1. Events and festivals
Bristol plays host to a number of great festivals throughout the year. Not to be missed are the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, the Harbour Festival, the International Kite Festival and the Organic Food Festival. There’s also Bristol’s BIG Green Week – a celebration with over 100 free events in the city over one week in summer,
usually in June.
2. Fabulous shopping
Bristol is a shopper’s paradise. Cabot Circus offers the biggest names in high street retail. Clifton Village, Park Street and Whiteladies Road play host to delightful independent shops, boutiques and antique dealers, while Christmas Steps takes you back in time, offering a myriad of fascinating shops, galleries, and creative outlets.
3. Breathtaking architecture
Bristol has many examples of splendid architecture. The Bristol Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe Church, Cabot Tower, and Clifton Suspension Bridge are all of a bygone era. The Colston Hall Foyer, Arnolfini and the Lido demonstrate how new architecture can enhance the look of a period building.
4. Fantastic museums and art galleries
Whether it’s an exhibition at the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery; modern art at the Arnolfini or the Royal West of England Academy, a private viewing at Spike Island or an insight into the Industrial Revolution or exhibition at the M Shed, there is plenty to keep inquisitive minds happy.
5. The River Avon
The River Avon and the Harbourside have always played a pivotal role in the city’s life. A focal point for leisure activities, there is a string of attractions along its banks including Brunel’s ss Great Britain, We the Curious, bars and restaurants and, of course, the beautiful Clifton Suspension Bridge.
6. Centrality of the city
An ideal base for exploring the rolling hills of the Mendips, and the Cotwolds, Bristol is conveniently situated on the M4 and M5 motorways and, with an expanding airport, the world is your oyster.
7. Open spaces
Bristol is blessed with more than 450 green spaces. Popular spaces include Ashton Court and Blaise Castle Estates, Durdham Downs, (known locally as simply The Downs) and Leigh Woods, and horticultural gems including Bristol University Botanic Garden.
8. Fantastic nightlife
With a thriving music and arts scene, you are never short of something to do in Bristol. Whether you want to relax to live jazz at The Old Duke, catch an up-and-coming band at The Thekla, or watch a show at the Bristol Hippodrome. Alternatively, experience classical or world music at one of the large music venues in town, or take in some comedy or a show at the theatre.
9. Love of sport
Bristol is a mecca for outdoor sports. There are endless cycle trails around the area; climbers can enjoy the pleasures of Avon Gorge and Cheddar Gorge and with so much water around there are plenty of options for those pursuing watersports.
10. The talent
Bristol is overflowing with talent, from the greatest Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to modern-day writers – from Catherine Johnson, who penned the hit film Mamma Mia!, to comedian Stephen Merchant, who co-wrote hit TV Series, The Office. Bristol is also home to the BBC Natural History Unit where TV programmes such as Life on Earth, and the Blue Planet were made. Local artist Banksy, and much-loved characters Wallace and Gromit created by Aardman Animations, also keep Bristol in the headlines. The 2013 summer street exhibition of 80 giant Gromits across the city attracted a big tourist boost. Musically too, the talents of Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky add to the city’s hall of fame.
Everything you need to know about Bristol
Where to eat in Bristol
The best things to do in Bristol
The best shopping in Bristol
The best nightlife in Bristol
Your guide to arts and culture in Bristol