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Bucket list destination:

Bristol

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 20 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sian Lewis

Effortlessly marrying a thousand years of history as a busy port with bang-up-to-date food, art and music scenes, the city of Bristol is the beating heart of life in the UK’s South West.

Known for its underground street art, friendly locals and gorge-ous gorges (Avon Gorge spans the edge of the city, and wild Cheddar Gorge is close by), there’s a lot to do, but Bristol is also delightfully easy to explore on foot or by bike.

Walk around the pedestrianised centre and then branch out to other neighbourhoods such as pretty Clifton or street art hub Southville to experience the two faces of the city: its modern, urban culture (this is the metropolis that produced Banksy, the guerrilla graffiti artist), and its elegant green spaces, which range from the rolling woodland of Ashton Court to the yawning chasm of Avon Gorge.

This city’s history is always on display – cross Clifton’s iconic Suspension Bridge, learn more about the slave trade that shaped the harbourside or climb aboard Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the ‘ship that changed the world’.

Tours, tickets & transfers

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Blackbeard to Banksy - The Ultimate Walking Tour of Bristol

  • Bristol

Join us for a fantastic fun filled and fact packed tour of Bristol, take in world leading street art by Banksy and others, nestled in 1000 years of city history.

Price £13

Min age 5

Rating 4.91 / 5 [1211 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Guided Walking Tour of Bristol Old City and Harbour

  • Bristol

Walking around a city, whilst listening to a tour guide, is a perfect form of exercise. 1000 years of Trade and Industry made Bristol the UK’s second city. See the Cathedral, Banksy’s, Harbour, Docks, Georgian Square, Old Vic, ‘Bridge’, Castle site, Old City, corn exchange, markets, Guilds, Street Art, and Sugar House. We take a maximum of six people on our walk. Enjoy a 2-hour guided walk, circa 12,000 steps and 3-4 miles long, listening to interesting facts, colourful characters, history and anecdotes on the way. Each person has an audio receiver so they can here the guide above all the city noise. Join your guide, who having moved to Bristol in 1980, attended Bristol Poly (UWE), has lived, played rugby, worked off and on in the city for 40 years. He is continually researching the city as a hobby and wants to give something back to the place he adores. The style is interactive, flexible, light-hearted and personal. Nature breaks are limited, so please plan ahead.

Price £23

Min age 12

Rating 4.97 / 5 [138 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Travel advice

When to go

Bristol is a rewarding destination to visit year-round, but summer is the busiest and buzziest time to visit, when the streets come alive with festivals and café culture.

Upfest Street Art and Graffiti Festival brings the streets of the neighbourhoods of Southville and Bedminster to life with vibrant new artworks each summer, and in August the skies above Avon Gorge are filled with hundreds of hot air balloons in a rainbow of colours for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Christmas is also a rewarding time to spend a long weekend in the city, especially up in Clifton, where the streets are decked out merrily and there are boutiques and market stalls selling tempting gifts.

Getting there and away

Bristol Airport is easily reached in 15-20 minutes from the city centre by car or by hopping on the Airport Flyer bus (departs up to every 20 minutes). The city is well-served by train, with central Bristol Temple Meads Train Station and Bristol Parkway on the outskirts. Taxis are easy to find, and bikes and electric scooters are available for hire.

Getting around

While it’s hassle-free to drive in Bristol (although parking can be a pain in the centre), it’s much nicer to explore like a local by renting a bike and touring the city on two wheels. The town’s website offers free cycle maps, and there’s a 13-mile cycle path between Bristol and Bath if you fancy exploring another city.

Rent bikes from Black Boy Cycles to tour Clifton and around, or from Cycle The City to tour the harbourside.

Where to eat or drink

Some of Bristol’s finest chefs and delis are packed cheek-by-jowl in the converted shipping containers that range along Wapping Wharf – Gambas, 7 Lucky Gods, the Bristol Cheesemonger and The Olive Shed are highlights.

To get down with the cool kids – and get your fill of street eats, independent designers and record shops – wind your way up Stokes Croft as it becomes Gloucester Road, one long street of tempting goodies.

Out on the town? Clifton’s upmarket boutiques and smart restaurants make it the perfect one-stop-shop for an evening out – our top pick for supper is the Lido, a restored Victorian swimming pool where you can eat fresh Mediterranean fare while watching the dippers below.