15 Best Things to Do in Bristol, England

15 Best Things to Do in Bristol, England

By will

Welcome to Bristol, England!

This vibrant city has something for everyone and is bursting with fun activities.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the river or an adrenaline-filled adventure, there’s no shortage of things to do in this historical city.

From exploring the city’s stunning architecture to dancing the night away at one of its happening clubs, here are 15 of the best things to do in Bristol.

1. Marvel At The Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
Photo by John Sparshatt

Marvel at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, an iconic landmark of Bristol.

Spanning the Avon Gorge, this Grade I-listed structure is an incredible feat of engineering and a symbol of the city’s pride.

Standing on the bridge, you’ll be mesmerized by the spectacular views of the gorge below.

The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and has been a major attraction ever since – it’s definitely a must-see for visitors to Bristol.

On sunny days, there’s nothing quite like standing on top of the bridge and taking in its grandeur.

You can also explore nearby Leigh Woods, a beautiful nature reserve with plenty of trails to wander through and some great picnic spots too.

Make sure you take your time during your visit – it’s worth it!

2. Get Lost On The Clifton Downs

Ventilation tower, Clifton Down
Photo by Derek Harper

After taking in the stunning views of Clifton Suspension Bridge, it’s time to explore the rest of Bristol.

One of the best ways to do that is to get lost on the Clifton Downs.

This vast public park situated on a hilltop is an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or for some serious exploration.

The Downs are home to various attractions, including Durdham Down and Ladies Mile, where visitors can take in views of the city and surrounding countryside.

There are plenty of interesting things to see here, from ancient burial mounds and Iron Age fortifications to wildflowers in the springtime and wildlife year-round.

It’s also a great place to stop and admire the iconic Clifton Observatory or even wander off into one of its woods.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing walk or an adventure-filled day out, Clifton Downs has something for everyone.

With its stunning views, beautiful nature trails, and variety of activities, this public park offers a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life – allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature while still enjoying the bustling city nearby.

3. Mess About On Millennium Square

Millennium Square, Bristol
Photo by Stephen Richards

Millennium Square in Bristol is the perfect spot to let loose and have some fun.

Here, you can mess around with your friends and family, or simply enjoy the beautiful views of the city.

With its huge open space, Millennium Square offers plenty of entertainment for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon or an adrenaline-filled day, this place has it all.

The square is home to a variety of activities, including outdoor sports such as football, cricket, and basketball.

There’s also a range of amusements for thrill seekers and adventure lovers alike – zip lining across the square anyone?

On top of that, there are also plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area if you want to grab a bite to eat after all that activity.

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For those who just want to unwind, there are benches where you can sit back and take in the sights while soaking up some evening sun.

Millennium Square provides a unique opportunity to get away from it all without having to leave town.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, this is one destination that won’t disappoint.

With its great location and array of activities on offer, it’s no wonder why this place has become so popular!

4. Explore The Harbourside

Bristol Harbourside is one of the city’s top attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

It offers a wealth of activities and sights that are perfect for any traveler.

From relaxing walks along the waterfront to lively street markets, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, start with an exploration of the harbor.

The area is surrounded by picturesque canals and docks, which offer an insight into Bristol’s vibrant maritime history.

There are plenty of opportunities to take in the views across the water, as well as soak up some sun on one of the many benches along the quayside.

You can also explore the old warehouses and factories, which have been transformed into modern art galleries, shops, and eateries with a unique atmosphere.

The harbor is also home to a number of live music venues, which host everything from folk music to rock concerts throughout the year.

There are also regular boat trips available for those looking for a more leisurely way to explore this part of town.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Bristol Harbourside has something for everyone – so come and explore!

5. Take In The View From Cabot Tower

From the harbourside, the next stop on your Bristol adventure should be Cabot Tower.

Perched atop Brandon Hill, one of Bristol’s many parks, this Victorian tower offers an unforgettable view of the city.

Climb its winding staircase to reach the top and take in a spectacular 360-degree panorama of historic churches, modern buildings, and everything in between.

You won’t find a better vantage point from which to appreciate all that Bristol has to offer!

As far as landmarks go, Cabot Tower is about as impressive as it gets.

Built-in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, its neo-Gothic design is still breathtaking today.

The views from the top are especially stunning at night when the city lights come alive against a starry sky – truly a sight to behold.

Spend some time taking it all in and you’ll soon understand why this tower remains such an iconic part of Bristol’s skyline.

6. Explore The City’s Street Art

Bristol is a city full of vibrant street art, and exploring it is one of the best things to do in the city.

From Banksy’s work to some of the finest graffiti artists in the UK, Bristol has it all.

