Bristol Travel Guide

Tourist Guide
Bristol which includes a river or creek, a sunset and a bridge

Surrounded by green countryside and lush parks, this city along the River Avon blends nature with renowned cultural and heritage sites.

Steeped in history, Bristol is a treasure trove of intriguing museum collections and atmospheric cobbled streets. However, nature also takes centre stage. Sail on the harbour and take day trips to country estates for woodland walks. After adventurous days, relax in one of Bristol’s cosy pubs and award-winning restaurants before enjoying the renowned live music scene.

No matter what time of year you visit Bristol, you’ll likely run into fun festivals and events. Watch hot air balloons from Ashton Court Estate during the summer Bristol Balloon Festival. The Bristol Harbour Festival celebrates maritime heritage and Upfest is Europe’s biggest street art festival.

Things to do in Bristol

Explore Bristol from the water with ferry rides and themed cruises, including wildlife spotting trips to the Avon Gorge. Spanning the gorge it is the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, the symbol of the city. Nearby, discover the fashion boutiques and jewellery stores of Clifton Village, framed by Georgian architecture.

Located on College Green in the West End, majestic Bristol Cathedral rests in the heart of the city. As you explore this area, look out for the famous Banksy street art or take a guided tour to discover his work in the city where it all started. For fabulous shopping, fill your bags along Queens Road and Park Street. The Bristol Shopping Quarter is an entertainment complex with designer brands among international restaurants.

Escape to nature in nearby Castle Park, between the shopping district and Harbourside. The University of Bristol Botanical Gardens features around 4,500 plant species. Take day trips to countryside locations such as South Cotswolds and Rural Somerset. A spectacular estate within easy distance is Blaise Castle House Museum and Estate, with Victorian furnishings and sprawling parklands.

Culture and history in Bristol

Set aside plenty of time to discover Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, with 19 galleries across three floors. Brunel’s SS Great Britain was the world’s first great ocean liner, and you can hop aboard for interactive displays of its Victorian heyday. From the water to the sky, Aerospace Bristol features Concorde Alpha Foxtrot among collections of missiles and engines.

Learn about Bristol’s history at M Shed, located in a 1950s transit shed on the wharf. Also on the waterfront, Arnolfini showcases contemporary art with revolving exhibitions, along with dance and film events. At the Royal West of England Academy, see works from celebrated artists in the Grade II listed building.

Within easy day trip distance of Bristol is the home of the Magna Carta, Salisbury Cathedral. Visit prehistoric Stonehenge, explore the National Trust Village of Lacock and see remnants of Roman history in Bath. If you’re not driving, tour providers offer trips to the surrounding areas.

Dining and nightlife in Bristol

Craft breweries and funky eateries make Bristol Old City a good place to start a foodie tour, especially with all the gorgeous medieval architecture here. In the Glass Arcade of St Nicholas Market, find permanent food stalls with international treats from Japanese to Mexican and Persian food. For an artistic atmosphere and plenty of pubs and clubs, head to Stokes Croft. Harbourside buzzes from morning to night with visitors and locals enjoying a meal with views at waterfront restaurants and bars.

Book tickets to major Broadway productions at the Bristol Hippodrome. Britain’s oldest working theatre, Bristol Old Vic entertains with children’s shows and theatre productions. Afterwards, join the partygoers at microbreweries on King Street and nightclubs on Park Street. Gloucester Road is an indie district with brilliant live music venues and craft beer bars.

Getting to and around Bristol

Fly into Bristol Airport for a drive of about 30 minutes to the city centre, which is a compact, walkable area. Bristol’s efficient public transport network includes trains, buses and Bristol Ferry Boats, along with taxis. E-scooters are a popular way to get around. National cycling routes cross through Bristol, from major roads to countryside trails, and you’ll find plenty of options for bike rental.

Where to stay in Bristol

Cabot Circus Shopping Centre featuring shopping and street scenes as well as a small group of people

Bristol City Centre

4/5(90 area reviews)

The fantastic nightlife and popular shops are just a few highlights of Bristol City Centre. Make a stop by St Nicholas Market or Old Vic Theatre while you're exploring the area.

Bristol City Centre
Clifton which includes street scenes as well as a couple