Bristol in 360º

  • Bristol

  • Share With Other Travellers

Highlights

Top Things To See In Bristol

As one of the UK's most iconic historic seafaring cities, there are plenty things to see in Bristol. Famous for its attractive buildings and museums, its colourful past in shipping and exploration, and its vibrant arts culture, you won't be short of things to do in Bristol. Click through our 360° views to make virtual visits to some must-see landmarks.

Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • Reaching across the Avon Gorge, this spectacular piece of civil engineering was designed by one of Bristol's most famous sons, Isambard Kingdom Brunel – one of the most celebrated engineers of the Victorian era. In fact, the project was so ambitious that it had more or less foundered by the time Brunel died in 1859, and it was completed as a memorial to the great man, finally opening in 1864. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a functional road bridge, but it also draws crowds of visitors keen to take in the spectacular views across Bristol. Sign up for a free tour at the visitor centre.

  • Reaching across the Avon Gorge, this spectacular piece of civil engineering was designed by one of Bristol's most famous sons, Isambard Kingdom Brunel – one of the most celebrated engineers of the Victorian era. In fact, the project was so ambitious that it had more or less foundered by the time Brunel died in 1859, and it was completed as a memorial to the great man, finally opening in 1864. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a functional road bridge, but it also draws crowds of visitors keen to take in the spectacular views across Bristol. Sign up for a free tour at the visitor centre.

  • Guide to Exploring Clifton Suspension Bridge
SS Great Britain
  • SS Great Britain
  • Apart from designing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, another of Brunel's masterpieces was the SS Great Britain. This mighty ship was once the largest in the world, and as an iron-built screw steamer she plied the oceans between Bristol, New York and even Australia, before finally being scuttled in the Falklands after an undignified old age spent as a storage hulk for coal. In the 1970s she was refloated and brought back to Bristol, where she was lovingly restored as a museum ship. Visitors can explore the ship itself and the associated museum, and those brave enough can even try climbing the rigging.

  • Apart from designing the Clifton Suspension Bridge, another of Brunel's masterpieces was the SS Great Britain. This mighty ship was once the largest in the world, and as an iron-built screw steamer she plied the oceans between Bristol, New York and even Australia, before finally being scuttled in the Falklands after an undignified old age spent as a storage hulk for coal. In the 1970s she was refloated and brought back to Bristol, where she was lovingly restored as a museum ship. Visitors can explore the ship itself and the associated museum, and those brave enough can even try climbing the rigging.

  • Guide to Exploring SS Great Britain
St Nicholas Market
  • St Nicholas Market
  • In operation since the 1700s, this sprawling indoor market is home to a dizzying range of independent shops and restaurants. And if the offerings indoors aren't enough for you, the surrounding streets host regular outdoor markets, including craft fairs and farmers' markets. Set across three separate areas, 'St Nick's' is the perfect place to buy crafted goods and clothes, or get stuck into a selection of street food from all over the globe. There are also special seasonal markets, and occasional 'night markets' on Friday nights, which are dominated by food stalls and street performers.

  • In operation since the 1700s, this sprawling indoor market is home to a dizzying range of independent shops and restaurants. And if the offerings indoors aren't enough for you, the surrounding streets host regular outdoor markets, including craft fairs and farmers' markets. Set across three separate areas, 'St Nick's' is the perfect place to buy crafted goods and clothes, or get stuck into a selection of street food from all over the globe. There are also special seasonal markets, and occasional 'night markets' on Friday nights, which are dominated by food stalls and street performers.

  • Guide to Exploring St Nicholas Market
Bristol Hippodrome
  • Bristol Hippodrome
  • If you're looking to catch a show while you're in Bristol, the Bristol Hippodrome is the place to do it. With a capacity of nearly 2,000, it often plays host to touring West-End productions, and has seen the UK and world premieres of several major shows. The Hippodrome is well-known for its stand-up comedy too, with frequent visits from big-name performers. And just like any other provincial theatre, the Christmas pantomime is an annual highlight. If classical music's more your scene, the Bristol Hippodrome is a regular stop for the Welsh National Opera, and also sees visiting productions from national and international ballet companies.

  • If you're looking to catch a show while you're in Bristol, the Bristol Hippodrome is the place to do it. With a capacity of nearly 2,000, it often plays host to touring West-End productions, and has seen the UK and world premieres of several major shows. The Hippodrome is well-known for its stand-up comedy too, with frequent visits from big-name performers. And just like any other provincial theatre, the Christmas pantomime is an annual highlight. If classical music's more your scene, the Bristol Hippodrome is a regular stop for the Welsh National Opera, and also sees visiting productions from national and international ballet companies.

  • Guide to Exploring Bristol Hippodrome Theatre
Cabot Tower
  • Cabot Tower
  • For those with strong legs and a head for heights, some of the best views of Bristol can be found from the top of Cabot Tower. At 105 feet tall, this distinctive red sandstone tower was built in 1897 as a monument to a Venetian explorer called John Cabot, who sailed from Bristol to Canada 400 years earlier. Cabot Tower is set on Brandon Hill, Bristol's oldest park. Formerly the site of various historic protests, these days it's home to a tranquil nature reserve and a kids' playground. Access to Cabot Tower's winding staircase and viewing platform is free.

