Get to Know Bristol
Nestled in the hills of South West England, Bristol has a lot to offer, with its vibrant arts and culture, lively nightlife and eclectic foodie scene. Check out the colourful street art including works by Banksy, stroll around the buzzing harbourside, and admire the views from the landmark bridge. Here are our favourite things to see and do in this friendly city:
With free admission to 19 galleries and over 3 floors of exhibitions that reveal fascinating cultures, human invention and creativity, Bristol Museum tells the story of our world in every display, from the beginning of time to the present day. It hosts world class exhibitions of art, archaeology and a billion years of natural history, ranging from amazing fossils showing traces of creatures that have evolved and become extinct, to Britain’s best-preserved dinosaurs.
Photo: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – Visit Bristol
Bristol’s No.1 attraction tells the fascinating story of the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and ‘the ship that changed the world’ – the first great ocean liner. Brunel combined size, power and innovative technology to create the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854, purpose built for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York.
Photo: SS Great Britain – Historic UK
Step on board the magnificent ship, explore the museum’s exhibitions and see interactive performances, including Moby Dick and other discovery talks; then sit and relax over afternoon tea. With student prices starting from £15, and the option to return any time during the year for free, be sure to head down to this attraction!
Aerospace offers a packed programme of events, including story sessions, hands-on activities and specialist tours, as you fly through aviation history from the earliest aeroplanes to the space race. The star attraction is the last Concorde ever to fly; step aboard the iconic jet and imagine how passengers enjoyed glamourous travel at supersonic speeds, and at twice the height of today’s commercial planes – so high you could see the curvature of the Earth. Student tickets start from £14.50, and your ticket entitles you to free return visits for 12 months.
Photo: Concorde at Aerospace Bristol – Visit Bristol
Learn about Bristol life, its people and its places, displayed through colourful exhibitions, which detail the history of the city. Housed in a 1950’s dockside transit shed, this is a new kind of museum, which challenges traditional ideas. Bristol’s stories have been put together with the help of the local community, and brought to life through a rich collection of quirky objects, personal photos, film, art and archives. Admission is free, and it’s well worth a visit.
Photo: M Shed – Flickr
Just 3 miles from the city centre, this secluded piece of countryside is the perfect place to unwind from busy everyday life. Discover a pretty lake and a wildlife haven, where groups of volunteers organise conservation work, talks, guided walks and activities for all to get involved in.
Spanning the picturesque Avon Gorge and River Avon, linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset, Clifton Suspension Bridge is the symbol of the city of Bristol. Since its opening in 1864, it has been mainly used as a toll bridge, however there is always something fun happening at the visitor centre: you can take a free tour at 3pm every Saturday and Sunday between Easter and October to learn about the history of the bridge. Or join a ‘hard hat tour’ of the Leigh Woods Vaults; these chambers were discovered in 2002 and are part of the structure that supports the tower and holds up the bridge. Feel the bridge move, especially when it’s windy! Suspension bridges are designed to be flexible, and this bridge moves up and down and from side to side.
Climb Observatory Hill for a stunning view of the bridge, then whizz back down on the Rock Slide, which has been worn smooth by thousands of bottoms over many decades. You could also visit the Camera Obscura and Giant’s Cave at Clifton Observatory.
Photo: Clifton Suspension Bridge: Chris Hepburn – The Telegraph
Be sure to visit the most exciting escape room in Bristol, which offers a selection of great games. Prepare for an hour of pulse-racing merrymaking, as you try to solve puzzles and clues to break free. Described as being in ‘a class of its own’, come and see what all the fuss is about!
If you fancy a heart-racing challenge, head to Bristol’s High Ropes Adventure course. The Leap of Faith is the ultimate test of nerves as you climb up 25ft and stand on the platform to take a terrifying leap onto a giant punch bag! Or get your adrenaline pumping with the thrill of the giant 3G Swing. Grab your mates and get strapped into a paragliding harness; hold on tight as you are lifted up high, then dare to keep your eyes open as gravity does the rest – a unique experience you’ll be sure to remember. And there’s plenty more to enjoy at this action-packed outdoor activity and climbing event centre.
Photo: Leap of Faith – Bristol Business News
Home to award winning dumplings, this small cosy operation has limited seating yet offers amazing Japanese cuisine. Located in St Nicks Market, Eatchu became a permanent resident of Bristol in 2016 after popular appearances at festivals and popups that summer. Try our favourite gyozas: pork and garlic chive, or spinach and tofu, as part of your Japanese street food experience.
This relaxed and informal deli sells some of the best Italian food in Bristol. The people behind La Sorella are a close-knit family, whose idea was for people to stop by on their way home and stock up on homemade pasta and cakes, store cupboard staples and bottles of Italian wine. It’s the place to go after work, to snack on Nocellara olives and plates of cured meats. Their menu is short and sweet, and the food is delicious. Come and roll through the day as you are served breakfast, excellent espresso, cakes, lunch and dinner!
Photo: La Sorella
A popular independent coffee stop known for its excellent espresso, filter coffee and food. Proud to serve Bristol-baked cakes and sourdough sandwiches, with house roast beans by Clifton Coffee and guest roasters from Bristol and beyond.
Full Court Press
This hidden gem offers amazing coffee and great service by very informative and friendly staff. With a focus on coffee beans instead of cup types, they are happy to advise on choice of beans and which alternative milk to pair. If you are serious about your coffee, this place is a must! It’s no wonder they are winners of the Certificate of Excellence 2015-2019.
Photo: Full Court Press – Cosy Coffee Shops
Visit Bristol’s Original Prohibition Bar – a low-lit, stylish venue, serving award-winning cocktails amid vintage standard lamps and framed mirrors. Owners Nathan, Jason and Kevin felt disheartened after a Christmas party left them feeling there had to be more to a good night out, and following a trip to New York, the concept for Hyde & Co was born. Back in 2010, with no social media, no website and zero marketing, the success of Hyde & Co was spread by word of mouth alone, and is now a multi award-winning ‘must visit’ location on Bristol’s celebrated cocktail scene.
Photo: Hyde & Co – Visit Bristol
Relax in this glamorous retro-style drinking den, for classic and modern cocktails mixed by bartenders in braces. Known as ‘a stark vision in bare neon’, it is frivolous, audacious and oozing with glamour – perfect for a night out with friends.
Photo: Twitter @RedLightBristol
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