As the sun shines on Bristol’s vast collection of street art, and the Harbourside becomes a thriving hub of activity, it’s clear to see that summer has arrived in the city. As well as discovering its rich maritime history, you can gaze upon the works of Banksy, relax in its glorious parks and tuck into a tantalising array of street food. Add in exhilarating adventure sports and a helping of picture-perfect British countryside, and Bristol has your summer city break taken care of.
There’s no shortage of gorgeous green spaces in Bristol where you can kick back, relax and tuck into a delicious picnic. The Clifton Suspension Bridge across the Avon Gorge provides a spectacular backdrop for The Downs in Bristol, a vast green space close to the city’s zoo that also hosts the Downs Festival of music at the end of August. If you want to be even closer to the city centre, why not sit back and relax in Castle Park, a tranquil space that’s rich in history and luscious greenery. And for a sight that’s unique to Bristol, head to Ashton Court Estate for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, when more than 130 hot air balloons take flight. It’s Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons and the sight of them rising up over the city is one not to miss – and the perfect shot for your holiday Instagram feed.
Bristol is a canvas of creativity for street artists, with colourful murals and paintings adorning many of the city’s buildings. It’s also the birthplace of Banksy and you’ll see world-famous works by the illusive artist scrawled around the city, including the famed Girl with a Pierced Eardrum, Well Hung Lover and Mild Mild West. Another, The Grim Reaper, which once covered the side of the Thekla social boat in Harbourside, now resides in the city’s M-Shed museum, a vibrant exhibition space that’s well worth checking out. Discover Banksy’s best works as part of a dedicated walking tour or simply grab a map and see how many you can find for yourself! And if you want to embrace Bristol’s rich cultural heritage, Stokes Croft is the place to go – you’ll find an array of vintage shops and music stores in addition to an ever-changing gallery of street art that’s resplendent in the summer sun.
As one of Britain’s first cycling cities, there are few better ways to explore Bristol than on two wheels. But if cycling doesn’t quite cut it, a whole world of adventure awaits! You can take to the waters of the River Avon with SUP Bristol, stand-up paddleboarding your way around the main sights – if your balance is good, you may even avoid getting wet! Alternatively, why not dive in at the deep end and travel the short distance from Bristol to Cardiff for the Cardiff International White Water Centre, a challenging man-made water course that is also home to an exhilarating indoor wave machine and high-wire trail. There’s more to the vast expanse of Cheddar Gorge and Caves than meets the eye too – try your hand at adventure caving, give rock climbing a go, or for the ultimate thrill, take a leap of faith and drop into the darkness on an adrenaline-charged free fall experience.
If you want to explore beyond the city, the picturesque beauty of the Cotswolds is within easy reach. An Instagrammer’s dream, its collection of cute grey stone villages, winding country lanes and rolling hills can be enjoyed on four wheels or two. Breathe in the fresh summer air and pick your ideal mode of transport - you can hop on a bike, sail, or even water ski. There’s plenty more to satisfy your adventurous side too, with combat archery, splat paintball and wakeboarding just some of the activities that’ll get your pulse racing.
A foodie’s delight, Bristol is home to an exciting array of street food options to suit every palate. Offering everything from delicious British staple dishes to quirky takes on Thai and Japanese food, St Nicholas Markets’ Street Food Market has an array of grab-and-go options every Tuesday and Friday. If wood-fired sourdough pizza is more your thing, keep your eyes peeled for the Pizza Bike; a bicycle with two pizza ovens on the back that is a popular sight at food markets in both Bristol and Bath. After tasting success with Street Food Thursdays, the team at Harbourside Market have also launched Street Food Wednesdays, doubling the opportunity for you to tuck into an alfresco lunch on the waterfront as the sun shines down.
Celebrated over two weeks at the start of July, Bristol Pride is a bold, beautiful statement of equality and diversity. The multi-stage festival is marking two huge anniversaries in 2019. Not only is it 50 years since the birth of the Pride movement following the Stonewall riots, but it’s also the 10th anniversary of celebrations in the city. The rainbow flag will fly proudly over The Downs, as Bristol Pride doubles its capacity so even more people can join the revelry. Pride Day on 13 July is at the heart of the celebrations, when thousands of people join the Pride Parade that marches boldly from Castle Park to the festival site. Why not join them?