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15 Best things to see & do in Bristol

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Sian Lewis
  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Side view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning river and green valley

Bucket List Experience

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Architect and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s beautiful masterpiece has become a true symbol of Bristol, and the view of its cables stretched tight between two brick towers over the gaping Avon Gorge is a breathtaking one.

Begun in 1831 and finished in 1864, the bridge was originally designed for horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians, but a whopping 12,000 cars now cross it daily on the journey from Clifton Village to Leigh Woods. A separate pavement allows pedestrians to safety stand tall and take in panoramic views, 75 metres above the River Avon.

Free guided tours and an interpretation centre unravel the history of this Grade I listed glory.

Good for age: 8+

We the Curious

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Large silver orb with stairs leading into it outside science museum

Experience

The revamped museum and planetarium now known as ‘We the Curious’ puts a big focus on interactive and hands-on exhibits, exploring science and philosophy’s biggest conundrums.

Adult price: £16

Good for age: 4+

Clifton Village

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Colourful sweeping street of shops and terrace buildings in Clifton with shops underneath

Experience

The city’s smartest postcode is home to cobbled streets, elegant Georgian townhouses and great boutiques and delis, all crowned by the Suspension Bridge – the perfect bolthole in busy Bristol.

Good for age: 18+

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Bristol is synonymous with vibrant street art. We aren’t talking graffiti daubs here – hundreds of beautiful and thought-provoking illustrations are painted on walls throughout the city, and what’s on display is ever-changing. From Stokes Croft to Montpelier to Bedminster, the walls tell stories of the history and culture of the city.

Bristol’s most notorious export is the elusive graffiti artist known only as Banksy. His work has been lauded as the beginning of a revival of ‘intelligent graffiti’, and his anti-establishment cartoons and slogans have popped up all over Bristol and the world.

Good for age: 13+

SS Great Britain

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Bow of ship with gold detailing

Experience

Historic dockyard and museum ship – come aboard the world’s first great ocean liner, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Bristol’s most famed engineering export.

Adult price: £18

Good for age: 4+

St Nicholas Market

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Indoor market lined with shops and cafes

Experience

St. Nick’s, as it’s known to locals, is a maze of stalls and shops selling antiques as well as global foodstuffs – everything from Bristol’s finest pies to fabulous pasties de nata (custard tarts).

Good for age: 13+

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

8 grounded hot air balloons at night with crowds around

Experience

Perhaps Bristol’s most colourful festival, each August the city’s skies fill with balloons launched from Ashton Court. Climb on board for a dawn ride or catch the Night Glow display after dark.

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 2 weeks

When: August

Freq: annually

Bristol Cathedral

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Forecourt with statue in front of cathedral

Experience

Set on College Green in the heart of the city, Bristol Cathedral dates back to the 12th century, and is famous for its spectacular stained glass windows.

Good for age: 18+

Aerospace Museum

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Concorde in airplane hangar

Experience

Science buffs shouldn’t miss this careful chronicling of the history of air and space travel. The museum showcases a remarkable collection of aircraft and artefacts, including vintage planes, jet fighters, and helicopters. The highlight is the chance to climb aboard a retired Concorde.

Adult price: £17.50

Good for age: 4+

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

  • Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

Airplane hanging inside museum main hall

Experience

An eclectic collection of treasures and good seasonal exhibitions await inside one of Clifton’s most beautiful buildings. Entry is free – a nice destination on a rainy afternoon.

Good for age: 18+