Bristol. England. City sights.

Bristol

Bristol

Bristol is an English city steeped in a sense of adventure that hides behind its ornate exterior. Even the air has a sense of freedom about it, since it was here that the first gay club opened, a school for girls was founded and a specialized drama department. The locality was the birthplace of the famous pirate Blackbeard, and once students were able to steal a huge museum exhibit, the gorilla Alfred. Tourists will be told about this and much more during the tour.

Where is the city?

A map of England shows that Bristol is located in the southwestern part of the country and is washed by the waters of the bay of the same name. The city lies on the two banks of the River Avon and covers an area of 112 square kilometers. It is a unitary unit, which has the status of “city”. It is a major port of the country and a ceremonial county, formed in April 1996.

The city of Bristol is known in England as one of the most picturesque in the country. It is famous for the diverse plants and unique animals that live around the bay. In 2017, it was named one of the top best places to live in Britain. In the surrounding area are the Mendip Hills, famous for its caves.

Where is Bristol?

Population and Culture

Bristol is the cultural and business center of England. The number of local residents is 567111 according to the last census, which was conducted in 2016. The city has a shipbuilding industry and is well developed in the production of carpets, cotton fabrics and sugar. It is also home to the headquarters of the largest tobacco company, Imperial Tobacco.

Like other cities in England, Bristol has a two-digit letter index – BS. To stabilize the economy, a regional currency, the Bristol pound, was introduced here. The city is home to two soccer clubs: Bristol Rovers and Bristol City. They host their rivals in stadiums, accommodating 12 thousand and 27 thousand spectators respectively.

Population and Culture

The sea is the engine of commerce.

The city was first mentioned in 1051 and is described as a port where raw materials were sold to Ireland. At the confluence of the river into the bay there has long been a change in the water level, which has always been a nuisance to traders and sailors. Here wooden ships were often destroyed and foodstuffs were spoiled. Then the locals decided to build ships from stronger materials, which made them very famous.

Vigorous trade generated a high crime rate, so privateers and pirates became an integral part of Bristol. It should be noted that robbery at sea was officially forbidden, but it was from the flibusters that the main income came to the treasury. By the way, the privates received a state certificate, which allowed them to attack the ships of rival countries, though they returned part of their profits to Britain. In connection with these activities, the slave trade developed in the settlement, which left a sad trace in the history of the port.

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The Sea drives commerce

Bristol is considered one of the sunniest and warmest places in England. It is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Current. The city has a moderately warm climate with an average annual temperature of +10°C. The air is best warmed in July, when the mercury column passes the mark of +20 ° C. In January, it can drop to 0 ° C. During the year, the rainfall here is more than 800 mm. It almost never rains in summer, but it can snow in winter.

Weather

Bristol sights

The river Avon divides the city into two parts: the modern and the old center, which is known for its original architecture and intricate graffiti. Near the wharf you can see the artwork of the famous master Banksy. Unfortunately, many of the structures were damaged during Nazi air raids. In November 1940, 15,000 bombs were dropped on Bristol. Nevertheless, the area has preserved ancient sites and opened up new ones, which include:

  1. The Clifton Suspension Bridge, a creation of the famous English engineer, Isambal Brunel. It offers a mesmerizing panorama of the gorge and the city, which at night is drowned in many lights.
  2. St. Mary’s Church – it was built in Gothic style some 800 years ago. It was originally a place of prayer for seafarers who were going to the sea or returning home. The structure is decorated with images and sculptures of the merchants who financed the construction. Elizabeth the First considered this parish church to be the best in the kingdom.
  3. Tower – Located in the central part of Brandon Hill Park and dedicated to the memory of John Cabot. He was famous for his sea voyages to North America. The top of the structure offers a great view of the city and the marina.
  4. The ship Grit Brittain is the preserved ship of Isembad Brunel, which made its way to America and Australia. The ship impresses visitors with its appearance and interior. It has the atmosphere of 160 years ago, complete with audio recordings of the crew.
  5. Cathedral – Built in the Gothic style and consecrated in honor of the Holy Trinity. It was originally part of the Abbey of St. Augustine and was known for its amazing stained glass windows. During the Reformation it served as the center of the Anglican diocese.

What to do?

In Bristol you can fly in a hot-air balloon, and this aircraft is made right here in the city. It is quite a costly activity, but the local scenery from a bird’s-eye view is worth the money. You can also visit the Redcliffe Caves, which often hosts music and movie events. If you come with children, go to the zoo or the aquarium, which is home to tropical sharks and piranhas.

