Bristol is a wonderful place for curious tourists. In this city, you will find many architectural masterpieces of different epochs. Perhaps there is no other town that reveals the meaning of the words "old England" so fully. Not just "old", though. There are monumental cathedrals, and a museum with a fine collection of works of art, and an excellent zoo, and a lot of fashionable shops. There's also plenty of greenery and graffiti, which people in Bristol treat with indulgence. It's no wonder Bristol is the fourth most visited city in England.
Districts of the city
There are a lot of buildings in the city that are interesting from an architectural point of view. Among them are several majestic cathedrals, buildings of museums and libraries, Arno's Castle ("Black Castle"), Wills Memorial Building, and many others.
Already in the XII century, thanks to its good location, the city began to become a major trading port through which trading with Ireland was carried out. In 1373, Bristol became a county. At the same time, its importance as a trading center of England was strengthened - trading with Spain and Portugal went through it. In those days, Bristol was only behind London and York in terms of its wealth.
In XVII-XVIII centuries, the city thrived thanks to slavery. It served as a trans-shipment point for the slave trade. They were brought here from Africa and sent from here to North America and the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Bristol also became a center of chocolate production, as cocoa, sugar, and spices were brought from the colonies.
The city had retained its status as the largest port in Britain until the XIX century. But in 1807, slavery was forbidden in Britain, and before that, it lost a number of colonies in America. Meanwhile, cotton production began to develop rapidly in northern England and Scotland, and Bristol's economic superiority was taken away by Liverpool and Glasgow.
During the Second World War, the city was severely damaged by Luftwaffe raids. It damaged the historical monuments in the process.
Today, Bristol is one of Britain's largest industrial and financial centers. For example, it is home to 9 of Britain's 12 aviation enterprises. Many famous people were born in Bristol, such as the poet Thomas Chatterton and the portraitist Thomas Lawrence, a street artist Banksy. By the way, the legendary pirate Edward Teach, nicknamed "Blackbeard", is also from these areas.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Bristol
Bristol hosts its famous Balloon Festival in the first half of August. It is attended by balloonists from all over the world. Imagine a hundred and fifty balloons, sometimes very exotic in shape and always brightly colored, floating in the sky at the same time.
And in early September, there is an international festival of kites. Today it is one of the most large-scale similar events in the world.
The cheapest form of transportation in Bristol is the bus. There is a very convenient ferry service, which departs from the city center and makes stops around many interesting objects. If you are going to use the ferry several times, it is wise to buy a day pass.
In almost all retail stores, you can pay with the card. Bank departments open at 9:30 and work until 15:30. The majority of shops work from 9:00 to 18:00, but some are open around the clock.
You can save money on transportation by using the Bristol Free Walking Tours service. It provides two-hour excursions in the city center on the basis of "pay as much as you want". However, there are no excursions in winter.
If you are going to visit not only Bristol but also its surroundings, you can buy a Freedom Travelpass card. It gives you the right to unlimited travel on the majority of bus routes.
What should a tourist do in Bristol
- Take a walk around College Green Square. On one side of the plaza, is the arched City Council building and the Cathedral is on the other. The square itself is a green lawn decorated with flower beds. The cathedral was founded back in 1140 but then was rebuilt in the XVI century. Inside the majestic building is decorated with magnificent stained-glass windows and sculptures.
- Admire the treasures of the Bristol City Museum and the Art Gallery. Both expositions are very rich. In the museum, you can see archaeological findings collected in Ancient Egypt and Assyria. In the gallery, you can admire paintings by British and foreign artists. The pearl of the gallery is a unique collection of Chinese porcelain.
- Take a look at the Avon Gorge from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was built between 1836 and 1864 by engineer Isambard Brunel and is the city's trademark. The views from this magnificent structure are literally breathtaking. Not far from the bridge is an observatory with a rotating camera obscura, which transmits images of the surrounding area on a special screen and the famous Bristol caves.
- Imagine yourself as a navigator on board the Great Britain. This is the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It's now a museum. The Great Britain is one of the most visited places in the city.
- Compare your impressions of the architectural entourage of Jane Austen's novel "Northanger Abbey" with reality. Next to Bristol is the Blaise Castle Estate, which houses the mansion and castle that were described in the novel by Austen. There is also a charming little village consisting of nine unusual houses adhering to each other.
- If you have come with children, you must take them to Bristol Zoo Gardens, which is considered to be one of the oldest in the world. It is home to 7000 animals, more than 400 species. It was in Bristol Zoo that the "twilight zone" first appeared, where day and night have changed places, and visitors can see the life of the night creatures in a special light. Another great attraction for children will be a visit to the Bristol Aquarium, where you will find much bizarre fish and other sea creatures. You can see sharks floating above your head while walking through a huge transparent tunnel.
- See the St. Mary Redcliffe Church, which is located in the Redcliffe district. It's the tallest building in the city, and its spire rises 89 meters. The temple was built between the XII and XV centuries. It is one of the most impressive examples of church gothic not only in Britain but also in Europe.
- You'll enjoy shopping in Bristol's stores and markets. There are plenty of shops in the city, which, as they say, can fit any wallet. But if you want to reduce your shopping time, you'd better go to one of the malls, such as Cabot Circus or Broadmead. There are many shops in each of them, where you can find whatever you want. It is also worth visiting the St. Nicholas Market, located in a beautiful old street covered with a glass dome. Here you can buy souvenirs and delicacies, or have a snack.
- Look for works by Banksy, a famous and scandalous master of street painting, on the walls of city buildings (and not only). "Well Hung Lover" can be found near the City Council building, on Park Street, next to the bridge (it was a hint).