When you think of the South West of the UK for a weekend break, your mind probably wanders to Wales, Bath or Cheltenham. However, don’t underestimate how great Bristol is for a visit; food, shopping, culture and history - it's got it all! There's so much to do in this vibrant city if you have a few days to explore, but what if you only have a weekend to spare? Don't worry, we've done the legwork and are here to inspire you on how to get the best of the Bristol bucket list.
No visit to Bristol would be complete without a stop to Brunel's SS Great Britain. This is a great day out for people of all ages and is way more than a ship museum. The history of this famous boat and the man who designed it, is beautifully presented with a walk through interactive exhibit that showcases the history, salvage and restoration of the SS Great Britain. Informative and fun displays take you through the various eras, and once onboard you can go down through the restored decks to experience what it might have been like to be a first class passenger or to work as crew in the boat’s heyday.
Up on top deck, you can see aerial shows and even climb the ropes if you're feeling brave (under 18s free, additional charge for adults). This is also the perfect spot to take the classic Bristol photograph. You can’t go to Bristol and not add the multicoloured house scene to your Instagram! You can easily spend a full day at Brunel's SS Great Britain if you have the time but 3-5 hours is plenty to get your money's worth. If you're up for a short walk afterwards catch the Cross Harbour Ferry for just £1 (children under 5 are free) and wander over to harbourside.
There are loads of quirky stores and independent food stops around here to grab a bite to eat and if you’re in this area you must take a stroll through to Millennium Square. This large public space is home to We The Curious - a fun and educational arts and science museum plus it’s close to Bristol Aquarium, another fun family day out. If you don’t have time to visit all of the attractions in Bristol there is still lots to see or do and it’s just a short walk to the Waterfront which is home to bars, restaurants and seasonal markets. The tourist information shop is based here too, selling tickets for local transport and attractions plus some great Bristol merchandise to take home!
If you’re after a shopping fix while in Bristol then the Shopping Quarter is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy. The area has been split into various districts - Broadmead, The Galleries, The Arcade, Cabot Circus and Quakers Friars, making this huge shopping zone certain to please. There are hundreds of well known high street chains, designer and boutique stores plus restaurants for when you need a pit stop!
Last but definitely not least, a trip to Bristol surely must include a look at some of the famous street art the city is renowned for. Where The Wall runs award-winning walking tours with tour guides who are experts on the cities graffiti scene. Leaving from near the University grounds (which are also beautiful), the most popular tour runs every day and includes Banksy’s 'Well Hung Lover' and 'Mild Mild West'. This experience is keen to take tourists beyond Bristol's most famous export and gives an insight into the whole of the street art scene. The tour includes highlights from global street artists who have visited the city to paint and explains when the culture grew, how styles and trends have evolved and definitely leaves you with a greater appreciation for Bristol and street art. Ending in the famous Stokes Croft area means you're not too far away from the coach station if you do need to head back home afterwards.
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