Bristol is England’s sixth biggest city and has so many stories to tell. Bristol is located in the hills of Southwest England and the hustle and bustle of the city, paired with their dedication to sustainability and being eco-friendly makes for the perfect mix. The city is alive with culture, art, and things to do for just about every traveler, and is definitely a city that should fall on every persons list when visiting England. Here is how you can spend two days exploring Bristol.
Rise and shine and head out to start your day with a stroll through Castle Park—a public park that holds remains of a medieval castle and St. Peter’s Church. After a stroll in the park, make your way to Stokes Croft to check out this trendy and artistic part of the city that is home to several displays of colourful street art.
To get to Stokes Croft, you’ll walk under an underpass and begin to see signs that point you to the area. Make sure to take a look down all the side streets and alleyways to really get to see the most street art as possible. This area is also home to one of Banksy’s famous works of street art which can be found by a restaurant patio on the main street. If you’re walking from one direction you’ll see a painting of Jesus doing a handstand and you’ll want to turn back and look on the opposite wall.
After taking some time to roam around this area, head back to St. Nicholas Market for lunch. This market has been around since 1743 and is open daily from 9am-5pm. Filled with great places to eat, cute vendors and shops—there is something that will appeal to just about any kind of eater out there. We ate at the Moroccan restaurant which was delicious and inexpensive!
After the market, head on down to the harbour area and choose what you want to visit out of a long list of museums, galleries, shopping options, and pubs. Some of the popular attractions in this area are:
M Shed Museum: This museum is built in a 50s transit shed and is a free history museum that tells the story of Bristol in a unique and traditional way that encourages anyone (even locals) to visit and learn about the city.
At-Bristol Science Centre: A great option if you are traveling with kids—the At-Bristol Science Centre is filled with hands on discovery with hundreds of exhibits and live shows.
Brunel’s ss Great Britain: Step onboard the world’s first great ocean liner that has been converted into Bristol’s number one attraction. This ship has been around the world 32 times, and is now docked to be explored by visitors in Bristol.
St. Mary Redcliffe Church: You don’t have to attend a service at this church to be impressed, just the architecture alone combined with the fact that it has been standing for over 800 years is impressive enough. This church is open to the public daily (except Sunday) from 8:30am-5:00pm.
After you visit some of the attractions by the harbourside, head for a boat ride on one of the water taxis. Yes, you can use these to get around the city, but we got on-board one just to see the city from the water. There are a couple routes available and you can pay on board!
Once you’ve seen the city from a different perspective, and are ready to head out for dinner, I suggest visiting Bordeaux Quay on the harbourside. This restaurant is home to a cooking school and the ground floor restaurant (The Brasserie) is reasonably priced and delicious. The menu frequently changes but I had a delicious risotto dish when I was there!
Head out for your day on the hop-on-hop-off bus, which is always a great option in any city when you are short on time. You can choose to stay on the bus and see the main spots along route without getting off, but it’s always suggested that you get off and explore other parts of the city. We headed to Clifton Village for the afternoon, and there were quite a few other stops that were nearby on the bus route that are worth a visit too (like the Sea Walls, Ladies Mile, and Bristol Zoo).
Once you’re in Clifton Village, take a walk over to the Suspension Bridge—a symbol of the city and for 150 years has attracted visitors from all over the world. The bridge joins Bristol and North Somerset and is funded by the tolls of vehicles driving over it.
After soaking in the view and snapping some photos, head in to explore Clifton Village, known as one of the most beautiful shopping quarters in the area with its trendy boutique shops selling everything from jewelry to art. Stop for lunch at one of the cute cafes in the area and enjoy a little bit of an escape from the city centre.
After your time hoping on and off around the city, make your way back to the city centre for some cider tasting! England is home to so many different ciders, and even if you don’t try ones that are made in England, many restaurants and pubs carry more ciders than you will find in most places (at least in comparison to North America). A great place to get your cider sampling on is The Stable located on the harbourside that caries over 80 different ciders for you to choose from and also offers flights of cider that allows you to try multiple kinds at once.
If you’re ready for dinner and want to try something other than the delicious pizza they serve up at The Stable, No. 1 Harbourside is a great option. This restaurant serves a variety of vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options and believes strongly in sustainability—which is something that the whole city takes very seriously with their recent award of being Europe’s Green Capital in 2015.
Voila! You’ve now completed two full days in Bristol and seen (and tasted) some of the city’s best. Did I miss something that you absolutely loved about Bristol? Leave it below in the comments!