Bristol

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Bristol lies on the cusp of the West Country and is a great place to stay for a night, a weekend, or longer. A lot of visitors pass through Bristol in their haste to reach the historic city of Bath or continue on to Devon and Cornwall, but Bristol has loads to offer so it is worth spending a bit of time there exploring its many attractions. The city is a major cultural centre with a thriving music scene and a host of theatres, festivals, restaurants and shops; it also has a scenic waterfront and one of the best times to visit Bristol is in the summer when you can chill out in one of the many bars and restaurants around the floating harbour. The city was largely destroyed during the Second World War, but thanks to a sympathetic programme of redevelopment, it now contains some fabulous examples of architecture, including the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Photo by Andrew Gustar
Photo by Andrew Gustar

Things to See and Do

Whether you are there in the summer or winter, Bristol is full of things to see and do. It is relatively easy to get around the city and you can explore it on foot, take a bicycle tour, or catch a ride on one of the regular sightseeing tour buses. Boat tours are another fun way to see the city from a different perspective. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, join a Pirate Walk through the historic Harbourside and learn more about Bristol’s dark past. During the summer months, Bristol is the perfect place to be. Pavement cafes and restaurants are abundant, or you can enjoy a picnic in the beautiful Queen Square Georgian gardens in the centre of the city. Bristol is also famous for its festivals and there are plenty to choose from throughout the year, including the International Kite Festival and the Mayfest. And finally, Bristol is the birthplace of world famous guerrilla artist, Banksy, so if you look carefully, you will come across a few examples of his early works in various parts of the city.

Places to Visit

The city of Bristol is divided into distinct neighbourhoods—the two best known being the waterfront and the historic Old City. Several popular attractions can be found in the harbour area, including the SS Great Britain, which was voted Museum of the Year in 2006 and the Blue Reef Aquarium. Two other family museum attractions in this area you really can’t afford to miss are the M Shed, which is full of fascinating social history exhibits, and At-Bristol with its fun and thought provoking interactive displays. Highlights in the Old City include the Corn Exchange and St. Nicholas Market, where you can buy all kinds of local products, in particular sausage and cheese. Bristol Zoo is another top attraction in the city, especially if you have kids to entertain. The historic city of Bath is also not too far from Bristol, so it makes sense to combine the two places on your travel itinerary: Bath is only a short drive or train ride from Bristol, or you can take advantage of the purpose built (and very scenic) Bristol-Bath cycle path.

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