things to do in bristol england

Last Updated on: 11th June 2024, 04:47 am

In this guide, I will take you on a journey to explore the vibrant city of Bristol in England. If you’re looking for a captivating destination filled with history, culture, and entertainment, Bristol is the place to be. With its diverse range of attractions and sights, there are plenty of things to do in Bristol England that cater to all interests.

From magnificent landmarks to quirky street art, Bristol attractions are as varied as they are fascinating. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler, there’s always something new to discover in this lively city. So pack your bags and join me on a virtual tour of the best places to visit in Bristol.

Things to do in Bristol, England

1. Bristol Cathedral – A Stunning Architectural Marvel

As I explored Bristol, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the Bristol Cathedral, one of the most significant landmarks of the city. This gorgeous, Gothic-style cathedral dates back to the 12th century and showcases intricate designs and details that are a feast for the eyes. The cathedral proudly stands tall, with its magnificent stained-glass windows and soaring ceilings.

As I stepped inside, I was impressed by the stunning interior of the cathedral, which provides visitors with a glimpse of Bristol’s rich cultural heritage. The stained-glass windows serve as a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who created them.

Don’t forget to explore the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the cathedral, which offer a tranquil retreat from city life. It is no surprise that Bristol Cathedral is one of the city’s points of interest and a must-visit site for anyone traveling to Bristol, England.

2. Clifton Suspension Bridge – An Iconic Landmark

No visit to Bristol is complete without marveling at the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Avon Gorge. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge, snap some photos, and learn about its fascinating history at the visitor centre.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The bridge is not only a feat of engineering but also a stunning work of art. The design and construction of the bridge took over 30 years, and its completion was a significant event in British history. Today, it remains one of the most visited Bristol tourist spots, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Visiting the Bridge

Walking across the Clifton Suspension Bridge is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Bristol. The bridge is free to cross on foot and offers spectacular views of the city and the River Avon below. The visitor centre provides an informative experience, where visitors can learn about the bridge’s history, construction, and maintenance.

The bridge is even more breathtaking at night when it’s illuminated, making it a popular spot for photographers and nighttime sightseeing.

Events at the Bridge

Throughout the year, various events take place at the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s a popular spot for charity walks, music concerts, and even fireworks displays on Bonfire Night. Keep an eye out for upcoming events during your visit.

Address Bridge Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol BS8 3PA
Opening Hours 24 hours
Contact 0117 973 1579

Make sure to add the Clifton Suspension Bridge to your list of must-visit places in Bristol. It’s a true marvel that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into British history.

3. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery – A Cultural Delight

As part of my exploration of Bristol, I highly recommend a visit to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Here, you can immerse yourself in art and culture, and indulge your curiosity for history and natural wonders. The museum is truly a cultural delight and one of the best places to see in Bristol, whether you’re a local resident or a first-time tourist.

The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is housed in an impressive institute and boasts an extensive and diverse collection of art, historical artifacts, and natural history exhibits. From ancient Egyptian mummies to contemporary masterpieces, the museum’s treasures are bound to fascinate visitors of all ages and interests. No visit is the same, as the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that ensure a unique experience for every guest.

What to see at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Artwork Historical Artifacts
  • Modern Art
  • Bristol School Paintings
  • Prints and Drawings
  • Archaeological Finds
  • Geology and Natural History Exhibits
  • Paleontology
Temporary Exhibitions
  • Wildlife Photography
  • Fashion and Textile
  • Sci-Fi Film and TV Memorabilia

The museum isn’t just a feast for the eyes, but also a treasure trove for history enthusiasts. Learn about Bristol’s rich and varied history through the museum’s exhibits on local industry, the slave trade, and World War I and II.

Tip: Don’t miss the “Bristol Boxkite” airplane exhibit that showcases the city’s aviation heritage and its early pioneers of flight

The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is a must-see attraction for travelers interested in Bristol sightseeing and its cultural gems. It’s open every day except for Mondays and is free to visit. Its central location in Bristol’s City Center makes it easily accessible from other Bristol tourist spots.

