Fun-loving students, engineering marvels and smart shopping districts are the qualities that come to mind when I think of Bristol. Take a look at my recommendations for things to do in this vibrant city in the south west of England.
Bristol is well connected by rail and bus lines with other English cities and regions and Bristol airport also offers flights to 112 countries. There are various eating and shopping options at Bristol airport. Conveniently, the airport is only 8 miles south of the city and there is a regular Flyer bus service direct to the city centre.
Where to stay
If you want to stay somewhere central with many attractions within walking distance, try the swanky Hotel du Vin. Set in a listed 18th-century sugar house and filled with vintage furniture the hotel is a few hundred yards from See No Evil, as well as close to shopping at Cabot Circus and the newly glamorous waterfront area with its bars and restaurants.
What to do
Take a trip on one of the Bristol Packet Boats. These venerable vessels take visitors on harbour tours or for tea upriver at Beeses Tea Gardens, as well as day trips to Bath and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Avonmouth.
Speaking of the Clifton bridge, this has become iconic of Bristol. It was designed by the 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death. The local council is bidding to have the bridge inscribed on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. In Bristol harbour Brunel’s ss Great Britain is another way to get to grips with this period of history that changed Britain forever.
Back in town, wander up Nelson Street to view one of the world’s largest outdoor art exhibitions. A dull street of grey buildings has been transformed over the past two years thanks to the permanent street art project ‘See No Evil’. Leading street artists from around the world were brought in to work their magic. You’ll love the result.
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has an excellent collection of art, archaeology, Egyptology and natural history in a glorious building. The Bristol Zoo Gardens is definitely worth a visit also.
In the Harbourside area the Bristol Aquarium takes visitors underwater: from the British coast to tropical oceans. At-Bristol science centre interactive exhibits help everyone engage with science and technology.
My pick for a “wow” place to eat out would be the Glassboat Restaurant in the historic Harbourside area of Bristol. It has been operating for nearly 25 years a beautifully-restored barge. This dockside setting, as well as the fine dining is perfect for entertaining.
So there you have it: don’t bypass Bristol on your travels through England!
Natasha von Geldern