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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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£59
Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre

Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre

2 Lower Castle Street, Bristol
4.2
of 5, from 543 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Marriott Bristol City Centre is a 5-minute walk from Cabot Circus Shopping Centre, which houses over 120 stores and the 13-screen Cinema de Lux. Guests can walk 20 minutes to the harbor’s restaurants, bars, and amusements, and the same distance to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

£56
Future Inn Bristol

Future Inn Bristol

Bond Street South, Bristol
4.2
of 5, from 718 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cabot Circus Shopping Centre, Broadmead Shopping Centre, and The Galleries Shopping Centre. St. Peters Church and Bristol Theatre Royal are also within 1 mi (2 km).

£74
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel

Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel

College Green, Bristol
4.4
of 5, from 373 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Brandon, this spa hotel is steps from Bristol Cathedral and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre. At-Bristol and Bristol Theatre Royal are also within 10 minutes.

£58
Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

Broad Street, Bristol
3.4
of 5, from 140 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol Floating Harbour, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of St Nicholas Market, St. Peters Church, and Broadmead Shopping Centre. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and The Galleries Shopping Centre are also within 10 minutes.

£48
ibis Bristol Centre

ibis Bristol Centre

Explore Lane, Bristol
3.9
of 5, from 179 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol Floating Harbour, this hotel is steps from Millennium Square, At-Bristol, and Bristol Cathedral. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and Queen Square are also within 10 minutes.

£72
The Bristol Hotel

The Bristol Hotel

Prince Street, Bristol
4.2
of 5, from 451 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol Floating Harbour, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Queen Square, Bristol Theatre Royal, and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre. At-Bristol and St. Mary Redcliffe Church are also within 10 minutes.

£71
Radisson Blu Hotel Bristol

Radisson Blu Hotel Bristol

Broad Quay, Bristol
4.2
of 5, from 324 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol Floating Harbour, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Watershed and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre. Bristol Theatre Royal and Queen Square are also within 5 minutes.

Cleyro Serviced Apartments-Harbourside

Cleyro Serviced Apartments-Harbourside

Caledonian Road, Bristol
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Bristol Floating Harbour, this apartment is within a 15-minute walk of SS Great Britain and Queen Square. At-Bristol and Cabot Tower are also within 1 mi (2 km).