Bristol

February 23, 2011 at 1:00 am | Posted in General, museum, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | 1 Comment
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Bristol in the south west of England offers a pleasant respite from the pace of London but that doesn’t mean it’s quiet.

I got a good deal on Expedia for accommodation and spent three nights there although you generally need a lot less time. If you’re planning on exploring further afield you may want to consider hiring a car. Bath is accessible via train (there’ll be more on that tomorrow).

So after checking in it was time to hit the sights. Here are a few things to do:

  • Brunel’s ss Great Britain: One of the city’s major attractions at this museum you’ll get the chance to wander through this historic ship (while listening to audio stories) and learning about Bristol’s maritime past. One of the coolest aspects is that the ship sits in a drydock that affords the chance to walk underneath the craft and on the water line they’ve placed a glass ceiling with water running along it. Providing an excellent atmosphere.
  • Bristol - Brunel's ss Great Britain (3) Bristol -  Brunel's ss Great Britain (76)

  • Waterfront walk: Walk along the river and canals, soak up the atmosphere, the people watching at the bars and walkways while also looking out at the countryside beyond the city and Bristol’s colourful buildings.
  • Bristol -  Brunel's ss Great Britain (141) Bristol -  Brunel's ss Great Britain (71)

  • Clifton Suspension Bridge: A bridge over the river? Why would you go you ask? Well it provides an opportunity to see some excellent views and if you walk over and go to the visitor centre you can find out its remarkable history as the concept struggled to come to fruition. You’ll also get the chance to wander through the charming Clifton Village and our next Bristol stop.
  • Bristol - Clifton Suspension Bridge (38) Bristol - Clifton Suspension Bridge (2)

  • Clifton Observatory: On the top of the hill by the bridge is the observatory. You can go upstairs to the Camera Obscura or take a wander into the depth’s of the giant’s cave. I went down to the cave and it’s not exactly built for a giant but as long as you don’t mind crouching a bit it leads out to a nice view over the river valley.
  • Bristol - Clifton Observatory (2) Bristol - Clifton Observatory (15)

  • Bristol Museum and Art Gallery: The city’s museum features a wide range of topics from natural history to Egypt and aviation. While all of this is interesting the one thing that it lacked for me was a history of the city. As a tourist I’d like to find out how Bristol came to be and develop. Otherwise it has plenty to offer.
  • Bristol Cathedral: The architecture and craftsmanship was good and worth the time to stop in and have a look. There are pamphlet guides to help you learn about the building.
  • Bristol - Cathedral (3) Bristol - Cathedral (4)

  • Brandon Hill Park and Cabot Tower: One of the main park’s in the city with a picturesque tower at the peak. When I was visiting the tower was closed but there were still superb views.
  • Bristol - Brandon Hill Nature Park and Cabot Tower (43) Bristol - Brandon Hill Nature Park and Cabot Tower (29)

  • Arnolfini: A modern art gallery located on the waterfront it features a rotating display so pop along (it’s free) and see what’s on during your trip. Failing that you can always grab a bite in the cafe.
  • Royal West of England Academy: A more traditional art gallery but when I was visiting they were preparing most of the galleries were shut while they prepared for a new exhibition. What I did see appeared to be pleasant enough pieces. Hopefully you’ll have better luck!
  • Bristol (175)

  • At-Bristol: While I didn’t go I can see the appeal of this hands on science centre for the science lovers and families.
  • St Nicholas Market: A covered market with a variety of stores from shirts and music to food and drinks. Check it out.
  • Castle Park: Another park with a small church and sits along the water.
  • Bristol - Castle Park (2)

  • Frogmore Street features a Banksy while it and Park Street have some worthwhile shopping, eating and wandering opportunities. Similarly, historic Queen Square offers a good spot to relax with a coffee and a book and the Christmas Steps offer a quaint historic shopping area.
  • Bristol (176)

I enjoyed Bristol and the break it afforded me. While I’m in no rush to go back I’d certainly recommend it for a gateway.

Google map here.

Photos on Flickr.

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  1. And of course when I say “tomorrow” I mean as soon as possible. :s


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