Explore Bristol

Bristol Travel Guide

A holiday in Bristol, England's largest seaport, is guaranteed to be memorable as the city is bursting with things to see and do. Some of the sights are quite unique, like the graffiti of local street artist Banksy and the restored Victorian ocean liner, SS Great Britain. Bristol has a vibrant nightlife, exciting shopping, and a fascinating maritime heritage that is preserved and showcased in the lively Old Harbour area. A holiday in Bristol also presents opportunities for excursions to all the popular tourist destinations of Southwest England.<br /><br /> The River Avon winds picturesquely through the bustling city centre of Bristol, and has played a key role in the development of the city as a major English commercial port. Surrounded by a charming hilly landscape and the spectacular, ice-carved Avon Gorge, Bristol is a scenic mix of history, commerce and culture.<br /><br /> The city contains a mish-mash of architecture, spanning over 400 years, much of which has been rebuilt, destroyed, relocated or vandalised over time. The city fathers seem to have had a constant need to modernise, and today few of the city's earliest treasures remain, particularly because Bristol was severely blitzed during World War II. Although there is little to no visible evidence of Bristol's 11th-century origins, the city is not devoid of character by any means, and there has been an attempt to restore the remaining jewels, evident in the beautiful Queen and Portland Squares. There are plenty of Georgian and Victorian churches, buildings and monuments to be seen and the city's strong maritime history remains palpable. Modern Bristol is known for its many artists and eco-activists and is carving out a vibrant and unique identity.<br /><br />

Bristol Cathedral

Address: Bristol

In roughly 1140, the Abbey of St Augustine was founded by Robert Fitzhardinge. Over the years, the abbey was altered, eventually becoming the model of the 'Hall Church' style in England. When the abbey was finally dissolved in 1539, the nave was demolished and rebuilt, and became what is now the landmark Bristol Cathedral. The original Abbey Gatehouse and the Chapter House (which dates back to 1165) remain, and visitors can enjoy the beauty and peace of this ancient holy site and its garden surrounds. The Bristol Cathedral also hosts free music recitals at certain times of year. Public guided tours of the cathedral are available; check the website listed below for times and details. There is a shop and cafe in the cathedral grounds.<br /><br />

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Address: Bristol

The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery is an impressive collection of exhibits, objects and artwork, housed in a beautiful Edwardian Baroque building. As well as the permanent exhibits of regional, national and international artefacts, the museum hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and has a variety of different periods of artworks on display in its galleries. From natural history to the World Wildlife Gallery, decorative arts collections and archaeological displays, the Bristol City Museum and Gallery has something for everyone. The museum and gallery also plays host to various special events, workshops and children's activities throughout the year. Budget at least two or three hours to take it all in.<br /><br />

Bristol Zoo and Garden

Address: Bristol

Children will love spending a fun-filled day at the Bristol Zoo and Garden, where more than 450 species of animals can be found. Most of the exhibits are undercover, making this the perfect destination for family outings come rain or shine. Featuring themed habitat areas, kids will be amazed by Gorilla Island and the Seal and Penguin Coast, where an underwater viewing area makes things a little more exciting. There is also Monkey World, a reptile house, aquariums, exotic birds and an adventure course (ZooRopia) for children of any age to let off some excess energy. The zoo also features a café, gift shop and picnic areas. There is so much to see at Bristol Zoo that a full day's visit is strongly recommended. Parents of children with special needs will be delighted to know that Bristol Zoo prides itself on its accessibility, with all areas navigable by wheelchair.<br /><br />

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