Creative, cultured, and fresh, the best things to do in Bristol highlight its transformation from a heavy industry centre into a hotbed for artists and activities. Voted as Britain’s most liveable city, Bristol exudes an unmistakable identity and is filled with so much buzz and character that never fail to inspire travelers.
New art collectives, alternative cafes and restaurants, and music venues lie beside historic sites and landmarks within this city in southwest England. There is a strong aura of a city on the rise and this lovely list of the top 11 things to do in Bristol only validate the obvious.
Historic Sites in Bristol
1. Brunel’s SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain is the pride and joy of the largest city in the southwest. Naturally, seeing it is one of the best things to do in Bristol! Built in 1843 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this beautiful steamship is one of the biggest and most technologically advanced ever created. Today, a visit proves more than enjoyable as you stroll through the decks, explore the luxury cabins, and get a multisensory glimpse of life on board.
Price: £14 for adults and £8 for children
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5.30 PM from April to October, 10 AM to 4.30 PM from November to March
Location: Great Western Dock, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol, England
2. Clifton Suspension Bridge
This 76 meter high suspension bridge is the most photographed landmark in Clifton. Built in 1836, also by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it covers the Avon Gorge and has endured from carrying light horse-drawn traffic into the thousands of cars of today. Learn more by attending the free bridge tours on weekends from Easter to October.
Hours: Open access
Location: Bristol, England
Museums in Bristol
3. M Shed
The history of Bristol unravels within this impressive museum by the harbour. Exhibits are divided into People, Place, and Life sections and cover everything from the slaves and vintage buses to Wallace and Gromit figurines. Families and children will adore this trip for the displays and guided tours are highly interactive. Special weekend activities are available in the summer, too.
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Friday; 10 AM to 6 PM every Saturday and Sunday
Location: Princes Wharf, Bristol, England
For a museum, this is definitely most fun and interactive, making it one of the best things to do in Bristol. Highlights include the Science Zone with space and human brain displays, the Curiosity Zone where you walk into a tornado and spin on a human gyroscope, and the 3D planetarium for stargazing. Bonus tip: you can get discounts if you book on their website.
Price: £14.60 for adults and £9.40 for children
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Friday; 10 AM to 6 PM every Saturday and Sunday
Location: Anchor Rd, Bristol, England
Gallery in Bristol
A haven for modern art, this avant-garde gallery showcases quality exhibitions on dance, film, and photography. It is quite the experience as the riverside location adds to the atmosphere of the events.
Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM every Tuesday to Sunday
Location: 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, England
Entertainment in Bristol
6. Bristol Old Vic
Feeling like catching a show? There is no better place than the restored Theatre Royal – a Georgian theatre that is one of the oldest in England – also the home of renowned Bristol Old Vic. The ornate auditorium stages big global productions while the smaller studio exposes people to experimental works.
Location: King St, Bristol BS1 4ED, UK
7. Colston Hall
The best bands and the biggest comedy acts play regularly at Colston Hall – all the proof you need that entertainment here is one of the best things to do in Bristol. Gather your friends and enjoy live music for hours!
Location: Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR, UK
Shopping in Bristol
8. Rise Music
Endless racks of CDs and vinyl welcome music lovers in this top independent record shop. Add it to your best things to do in Bristol itinerary and explore music at its finest. Remember to stop by to check what events are on or grab a coffee or two in the bar downstairs.
Location: 70 Queen’s Rd, Bristol, England
Restaurants in Bristol
One of the heavy hitters of Bristol dining for years, the food at Riverstation is known for its delicious and strong European flavour. But apart from the unforgettable dishes, its waterside location proves unbeatable. Pick a table overlooking the Floating Harbour or sit on the terrace to catch a patch of sun. For coffee and cake, check out the downstairs bar and kitchen for an instant sweet fix.
Price: 2-course lunches start at £14, 3 course-lunches start at £17; dinner mains start at £15
Hours: Open daily at 12 PM to 2.30 PM and 6 PM to 10.30 PM
Location: The Grove, Bristol, England
You can’t say you have done all the best things to do in Bristol without having a good pie! Head to this Bristol institution and enjoy a gourmet fix. The pies have incredible names, which add to the fun. Order the Tipsy Chic for a chicken and cider pie or a Moo and Blue for a beef and Stilton one. Each bite is divine, all drowned in luscious gravy. Admit it – just thinking about it made you hungry!
Price: Pies start at £5
Hours: 10 AM to 11 PM every Thursday to Saturday; 11 AM to 10 PM every Sunday to Wednesday
Location: 24 Stokes Croft, Bristol, England
11. St. Nicholas Market
There is a no bigger treat for food lovers than a day wandering in and around the food-bursting stalls within this incredible and lively street market. No craving will be left unfulfilled here. Barbecue specialists are plenty, as well as pulled pork servings, meze platters, and every other good thing that you can imagine. However, because this is one of the best things to do in Bristol, expect queues around lunch but a little patience leads to great rewards!
Hours: 9.30 AM to 5 PM every Monday to Saturday
Location: Corn St, Bristol, England
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