We’re not interested in bucket lists, demands and the like, but we’re also more than happy to contradict ourselves with this solid list of things you absolutely must do in Bristol. You don’t know when you’ll be back after all, maybe soon, maybe never, so don’t leave yourself any regrets. These are the 10 things you absolutely must do in Brizzle.
Cross the Bridge
No, not just another bridge. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the great pieces of British engineering, a stunning 19th century stonker that is every bit as gorgeous as it is practical. Connecting Bristol to nearby Leigh Woods, the bridge might just be the shining light in the immensely twinkly crown of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. More on that guy later, but be sure to stroll across his bridge.
Explore the Harbourside
Almost everyone’s favourite part of Bristol, the Harbourside is a treasure trove of sights, sounds, tastes and more. Bristol has been a trading point since at least forever, and a number of museums here tell the story of city with the personality and charm that this place demands. You’ll also find a massive amount of bars, restaurants and cafes here, something to sate all tastes and appetites.
Walk in Brunel’s Footsteps
Not his literal footsteps. British engineers didn’t come much better (or more impressively monikered) than Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a man with a big hat and bigger chops who towered above his peers. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is his most famous Bristol piece of work, but don’t miss out on the SS Great Britain, the Great Western Railway and others. Be sure to check out the Being Brunel, and maybe even get yourself a matching hat and chops along the way.
Drink Your Weight in Cider
Don’t drink your weight in cider. Bristol is a great place for a night out, positively teeming with fabulous bars and some of the best pubs in the south. Cider is king in this part of the world, and you’ll find no better place to sample the apple-based booze. The Bristol Cider Shop, The Apple and The Orchard are must-visit pubs in town, while there are a number of cider farms around the city worth checking out.
Solve the Banksy Conundrum
Did you know that Banksy is from Bristol? Okay, we don’t know that for sure, but that seems to be the most popular theory. The anonymous artist might just be the most iconic painter of modern Britain, and Bristol is full of his work. There are a number of Banksy Walking Tours available, or simply go ahead and make your own.
Embrace Your Curiosity
One of the city’s most intriguing attractions, We The Curious is an interactive science centre that will invigorate the mind of anyone who dares to visit, no matter their age. It is also home to the first 3D planetarium in England, which is very cool indeed.
Spend Some Bristol Pounds
Introduced in the 2012, the Bristol Pound is a complementary currency with a single aim — to encourage people to shop independent, to spend local. Bristol is full of indie shops offering magnificent goods, be they edible, fashionable or educational, and the Bristol Pound is a great way to embrace the community. Download the app and you’re on your way.
Climb the Tower
Cabot’s Tower stands tall in the heart of Brandon Hill, and you simply won’t get a better view of Bristol than from up here. It is also completely free to check out, so you don’t really have any excuse now, do you?
Indulge on the Longest Independent Shopping Street in Europe
There is nowhere quite like Gloucester Road. Thought to be the longest independent shopping street in Europe, the lively neighbourhood is also home to some of the city’s best bars, cafes and restaurants. There are also a number of sports clubs based in the vicinity of the street, namely Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. The white ball glory days may have gone, but the community element of the club remains as strong as ever.
Load Up on Caffeine
Bristol is home to one of the UK’s great cafe scenes, with a tremendous roster of independent coffee shops peddling great brews every single day of the week. Small Street Espresso, Full Court Press, Society Cafe and Cafe Kino are all worth a look (and all serve great vegetarian food as well).