The colorful buildings along the waterfront in Bristol, UK
Final Up to date: 3/2/23 | March 2nd, 2023

Whereas most vacationers who go to England solely go to London, there are literally plenty of different gems within the nation price exploring.

One such place is Bristol.

“Bristol? There’s not a lot there.”

That was the usual reply from locals every time I discussed I used to be heading to Bristol.

Evidently, I had low expectations. However I visited anyway. In spite of everything, there’s no such thing as “must-see” — and meaning there’s no such factor as “should skip” both.

On arrival, I discovered a hip faculty city with superb eateries, great issues to see, and loads of inexperienced house.

Bristol is just like the English model of Seattle. Most vacationers appear to make use of it as a base for journeys to Bath however by no means totally discover this metropolis, giving it solely a quick look earlier than heading again to London.

It is a mistake.

With a inhabitants of round 500,000, Bristol is the biggest metropolis in southern England (after London) and can also be one of many largest transport ports in England. It obtained a royal constitution in 1155 and, till the rise of Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester throughout the Industrial Revolution, was one in all England’s largest cities.

Bristol suffered in depth bombing throughout World Battle II and a subsequent decline in its manufacturing business. At the moment, the town is a vibrant faculty city. The College of Bristol dominates the town, and the scholars present plenty of earnings and jobs for the neighborhood.

That will help you take advantage of out of your go to, right here’s an inventory of my favourite issues to see and do in Bristol:

1. Bristol Cathedral

The historic exterior of the Bristol Cathedral in Bristol, UK during sunset
This lovely cathedral was consecrated in 1148 and was constructed within the Romanesque type (and has an identical design to Notre Dame in Paris). Initially named St. Augustine’s Abbey, the cathedral stretches over 300 toes and whereas a lot of it has been rebuilt, a number of the authentic constructing stays.

School Inexperienced, West Finish, +44 117 926 4879, Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm and 11:30am-3pm on Sundays. Costume respectfully as this can be a place of worship. Admission is free. Excursions can be found on most Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:30am and a couple of:15pm for five GBP.

2. Wander King Road

Initially specified by 1650, King Road is an enchanting, historic a part of Bristol. It was the place the outdated crusing barges docked after their journeys from South Wales. Now the world is the guts of the theatrical district and options excellent bars and eating places. There are even some pubs from the seventeenth century which are nonetheless standing, comparable to The Hatchet Inn which was constructed within the Tudor type in 1606!

3. See the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Looking out at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, UK
That is Bristol’s most well-known landmark. Suspended excessive above the Avon Gorge and River Avon, the bridge opened in 1864 and offers sweeping views of the river and surrounding parks and buildings. It was additionally the place one of many early bungee jumps within the UK was held within the Nineteen Seventies. The bridge stretches 412 meters (1,352 toes) and handles virtually 10,000 autos per day. There’s a small customer heart close by the place you possibly can study extra concerning the bridge and its historical past too (it’s open every day from 10am-5pm).

4. Try St. Nicholas Market

It is a full of life, bustling market with extra outlets than you might undergo in a day. There appears to be an infinite variety of farmers’ stalls with superb native produce, second-hand bookshops, and classic outfitters. The market dates again to 1743 and is the right place to wander, discover, and other people watch.

Corn St, +44 117 922 4014, Open Monday-Saturday from 9:30am-5pm.

5. Go to the Bristol Museum and Artwork Gallery

Established in 1823, this museum covers a little bit little bit of all the things — from archaeology to dinosaurs to English historical past to artwork. The expansive selection retains issues attention-grabbing so even non-history buffs will take pleasure in it. It’s the world’s largest museum and one in all my private favorites. Whereas there are tens of 1000’s of things within the museum’s assortment, it’s not too overwhelming and straightforward to see in a couple of hours. Plus, like all public museums in England, it’s free!

Queens Street, +44 117 922 3571, Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is free however donations are inspired.

6. Take a Strolling Tour

Bristol is an outdated metropolis and has been an essential port for nearly a thousand years. With a lot historical past, it ought to come as no shock that the town has collected its fair proportion of ghost tales. To listen to a number of the tales as you discover the town, take a haunted strolling tour with Haunted and Hidden Ghost Walks. Their tour begins nightly at 8pm, lasts 90 minutes, and is nicely definitely worth the 7 GBP!

If haunted walks aren’t your cup of tea, take a avenue artwork tour. Bristol is residence to a number of works by Banksy in addition to tons of different murals. Bristol was Banksy’s street-art residence, and you may uncover over 30 years of avenue artwork by artists from everywhere in the world.

Excursions from Where the Wall final 2 hours and canopy the town’s finest works of public artwork. Excursions begin at 7.50 GBP and run most Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Bristol Pirate Walks are one other enjoyable choice, particularly for historical past buffs. These brief strolling excursions help you expertise a few of Bristol’s oldest neighborhoods and can educate you concerning the early historical past of the town throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth, and 18th centuries. You’ll additionally get to see websites related to legendary pirates like Lengthy John Silver and Blackbeard. Excursions final 1 hour and price 12.50 GBP.

