Attractions in Bristol
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Bristol’s foremost attraction and symbol is this 414 meter long suspension bridge over the River Avon. The bridge is, like so many others in the district, designed by master engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and opened in 1864, which was after Brunel’s death. Right by is a visitor information center and there are free guided tours at. 1500 every Sunday during the summer. Cyclists and pedestrians cross the bridge free of charge, fee for cars.
SS Great Britain
When SS Great Britain was launched in 1843, it was the world’s largest ship. It was designed to offer luxurious transfers to New York. Today, SS Great Britain is an award-winning museum and one of Bristol’s foremost tourist attractions. The ship is located in the port of the Great Western Dockyard, right by the center. You can also take one of the ferry boats here. SS Great Britain is open to visitors every day from 1000. Closes 1730, and an hour earlier in winter.
Entry price in excess of NOK 100 for adults, and children half price. Audio guide included.
The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum
The British Empire was at one time the greatest of all time, with colonies in all parts of the world. This award-winning museum, located at the entrance to Temple Mead’s train station, captivates its over 500-year history in a fascinating way, and the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum is also not afraid to highlight England’s disgraceful position in the slave trade.
The address is Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads. Open daily from 1000 to 1700.
This Anglican cathedral, actually called The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, has its roots back to 1140, when it was founded as a monastery. The church became the seat of the bishop and was granted the status of cathedral in 1542. You can find it in the College Green park in central Bristol.
The church is an architectural treasure house, with seven-century building styles, mainly Roman and Gothic. The large round rose window above the main entrance is a very unusual feature of English church buildings. Free admission.
Bristol Old Vic
The oldest theater in the UK still operating is in King Street in the city center, which opened its doors in 1766. The Bristol Old Vic Theater also has a theater school which was opened by Sir Laurence Olivier and has famous actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Gene Wilder and Jeremy Irons passed away.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Fortunately, the Bristol Zoo is anything but sad animals enclosed in too small cages. The opening took place as early as 1836, and today you will find over 400 species. Bristol Zoo is partnering with other zoos around the world to conserve endangered species. In the new department Monkey Jungle, the children can get in close contact with lemurs that wander around in their natural environment. The zoo is located in Clifton Hill and is open daily from 0900 to 1730.
Saint Nicholas Market
Since 1743, the quarter between Corn Street and Saint Nicholas Street in the Old Town has been home to this market, which has become one of the city’s top attractions. Here you will find a nice mix of stalls and small shops, and various street markets are constantly being organized in Corn Street. The first Sunday of the month is a Slow Food Market, a dream for any food lover. Open from 1000 every Monday to Saturday.
In the park on Brandon Hill, between downtown and Clifton, stands a 34 meter high red sandstone tower. It is named after the Italian seaman Giovanni Caboto, or John Cabot as the English called him, and was built in 1897. The occasion was the 400th anniversary of his voyage where he “discovered” Newfoundland. The tower consists of a spiral staircase up to two platforms where you have a splendid view of Bristol, from around 100 meters above ground. There is free access to the tower every day of the week.
St. Mary Redcliffe
The Gothic Church of St. Mary Redcliffe with its 90-foot spire often makes a greater impression on visitors than Bristol Cathedral. St Mary’s also dates back to the 12th century, and the townspeople are proud that Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) must have called it “the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England.” Legendary pirate Blackbeard is said to have had one of his hiding places in a cave under this church. Address: Redcliffe Way.
Tourist in Bristol
Bristol city center is relatively compact, and most of the sights and attractions are within walking distance of each other. If you prefer to take a guided tour around the city, there are plenty of opportunities. An easy and inexpensive alternative to seeing most attractions while getting relevant information and transport is to use the Hop On Hop Off buses. The ticket costs around 120 kroner and is valid for 24 hours. The buses have twenty fixed stops where you can hop off and stay as long as you want. The buses pass every 45 -90 minutes and you continue at your convenience.
Day 1 in Bristol
We start our first day in Bristol by getting to the Great Western Dockyard, where the venerable old ship SS Great Britain is docked. Like many of Bristol’s landmarks, this ship was designed by Master Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859).
Steamship SS Great Britain
When the steamship was launched in 1843, it was the world’s largest ship. It was the first ship to have both a hull and a propeller made of iron, and was designed to offer luxurious voyages across to New York. Today, SS Great Britain is an award-winning museum and one of Bristol’s foremost tourist attractions, giving you the feeling of going back 150 years in time. The boat received a Tourism Oscar in April 2007, when it was named Best Large Visitor Attraction in England. SS Great Britain is open from visitors every day from 1000. Closes 1730, and an hour earlier in winter. Entry 110 NOK for adults, children half price. Audio guide included.
Afterwards, we recommend a nice sightseeing tour with Bristol’s ferry boats that run back and forth along the city’s canal. You can either take it all the way to the magnificent Temple Mead train station of 1840 which was also built by Brunel before turning around and returning, or you can hop off the Harborside and have lunch at one of the countless cafes and restaurants along the harbor promenade.