There are more than 150 pieces of art spread throughout different parts of the city, ranging from stencil-style pieces to murals and sculptures.

You can take a self-guided tour around Bristol’s street art or join an organized walking tour with a local guide who will be able to show you some of the best spots in town.

You can also take a trip on a boat around Bristol’s historic harbourside and see some of the most creative street art from below.

Exploring Bristol’s street art is sure to give you an insight into its unique culture and history – not to mention some great photo opportunities!

7. Explore More Of Brunel’s Genius At The Ss Great Britain

Brunel’s genius is on full display at the SS Great Britain.

Built-in 1843, this iron-hulled steamship was the world’s first great ocean liner.

Visitors to the ship can explore its many fascinating features and get a glimpse into life onboard during its heyday.

The vessel has been lovingly restored to its original glory, allowing visitors to experience first-hand what it was like to travel aboard this luxurious steamship.

The SS Great Britain also houses an impressive collection of Brunel artifacts and memorabilia, including books, models, photographs, and documents from his life and work.

There are interactive displays that bring his achievements to life in vivid detail.

Guests can explore the ship’s engine room and boiler room, learning about how it was powered during its voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.

Tour guides are available to answer any questions you may have as you discover all that this incredible vessel has to offer.

The SS Great Britain is a must-see for anyone who wants to gain insight into one of England’s most remarkable engineers – Isambard Kingdom Brunel – and get a unique glimpse into maritime history.

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Whether you’re an avid history buff or just looking for something fun to do while in Bristol, exploring this extraordinary vessel will provide a memorable experience that will last long after your visit is over.

8. Visit Bristol Zoo Gardens

Next on your list of things to do in Bristol is to visit the city’s Zoo Gardens.

Located in Clifton, this attraction provides a unique experience for visitors.

With over 400 species of animals and a wide variety of plants and flowers, it is sure to captivate all ages.

The zoo also has a range of exciting activities and educational experiences, so you can learn more about the incredible wildlife around you.

If you are looking for something more active, why not take a spin on their carousel or try out the Butterfly Garden?

Or if you want to relax, take a stroll around the lake or spend some time wandering through the tropical rainforest.

There are plenty of opportunities to explore and discover something new at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

This charming attraction will provide hours of fun for everyone!

9. Scour The Fashionable Streets Of Bristol Shopping Quarter

Bristol Shopping Quarter is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the vibrant city of Bristol, England.

With its chic boutiques and lively atmosphere, it’s sure to be one of your most memorable experiences.

Here you can find everything from vintage clothing stores to designer labels and unique jewelry pieces.

The area also boasts several independent cafes and bars for a relaxing break in between shopping trips.

Stroll through the cobbled streets and admire the stunning architecture that makes up Bristol Shopping Quarter.

You’ll be spoilt for choice with the many independent stores and galleries here, offering a range of products from handmade crafts to locally sourced groceries.

There are plenty of enticing restaurants too, where you can sample some delicious local fare.

Get ready to explore and discover something new at every turn!

10. Visit St Mary Redcliffe

Continuing our exploration of one of the most vibrant cities in England, we now turn to St Mary Redcliffe.

This stunning 15th-century gothic church is undoubtedly one of the city’s most iconic sights.

Built by Bishop Robert Rede and completed in 1490, it has since become a staple of Bristol’s skyline.

The church is easily accessible from Bristol Shopping Quarter and is well worth a visit.

The exterior boasts intricate stone carvings and an ornate spire that reaches up to 160 feet into the sky.

Inside, visitors will find impressive stained glass windows, an elaborate nave, and a ceiling painted with Biblical scenes.

It’s also home to many memorials dedicated to some of Bristol’s most influential figures, including John Cabot and Edward Colston.

A tour around St Mary Redcliffe provides an opportunity to appreciate its rich history and artistry.

An experience like no other awaits those who venture inside this remarkable building – a must-see for any tourist visiting Bristol!

11. Walk Around Queen Square

Queen Square is a must-see when visiting Bristol.

It’s the only 18th-century square in the city, and its stately grandeur will take your breath away.

The magnificent Georgian architecture of the square plays host to a range of events throughout the year, from music festivals to food markets.

So, why not take a stroll around Queen Square and appreciate the best that Bristol has to offer?

The gardens in the center are perfect for those wishing to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.

It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or an evening stroll, as you can watch the sunset over Bristol’s iconic skyline.

Alternatively, you can sit back by one of the fountains and take in all that this stunning area has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a moment of respite or an afternoon full of activities, Queen Square won’t disappoint.

So if you’re looking for something special during your visit to Bristol, head on down to Queen Square – it’ll be sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!

