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SS Great Britain

Climb aboard this museum ship to learn about its long and eventful life at sea.

The SS Great Britain, permanently docked in Bristol Harbour, is one of the city’s most visited attractions. Between 150,000-170,000 people come to look at this great vessel each year. For your visit, allow a couple of hours as there is a lot to see.

Repurposed to entertain and inform, the ship contains a number of exhibitions about its past. Learn even more about the ship in the adjacent Brunel Institute, which includes the David MacGregor Library. Between these venues you can look at a full-scale working model of the ship’s engine, and read letters and diaries of the ship’s passengers. Stroll around the deck and the dockside, where facsimile cargo and crates “await” to be loaded.

The ship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1843. It was initially a steamship shuttling passengers between Bristol and New York. At the time, it was the largest vessel anywhere in the world. Yet just three years after its launch, SS Great Britain was decommissioned. However, its story didn’t stop there. In 1881, it was used to transport immigrants to Australia. Later still, it served as a storage facility and quarantine ship in the Falkland Islands.

Today, SS Great Britain is dry-docked close to the place where it was first built. Due to the risk of rusting to the ship’s iron hull, the dock is sealed by a huge water-line glass plate. This creates humidity equal to that of the Arizona Desert.

Spend time pouring over the collections of maritime books, plans and objects in the Brunel Institute. You can also see many of Brunel’s own letters, diaries, models and drawings. Both the institute and library are open to the public and free to enter. There’s an entry fee for SS Great Britain. A single ticket allows you unlimited return visits within a 12-month period.

The SS Great Britain is at the Great Western Dockyard on Gasferry Road. It’s easily reachable from Bristol center by bus, road, ferry, or on foot. The attraction is open daily, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the second Monday in January.


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Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel £83
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel

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    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Harbourside, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St Nicholas Market and University of Bristol. Cabot Circus Shopping Centre and Clifton Suspension Bridge are also within 2 mi (3 km). Bristol Temple Meads Station is 19 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 21 minutes.

    Future Inn Bristol £67
    Future Inn Bristol

    Future Inn Bristol

    Bond Street South, Bristol, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Bristol, this hotel is steps away from Showcase Cinema De Lux and Cabot Circus Shopping Centre. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and University of Bristol are also within 1 mile (2 km). Bristol Temple Meads Station is 14 minutes by foot and Bristol Montpelier Station is 18 minutes.

      SACO Bristol - Broad Quay £79
      SACO Bristol - Broad Quay

      SACO Bristol - Broad Quay

      Central Quay South, Bristol, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Bristol City Centre, this apartment building is steps away from Baldwin Street and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre. O2 Academy and St Nicholas Market are also within 10 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 16 minutes by foot and Bristol Bedminster Station is 21 minutes.

        The Bristol Hotel £71
        The Bristol Hotel

        The Bristol Hotel

        Prince Street, Bristol, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel £45
          Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

          Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

          Broad Street, Bristol, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Bristol City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St Nicholas Market, Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and O2 Academy. University of Bristol and Cabot Circus Shopping Centre are also within 15 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 15 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 21 minutes.

            Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol £95
            Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol

            Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol

            Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Bristol, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Colston Hall, Bristol Hippodrome Theatre, and University of Bristol. St Nicholas Market and O2 Academy are also within 10 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 18 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 19 minutes.

              Mercure Bristol Brigstow Hotel
              Mercure Bristol Brigstow Hotel

              Mercure Bristol Brigstow Hotel

              5-7 Welsh Back, Queen Quay, Bristol, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Bristol City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Baldwin Street and St Nicholas Market. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and O2 Academy are also within 10 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 13 minutes by foot and Bristol Bedminster Station is 21 minutes.

                Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin £74
                Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

                Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

                Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Clifton, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Clifton Downs and Observatory, Clifton Suspension Bridge and University of Bristol. Bristol Zoo and SS Great Britain are also within 1 mile (2 km). Bristol Clifton Down Station is 23 minutes by foot.