Things to do in Bristol (Interesting Places to Visit)
Last Updated on 12/10/2021
If you are searching for a destination that has the perfect blend of history and art with its eccentric culture, Bristol is a city in Great Britain that is three and a half hours away from the central city of London. This is known to be the 8th largest city in Britain and is known among the British residents as the ‘Good Ol’ Brizzle’. This old city, which is a part of the beautiful west country, is also known for its daring quirkiness.
For Bristol’s tourists, some of these exciting locations include cathedrals, street art, colourful houses, and aquariums – what’s more is that this enchanting city also has its own currency that was initiated in 2012 to support local businesses that will also be a cool memento to bring back with you. This article will walk you through some of the well-recognised tourist locations and things to do in Bristol, and we hope this one’s for you!
Table of Contents
- 1 Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – Top pick from our list of things to do in Bristol!
- 2 Blaise Castle Estate
- 3 Clifton Suspension Bridge
- 4 Brunel’s SS Great Britain
- 5 Bristol Zoo Gardens
- 6 We The Curious
- 7 M Shed
- 8 Bristol Ferry Boats
- 9 Cabot Circus
- 10 Bristol Cathedral
- 11 Bristol Aquarium
- 12 Bristol Hippodrome
- 13 Clifton Observatory and Caves
- 14 Smoke & Mirrors
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – Top pick from our list of things to do in Bristol!
This art gallery and museum is a must visit place that embraces Bristols local talent Banksy’s artwork as an important facet of Bristol culture. In addition to giving it’s visitors a peek into the city’s past, the museum displays collections of natural history from the past billion or so years along with some archaeological and geological artefacts that show the journey of how we came to be. Bristol also has a wide array of retro street art and graffiti so you can always take a stroll in the city to enjoy the view. These artworks were mostly done by the famous aforementioned graffiti artist ‘Banksy’ who has his work featured in world renowned foreign museums as well.
Blaise Castle Estate
Blaise Castle Estate located in Henbury, Bristol calls for an opportunity to plan a perfect day out with your loved ones. This tourist attraction runs across 650 acres with its castle and other activities such as horse-riding, children’s play area, and cafes to be enjoyed by its guests. But if you are looking to refresh and relax, this location could also be considered the perfect place for picnics – complemented by the many acres of grasslands. You can take a walking tour of the Estate to enjoy its scenic views. The Blaise Castle Estate is mostly loved by its guests as it symbolises a miniature English countryside – with rolling hills, riverbanks, and small woodlands with beautiful green pastures surrounding the castle. The Estate is also home to a museum with many historical collections that display years of Bristol culture and lifestyle.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
If it weren’t for its quirky graffiti and contemporary art, Bristol is known mostly for the Clifton Suspension Bridge that runs across River Avon. This was where the first bungee jumping took place in 1979 and is known to attract those who love to chase adventures worldwide. The engineer of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Isambard Brunel called it “my first love, my darling..” and loved the project so dearly but could not live to see the masterpiece. But still standing strong against the strongest of winds 150 years later, you will realise that a Bristol visit will be incomplete without witnessing this colossal bridge that symbolises the independent and creative thinkers of Bristol city.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Known to be a creation ahead of her time, Brunel’s SS Great Britain is one of the most prominent historic ships in the world. This was the longest passenger ship and the first that could carry its passengers across the Atlantic ocean from Bristol to New York City. The SS Great Britain could make this journey in 14 days back in the 18th century and was well-loved for her strength and poise. She is now a retired veteran that resides in the Great Western Dockyard and serves as a tourist attraction and a museum. The interiors of SS Great Britain have been beautifully painted, carved and gilded with golden-hued flowers and birds and would be a sight to see while you are in Bristol.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
If you are an animal lover, the Bristol Zoo is the perfect place for you. This project was initiated to spread awareness of the animal world and with over 400 kinds of various animal species, the zoo takes care of certain endangered animals. This zoo of over 130 acres of land allows you to spend a day with the animals in their habitat and has a variety of interesting programmes to participate in as well. With plenty of space for kids to run around in the playgrounds (and to climb and swing), this will certainly be an experience that you and your loved ones won’t forget.
We The Curious
If you are a local you would have previously known this place as @Bristol. Renamed in 2017, We The Curious also has the first 3D planetarium in the UK. This is a place that sparks curiosity about the universe we are a part of. All their activities and festivals revolve around this concept and is a wonderful place to visit with your loved ones who are excited to find answers. The grand venue has over 300 exhibits and also the first biggest science-based exhibition called ‘What If’ that is based on 10,000 questions (approx.) that were asked by people, and some art pieces and exhibits that were based on these questions. There is always something new to discover at ‘We The Curious’ and you will gain a whole new perspective when you walk back through the doors.