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What to do

Bristol Hotels

There are a variety of hotels in the city that are rated from 2 to 5 stars. The average cost of accommodation varies from €30 to €150 per day, but sometimes the price can exceed €1000. In the hotels the guests will be able to use the concierge, laundry and luggage room services. All guests are provided with wireless Internet and private parking. Staying in Bristol includes Mercure Bristol Holland House, Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Bristol Filton and others.

Bristol Hotels

The city is home to the Hatchet Inn, England’s oldest pub, which opened in 1606, yet it retains a vintage atmosphere and always has fresh beer and hors d’oeuvres. There are places in Bristol where themed parties are held, such as the Blue Bowl, as well as fashionable restaurants (Casa Mexicana and Las Iguanas), where they specialize in European and Latin American cuisine.

Dining

The city center has a large number of stores and shopping centers that sell appliances, perfumes, clothing and products. Broadmead and Cabot Circus are considered the best places to shop. Foodies can stroll through St Nicholas Market and buy delicacies there.

Shopping

Bristol has no subway, so take the bus from the airport and parking lots on the edge of the city. Sightseeing is conveniently done by ferry.

Top 10 places to see in Bristol

Bristol England

This list of places to see in Bristol will help you organize your itinerary through this interesting English city without missing anything important.

With its rebellious and creative spirit, Bristol has managed to establish itself among the great cities of the United Kingdom with its extensive cultural life, urban art by the best graffiti artists in the world, amazing gastronomic offerings, and the care of its parks and buildings. For example, the more historic ones like the cathedral and the university.

Also, the best way to explore this port city, ranked one of the best in the country for quality of life, is on foot or by bicycle, making it very traveler-friendly.

And, of course, after completing all the interesting city tours for a day or two, we suggest taking a train tour to some of the nearby wonders, such as Bath, Salisbury or the mysterious Stonehenge.

Based on our stay in the city during our trip to Bristol, Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 places we want to visit in Bristol. Here we go!

Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral

One of the best things about Bristol is to walk around the old city until you find the Cathedral, one of its most important and ancient monuments. Founded in 1140 as the Abbey of St. Augustine, which still contains the chapter hall and the great gate, it was not opened until 1542, when it became Bristol Cathedral.

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This church of a very specific Gothic style has the Lady Chapel, the vestry arches of Berkeley Chapel, the choir, and the cloister. These are its most prominent elements.

Opening hours: every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

City Art.

Mild Mild West graffiti

Bristol is known as the street art capital of the world with its biggest hero, Bansky, the most famous and coveted graffiti artist in the world.

Although he is an anonymous artist, it is known that Bansky was born in Bristol. Some of his earliest and most recent works, which are always subject to political and social criticism, are on the streets and buildings of the city.

Among his most famous graffiti seen in Bristol are Mild Mild West, Well Hung Lover and The Girl With Pearl Earring.

To find this mythical artist’s work and the graffiti of others, you can contact the tourist office or book a free guided graffiti tour.

SS Britain.

British SS ship

The SS Great Britain, which for 11 years was the largest ship in the world, is another important place to visit in Bristol.

This 1843 ship was the first ocean liner with an iron hull and the first passenger. It was propelled by a propeller, making it a naval landmark of its time. Advanced in her day, this ship arrived to carry more than 700 passengers to New York City in just 14 days, until it was sold to bring immigrants to Australia.

In later years it was used to carry coal before being abandoned in 1937 in the Falkland Islands.

In 1970 the ship returned to Bristol and after an extensive restoration became a museum and one of the city’s most visited attractions.

Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March through November. The rest of the months it closes at 4:30 p.m.

Queen Square, one of the places worth seeing in Bristol

Queen Square in Bristol

Queen Square, a beautiful square surrounded by Georgian houses, is another of the most beautiful places in Bristol.

This square was an old swamp in the thirteenth century until it was converted into a tree-lined promenade and bowling alley in 1622. It owes its name to Queen Anne, who visited the village in 1702 and since then the town’s wealthy Merchants have settled in this strategic location near the port, building their beautiful homes.

In 1831 there was a fire with hundreds of deaths in which more than 100 buildings in the square and surrounding areas, including the town hall, were burned. After a long restoration, Queen Square has become a gathering place for tourists and locals, with concerts and an open-air theater.

A good way to learn the history and curiosities of this square and city is to book a free guided tour of Bristol!

St. Nicholas Market

St Nicholas Market in Bristol

The 1743 St. Nicholas Market, located next to the harbor, is the most famous and oldest market in Bristol. This Georgian-style market, with more than 60 stalls, is suitable for finding souvenirs and shelter from the usual English rain, as well as an extensive offering of international cuisine, with quality products at a good price, including falafel and kebab stalls.

