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Best 5 Places to Visit in Bristol

Posted on 19 Dec 2022

Synonymous with the West Country accent and home of famous artist Bansky, ensuring you plan your visit to Bristol is a must. Offering unique culture, the arts, and open green spaces, if you haven’t had the chance to visit Bristol yet, take this as your sign to start planning your trip. What’s more, being just a stone's throw away from the historic roman city of Bath, double up your adventure and experience the beauty these two English cities have to offer. Still undecided? Let us share the top 5 places you must know before you visit, as well as our top tips for planning your trip to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Table of Contents:

Top 5 Places to Experience in Bristol

Bristol is home to countless things to see and do. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming to know where to start. To help you out, here are five top places to visit in Bristol:

  1. The Clifton Suspension Bridge. With a free visitor centre open 10am - 5pm daily, the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge is an icon of the city. It’s almost a crime to visit Bristol and not see it. Designed by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the bridge dates back to 1831. Visitors can walk across and marvel at the city below or climb up to the Clifton Observatory to admire the bridge and its gorgeous setting across the Avon Gorge.
  2. Ashton Court Estate. A place to explore both individually or as a way to spend time with the family, Ashton Court Estate is located about ten minutes out of Bristol city centre. Covering 850 acres of woodland, holding seasonal festivals and a host of free events, such as the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, we couldn't think of a better place to add to our must-see list than this estate.
  3. The Bristol Lido. Visit Bristol and take a plunge into the Bristol Lido. This beautiful outdoor pool is a peaceful urban oasis. And you’ll be happy to hear the water is heated. Enjoy a swim, treat yourself to a spa treatment, and have a delicious meal all in this romantic setting.
  4. The Theatre. Bristol has an incredibly impressive theatre scene. The Bristol Hippodrome is one of the largest theatres in Britain and often shows large hit musicals. Or try the newly revamped Bristol Old Vic which is celebrated for its wonderful performances from experimental theatre-makers. The Wardrobe Theatre offers a whole range of shows from comedy to family shows in an intimate, heartwarming setting. Try and fit a show in during your visit to Bristol.
  5. The Harbourside. At the heart of Bristol is a dock and floating harbour. The area is surrounded by funky bars and restaurants, cool shops, and intriguing attractions. Hop aboard a ferry to take in the scenery whilst you explore the different offerings along the Bristol Harbour - from the Spike Island art gallery to the SS Great Britain. Whilst you are enjoying the area, take a moment to reflect on its sombre origins. Bristol was built on the slave trade and the docks and harbour that remain today were a key port.

Best Places to Eat in Bristol

Bristol has a very inventive and cutting-edge food scene. You can find something to satisfy every palette in this city. Bristol is also very vegan friendly, drawing on multiple cultural influences with simple delights through to fine dining options. Here are five of the best places to eat at in Bristol:

  1. Souk Kitchen. Offering food inspired by the eastern mediterranean and middle east, Souk Kitchen is sure to impress. Their menu changes seasonally and makes the most of local ingredients in colourful dishes that will leave you wanting to lick the plate. It’s almost worth visiting Bristol just for Souk Kitchen alone.
  2. Oowee Vegan. Oowee Vegan opened its first store on Picton Street in Bristol in 2016. Since then, these dirty burger specialists have been so successful they’ve already opened four more restaurants. Plant-based and utterly delicious, this is food every traveller can enjoy.
  3. Bosco Pizzeria. If you like Italian food at a reasonable price look no further than Bosco Pizzeria. Their wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza says goodbye to all pretentiousness and lets simple quality ingredients do the talking. You’ll struggle not to adore a meal here. With their Regent Street location due for re-opening soon, Bristol is fortunate to have two Bosco restaurants on their doorstep. Be sure to discover this cuisine in their Whiteladies Road location on your next visit to Bristol.
  4. Paco Tapas. A Michelin-starred tapas bar, Paco will transport you from Bristol to spicy southern Spain. Their outstanding menu includes classics like patatas bravas as well as special dishes like Spanish hams carved to order. It would be a shame to visit Bristol and miss this truly amazing dining experience.
  5. Box-E. Part of the fantastic Wapping Wharf scene, Box-E is a miniscule eatery in a converted shipping container. Offering seasonal menus, you can find some of the best in modern British cooking here. If you’re planning to visit Bristol, try and book one of their seven-course tasting menus for a memorable meal you won’t want to stop talking about.