4. SS Great Britain – Step into Maritime History

As I explore Bristol, I discover that the city is steeped in maritime history, and a visit to the SS Great Britain reveals this legacy. This iconic steamship played a significant role in maritime history and is now a popular tourist attraction in Bristol.

The SS Great Britain was designed by the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was the first ship to feature an iron hull and screw propeller. It was launched in 1843 and made a total of 32 voyages around the world.

When you visit the SS Great Britain, you can explore the ship’s interior, walk on its decks and learn about its voyages across the world. The interactive and immersive exhibits on board the ship offer a fascinating insight into the life of sailors in the 19th century. You can also learn about the ship’s restoration, which was one of the largest of its kind in the world. The museum staff and volunteers are knowledgeable and extremely passionate about the ship’s history.

What I found exciting about the ship is that it has been beautifully preserved, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of what life was like for people on board. The crew cabins, kitchens, and the engine room have been recreated with incredible attention to detail.

Visiting the SS Great Britain is a must for anyone interested in maritime history. Not only does it offer fascinating insights into the world of sailors in the 19th century, but it is also a significant landmark in Bristol’s history.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain Facts

Built by: Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Launched: 1843
Weight: 3,294 Gross Tonnes
Voyages: 32
Current Location: Bristol, England

5. Bristol Zoo Gardens – A Family-Friendly Adventure

One of the top things to do in Bristol England is to visit the Bristol Zoo Gardens, which offers a fantastic wildlife experience for the whole family and kids in Bristol. Located in the heart of Bristol, this zoo is home to a diverse range of animals from around the world. To make the most of your visit, be sure to check out the zoo’s daily schedules and activities.

From interacting with exotic lemurs to spotting colorful birds, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. One of the main attractions at the Bristol Zoo Gardens is the majestic big cats, where you can marvel at their size and beauty.

What’s more, the zoo’s conservation efforts make it an educational and enjoyable experience for all. Learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and their habitats, and how you can make a difference.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do in Bristol, the Bristol Zoo Gardens should definitely be on your list of must-visit attractions while sightseeing in Bristol.

6. M Shed – Uncover Bristol’s History

If you want to learn more about Bristol’s fascinating past, make sure to check out M Shed. This interactive museum located on the harborside takes you on a journey through Bristol’s history, from its industrial roots to modern-day culture.

At M Shed, you’ll get to explore exhibitions that showcase the city’s prominent role in shipbuilding and manufacturing. Dive into Bristol’s multicultural heritage, as the museum highlights the stories of its diverse communities.

What sets M Shed apart is its hands-on approach, where visitors are encouraged to engage and participate in exhibits actively. From listening to oral histories to taking part in interactive exhibits, you’ll uncover Bristol’s history in a unique and engaging way.

Stop by the museum shop to take home one-of-a-kind souvenirs, books, and crafts created by local artisans. Visitors can also grab a bite to eat at the onsite cafe, serving up delicious dishes sourced from local ingredients.

Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about Bristol’s past, M Shed is a must-visit attraction on your trip to the city.

7. St Nicholas Market – A Vibrant Shopping Experience

When it comes to immersing oneself in a shopping experience, St Nicholas Market stands out as one of the best places to visit in Bristol. This market has been the beating heart of Bristol for hundreds of years, and to this day, it remains one of the oldest and largest markets in the city. Exploring the market’s maze of stalls is a must-do activity for anyone interested in Bristol sightseeing.

At St Nicholas Market, one can find a variety of goods, ranging from local produce to artisan crafts. The market is also a culinary adventure with a vast array of international cuisine options. From fresh and tangy falafel wraps to classic British pies, the food stalls at the market have something to offer for all taste buds. I particularly enjoyed the vegan options, which are both delicious and healthy.