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St Nicholas Market in Bristol 2

Pedestrian streets adjacent to the market, such as Corn Street and Wine Street, have outdoor markets that can be another place to visit in the city. For example, they sell fresh produce from farmers on Wednesdays, street food on Tuesdays and Fridays, and vegan and healthy food on Mondays.

Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Our recommended hotel in Bristol

Hilton Garden Inn Bristol City

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Bristol City, a 5-minute walk from Temple Meads train station and 15 minutes from downtown. In addition to its great location to visit other southern England wonders by train, the hotel has a friendly staff, 24-hour front desk, full breakfast and one of the best value for money in town.

Clifton Hanging Bridge.

Clifton Hanging Bridge, Bristol

Getting to the Clifton Hanging Bridge after walking through the elegant neighborhood of the same name is another one of the best things about Bristol.

This bridge, over 200 meters long and 75 meters high, was built of stone 150 years ago to link the Clifton neighborhood with Lee Woods, crossing the gorge and the Avon River, and stands out with two huge towers 26 meters high on either side. It is the site of the world’s first bungee jump in 1979.

If you go to Bristol in August, we advise you to approach the International Balloon Festival, the most important balloon festival in Europe, which fills the sky of the city with color. In this case, to have the best view of the bridge with the background balloons, we advise you to go up to the Clifton Observatory.

Port of Bristol

Although Bristol is 15 kilometers from the sea, it has a great port thanks to the navigation of the River Avon, which crosses the city and in the 12th century made the city an important trading port between England and Ireland, although nowadays it is only for recreational use in moving goods outside the city.

One of the best things about Bristol is to stroll along the pedestrian harbor promenade, get a feel for the atmosphere on the terraces, see the boats and watch the beautiful colorful houses at the top.

During the tour, in addition to visiting the CC UK, you will pass through Millennium Square with several water games and take a look at the M. Shed Museum, where there is another work by Bansky and where, from its terrace, you can enjoy a beautiful view over the entire harbor. To finish the itinerary, you can go to the Underfall Yard, a 19th-century shipyard that has been rebuilt to make it another Bristol landmark.

Castle Park.

Bristol Castle Park

A relaxing walk or picnic on a sunny day on the grass of Castle Park is another of the best things about Bristol. In this big-tree park, located in the city center near the river, you’ll find the beautiful ruined church of St. Mary-le-Port and the remains of Bristol Castle, of which only the vaulted chamber remains.

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Other places of interest in Bristol

Ashton Mansion

If you have more time, you are advised to go to other places of interest when visiting Bristol:

  • University: another iconic building in the city, one of the best in the world.
  • St. Mary’s Redcliffe: One of the most beautiful Gothic churches in England, with its porch, Hogarth triptych and stained-glass windows.
  • Bristol Museum and Art Gallery: the most important museum in the city, where you can see everything from ancient Egyptian objects to Bansky’s work. Admission is free.
  • Ashton’s Court Mansion: an impressive mansion surrounded by one of the most beautiful natural settings in Bristol.
  • Christmas Steps: an alley full of stairs and charm.
  • City Hall: known as the Council House, this huge building has an artificial lake with several fountains in front.

Tours from Bristol.

Stonehenge

After you’ve finished hiking all the major sites in Bristol, we suggest taking one or more train trips to one of the nearby wonders.

The first suggestion is to visit Salisbury and Stonehenge, the most famous and mysterious megalithic monument in Europe. The best way to get to Stonehenge is to take the train at Temple Meads Station, which takes just over an hour to Salisbury. Once at the station, you can take one of the Stonehenge Tour buses, which will get you there in 30 minutes.

When you visit Stonehenge, you can return to Salisbury to see its beautiful old town and famous cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral Gothic

Another trip we recommend from Bristol is a visit to Bath, one of England’s most beautiful cities and a World Heritage Site. To get to Bath, you can take the train to Temple Meads, the journey takes 15 minutes.

Once in town, don’t miss the ancient Roman baths, Paltney Bridge, the Abbey, and follow in the footsteps of writer Jane Austen.

Paltney Bridge Salisbury

How to get to Bristol

The most common way to get to Bristol is to land a plane at Bristol International Airport, located 12 kilometers from the center. From Bristol Airport you can get to the center by Airport Flyer Express bus, which is open 24 hours a day and takes you in half an hour to Temple Meads Station and several stops in the city center.

If you’re away from downtown, you can take a cab, an Uber, or a convenient direct shuttle to your hotel.

Another option is to get to Bristol from London by direct train from Paddington Station in an hour and a half or by bus from Megabus or National Express, which will be cheaper.

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