Explore the Science Center
The next point of the program is in Harborside. Explore @ Bristol> is the city’s newest and most visited tourist attraction. At this interactive science center you can easily spend the whole day. Here are over 170 different experiments you can try, ranging from concentration, smell and reflex to blood pressure, illusions and memory. Especially aimed at children and adolescents, but also adults will be able to learn many new fascinating facts in a fun way. Here is also a planetarium that deals with the starry sky.
After a trip back to the hotel for a breather, it’s probably time to start thinking about dinner. In The Grove, just southeast of Queens Square, is the modern Severnshed restaurant in an old 19th-century boat house, also that of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Their rotating bar is also well worth a visit, although the drinks aren’t exactly the cheapest in town.
Nightlife in Bristol
When the evening comes to its fullest, you might want to test Bristol’s extremely cheerful nightlife? Continue from Severnshed up Welsh Back until you reach the cobblestone side street in. On the left hand side is a pub that has entered the history of literature in not just one, but two ways. The Llandoger Trow dates from 1664, and is the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow, the site of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure on the Pirate Island where we meet Long John Silver for the first time.
The Llandoger Trow is also the place where author Daniel Defoe met sailor Alexander Selkirk, who told him the story Defoe later used as the basis for Robinson Crusoe. The place is to be haunted by ghosts, and for hundreds of years ago it was already a favorite place for the actors at England’s oldest continuously operating theater, Old Vic, located right up the street. Thus, the contrast becomes even greater when you are greeted at the door by a sonic sound of Coldplay and high-voiced girlfriends with pink bunny ears.
Want to try something different is one of Europe’s oldest and most famous jazz clubs across the street for the Llandoger Trow. Set in a listed building from 1780, The Old Duke has free admission and live music every night, preferably traditional glad jazz.
Day 2 in Bristol
After breakfast, take the bus (8a, 8b or 9) from downtown to Bristol’s west Clifton district, where the city’s wealthy residents traditionally lived, which you can clearly see in the many Georgian mansions and villas of the 18th and 19th centuries. Clifton is still one of the more fashionable neighborhoods, and this is where the specialty shops and galleries are located. But Clifton’s foremost attraction, which is also a symbol of the city, is the 150-year-old suspension bridge Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Clifton Suspension Bridge – the symbol of Bristol
The bridge is 414 meters long and extends over the River Avon. But the spectacular is the view from the bridge. Close by is a visitor information center, and there are free guided tours at 1500 every Sunday during the summer. Pedestrians and cyclists cross the bridge for free, while there is a charge for motorists. You have an equally good view of the bridge and cut from the Observatory Hill park area, just north of the bridge. Possibly from the point at the Avon Gorge Hotel, at the top of the zigzag trail just south of the bridge.
Once in Clifton, you can take the opportunity to visit the Bristol Zoo, which is about a mile north of the bridge. Bristol Zoo Gardens is something far more than sad animals confined in far too small cages.
The zoo was opened as early as 1836, and today it has over 400 species, many of these extinction threatened as the zoo collaborates with other zoos around the world to preserve. View Tower Cabot Tower
If you’re ready for a stroll, return to downtown via Brandon Hill in under half an hour. The crackers take off at Brandon Hill and reach the top of Cabot Tower, a 34-foot-high red sandstone tower.
Named after John Cabot, it was built in 1897, on the 400th anniversary of his sea voyage from Bristol when he “discovered” Newfoundland. The tower consists of a spiral staircase up to two platforms where you have a glorious view of Bristol. There is free access to the tower every day of the week.
Lunch – shopping and a strange clock in Bristol
If you continue down Park Street, you will surely find a tempting place to sit down for lunch. At the end of Park Street, you’ll reach College Green, a green space where City of Bristol College students like to gather. In the park you will find a statue of Queen Victoria from 1888. Bristol’s 12th century cathedral is on the south side.
The road continues down to The Center Promenade, a large open square with fountains and benches at the heart of one of the Harbor’s canals. On the west side of the square is The Hippodrome, Bristol’s premier revival, concert and theater scene for the last hundred years. Cross the square and walk up Corn Street, which is one of Bristol’s shopping streets. At the top of the street, street markets and festivals are organized, more specifically outside the Corn Exchange.
Notice that the clock on the Corn Exchange wall has two longs. The red one shows Bristol time while the black one shows London Greenwich time. You can read an explanation of this on the plaque on the wall or the explanation here. To the right of this old building is St Nicholas Market, which has existed since 1743, with a plethora of stalls and small shops.
Broadmead shopping area
When you get out of the market and go straight east, you come to Broadmead, the district where most people do their shopping. The shopping is centered around The Mall Galleries and Cabot Circus malls, which have a total of around 230 stores. Besides, there are countless other shops in the pedestrian streets around.
In the evening, head to the Glassboat boat restaurant, located on the Welsh back, right by the Bristol Bridge. This is considered one of the better and most romantic restaurants in Bristol. This is a 1924 boat that has served as a restaurant for the last twenty years. Here you get European, and then mainly French cuisine with English ingredients, candlelight and a brilliant view.
The Swedish flag hanging behind is due to the owner. Afterwards you have a short distance to the nightlife in, for example, King Street or Corn Street.