12. Take A Look At The Georgian House

From Queen Square, take a leisurely stroll to the Georgian House located at 7 Great George Street.

This magnificent building is one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets and offers visitors a glimpse into Bristol’s past.

Built between 1790 and 1793 by eminent architect William Paty, it has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur.

The Georgian House is designed in the classic Palladian style of architecture, with a large central hall surrounded by four adjoining rooms.

As you explore the house, you’ll be impressed by the ornately decorated ceilings, walls, and floors.

It’s sure to capture your imagination as you get lost in the intricacies of this historic building.

In addition to its stunning interior design, you can also learn about some of the famous people who have lived in or visited the house over time—from Charles Dickens to Sir Robert Peel.

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Take a step back into history as you tour this beautiful building and experience all that it has to offer.

From its unique architecture and memorabilia to its art exhibitions and events—the Georgian House is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for any visitor.

13. Street Food At St Nicks Market

St Nicks Market in Bristol is a must-see for anyone looking to sample some of the best local street food.

This vibrant market, located at the heart of the city, takes place every Thursday through Sunday and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

The atmosphere is buzzing with activity and the aromas of delicious dishes from around the world waft through the air.

From Indian-inspired curries to Turkish kebabs and vegan treats, there’s something for everyone here.

You’ll find plenty of hot and cold snacks that are perfect for sharing with family or friends, plus plenty of drinks to wash it all down.

And if you’re lucky, you might even catch one of the live music acts or DJs playing as you wander around.

So why not come down and explore St Nicks Market – you won’t be disappointed!

14. Visit Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral is a breathtaking sight that you won’t want to miss when visiting this vibrant city.

Step inside its walls and you’ll be transported back to the Middle Ages, with its grand pillars and soaring ceilings.

From its intricately carved stone carvings to its beautifully preserved stained glass windows, the cathedral is a remarkable example of medieval architecture.

The cathedral also has a fascinating history, with stories that span centuries of English life.

It’s home to the graves of many powerful figures from England’s past, including King Alfred and Edward II.

And it’s here that some of the country’s most important spiritual events have taken place – from royal coronations to great pilgrimages.

In addition, it houses an impressive array of artifacts from its long life, including ancient manuscripts and rare books.

There’s no better place to pay homage to Bristol’s proud past than at this awe-inspiring landmark.

You can spend hours exploring Bristol Cathedral and all it has to offer, soaking up the atmosphere and discovering something new at every turn.

It’s an experience that will stay with you long after your visit is over – one you won’t soon forget!

15. Enjoy Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Experience the ultimate freedom during Bristol International Balloon Fiesta!

Every August, this four-day event brings together hot air balloons from all over the world for a magnificent celebration.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Ashton Court Estate, it’s an event not to be missed!

The highlight of the Fiesta is undoubtedly the mass ascents, where up to 100 balloons take off in unison.

Enjoy a breathtaking view of Bristol as you soar into the sky with them.

You can even book a balloon ride in advance to guarantee your place in the skies!

And while the mass ascents are spectacular enough on their own, they get even more magical when accompanied by fireworks and live music.

If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, there’s plenty to do as well.

There are plenty of stalls selling delicious food and drinks, as well as activities such as circus workshops and family fun fairs.

It’s a great opportunity to explore this vibrant city and discover its hidden gems, so make sure you take some time out from admiring the beautiful balloon displays to soak up some local culture too!

Best Things to Do in Bristol – Final Thoughts

I’m sure you have already started planning your trip to Bristol, England!

After reading about the 15 best things to do in Bristol, I’m sure you can’t wait to explore the city.

From seeing the incredible Clifton Suspension Bridge to getting lost on the Clifton Downs and taking in the view from Cabot Tower, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

A visit to St Nicks Market is a must – it’s home to some of the best street food around.

And if you’re lucky enough to be visiting during Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, make sure you take some time out of your day and enjoy the spectacular display of hot air balloons in the sky.

No matter what brings you to Bristol, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re an adventurer looking for an exciting new place or a culture enthusiast wanting to explore its rich history and heritage, there’s something here for everyone.

So pack your bags and start exploring – you won’t regret it!

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Bristol with kids?

The best things to do in Bristol with kids are visiting the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Aerospace Bristol, and Bristol Zoo Gardens.

What to do during the day in Bristol?

The best things to do during the day in Bristol are visiting the Bristol Cathedral, Clifton Suspension Bridge and shopping at Bristol Shopping Quarters.

Is Bristol worth visiting?

Yes, Bristol is worth visiting because of its bright and independent local businesses, historical attractions, and friendly people.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.