When you think about UK or England, what is the first thing that crosses your mind? Probably something like, London, Queen Elizabeth, rain, football, expensive country, etc. Am I right?
Well definitely it’s not Bristol that crosses your mind first, but it should!
To be fair, I didn’t give it much thought while planning my UK trip. All I had at the beginning was, I fly to London and out of East Midlands Airport. I have to attend Bachelorette (Hens) party in Bath and wedding in Sheffield. And for all that I have 3 weeks, let’s make a plan now!
So it went, London for few days, Bath for the weekend and then Bristol! All I can say is, thank God I stopped in Bristol!
Things to do in Bristol
All I knew before arriving there was, it’s a city in England and it’s close to Wales!
Boy was I missing out for years. I can most definitely say that Bristol is in my Top 3 cities in whole UK! Let’s see why!
There is tons of things to do in Bristol, but these are my favorite!
1. Just take a nice stroll along the canals and the Harbour
My favorite for sure. Just take a nice stroll along the canals, sit down in one of many cute cafes on the way and just take it all in. Vibe of the city, people’s lifestyle and view of the beautiful colorful houses on a hilltops.
2. Walk through little windy streets of Clifton
Make sure you don’t go on the main roads, but on a tiny windy roads like Polygon Lane. Which is absolutely beautiful! Mark my words, you are going to love it!
3. Admire beautiful Royal York Crescent and it’s view
As in Bath, you can also find Crescent in Bristol. This one is named Royal York Crescent and it has a beautiful view of surrounding hills. Also doors of the houses are so beautiful!
4. Cross famous Clifton Suspension Bridge
This majestic suspension bridge actually connects Clifton in Bristol and Leigh Woods in north Somerset. It spans over Avon gorge and it’s river so you should definitely cross it and enjoy the views. It’s totally free for pedestrians and bicyclists, but to cross with car you have to pay.
5. Walk up to Clifton Observatory and check out it’s Camera Obscura
Clifton Observatory, actually former mill offers you two things – Camera Obscura and Giant’s Cave. This Camera Obscura is the only one that’s open to the public in whole England. It offers you panoramic view of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge. From Giant’s Cave there is also a nice view of the bridge. It costs 2,5euros for one and 4euros for both attractions.
6. Spend an hour in beautiful Bristol Botanical Garden
The Holmes is a majestic building with big gardens that University of Bristol chose for their botanical gardens. You can visit glasshouses and see tropical plants that otherwise you would not. And after that just take a nice stroll around the gardens. Finish your stroll at the pond, sit down and just admire how majestic The Holmes is in this scenery!
7. Go and hang out with lemurs at Bristol’s ZOO
Not a lot of ZOO’s have lemurs, so this makes Bristol ZOO even more special. It’s very well maintained ZOO and staff is very passionate and knowledgeable. I was just amazed by the size of Asiatic lions there, and there was even a little gorilla in the ZOO. Definitely a place you should visit with your kids or by yourself if you are in need to see some animals!
8. Pass by Clifton College and admire the beautiful architecture
If my school would look anything like that, I would not want to stop going there. I would spend all my time there! Just amazing!
9. Take a look at Foster’s Almshouse
Architecture at it’s best. definitely worth to take a look at this impressive old buildings.
10. Walk up/down Christmas Steps
Yes you heard it right, Christmas Steps. It did change names few times during it’s history, but that’s expected since these steps are from middle age!
11. Buy something at Saint Nicholas Market
I always like local markets. Just explore it a bit and finish up with eating something at it’s food market!
12. Eat a falafel at Eat a Pita
Oh man! That was one big Falafel. I didn’t even know where to start eating. But it’s so delicious so that you can’t stop eating. Just a tip, it’s easier to eat if you take it in the box, not in the wrap!
13. Visit St Mary Redcliffe Church and Bristol Cathedral
Typical places to stop in cities are usually cathedrals and churches so give them few moments and admire the architecture! Queen Elizabeth I described this Cathedral as ‘The goodliest, fairest and most famous parish church in England”. So definitely worth a visit!
14. Climb Cabot Tower for view of the city
To get best views of the city you should climb up the Cabot Tower. It’s gonna take some effort to get there, but it’s well worth it!
15. Rediscover kid in you at @-Bristol Science Centre
I felt like a little kid here. So many cool things to try out. Too bad I didn’t visit anything like this when I was a kid. Make sure you bring your kids here or just go by yourself and rediscover kid in you!
16. Try (at least) one of the local ales/ ciders
I always try to drink something local and what can be better then local ales and ciders? I’m not a big fan of Ciders or Ales, but i always go for local craft beers! You have quite a big selection in Bristol so just go ahead!
17. Explore Oakham Treasures
A little hidden gem in the city. Definitely worth a visit!
18. Travel back in time with Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Such a majestic ship that changed the World! No one could imagine anything like this back in 1843, except Brunel. He rocked the whole World with his combination of innovative technology, power and size of this ship. It’s as majestic inside as it’s outside! Well worth spending few hours here!
19. Learn more about Bristol at M-Shed
Great museum that shows you Bristol’s history and important events that shaped this amazing city!
20. Discover Banksy’s art around the city
Now a world-famous artist, started his career in Bristol back in 1980’s. He was one of first street artists in Bristol and you can see a lot of his work on streets of Bristol. Try find them yourself or take Banksy’s Tour.
21. Try to find Blaise Hamlet
Beautiful little cottage a bit outside of Bristol centre, but definitely worth a visit!
22. Spend some time exploring Arnos Vale Cemetery
Such a mystic place. Go and explore this beautiful cemetery in outskirts of Bristol! You won’t regret it!
23. Shop and eat at Watershed
There are cool shops and restaurants in Watershed as well as Bristol Tourist Information office.
24. Spend few hours wandering around Ashton Court Estate and try to spot a deer there
Beautiful Ashton Court Estate used to be a home to Smyth family, but it’s now a historic park. Well worth spending few hours exploring the park and finding deers in it!
These are just some things to do in Bristol, that I would recommend. But as usual there is so much more that city has to offer. Alter you itinerary to your wishes and needs. Bristol is definitely one of the top cities to visit in UK. Make sure you spend there at least 2-3days if not even more.
There is also tons of festival going around city all year round. Though Bristol is probably most known for it’s Bristol International Ballon Fiesta. You should definitely go there if you are in UK that time of the year.
** I received Media Pass from Visit Bristol, but all opinions are my own!
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