Final Up to date: 3/2/23 | March 2nd, 2023
Whereas most vacationers who go to England solely go to London, there are literally a number 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 each time I discussed I used to be heading to Bristol.
For sure, I had low expectations. However I visited anyway. In spite of everything, there’s no such factor 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 area.
Bristol is just like the English model of Seattle. Most vacationers appear to make use of it as a base for journeys to Tub however by no means absolutely discover this metropolis, giving it solely a short 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 delivery ports in England. It acquired a royal constitution in 1155 and, till the rise of Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester through the Industrial Revolution, was one in all England’s largest cities.
Bristol suffered in depth bombing throughout World Struggle II and a subsequent decline in its manufacturing trade. Immediately, the town is a vibrant faculty city. The College of Bristol dominates the town, and the scholars present a number of revenue and jobs for the neighborhood.
That will help you take advantage of out of your go to, right here’s a listing of my favourite issues to see and do in Bristol:
1. Bristol Cathedral
This stunning cathedral was consecrated in 1148 and was constructed within the Romanesque model (and has an analogous design to Notre Dame in Paris). Initially named St. Augustine’s Abbey, the cathedral stretches over 300 ft and whereas a lot of it has been rebuilt, a number of the unique constructing stays.
Faculty Inexperienced, West Finish, +44 117 926 4879, bristol-cathedral.co.uk. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm and 11:30am-3pm on Sundays. Gown respectfully as it is a place of worship. Admission is free. Excursions can be found on most Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:30am and a pair of:15pm for five GBP.
2. Wander King Road
Initially specified by 1650, King Road is a captivating, historic a part of Bristol. It was once the place the outdated crusing barges docked after their journeys from South Wales. Now the world is the center of the theatrical district and options excellent bars and eating places. There are even some pubs from the seventeenth century which are nonetheless standing, reminiscent of The Hatchet Inn which was constructed within the Tudor model in 1606!
3. See the Clifton Suspension Bridge
That is Bristol’s most well-known landmark. Suspended excessive above the Avon Gorge and River Avon, the bridge opened in 1864 and gives 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 ft) and handles nearly 10,000 autos per day. There’s a small customer heart close by the place you possibly can be taught 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 vigorous, bustling market with extra retailers than you can undergo in a day. There appears to be an limitless variety of farmers’ stalls with superb native produce, second-hand bookshops, and classic clothes shops. The market dates again to 1743 and is the right place to wander, discover, and other people watch.
Corn St, +44 117 922 4014, bristol.gov.uk/net/st-nicholas-markets. Open Monday-Saturday from 9:30am-5pm.
5. Go to the Bristol Museum and Artwork Gallery
Established in 1823, this museum covers slightly little bit of every little thing — from archaeology to dinosaurs to English historical past to artwork. The expansive selection retains issues fascinating so even non-history buffs will get pleasure from 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 simple to see in a couple of hours. Plus, like all public museums in England, it’s free!
Queens Street, +44 117 922 3571, bristolmuseums.org.uk/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery. 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 vital port for nearly a thousand years. With a lot historical past, it ought to come as no shock that the town has collected its justifiable share 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 road 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 road artwork by artists from all around the world.
Excursions from The place the Wall final 2 hours and canopy the town’s greatest 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 quick strolling excursions permit you to expertise a few of Bristol’s oldest neighborhoods and can train you concerning the early historical past of the town through 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
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 truly the longest ship on the planet for nearly a decade. (It’s 322 ft lengthy).
Sadly, because it was so massive 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 bought 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 was a vacationer attraction.
Nice Western Dockyard, +44 0117 926 0680, ssgreatbritain.org. 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 children. They’ve a planetarium, 3D printers, and displays protecting the human physique, magnets, animation, and extra! The constructing is at the moment closed for repairs after a hearth however plans to reopen someday in 2023.
1 Millennium Sq., +44 0117 915 1000, wethecurious.org. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is 16.50 GBP.
9. Calm down 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 absorb the views, and there’s loads of area to unfold out and luxuriate in a pure retreat with out straying too removed from the town.
10. See Cabot Tower
The tower, which stands 32 meters (105 ft), was constructed within the Eighteen Nineties to have a good time 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 because the Norse Vikings in 1000 CE). The tower is constructed from sandstone and has a slim staircase inside you can climb to absorb the sweeping view.
Brandon Hill Park, +44 0117 922 3719, bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/brandon-hill. Open every day from 8:00am-5:15pm. Admission is free.
11. Go to Blaise Fort
Inbuilt 1798 within the Gothic Revival model, this “fortress” is definitely a sham — it’s not an actual fortress however somewhat 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 encircling 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 be taught extra concerning the fortress and its quirky historical past.
Kings Weston Rd, +44 117 922 2000, bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/blaise-castle-estate. 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 linked Bristol to Tub. Immediately it’s a three-mile heritage railway the place you possibly can journey 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 lovers, there’s a strolling path beside the tracks for those who’d somewhat discover on foot.
Bitton Station, +44 117 932 5538, avonvalleyrailway.org. 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
If you happen to’re in search of an journey exterior of the town, go to the Wookey Gap Caves. This distinctive geological space is a fast and simple day journey from Bristol (it’s simply an hour away by automotive). The limestone caves had 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 throughout the caves. If you happen to’re feeling adventurous, contemplate taking a ship journey by the waters contained in the cave the place you’ll find out about spelunking.
The Mill, Excessive St, Wookey Gap, +44 1749 672243, wookey.co.uk. Opening hours fluctuate based mostly on holidays and seasons however are typically 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 retailers. The entire road is walkable, and also you’ll discover loads of locations to cease and people-watch. You’ll discover distinctive one-of-a-kind retailers and boutiques each few steps, and it’s an excellent place to get pleasure from some tasty native meals. There are additionally loads of hip cafes and vigorous pubs on this space as nicely.
I assumed Bristol, with its outdated industrial-turned-Bohemian allure, made for an excellent 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 need to discover.
However that works out for the remainder of us. For whereas everybody else heads off to Tub, we will have the town of Bristol to ourselves.
I believe 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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