  • For those with strong legs and a head for heights, some of the best views of Bristol can be found from the top of Cabot Tower. At 105 feet tall, this distinctive red sandstone tower was built in 1897 as a monument to a Venetian explorer called John Cabot, who sailed from Bristol to Canada 400 years earlier. Cabot Tower is set on Brandon Hill, Bristol's oldest park. Formerly the site of various historic protests, these days it's home to a tranquil nature reserve and a kids' playground. Access to Cabot Tower's winding staircase and viewing platform is free.

  • Discover Hotels Near Cabot Tower
Bristol Marina
  • Bristol Marina
  • Bristol Marina is set in the larger Bristol Harbour district of the city. Once a working port, the harbour fell out of use in the 20th century, and was eventually regenerated into one of Bristol's liveliest and most visited districts. Not only is Bristol Harbour a hotspot for nightlife, dining and shopping, it's also the cultural focus of the city. The old and modern buildings around the harbour are full of museums and galleries, including the Arnolfini gallery and the M Shed museum. Some of the museums are even set on the water itself, including the SS Great Britain museum ship.

  • Bristol Marina is set in the larger Bristol Harbour district of the city. Once a working port, the harbour fell out of use in the 20th century, and was eventually regenerated into one of Bristol's liveliest and most visited districts. Not only is Bristol Harbour a hotspot for nightlife, dining and shopping, it's also the cultural focus of the city. The old and modern buildings around the harbour are full of museums and galleries, including the Arnolfini gallery and the M Shed museum. Some of the museums are even set on the water itself, including the SS Great Britain museum ship.

  • Discover Hotels Near Bristol Floating Harbour
Brandon Hill
  • Brandon Hill
  • Brandon Hill wasn't always as peaceful as it is now. During the English Civil War it was a strategically important spot in the defence of Bristol, and over the years it's been popular with protest groups, including political reformers like the Chartists. These days it's better known for its crowning glory, the Cabot Tower monument and viewpoint, and for its nature reserve, which has a wildflower meadow and a pond. Managed by the Avon wildlife trust, this green space is a great place to see migratory birds.

  • Brandon Hill wasn't always as peaceful as it is now. During the English Civil War it was a strategically important spot in the defence of Bristol, and over the years it's been popular with protest groups, including political reformers like the Chartists. These days it's better known for its crowning glory, the Cabot Tower monument and viewpoint, and for its nature reserve, which has a wildflower meadow and a pond. Managed by the Avon wildlife trust, this green space is a great place to see migratory birds.

  • Discover Hotels Near Brandon Hill
Cheddar Gorge
  • Cheddar Gorge
  • Roughly a 45-minute drive from central Bristol, Cheddar Gorge has a reputation as one of the most impressive geological features in the country. This steep-sided limestone Gorge, set in Somerset's Mendip Hills, is remarkable not only for being England's largest gorge, but also for the cave complex hidden within it. Several of the caves are open to the public, with the largest and most popular being Gough's Cave, famous for its underground rock formations. Among the other attractions at Cheddar Gorge are a panoramic viewpoint and a museum of prehistory – the UK's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, was found here in the early 1900s.

  • Roughly a 45-minute drive from central Bristol, Cheddar Gorge has a reputation as one of the most impressive geological features in the country. This steep-sided limestone Gorge, set in Somerset's Mendip Hills, is remarkable not only for being England's largest gorge, but also for the cave complex hidden within it. Several of the caves are open to the public, with the largest and most popular being Gough's Cave, famous for its underground rock formations. Among the other attractions at Cheddar Gorge are a panoramic viewpoint and a museum of prehistory – the UK's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, was found here in the early 1900s.

  • Discover Hotels Near Cheddar Gorge
M Shed
  • M Shed
  • If you really want to get to grips with the story of Bristol, then there's no better way to do it than by visiting M Shed, a harbourside museum entirely concerned with the city. M Shed features thousands of exhibits, all about the city of Bristol and the way people have engaged with it over the ages. Apart from the permanent collections, there's also a busy programme of temporary exhibitions and events. And some of the most impressive exhibits are out in the harbour area. There are cranes, trains and even boats, including a firefighting ship and the world's oldest tugboat, the Mayflower.

  • If you really want to get to grips with the story of Bristol, then there's no better way to do it than by visiting M Shed, a harbourside museum entirely concerned with the city. M Shed features thousands of exhibits, all about the city of Bristol and the way people have engaged with it over the ages. Apart from the permanent collections, there's also a busy programme of temporary exhibitions and events. And some of the most impressive exhibits are out in the harbour area. There are cranes, trains and even boats, including a firefighting ship and the world's oldest tugboat, the Mayflower.

  • Discover Hotels Near M Shed

Plan Your Trip With Expedia