An outsider's guide to Bristol

Thursday 05 October 2017

Want to find out more about the locations featured in Hey Nadine's video? Read on to get the lowdown on some of the best places to visit in Bristol.

 

Cabot Tower 

Cabot Tower, one of the best things to do in Bristol

A great place to start your break and get your bearings, climb the spiral staircase to the top of this neo-gothic beaut for views across the city and Harbourside area. Keep an eye out for the rows of pastel-coloured houses and the sprawling Somerset countryside in the distance.

 

Christmas Steps

Tucked away in the city centre is this historic arts quarter lined with independent shops, antique dealers, dressmakers and artist studios where you pick up one-of-a-kind items. Expect vintage kimonos, craft beer, ceramics and more. 

 

Spike Island 

Looking for a dose of culture? Spike Island has your back. This massive multi-art venue housed in a former tea factory puts on contemporary exhibitions alongside talks, workshops and special events.
 

Up Fest 

Even if you can’t make Europe’s largest street art festival held every July the aftermath, a dazzling assortment of some of the most eye-popping graffiti works in the world, is what your Instagram has been waiting for.

 

VX Bristol

Vegan junk food? Yes, please. VX is a place of wonder, from spicy Merguez sausage hotdogs (how do they do it?) and burritos to burgers, doner kebabs and freak shakes. There are also plenty of vegan treats to take home too.
 

Brooks Guest House

Does it get any quirkier than a shiny rooftop rocket looking over Bristol’s Old City? Add in one of the best foodie spots in the city – St Nicholas Market is just across the way – and you’ve got yourself the perfect base.

Strawberry Thief 

This Belgian-style bar has a bit of a crush on William Morris; his prints decorate the walls, and the bar itself is named after one of his designs. Florals aside, it’s a great place for sampling upwards of 50 Belgian beers, and the continental-themed food menu is on-point too. 

 

Bambalan 

The sun always shines at Bamalan, especially during happy hour (4pm to 7pm weekdays) when exotic cocktails like Tea on the Terrace – a mix of Beefeater gin, lychee liqueur, earl grey tea, lemon juice and viola flowers – are half price. If the sun’s out IRL head to the rooftop for a game of ping pong.
 

Where the Walls 

Banksy lover or not, this two-hour tour should be on everyone's Bristol bucket list. One of the best places in the world for graffiti-peeping, there are masterpieces to be found all over the city, and your tour guide will take you to the very best spots that you might otherwise miss. 

 

No1 Harbourside

Head to Bristol's Harbourside and join the locals at a bar that's big on food, live music and supporting local creatives. The food here is ethically-sourced, with the likes of Cornish fish and seasonal salad from just down the road. Visit at the weekend, and you can browse The Harbourside Market just outside.

 

The Matthew of Bristol


Hop on board The Matthew, a replica of the ship that sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497, and see a different view of the city as you sail along the River Avon.

 

Gopal’s Curry Shack

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from at Cargo, but the rich aromas wafting from this Indian street food spot are hard to resist. Choose from coconut curries, dhals and deep-fried snacks that hit the spot.  

 

Clifton Village

A 15-minute walk or 30-minute bus ride from the city centre brings you to this sophisticated pocket of Bristol. Sweeping Georgian facades, green spaces aplenty, plus cute shops, brunch spots and pubs give this area a distinct village feel.

 

Clifton Suspension Bridge 

Spanning the cliffs of the Avon Gorge for 1,352 ft (412 m), Brunel's mighty bridge is a Bristol icon, drawing thousands of visitors to stroll across for views of dramatic Avon Gorge, Clifton Downs and the magnificent city beyond. 

 

Clifton Arcade

A treasure trove for shoppers, spend a couple of hours mooching around the independent shops of Clifton Arcade and the surrounding area. Pop into Papersmiths for slick stationary, Bees & Graves for statement jewellery and Otomi for all things Mexican. Finish off with coffee at local favourite, Primrose Café.

 

Mercure Grand Hotel

If you want to splash out, this Grade II-listed Victorian hotel is the place to be. It's recently had a top-to-toe refurb and is now decked out with swish furniture and contemporary street art. 

 

Lido Bristol

This stylish lido dating back to the Victorian period is just the place for that all important 'me time'. Indulge in a spa treatment, enjoy a few laps in the elements and then finish with a slap-up dinner overlooking the pool.

 

The Milk Thistle

You don't need a password to get into this clandestine cocktail bar but you will need to ring a doorbell. Once you're in, order one of many gin or whiskey-based cocktails from the stained-glass-flanked bar and sink into one of the leather armchairs to soak up the demure vibes.