this point.

5. The Pensive Overlooker

Situated not one, but TWO benches from the infamous “Cassie Bench” featured in Skins, this bench isn’t just superior but frequently available due to being overshone by it’s inferior yet more famous counterpart. Providing the breathtaking views you come to expect from the hill as well as slight cover from the bushes behind, The Pensive Overlooker is just an arms reach from the nearest bin and presents a width suitable for all of your closest friends.

As I left this sturdy pal behind in search of my next bench, I glanced over one final time and posed the thought: is it time to bin the Cassie bench altogether?

4. The Pink Lady

Maneuvering just four benches to the right of The Pensive Overlooker I stumbled across another gem. Positioned to the right of the almighty mound and facing the clouds over the River Avon, this bench is both welcoming and powerful, providing the perfect spot for watching the sun set over our beautiful city.

Enhancing my experience was the lovely pink haired guest to my right, whose namesake I have christened our bench in question. As I snuck over, sat tight and avoided eye contact at all costs whilst my housemate squatted behind for this picture (thanks Gemma) the woman, like most of Bristol’s population, remained unphased and for that I thank you Pink Lady. Thank you.

3. Our Little Secret

Found in the winding path up to Cabot Tower, this one gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Shrouded in mystery as much as it is bushes, the sophistication of such a seat cannot be damaged by the graffitied “Bellend” on its upper half. Sit on this throne of wood as you listen to the fountain trickle next to you and gaze down towards the petty public who could only wish they were you in such a marvellous location. Whilst this is shy from the best seat in the park, the class and elegance remains unmatched. So comfortable you could sleep on it. So comfortable that I did. 

2. Feels Like Home

“Not all who wander are lost; but they are without this bench” – J.R.R. Tolkien.

Mr Tolkien was really onto something with this one. This bench made me feel safe, like the brother I never had. No, it doesn’t overlook the city in all it’s polluted glory, but it does turn inward onto the park and as a result forces you to turn inwards on yourself. Why am I here? Why do I feel the need to wear hideously overpriced North Face jackets? These are questions you can ponder on this very bench. Go on, you know you want to. 

1. The Main Character

If a bench could be marked VIP, this would be the one. Often populated by alternative boys reading novels that literally no one cares about, obtaining a seat on this elite bench is Bristol’s equivalent to an invite to the MET Gala. In fact, to obtain such a marvellous image I had to ask a woman to move from the seat momentarily.

She seemed disgruntled, but I would do it again just to get a few more seconds on this marvellous creation. The view is fantastic, the wood is sturdy and the clientele are elite. If anyone needs me, you know where I’ll be. 

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