Bristol, the city of the West Country, offers art, science, history and some great food to visitors looking for a weekend break.
A Weekend Break in Bristol: Things to See & Do
Visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge
This symbol of Bristol stretches across the Avon Gorge at an impressive 76 metres above the surface of the water. It was Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first commission – although work wasn’t completed until after his death. The Clifton Suspension Bridge also has a small visitors’ centre.
Trivia: Brunel designed the bridge for horses and carts over 150 years ago; it now carries over 11 000 vehicles each day.
Visit St Mary Redcliffe
Described by Queen Elizabeth I as “the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England,” today St Mary’s seems more like an austere cathedral than a local parish church. Sailors said their prayers within these walls before heading across to the New World – and a plaque commemorates William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.
Look out for the whale rib and the water sculpture devoted to chaos theory.
See Edgy Art in Stokes Croft
The thought-provoking, colourful and imaginative images that rage across the walls and doorways of Stokes Croft make a detour here worthwhile. This was also Banksy’s original stomping ground before he hit the big time.
Stroll Along the Floating Harbour of Bristol
Bristol’s regenerated harbour has plenty of restaurants and bars as well as glowing fountains and sculptures. If you have time, check out the following:
This former warehouse now hosts free modern art exhibitions. Arnolfini changes its programme regularly – check the up to date version here.
SS Great Britain
This great passenger steamship, also a work of Brunel’s, used to carry passengers across the Atlantic to New York before moving on to the Falkland Islands and Australia. Today, she stays put in her home of Bristol and welcomes landlubber visitors.
Cycle from Bristol to Bath
For the active among you, this flat journey along a former train track takes you through the English countryside to arrive at one of England’s most beautiful places, Bath.
Eating Out in Bristol
Bristol, as a cosmopolitan city, has food for almost every taste and budget. For cheap eateries look out for Pizza on the Hill and the pubs in the heart of Bristol’s student area around St Michael’s Hill.
Luckily, you can find plenty of budget hotel chains right in the centre of Bristol. Avoid hotels near Bristol Parkway Station or the Airport as they’re not very convenient for sightseeing.
Getting to Bristol
You can fly from many cities – although make sure you read this post on getting to and from Bristol Airport first. It’s not the quickest of arrangements.
Bristol also has two train stations – Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. Bristol Temple Meads is the one you want for the city centre.
To get a flavour of Bristol before your weekend begins, visit this blog that showcases a photo a day from Bristol.