Final Up to date: 3/2/23 | March 2nd, 2023
Whereas most vacationers who go to England solely go to London, there are literally loads of different gems within the nation value 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 thing as “must-see” — and which means there’s no such factor as “should skip” both.
On arrival, I discovered a hip faculty city with superb eateries, fantastic 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 Bath however by no means absolutely 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 most important 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 through the Industrial Revolution, was one in every of England’s largest cities.
Bristol suffered in depth bombing throughout World Struggle II and a subsequent decline in its manufacturing business. As we speak, town is a vibrant faculty city. The College of Bristol dominates town, and the scholars present loads of revenue and jobs for the neighborhood.
That can assist 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 lovely cathedral was consecrated in 1148 and was constructed within the Romanesque type (and has an analogous 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, bristol-cathedral.co.uk. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm and 11:30am-3pm on Sundays. Costume 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 an interesting, historic a part of Bristol. It was once the place the previous crusing barges docked after their journeys from South Wales. Now the realm is the center of the theatrical district and options excellent bars and eating places. There are even some pubs from the seventeenth century which can be nonetheless standing, akin to The Hatchet Inn which was constructed within the Tudor type 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 supplies 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 automobiles per day. There’s a small customer middle close by the place you may be taught extra in regards to the bridge and its historical past too (it’s open day by day from 10am-5pm).
4. Take a look at St. Nicholas Market
It is a energetic, bustling market with extra retailers than you might undergo in a day. There appears to be an countless 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 somewhat little bit of every part — from archaeology to dinosaurs to English historical past to artwork. The expansive selection retains issues fascinating so even non-history buffs will take pleasure in it. It’s the realm’s largest museum and one in every of 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 number of hours. Plus, like all public museums in England, it’s free!
Queens Highway, +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 previous 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 town has collected its justifiable share of ghost tales. To listen to a number of the tales as you discover town, take a haunted strolling tour with Haunted and Hidden Ghost Walks. Their tour begins nightly at 8pm, lasts 90 minutes, and is properly definitely worth the 7 GBP!
If haunted walks aren’t your cup of tea, take a avenue artwork tour. Bristol is house to a number of works by Banksy in addition to tons of different murals. Bristol was Banksy’s street-art house, and you’ll uncover over 30 years of avenue artwork by artists from everywhere in the world.
Excursions from Where the Wall final 2 hours and canopy 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 possibility, particularly for historical past buffs. These quick strolling excursions let you expertise a few of Bristol’s oldest neighborhoods and can educate you in regards to the early historical past of 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 value 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 really the longest ship on the planet for nearly a decade. (It’s 322 toes 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 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 become 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 middle is an academic charity devoted to cultivating curiosity. Opened in 2000, it’s house to over 250 interactive reveals, making it a enjoyable and academic place to go to in the event you’re touring with children. They’ve a planetarium, 3D printers, and reveals overlaying 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. Chill out on the Downs
The Downs (Clifton Down and Durdham Down) are a protected parkland on the sting of 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 calm down, stroll, and watch the locals play sports activities. The world generally known as the Sea Wall is the right place to soak up the views, and there’s loads of area to unfold out and luxuriate in a pure retreat with out straying too removed from town.
10. See Cabot Tower
The tower, which stands 32 meters (105 toes), 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 for the reason that Norse Vikings in 1000 CE). The tower is constructed from sandstone and has a slender staircase inside you could climb to soak up the sweeping view.
Brandon Hill Park, +44 0117 922 3719, bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/brandon-hill. Open day by day from 8:00am-5:15pm. Admission is free.
11. Go to Blaise Citadel
Inbuilt 1798 within the Gothic Revival type, this “fort” is definitely a sham — it’s not an actual fort however quite 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 house that has been transformed right into a museum the place you may be taught extra in regards to the fort and its quirky historical past.
Kings Weston Rd, +44 117 922 2000, bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/blaise-castle-estate. Open day by day from 7:30am–5:15pm (5:15pm within the winter). Admission is free.
12. Journey the Avon Valley Railway
This railway, which dates again to the 1860s, as soon as related Bristol to Tub. As we speak it’s a three-mile heritage railway the place you may trip a steam-powered prepare. There’s additionally a totally restored Victorian prepare station the place you may get a way of what touring was like on the flip of the final century. For mountain climbing fans, there’s a strolling path beside the tracks in the event you’d quite discover on foot.
Bitton Station, +44 117 932 5538, avonvalleyrailway.org. Open day by 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
When you’re in search of an journey exterior of 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 automobile). The limestone caves have been created from an underground river and you’ll discover them through a 35-minute tour. There’s additionally a museum that shows artifacts found throughout the caves. When you’re feeling adventurous, take into account taking a ship trip by means of the waters contained in the cave the place you’ll study spelunking.
The Mill, Excessive St, Wookey Gap, +44 1749 672243, wookey.co.uk. Opening hours differ based mostly on holidays and seasons however are typically 9:40am-4:30pm. Test the web site for particular occasions. Admission is 21.45 GBP.
14. Discover Gloucester Highway
Bristol’s Gloucester Highway options Europe’s largest stretch of unbiased retailers. 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 retailers and boutiques each few steps, and it’s a terrific place to take pleasure in some tasty native meals. There are additionally loads of hip cafes and energetic pubs on this space as properly.
I believed Bristol, with its previous industrial-turned-Bohemian allure, made for a terrific place to spend a number of days. There have been historic homes to go to, a number of good museums, and a few fantastic parks. Its picture as an industrial middle 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 Bath, we will have 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 properly value a go to.
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