Thursday, 1 June 2017

UK PonyCon 2017 – places to eat

The out-of-town location of UK PonyCon this year means there aren't nearly as many options for refreshments as when the convention's been held in a city centre. This is not an event at which you'll have dozens of restaurants, pubs and cafés within a few minutes' walk. However, there's no need to starve! I've found a number of places to obtain food, and here they are.

Hours are given in the format (Saturday / Sunday). The linked distances go to a Google Maps page with directions to the establishment in question.

At the venue

There are two options in the UWE itself:
  • Café (9am–7pm / 9am–4pm)
  • Bar (midday–10.30pm / midday–5pm)

I have no idea how good the café is, but if it's even halfway decent (read: stocks muffins!) and not stupidly expensive, I do recommend eating there at least some of the time. First, it supports the venue, which is always a nice thing to do. Second, it'll be full of con attendees, which will give it a special flavour.

However, this won't be an option for breakfast, late night Saturday or any post-con meals on Sunday. You may also feel that you need a brief change of scene to get you through two packed days. I know I have done at times. As such, some possible alternatives follow.

Unlike some other convention venues, the UWE does allow you to take your own cold food and soft drinks in. No hot food or drinks and definitely no alcohol! Obviously, if you choose to bring food in, don't then go wandering round the vendor stalls with mayonnaise or chocolate all over your hands...

Abbey Wood Shopping Park

This retail park (0.7 miles) has a number of places where you can get a snack or a meal:
  • Asda (supermarket open midnight–10pm / 10am–4pm; café hours unknown) 
  • Bella Italia (9am–11pm / 9am–10pm)
  • Costa (8am–8pm / 9am–6pm)
  • Frankie & Benny's (9am–11pm / 9am–10.30pm)
  • McDonald's (24 hours / 24 hours)
  • Nando's (11am–10pm / 11.30am–10pm)
  • Subway (8am–9pm / 8am–7pm)

Other supermarket

Although not at Abbey Wood, there is one other supermarket with a café that's almost the same distance from the con venue. It is:
  • Sainsbury's (7.30am–7pm / 9.30am–3.30pm) in Fox Den Road (0.6 miles)

Local pub

Yes, singular I'm afraid. There is precisely one pub within a mile of the con venue, weird for an area full of students but there it is. I suppose they must all drink at the Students' Union. That one pub is not the cheapest, with the average main course costing £10–£12, but for those interested:
  • The Fox Den (midday–11pm / midday–10.30pm) (0.7 miles)

Hotel bars

The Holiday Inn bars are open to non-residents. These are as follows:
  • HI Express Bristol North (hours unknown) (0.7 miles)
  • HI Bristol Filton (hours unknown) (0.8 miles)

And that's the lot! Well, I think so, anyway. Let me know if I need to make any corrections. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you: all the options are pretty much the same distance from the UWE! If you happen to know of anywhere else to eat within a mile of the convention venue, then please tell me and I'll add it to the list. :)


  1. This is very useful! It actually looks to me like we won't be too stuck for options, particularly considering the cafe in the venue.

    Why do I have the feeling Frankie and Benny's will be inundated with 500 pony fans come Saturday evening..

    And the Sainsburies will be useful if people need emergency supplies of custard etc.

    1. Saturday evening? I think that might end up like when we trekked off into Leeds last year -- those who want "proper food" and are fine taking a bit longer will go there (or Bella Italia) while those who just want to stuff food down their gob and get back for the karaoke will descend on McDonald's. :P

      I doubt I'll be able to stay long enough on Sunday evening for a proper meal this time, given train timetables. But F&B's may well be a popular choice with those who are!

      As for custard... as long as it's not cooked, it can be brought into the venue! ;)