Simply put, Bristol is a super cool city. From the hipsters in Stokes Croft to the swankier residents of Clifton, Bristolians just ooze with cool. They’re street artists, sustainable chefs, cocktail gurus, and lovers of music and fashion making Bristol one of the best cities to visit for art, culture and food.
First things first, if you ask any Bristolian what you must see when visiting their fine city, they will all certainly mention the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s a gem of a landmark. Take an easy walk up here, stopping in at the famous Coronation Tap for a half pint of super strong, locally made apple cider and take in the great views.
Then head back down to town to explore all the best bits of the city centre. General streets that have lots to see and do would be Gloucester Road, North Street, Old Market Street and Park Street, plus Clifton Village is a great little hub of shopping, eating and drinking.
You can then head over to Nelson Street and Dean Lane Skatepark for all the best graffiti, in Banky's hometown, before immersing yourselves in the brilliantly creative community space at Hamilton House. You’ll find even more great art at Arnolfini Gallery and Spike Island.
For a music venue with a difference, dance the night at Thekla set on a former cargo ship. Louisiana, The Exchange and The Fleece also have great gigs most nights of the week. While lovers of architecture and history should explore the pristinely kept Ashton Court Mansion and Bristol Cathedral. There’s clearly a little bit of everything here.
Out and about
Foodies will be spoilt for choice in Bristol. You could easily spend 48-hours in this city, purely hanging out in quirky little restaurants and bars. Pop by the eco warriors at Poco Tapas Bar to try some of the best sustainable dishes and cocktails. If you’re in the city on a Friday, visit some of Bristol’s local breweries which open up to the public for the night. Wiper & True, Left Handed Giant, Moor and Fierce & Noble breweries are a good place to start.
Find the best burgers at both Smoke & Glaze and Pipe & Slippers. Baker’s and Co serves delicious brunch while the restaurant at the Clifton Lido (swimming pool) is a stunner. Beeses, Dela, Wokyko, and Pasta Ripeina are also worth mentioning for general deliciousness.
And, of course, you can’t come to Bristol without exploring the markets. On Sundays, the Tobacco Factory Market reigns supreme with all sorts of scrumptious food stalls popping up. But St Nicholas’s Market, The Harbourside Market and Temple Quay Market are all bursting with locally made goods and produce. There are plenty of souvenirs to be bought here and plenty more gifts from you to purchase too.
Located in Clifton or the posher side of town, Number Thirty-Eight Clifton offers stunning views over the city and surrounding green parks. Budget travellers will fall in love with YHA Bristol, a brilliant hostel which is set in a cool converted redbrick grain house by the waterfront. If the dorms are too much for you, try one of their stylish private rooms instead.
Dates for the diary
Upfest: Europe's largest Street Art & Graffiti festival, July
Europe’s biggest free street art and graffiti festival takes over the city for a long weekend in July. Watch artists from the UK and around the world transform the streets, pubs and parks of Bristol into a colourful street art gallery.
International Balloon Fiesta, August
For four days in August, the skies over Bristol are filled with colourful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes for the International Balloon Fiesta. The sight is magical. Take the perfect selfie from below or get on board one of the balloons for that extra special experience (and Instagram post)!
Bristol is in South West England, just one hour and 45 minutes by train from London. Bristol Airport is also served by plenty of airlines.
- Bristol Unlocked