Guides

A Bristol travel guide – hilly landscapes, city waterways and cultural gems

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A Bristol city break is a vibrant experience. Book a Bristol hotel in this picturesque West Country port city and explore Bristol’s harbour, maritime heritage and lively restaurants.

History captured

The soaring Clifton Suspension Bridge, the engineering masterpiece by Isambard Kingdom Brunel perched above Avon Gorge, is a highlight of any Bristol city break. West of the centre in scenic Clifton are boutique shops and England’s longest Georgian crescent, Royal York Crescent. The Brunel-designed SS Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner, is moored at the Floating Harbour. Bristol Cathedral, the city’s cobbled streets, elegant Queen Square and Georgian Corn Exchange in the old financial quarter are tempting photo opportunities.

Cultural kudos

In Clifton’s City Museum & Art Gallery, Old Masters mingle with modern and local art. Curiosity is a mini- museum for under-7s. Flanking Bristol’s harbourside is the trendy Watershed Media Centre, showcasing world cinema, and the visual arts hub, Arnolfini Arts Centre. For theatre, take a trip to Bristol Hippodrome or renovated Bristol Old Vic, the UK's oldest working theatre. Music lovers make for Colston Hall for its fine acoustics. In summer, Bristol Zoo Gardens hosts open-air theatre and live music. 

Shopping city

Bristol shopping has been transformed. Cabot Circus’s new shops include 15 flagship stores – Apple, All Saints, Fat Face and more. Record shops, vintage clothing and trendy boutiques line elegant Park Street. South of the centre is alternative arts venue, the Tobacco Factory. Its Sunday food and craft market has a loyal following. 

City dining

Bristol’s dining and drinking scene is ever-expanding with British fare, French bistros, waterside cocktails and pub pints. Roast partridge and signature fish pie are on the menu at the Bristol Hotel Du Vin & Bistro. The Bridge Café terrace is a memorable spot for a meal with its views overlooking Clifton Suspension Bridge. Harbourside, Shore Cafe Bar is one of many waterfront haunts, and the myth-laden 17th- century Llandoger Trow is perfect for a cosy pint.