Getting to Bristol has never been easier with the amount of different types of fares we have. If you are willing to book your ticket at least three days in advance you could use Coachcards to find yourself in this picturesque West Country city for even cheaper.
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Being such an iconic city in terms of British film and art, there are plenty of things to do in Bristol. That’s without taking account of the excellent cuisine and night life you can enjoy while you’re here.
From autumn and winter attractions, to specific recommendations for families, we’ve packed this page with nuggets of inspiration to get your trip off to a flying start.
If you’re after a great night out, The Stable on Harbourside is the perfect place to begin. Not only do they specialise in gourmet pizzas and pies, they also pride themselves on an extensive range of ciders. While you’ll find the super-chilled fizzy kind, the traditional, still, Scrumpy-style ciders are also in abundance. What’s more, you can book a tasting experience… oh, and they also feature live music most weekends.
If you are looking for a bit more of a treat for your dining experience, look no further than Bordeaux Quay; an award-winning restaurant, deli, brasserie, wine bar and bakery, nestled on the picturesque harbour. While a little on the dear side, it is hard to complain when the food and the views are as good as they are here.
There’s something about a bar hidden underneath something else that makes the bar infinitely cooler. Being hidden underneath an Indian restaurant, Hausbar is a case in point, providing an excellent way to finish the night with some of Bristol’s finest cocktails. It’s worth noting that you do have to ring a doorbell to get in – but we’re not complaining – it all adds to the charm of the place.
Any stalwart of Bristol nightlife will have Thekla somewhere on their top 10 list of places to go. Perhaps less somewhere to go for a quiet waterside drink and more the kind of place you always wished you’d end up in your student days, this is the place hedonists seek out in the late to early hours. What’s so good about it? Well… the drinks are reasonably priced and there are numerous club nights to choose from. But mainly because you get to party on a boat.
Cabot Circus is a shopping centre in the middle of a shopping district, Broadmead. Holding everything from high end shops to niche independent stores, Cabot Circus has everything you could possibly want in a shopping experience. The best part is, if you can’t find it in Cabot Circus, you can find it elsewhere in Broadmead.
St Nicholas Market
Soon after its creation in 1743, the St. Nicholas Market became the biggest market in Bristol and a much loved institution in its own right. Surrounded by historical Georgian architecture in the heart of the old city, the market is the perfect place to go for fresh, local food and straight out of the oven delicacies. The hustle and bustle of the market is perfect for whiling away the hours browsing the vast range of locally sourced produce.
Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is to Bristol what the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco; an iconic part of the landscape and quintessentially Bristolian. Standing tall over a deep rift through which the river Avon flows, Brunel’s design for the bridge was revolutionary at the time and remains a marvellous feat of engineering today. A picture post card opportunity awaits: the views from the bridge are simply stunning.
Being, possibly, the most famous artist in the world today, Banksy has sold his work for hundreds of thousands of pounds. However some of his most famous pieces are still displayed on the streets of Bristol. These make for a great walking tour, with Banksy’s inimitable graffiti used as a backdrop to your journey through the city.
At-Bristol Science Centre
Science museums and centres are great for merging educational lessons with fun, hands on experiments and Bristol’s is one of the best. With hundreds of displays and live demonstrations, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. What makes it particularly special is the integration of some of Bristol’s best loved animated characters via a dedicated Aardman exhibition. To find out if you’ve got what it takes to create the next Wallace & Gromit, make sure to visit At-Bristol.
Let your kids be taken away to an alien world beneath the waves. At Bristol’s marvellous aquarium, you can both educate and amaze your kids about the wonders of life within our oceans. With the centrepiece being a replication of a sunken ship since converted into an artificial reef, the diversity and wonder of the creatures on display here are mesmerising.
While you can’t see all there is to see in Bristol in 24 hours, it’s possible to get a good feel for what the city has to offer. Of course, the start of any full day of sightseeing should be getting stocked up on fuel. Our recommendation is Ironworks Supply and Co. for a hearty breakfast and some excellent coffee to get you fired up and raring to go.
After breakfast comes the first activity of the day. Obviously this depends massively on your particular interests, but we would suggest starting out with a Banksy-themed walking tour. This will allow you to burn off some of those pancake-sourced calories while seeing the works of one of the most iconic artists of modern times in situ.
After the extensive walking tour, you’ll want to stay in one place for a while. Therefore we’d recommend heading over to Clifton Suspension Bridge – perhaps even pitching up with a flask of hot coffee and picnic. The views are simply staggering. Then, if you’ve got time, we’d recommend Bristol’s aquarium which is certainly worth a visit, no matter the age of the group.
Depending on how long you spent in the aquarium you could have time for another activity at this point. If you do, you would not regret a quick stroll to the SS Great Britain and the museum that is contained below the ship’s deck. The SS Great Britain offers a fantastic looking glass into what life upon the ship would have been like in its heyday.
After this busy afternoon, you’ll be in need of a good long feed. For your last night in Bristol, we would recommend the Pump House, which is a very short walk from both the Aquarium and the SS Great Britain. Offering a lovely selection of drinks as well as a delicious dinner, this is the perfect place to end the day or start the night.
With a surprisingly enticing twist of combining a bar with a movie theatre, The Horts has perfected the movie watching experience. You can settle in before the movie with a drink or two, enjoy the film within comfy surroundings and discuss the twists and turns of the plot to your heart’s content well into the evening. A lovely little novelty that helps the already great bar be elevated to greatness.
Hyde and Co.
There’s something that feels so nice about a hidden bar. The exclusivity just adds to the atmosphere brilliantly. In Hyde and Co. they go above and beyond, hiding a secret bar within another bar, already hard to find. After ringing the doorbell to get in, you have to go through an innocuous looking bookcase to get to the secret room within. The dimly lit surroundings of this speakeasy make it a perfect hideaway from the busy streets above.
Warm up at the Lido
With The Lido’s series of pools, saunas and steam rooms, all heated up to various levels, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled across a Scandinavian, rather than Bristolian paradise. Coupled with an award winning restaurant, the team here take the strain so you don’t have to.
If you are looking to perfect the art of relaxation, you need look no further than the Lido.
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