7. See the S.S. Nice Britain

The deck of the S.S. Great Britain ship docked in Bristol, UK
Situated within the harbor, the S.S Nice Britain was the world’s first steam-powered passenger liner. It took its maiden voyage in 1845 and was really the longest ship on the earth for nearly a decade. (It’s 322 toes lengthy).

Sadly, because it was so large it took a very long time to construct (it took 6 years to finish) and the homeowners went bankrupt not lengthy after it was launched. It ran aground not lengthy after and was offered for salvage. After being repaired, the ship was used to ferry passengers to Australia from 1852-1881 when the ship was transformed to all-sail. It was scuttled and sunk within the Falkland Islands in 1937 the place it stayed for 33 years till it was recovered, hauled again to the UK, and became a vacationer attraction.

Nice Western Dockyard, +44 0117 926 0680, Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. Admission is 22 GBP.

8. Have Enjoyable at WetheCurious

This science and artwork heart is an academic charity devoted to cultivating curiosity. Opened in 2000, it’s residence to over 250 interactive displays, making it a enjoyable and academic place to go to for those who’re touring with youngsters. They’ve a planetarium, 3D printers, and displays overlaying the human physique, magnets, animation, and extra! The constructing is at present closed for repairs after a fireplace however plans to reopen someday in 2023.

1 Millennium Sq., +44 0117 915 1000, Open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is 16.50 GBP.

9. Loosen up on the Downs

The Downs (Clifton Down and Durdham Down) are a protected parkland on the sting of the town. Spanning over 400 acres, they’re inside strolling distance of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge and make for a pleasant place to loosen up, stroll, and watch the locals play sports activities. The world often called the Sea Wall is the right place to soak up the views, and there’s loads of house to unfold out and revel in a pure retreat with out straying too removed from the town.

10. See Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower in Bristol on a summer day
The tower, which stands 32 meters (105 toes), was constructed within the Nineties to rejoice the four-hundredth anniversary of the Italian explorer John Cabot’s departure from Bristol and his final “discovery” of North America (he was the primary European to go to North America for the reason that Norse Vikings in 1000 CE). The tower is constructed from sandstone and has a slim staircase inside you could climb to soak up the sweeping view.

Brandon Hill Park, +44 0117 922 3719, Open every day from 8:00am-5:15pm. Admission is free.

11. Go to Blaise Citadel

In-built 1798 within the Gothic Revival type, this “fortress” is definitely a sham — it’s not an actual fortress however fairly a look-alike constructed by a rich household only for the enjoyable of it. It’s primarily a decorative constructing, providing sweeping views over the encompassing 650 acres and the Avon Gorge. There’s additionally a close-by historic residence that has been transformed right into a museum the place you possibly can study extra concerning the fortress and its quirky historical past.

Kings Weston Rd, +44 117 922 2000, Open every day from 7:30am–5:15pm (5:15pm within the winter). Admission is free.

12. Trip the Avon Valley Railway

This railway, which dates again to the 1860s, as soon as related Bristol to Tub. At the moment it’s a three-mile heritage railway the place you possibly can trip a steam-powered prepare. There’s additionally a completely restored Victorian prepare station the place you may get a way of what touring was like on the flip of the final century. For climbing fanatics, there’s a strolling path beside the tracks for those who’d fairly discover on foot.

Bitton Station, +44 117 932 5538, Open every day from 9:00am-5:00pm. Steam prepare tickets are 11 GBP whereas diesel prepare tickets are 10 GBP.

13. Go to the Wookey Gap Caves

People exploring the colorful Wookey Caves near Bristol, UK
Should you’re in search of an journey exterior of the town, go to the Wookey Gap Caves. This distinctive geological space is a fast and straightforward day journey from Bristol (it’s simply an hour away by automobile). The limestone caves have been created from an underground river and you may discover them through a 35-minute tour. There’s additionally a museum that shows artifacts found inside the caves. Should you’re feeling adventurous, think about taking a ship trip via the waters contained in the cave the place you’ll find out about spelunking.

The Mill, Excessive St, Wookey Gap, +44 1749 672243, Opening hours fluctuate based mostly on holidays and seasons however are usually 9:40am-4:30pm. Verify the web site for particular instances. Admission is 21.45 GBP.

14. Discover Gloucester Street

Bristol’s Gloucester Street options Europe’s largest stretch of unbiased outlets. The entire avenue is walkable, and also you’ll discover loads of locations to cease and people-watch. You’ll discover distinctive one-of-a-kind outlets and boutiques each few steps, and it’s an awesome place to take pleasure in some tasty native meals. There are additionally loads of hip cafes and full of life pubs on this space as nicely.


I believed Bristol, with its outdated industrial-turned-Bohemian allure, made for an awesome place to spend a couple of days. There have been historic homes to go to, a couple of good museums, and a few great parks. Its picture as an industrial heart nonetheless lingers on in most of England, making it a spot few go or wish to discover.

However that works out for the remainder of us. For whereas everybody else heads off to Bath, we will have the town of Bristol to ourselves.

I think the phrase will get out, however for now, Bristol stays a hidden gem and a metropolis that’s nicely price a go to.

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