Bristol is regarded as the capital of the South West of England. Lively yet laid-back, Bristol blends its rich maritime heritage with an innovative, dynamic culture, making it one of the most cosmopolitan centres outside London.
Compact enough to get around on foot, yet big enough to boast an exciting line-up of entertainment, Bristol has much to offer. The city’s most celebrated sights include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 19th century, and Brunel’s ss Great Britain in the thriving Harbourside.
There are fine museums and galleries, many of which are free to enter including M Shed, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and Arnolfini, one of Europe’s leading centres for the contemporary arts. Attractions such as Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Aquarium and At-Bristol science centre, make Bristol a particularly family-friendly destination.
Food and drink are taken seriously in Bristol. There are award-winning restaurants in the Harbourside, global cuisine in St Nicholas Market, and cafes on Park Street and Gloucester Road. There are also great places to stay to suit all budgets.
The city is a mecca for shoppers in the region looking for high street fashion and designer brands. The Bristol Shopping Quarter in the heart of the city centre has hundreds of shops including Harvey Nichols plus one of the country’s largest Primarks.
Bristol is well-known for its vibrant music scene and nightlife boasting retro nightclubs, live music bars, friendly pubs, sophisticated cocktail lounges, underground clubs, a classical music hall, and popular gig nights. There is also a daily line-up of live entertainment at the Bristol Hippodrome, the Old Vic and Colston Hall.
Not to be missed is Bristol’s ever-evolving street art scene, made famous by the elusive graffiti artist Banksy whose work is scattered across the city.
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Experience Brunel’s Bristol by walking across the Clifton Suspension Bridge which is as striking today as it was on its completion in 1864. There are spectacular views across the Avon Gorge which links Bristol with the sea. Another of Brunel’s engineering masterpieces is the award-winning ss Great Britain. This was the world's first great ocean liner and has been lovingly restored to her former Victorian glory.
Visit Bristol’s vibrant Harbourside and enjoy a historic harbour tour with one of Bristol’s ferry boat companies. Must-visit attractions in the Harbourside also include At-Bristol science centre, Bristol Aquarium and M Shed.
Scour the streets of Bristol and you’ll struggle not to find a cutting-edge piece of urban art decorating the city’s walls. Look out for famous street-artist Banksy’s work and head to Nelson Street for the new See No Evil permanent street art project.
The huge selection of high street shops and independent stores in the city make it the premier shopping destination in the South West of England. The largest area is Bristol Shopping Quarter but you can also explore Bristol’s Old City where grand, dignified buildings surround the Corn Exchange and St Nicholas Market which is home to an intriguing mix of stalls and regular street markets, including the Weekly Farmers Market and monthly Slow Food market.
Bristol has a long association with the green movement and is proud of its status as a Green Capital. Not only is it the UK’s first cycling city, Bristol is also a Fairtrade city, which sees us trading fairly with nearly five million workers in 58 developing countries. We're home to the Soil Association, the Environment Agency, the BBC Natural History Unit and Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity behind the development of the National Cycle Network.