A vibrant, electrifying city that has a plethora of things to offer, Bristol, England is an absolute must-visit.
Experience splendid food, spectacular scenery, historic monuments, lush greenery, fun museums and a host of activities in this bustling British city, located three hours away from London.
Walk alongside the harbour, explore Clifton, try the various cuisines at Gloucester road, cycle cross the Clifton suspension bridge or get intrigued M shed, a fun museum, let your hair down at one of Bristol’s many pubs or hop on to a ferry across the water to SS Great Britain. We visited this magnetic city last month with Visit Bristol and absolutely loved our experience here.
Here’s our ultimate travel guide on things you should definitely see, eat and do in Bristol.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN BRISTOL:
1. Take a walk along the harbourside:
A buzzing centre filled with shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels, a walk along Bristol’s charming waterside is a must!
Being one of England’s oldest trading ports, Bristol has a rich maritime history. Get engulfed in the hustle and bustle of activity at the harbourside or watch white swans beautifully glide over the water as you lounge on one of the many benches next to the Bristol Harbour.
Take a stroll down to Millennium square or grab a chilled beer at one of the many harbourside pubs offering spectacular views.
2. Visit the magnificent Brunel’s SS Great Britain:
Get transported to the Victorian era as you board the gigantic SS Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner that’s an engineering masterpiece.
Hop onto a ferry from the main harbourside to reach Bristol’s top attraction, an enthralling experience.
Step back in time onboard this grand ship that also has an interactive museum that takes you on a journey through the vessel’s rich history.
You can also go underwater for a unique view of the ship from below a gigantic glass ceiling or walk across the SS Great Britain to get a taste of life on board in the early 1900s.
3. Stroll up Brandon Hill and Cabot Tower:
A beautiful, green park in the heart of Bristol, Brandon hill with it’s iconic Cabot tower offers unmatched views of the city skyline.
Complete with a nature conservation centre, children’s park and the famous Cabot tower, a stroll through this gem is a must do activity when in Bristol.
Don’t forget to catch a sunset view of the city from the top of Cabot tower!
4. Visit the historic Bristol Cathedral:
A blend of contemporary and archaic, Bristol has a host of majestic buildings like the historic Bristol Cathedral laden with eye-catching architecture. This age-old cathedral is one of Bristol’s prominent icons and is a must-visit.
5. Explore St Nicholas Market:
Shop, eat and experience the best of British produce at Bristol’s oldest market known as St Nicholas market founded in 1743.
Bathed in beautiful Georgian architecture and bustling with cute shops, bakeries, independent food stalls and more the wonderful sights and smells of this market will make you want to never leave.
6. Delve into beautiful Clifton:
One of Bristol’s most affluent suburbs, Clifton is studded with colourful buildings, chic boutiques & iconic attractions such as the Clifton suspension bridge, Clifton Observatory, Bristol Zoo and Clifton village.
Cycle/walk across the scenic Clifton suspension bridge for unmatched views of the massive Avon Gorge and surrounding countryside. You should also definitely indulge in a delicious meal at one of Clifton’s many themed restaurants, especially The Ivy Clifton Brasserie. This is the perfect place to spend your evenings in Bristol.
7. Embark on a food tour through Cargo:
Located on the upper deck of Whapping Wharf, right across M Shed, Cargo is a multi-level space with a host of independent eateries serving authentic food from all over the world.
Bristol is a big foodie hotspot and there’s so much to explore here in terms of Bristol’s culinary offerings.
We went on a fun food tour through the city with The Bristol Food Tour which is an activity you have to do if you love food.
Walking through Cargo we loved trying out fresh British cheese from The Bristol Cheesemonger, pure vegetarian Indian snacks from Gopal’s curry shack and so many other dishes from the various stalls here.
St Nicholas Market and Cargo are both big Bristol foodie hotspots.
8. Take a Bristol city tour or attend a festival:
A city that never sleeps, there is always something cool happening in Bristol, especially in summer.
If you are visiting for a short time, a hop on hop off Bristol city tour is one of the best ways to see some major attractions.
Bristol is however in our opinion best explored on foot! Walking across Redcliffe Parade that’s full of pretty houses, strolling up Brandon hill or admiring the marvellous Bristol city council building is a delightful way to see the city.
Bristol has exciting festivals happening throughout the year such as the popular Bristol Balloon Festival, Bristol Harbour festival and lots of music festivals.
Bristol with its various restaurants, pubs and bars is a paradise for food lovers like us. Apart from the independent stalls in St Nicholas Market and Cargo, here are some of our favourite restaurants in Bristol :
One of Bristol’s top restaurants, this beautiful all day dining space is located in a beautiful Victorian terrace in Clifton with impeccable service and high quality, gourmet food handcrafted to perfection. The ambience and culinary experience make this gem an absolute must-visit.
Indulge in delightful modern Sri Lankan cuisine at this popular joint in Gloucester road, Bristol. From fiery cocktails to authentic Sri Lankan street food with a twist, this place is unmissable on your Bristol food adventure. There are also plenty of vegetarian/vegan options available here.
3. Swoon Gelato, College Green:
Treat yourself to mouth-watering, gooey gelatos and spectacular sundaes at Swoon Gelato, one of Bristol’s most popular dessert parlours. We love the Triple Chocolate Sundae, Mint Gelato and pastries here.
One thing we all know Bristol for is their amazing beers and local ciders made with high-quality local produce. Bristol Cider Shop serves over 100 varieties of locally produced ciders made with premium British apples. This is an absolute must visit.
Dig into traditional British pies with a gravy of your choice at Pieminister, one of Bristol’s best pie shops serving kickass pies. They also have a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.
One of Bristol’s most scenic restaurants, Riverstation boasts of al fresco dining, delicious food and local ales with a marvellous harbour view.
Experience Bristol’s electrifying live music scene at The Den, a new multi purpose music and food venue that has local artists performing on a daily basis coupled with a fun ambience.
GETTING TO BRISTOL :
Bristol is easily accessible by road, trains and air. We took a comfortable National Express coach from London-Bristol that had us there in 2.5 hours. From India, you can fly to London Heathrow with British Airways and either get a connecting flight or take a bus/train/car to get to Bristol.
ACCOMMODATION IN BRISTOL :
From swanky luxury hotels to cosy Airbnb’s to budget hostels, Bristol has a variety of accommodation choices for everyone.
We stayed at the Mercure Bristol Holland House, a luxurious 4-star property near St Mary’s Redcliffe that had spacious rooms, a well-spread breakfast, all modern amenities and a central location.
To help plan your visit or for any further information on Bristol click here.
Overall, Bristol is a magnetic city with a lot to offer. We loved our experience here. Stay tuned for the complete Bristol vlog.
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