With its vibrant street scene and lively night-life, Bristol is full of interesting tales, and it’s no surprise that this multi-ethnic city has been voted a top destination.
Art in this creative hotspot ranges from galleries to street art, as you would expect in Banksy’s birthplace. Join a walking tour that includes his work, or head for See No Evil. Otherwise known as Nelson Street, this permanent project has transformed ten buildings into one of the world’s most extensive outdoor art shows.
Investigate another famous Bristolian, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, when you step aboard a time machine on his SS Great Britain, the world’s first ocean liner, for a taste of life on board. Cross the floating harbour over Pero’s Bridge, named after enslaved African Pero Jones. In the eighteenth century, twenty Bristol factories refined Caribbean sugar, and the city was an important trading port. While you’re on the harbourside, delve into the underwater world of the Aquarium, or let Pirate Pete introduce you to the wilder side of life!
Don’t be surprised to find cycling, canoeing, mountain biking, abseiling, orienteering, and stand up paddle-boarding on offer in the city centre or harbour. Other activities include the hosting of August’s International Balloon Fiesta, Europe’s largest ballooning event, and of the International Kite Festival. As an alternative to the zoo, the Wild Place Project combines learning with adventure and play.
This is the location for Ardmann Animations, of Wallace and Gromit fame, and long before that, it saw the development of the HMV logo in 1895. Numerous productions have been filmed around Bristol, which hosts the annual Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, Europe’s leading short film event.
Drop into M Shed, an innovative space with a packed programme of events, or take an informative stroll round the forty-five acres of Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust. The city witnessed the creation of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry in 1796, Fry’s release of the first chocolate bar in 1847, the production of Ribena, and slightly less tasty, the invention of the Plimsoll line and Tarmac.
A church has been on the site of Bristol Cathedral for over a thousand years, but became firmly established when Robert Fitzhardinge founded the Abbey of St Augustine in 1140. The Abbey Gatehouse and Chapter House are still clear to see, and unusually, the nave, choir and aisles are all the same height.
The UK’s first cycling city, with a good transport system, Bristol is European Green Capital 2015. As well as its Fairtrade status, it’s home to the Soil Association, Environment Agency, BBC Natural History Unit, and the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, with its green credentials further enhanced by its many parks.