Bristol is bursting at the seams with culture and historical attractions, as well as an eclectic mixture of restaurants, bars and nightlife – from the classy joints in Clifton, to the more down to earth establishments in student areas. There’s truly something to fascinate and please around every corner. Bristol Harbour has become a hub of activity – salute as you board SS Great Britain or set off on an intrepid journey of your own.
Tabot Square Shopping Centre has enough shops to occupy you for a day. However the busy shopping facilities on Bristol High Street are testament to the fact that shops in city centres cannot only survive, but thrive, despite the onslaught of out of town retail parks – the giganticCribbs Causeway being one.
If you dislike parting with your cash, Bristol has plenty of options – pack a cricket set, picnic and a few chums and pitch up at Bristol Downs - all the ingredients for a great day out. If you have a tendency towards vertigo perhaps you should avoid Clifton Suspension Bridge – a supreme example of the engineering genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The drop is awesome.
Bristol’s Top 10
10. The Matthew A replica of John Cabot’s 1497 boat, the ship which discovered Newfoundland. Hop onboard for a cruise.
5.Bristol Aquarium and IMAX 3D Cinema Fishy fun at the Harbourside.
9. St Mary Redcliffe Church Is an example of how beautiful Gothic architecture can be. In the centre of Bristol.
4. At-Bristol Is a brilliant interactive science centre with a Planetarium. How are stars made? Find out here.
8. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Get hands on with a variety of animals, but perhaps not too hands on with the tigers and lions. Let the kids loose in the 12 play areas.
3. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery The story of our world since the beginning of time, needs at least a day.
7. City Sightseeing – The Bristol Tour Open top bus, headphones, guide. You get the picture.
2. Bristol Hippodrome One of the UK’s top provincial theatres, stages big West End and Broadway shows as well as great pantos.
6. Banksy Graffiti Frogmore Street Bristol’s very own anti-establishment artist makes his mark.
1. Bristol Zoo Has welcomed over 90 million visitors in its 175 years. Go see why.
Foodies Festival Food, as well as drink, and top culinary talent at this annual event held in June at the Harbourside.
The Bristol Shakespeare Festival The very best of open air theatre during July, held at various attractive green spaces across the city.
Much loved community carnival St Paul’s Afrikan Caribbean Carnival offers dance, music and colour during July.
Pride Bristol celebrates all things GLBT in July. Fun and popular event with a host of entertainment on offer.
Race For Life Get your running shoes on, and help beat breast cancer at this annual Cancer Research UK event in July.
Bristol Harbour Festival One of the city’s liveliest and largest events – held in July – dragon boat races, markets and kids’ shows are just a few of the entertainments on offer.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Four days of colourful fun at the UK’s biggest Balloonfest. Look skywards at Ashton Court in August.
Bristol Fashion Week Takes place at Cribb’s Causeway, Bristol’s largest shopping centre, during the month of September.
Bristol International Festival of Kites and Air Creations Superb contraptions will take your breath away during September.
Christmas in the city starts with the switching- on of the Bristol Christmas lights, and Christmas markets on nearby Corn Street. The festive fun runs from November to January.
When to Go
· Like most of the UK, Bristol has a mild yet changeable climate, featuring four distinct seasons, from crisp spring days, warm summers and cool winters. Autumn is a pleasant time to visit, when humidity is lower.
· Temperatures during the summer months tend to peak at around 25°C, with an average of around 23°C. Winter months see temperatures fall to 7°C on average.
· Winter tends to be the wettest season, however as usual, when heading off anywhere in the UK, always pack plenty of waterproofs in anticipation of rain.
· Bristol Temple Meads is the main railway station and is around a 15 minute walk from the centre, or a short bus trip. Trains run to most major UK cities from here. Drivers have the M4 and M5 motorways on the doorstep for fast transport around the country.
· Bristol Bus Station is where to get your National Express coach to cities across the UK, and it’s around 2 hours to London.
· Bristol International Airport is just eight miles south of the city, on the A38, for flights to Europe and the UK. The Bristol Flyer is an express coach service to and from the airport from the city centre.
While Bristol may fly under the proverbial tourist radar for some, the city of 500,000 people in South West England is a force. The former European Capital of Culture finalist has a vibrant arts and music scene, with such notable hometown acts as Massive Attack and Portishead. Throw in the fantastic beauty of Avon Gorge, most conspicuous from Clifton Suspension Bridge and the wonderful expanse of Clifton Down, and you have a complete gem in Bristol.
Idyllic geography and enviable Grade I architecture, from the Avon Bridge to Bristol Cathedral, Blaise Hamlet and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, work in tandem to make the city one of the most handsome in England. There is certainly no shortage of historic landmarks in and around Bristol, some of which date as far back as the 12th century. With some of the best restaurants, pubs and clubs in the region, visitors are sure to enjoy the city as much by night as by day.
Bristol enjoys more sunshine on average than the rest of England, although annual precipitation levels remain on par.
- Winter (December to February) 2-8°C
- Spring (March to May) 4-18°C
- Summer (June to September) 12-23°C
- Fall (October to November) 5-15°C
Bristol - General information
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