Bristol is awash with cultural attractions, with a choice of harbour-side galleries and museums such as the M Shed, Arnolfini and Brunel’s luxury liner, ss Great Britain to numerous sightseeing boat trips plying the so-named Floating Harbour, a title given in the 18th century when navigators built a dam to counter the problems posed by the tidal waterway. This drastic solution allowed vessels to remain afloat regardless of the tides, rather than sinking sideways into the mud twice each day.
Visitors in the M-Shed Bristol museum with vintage bus. Photo: VisitEngland/Iain Lewis
Away from the water is the buzz of a centre which delights in celebrating its heritage, with numerous festivals, dramatic arts, markets and exhibitions. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Clifton is world famous, and has a year-round calendar of plays. There’s much beauty to be found in the city too. Queen Square is an early 18th-century marvel of design, a fashionable address for the offices that nowadays call it home. Clifton too, is a desirable suburb, and its famous Brunel-designed suspension bridge across the Avon gorge has its own visitor centre. The gothic St Mary Redcliffe is one of the city’s most striking architectural landmarks, while art of all types can be seen outside as well as in. The graffiti of the inimitable Banksy, world-famous street artist, is dotted around the city with official self-guided or guided walking tours available.
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton, Bristol. Photo copyright VisitEngland Images/ Iain Lewis
In between are vibrant spots for entertainment and refreshment, with trendy new bars emerging such as the Aviator Bar on Chandos Road and Small Bar on King Street with a tempting range of craft ales and lagers. Wherever you may wander in Bristol there’ll be an off-the-beaten-track surprise.
The Matthew in Bristol Floating Harbour, a reconstruction of the historic ship John Cabot sailed to North American in 1497. Copyright VisitEngland Images/Destination Bristol
Vintage sign for Clifton Shopping Arcade, Clifton. Photo: VisitEngland/Iain Lewis
By car, the city can be reached from the M32 (off the M4), A38 or A4. By train, Bristol has frequent services from London, the West Country and the North.
Bristol, with views of the cityscape and the River Avon. Photo: VisitEngland Images/Destination Bristol
Tel: 0906 711 2191; www.visitbristol.co.uk