The market’s bustling atmosphere is absolutely captivating, especially given the sight of the busy shoppers and merchants busily running their businesses. The energy is contagious, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the place. If you’re looking for a memorable shopping experience, St Nicholas Market is a Bristol attraction that should not be missed.

“Exploring the market’s maze of stalls is a must-do activity for anyone interested in Bristol sightseeing.”

8. Bristol Street Art – A Creative Outdoor Gallery

If you are a fan of street art, Bristol is the perfect destination for you. Everywhere you look, you’ll find amazing artworks that express the city’s vibrant spirit and culture. From local artists to world-renowned names like Banksy, Bristol is a hub of creative talent.

Join a guided tour to learn more about the fascinating stories behind the murals and graffiti. You’ll discover hidden works of art and understand the techniques and messages behind each creation. Alternatively, take a stroll through Bristol’s streets and witness the creativity that flows through every corner.

Don’t miss the opportunity to snap some photos of these incredible works of art and to explore the city’s urban landscape. Bristol’s street art is a must-see for anyone visiting the city, making it one of the best places to visit in Bristol.

Bristol Street Art

The Best Places for Street Art Hunting in Bristol:

Location Description
Bristol City Centre The city centre is home to some of Bristol’s most iconic street art, including Banksy’s Mild, Mild West and The Grim Reaper.
Stokes Croft This area is known for its colorful murals and political graffiti, showcasing the city’s alternative spirit.
North Street A vibrant hub of independent shops and cafes, North Street also features some incredible street art, including the Upfest Gallery.
Bedminster The streets of Bedminster are adorned with an array of murals, featuring everything from pop culture icons to political statements.

While these locations are some of the best places to find street art in Bristol, remember that the city is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Keep your eyes peeled for alleyways and side streets, as well as the more well-known locations.

Conclusion

As I conclude this guide, I hope you’re as excited about visiting Bristol as I am to share its wonders with you. From historic landmarks to cultural hotspots, Bristol offers a range of attractions that will captivate your senses.

Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or simply seeking a fun-filled family holiday, Bristol is the perfect destination. With its vibrant spirit and rich heritage, the city is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. Plan your visit to Bristol, and embark on a memorable journey filled with exploration and discovery. I’m confident you’ll have a great time in this beautiful city.

FAQ

What are some must-visit attractions in Bristol, England?

Some must-visit attractions in Bristol include Bristol Cathedral, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, SS Great Britain, Bristol Zoo Gardens, M Shed, St Nicholas Market, and the vibrant street art scene.

Is there an iconic landmark in Bristol that shouldn’t be missed?

Yes, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is an iconic landmark designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that offers breathtaking views of the city and Avon Gorge. It’s a must-see attraction in Bristol.

What family-friendly activities can be enjoyed in Bristol?

Families can have a great time at Bristol Zoo Gardens, where they can explore diverse wildlife and learn about conservation efforts. The zoo offers educational experiences for all ages.

Where can I learn more about Bristol’s history and maritime heritage?

You can uncover Bristol’s history at the interactive museum M Shed, which takes visitors on a journey through the city’s industrial roots and cultural heritage.

Are there unique shopping experiences to enjoy in Bristol?

St Nicholas Market is a vibrant shopping destination in Bristol, offering a variety of goods, artisan crafts, and international cuisine options. It’s a must-visit for those interested in Bristol’s cultural scene.

Where can I find impressive street art in Bristol?

Bristol is known for its vibrant street art scene, with locations like the city center, Stokes Croft, North Street, and Bedminster showcasing incredible murals and graffiti. Joining a guided tour or exploring on foot are great ways to appreciate the artwork.

Can visitors get insights into Bristol’s architectural marvels and historical artifacts?

Yes, places like Bristol Cathedral and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery offer visitors a glimpse into Bristol’s rich cultural heritage through stunning architecture, stained-glass windows, and diverse art collections.