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5 Places to Visit Near Bristol

Bristol is a wonderful city in itself but it’s also brilliant for its connections to the rest of south-west England. There are a whole host of incredible destinations just a short journey away from Bristol. Here are five of our favourite places to visit near Bristol:

  1. Bath. The city of Bath was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and it’s not hard to see why. The city is home to ancient Roman baths, Grand Georgian architecture and the impressive Bath Abbey. It’s easy to visit the City of Bath and Bristol in one trip as they are only about 12 miles from each other.
  2. The Cotswolds. It doesn’t get much more picturesquely English than touring The Cotswolds. Charming little villages dot the gorgeous rolling hills in this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On a day trip from Bristol, you could see Bourton-on-the-Water, a village nicknamed “Venice of the Cotswolds.” Or visit Lacock Abbey, another iconic Harry Potter filming location alongside Alnwick castle.
  3. Cheddar Gorge. Just 20 miles from Bristol, Cheddar Gorge should be on everybody’s bucket list. Boasting awe-inspiring cliffs and extraordinary subterranean caves, Cheddar Gorge is not just an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but it’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Try rock climbing, uncover secrets about our prehistoric ancestors, or just enjoy the views. It’s all possible on a visit from Bristol.
  4. Devon. Known for its dramatic coastline, sweeping sandy beaches and vast green spaces, the natural beauty of Devon is mesmerising. It’s no wonder Devon is a popular tour destination from Bristol. Be sure to plan time to incorporate the seaside location into your trip, and allow your feet to walk upon the sandy shorelines for a relaxing escape.
  5. Berkeley Castle. Just north of Bristol is the imposing 12th-century Berkeley Castle. One of the best castles in England, Berkeley Castle was built to defend England from the Welsh. It’s still lived in today by the Berkeley family but you can spend a day exploring its amazing rooms and grounds.

How to Get to Bristol

Touring from the city of Bristol is easy thanks to its well connected public transportation. Whether flying in from overseas, taking the scenic train line route or carpooling with friends and family, each method ends in the same result. An English tour in the city of Bristol. Let's break down each one to make starting off your holiday stress-free.

1. Visit Bristol by Train

Bristol has two main train stations - Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. Bristol Temple Meads is the more central of the two, about a 15-minute walk away from the city centre. Trains between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway run very frequently throughout the day and journeying between the two stations only takes about 13 minutes.

Travel to Bristol Temple Meads:

  • Direct trains from London to Bristol Temple Meads usually depart every 30 minutes and the journey lasts around 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Direct trains run between Manchester and Bristol Temple Meads and take approximately 3 hours
  • You can also visit Bristol by a direct train between Bristol Temple Meads and Edinburgh with the journey taking about 6 and a half hours

Travel to Bristol Parkway:

  • A direct train from London to Bristol Parkway usually runs every hour and the journey takes an hour and 20 minutes
  • You can also travel by a direct train between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff with the journey lasting about 50 minutes

Taking the train is a quick way to visit Bristol and if you book in advance, ticket prices can be very reasonable.

2. Visit Bristol by Plane

Another way to visit Bristol is to fly into Bristol Airport (IATA code: BRS). There are regular flights to and from other major cities in the UK as well overseas to Europe, allowing guests to experience the culture this city has to offer while keeping transport time low. This short transfer also works the other way, allowing Bristolians quick flight times when they want to tour Europe.

  • Direct flights between Bristol and Edinburgh take 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Direct flights between Bristol and Dublin take 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Direct flights between Bristol and Belfast take 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Direct flights between Bristol and Madrid take 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Direct flights between Bristol and Lisbon take 2 hours 30 minutes

The Bristol Flyer bus service makes it easy to travel between the airport and the city centre with shuttles running every 10 minutes or so. 

*Airline schedules are subject to change. Whilst the information presented is correct at the time of writing, please check with your preferred airline or route for the latest information.

3. Visit Bristol by Car

It’s possible to drive into Bristol though it’s well worth checking their clean air zone charges before doing so.

  • From central London, driving to Bristol takes about 3 hours
  • From Oxford, driving to Bristol takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • From Manchester, driving to Bristol takes about 3 and a half hours
  • From Cardiff, driving to Bristol takes about 1 and a half hours

Once you've arrived in Bristol some of the cheapest car park options are Trinity Centre and Bristol First Hotel Car Park. Both of these are within the city centre.

4. Visit Bristol by Bus

Regular buses run in and out of Bristol to many nearby towns and cities. The main Bristol Coach Station is located on Marlborough Street and is an easy walk to the city centre. Buses or coaches run between Bristol and:

  • London
  • Bath
  • Cardiff
  • Weston Super Mare
  • Birmingham
  • And more

Hopping aboard a bus to visit Bristol is an easy and affordable option. It can also be an easy and accessible way for solo travellers to see the breadth of the United Kingdom when they may not have friends and family to rely on.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Bristol?

There is no best time to visit Bristol in our opinion. The city is brilliant all year round. In summer, you can enjoy the lovely green spaces of Brandon Hill Park or the Clifton Downs. Touring in the British winter time, the city is lit up with magical lights and Christmas markets. Who wouldn’t want to experience both?

Visit Bristol and Beyond

With Bristol secured on your bucket list, why not explore what you need to know before visiting Belfast? A tour of Ireland is just as enchanting as England, and is home to unique history everyone should learn about. But maybe Ireland has already been ticked off the list? No fear, why not explore Scotland? Scenic landscapes draped in stories waiting for guests to ask of its history, and let's not forget you have a chance to spot wild, rugged coos. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear of our newest location and seasonal deals.

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