Located on the Bristol Industrial Museum grounds, M Shed was opened in 2011 and currently has over 3,000 artefacts from Bristol. This is the hub for all stories related to people, industries, arts and culture of Bristol city from several decades back until the present day. The M Shed has many photographs and films that will take you through the journey of their uniqueness and the historic stories so you could take a walk down memory lane. Their information and visits are free for the public and you will adore the 2000 years of Bristol’s history that M Shed exhibits. If you are in the area, you can also pay a visit to Spike Island which will be another favourite place for contemporary art lovers and to enjoy a cuppa at their cafe.
Bristol Ferry Boats
If you are looking for a way to get around Bristol or to have some fun in the city centre, here is the best option for you. Not only do you get the classic boat trip and cargo drops, but there are also some interesting educational excursions and booze cruises that locals and tourists enjoy. This water bus service known as the Bristol Ferry operates from the Bristol harbour and began its initiative in 1977. These ferries will be hard to miss in the city with their yellow and blue-painted bodies. If you fancy a cold one with your friends and to sail at the same time, you know where to go. Visit Bristol if you are looking for more unforgettable memories like this.
Are you yet to find the perfect place to bring out the true shopaholic in you? The Cabot Circus is a shopping complex in the Bristol city centre with many shopping centres and retail outlets and is one of the best things to do in Bristol city. The Cabot circus also includes a hotel, a movie theatre, an apartment, amazing cafes and several offices that makes it all the more convenient to spend several hours at this unique location. Not only does Cabot Circus offer a great shopping experience, but they also offer a satiable dining experience that will make you crave more. Experience international cuisines and fashion styles all under one roof at Cabot Circus while walking through their independent shops.
This beautiful eye-catching monument built with German gothic architecture is the Bristol Cathedral also known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Many visit this historic building to witness its grandeur and interiors, to see the memorials and to take part in praise & worship services. Approximately 300 feet tall, this cathedral has some unique architectural features that can only be seen here in Great Britain. If you get a chance to visit, don’t miss the ancient church organ at the cathedral that has been played since the 1900s over many many times.
We promise you this will be one of your kids’ favourite things to do in Bristol. A fantastic place to visit, the Bristol Aquarium has over 40 different aquatic creatures that can be loved and watched. They cover everything for your full entertainment including various shows, participating programmes, informative tours and dining experiences so you can never be bored here. The Bristol Aquarium also has a giant Urban Jungle that gives you the experience of a botanical house that can only be uniquely experienced here in Bristol. Don’t forget to give this exciting place a visit, and do check out their live feeding shows for some unforgettable memories.
Most suited for theatre buffs who want to connect with their love for performance arts, the Bristol Hippodrome is one of the largest theatres in the UK. This would be a magical place to be if you enjoy musicals, stand-up comedy, opera or even drama – and the Hippodrome has hosted many popular plays like Les Misérables, Cats, Blood Brothers and other major Broadway productions. While you are here, you can also step outside for a street art tour of Bristol city and you will see a graffiti history of over 30 years and hear many stories of Banksy and his clever ways of avoiding the police back then.
Clifton Observatory and Caves
About 15 minutes away from the city centre, this historic windmill has existed since the 1700s. This will be the most magical tour in Bristol you will witness, and you will enjoy the beautiful scenic views that this location has to offer. A few hundred steps through the cave, you will come out onto another viewing area that will give you spectacular views from the cliff. Be sure to visit on a sunny day to enjoy the best landscape views, and don’t forget to drop by their 360-degree cafe that offers a variety of refreshments for its guests that you would love after taking in all this beauty.
Smoke & Mirrors
This will be anyone’s favourite location on a fabulous evening to enjoy some British ale and ciders. Take it with a pinch of good humour that this pub’s stand-up comedians can offer, and call it perfection. Smoke & Mirrors also has frequent magician’s shows that keeps their guests hooked throughout the show and is well known among the community as a boutique Magic Theatre pub. Smoke & Mirrors promises a big smile on your face and aching cheeks when you leave the bar with your cravings satisfied. Next time if you are closer to Denmark Street in Bristol, don’t forget to drop by.
Enjoyed the article? You might be also interested in: