50 best things to do in Bristol (2024 guide)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Bristol? Read on, as I detail them all!

When I was 18, I moved to Bristol for university.

The brightly coloured buildings and the bright blue harbour immediately drew me in, as did tales of the city’s seafaring history and its winding Old Town which still maintains its medieval layout. 

Add that to a cosmopolitan atmosphere, an incredible food scene and epic nightlife, and I was hooked. 

I lived in Bristol for four years from the age of 18 to 22, and then moved back to the city with my partner a few years ago. 

We lived there for a year, and nowadays we only live a 90-minute drive away.

This means that I can visit this bright, friendly and fascinating city as much as possible, and it will always have a special place in my heart. 

Whether you’re in the West Country’s biggest city for a weekend, a year, or a lifetime, I hope you find this list of the best things to do in Bristol useful!

Table of Contents

Best things to do in Bristol: top picks from a local!

The best things to do in Bristol include visiting the SS Great Britain, enjoying views of the city’s coloured houses from the river, and marvelling at the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Don’t miss exploring the vibrant street art scene, with its impressive murals and hidden gems.

Also, have a Bristolian cider at one of the pubs in the old town and indulge in Bristol’s renowned multicultural food scene.

1. Learn about nautical history at the SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain, Bristol, South West England

When people ask me “what’s the number one attraction in Bristol”, I always say the SS Great Britain

The world’s first luxury cruise liner, she now stands majestically in a dry port on Bristol Harbourside

Designed by Isambard Kindom Brunel, the SS Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic in 1845.

She was initially used to take passengers across the Atlantic to New York, then became a migrant clipper transporting emigrants to Australia. 

After some time in this role, she was used to transport cargo between Europe and the Americas.

Nowadays, the boat has been remodelled to look as it did when it took migrants across the sea.

Step into the boat and see, hear and smell (yes, that’s right!) what a 19th-century ship was like, learn about the boat in the museum and educate yourself on the wonders of Brunel’s mind in the Being Brunel Museum

You can even step downstairs into the dry dock to see the base of the ship and climb to the top of the boat to take in a view of the harbourside. 

Take a look at my full guide to the SS Great Britain here.

2. Take a Bristol packet boat tour

Harbourside and colourful houses in Bristol, UK

Once you’ve learned about Bristol’s most famous boat, it’s time to board one for yourself! 

These river cruises in Bristol sail around the harbour, taking in the attractions of the city at a leisurely pace. 

You’ll learn stories about the 1,000 years of shipping history as you cruise around the Avon Gorge which will detail how the natural geography of Bristol help it to become a seafaring city.

3. Look out for the colourful houses

Colourful houses in Bristol

As you walk around the streets of Bristol, look out for the multicoloured houses!

Terraced houses, all of a different colour, have become synonymous with the city, and they’ll never fail to put a smile on any visitor or local’s face.

They’re a large part of the reason why Bristol has been voted the happiest city in the UK more than once!

I actually used to live on one of these rainbow roads! Look for them when you’re walking around the harbour or in Cliftonwood.

4. Do a number of tours around the city

You can quite literally step into Bristol’s history by partaking in the many walking tours in the city. 

  1. Blackbeard to Banksy walking tour

This is the OG Bristol tour, and it covers all you need to know about the city’s fantastic history – from tales of Blackbeard, one of the UK’s most illicit pirates, to Banksy, a world-renowned street artist (the identity of who, nobody knows!).

You can book tickets here.

2. Private walking tour

Do you fancy seeing the city at your own pace?

This private tour offers you the chance to do just that – it’ll be just your group along with a knowledgeable guide.

You’ll still see all of the city’s highlights, including the SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol’s street art, but you can stop for coffee whenever you want!

Click here for more information about the private walking tour.

3. Where the Wall

If your main interest is street art, check out Where the Wall tours, which exclusively focus on murals around the city. 

This Bristol street art tour focuses on Banksy, bus also has an emphasis on many of the newer artists who are finding fame on the streets of one of the UK’s hippest cities. 

The tours only run every other Saturday (you can see the schedule on their website).

Don’t worry if you aren’t in Bristol on the right day; I’ve listed some of my favourite street art areas in Bristol in the “See Bristol’s street art” section below. 

4. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour

Not a fan of exploring on two feet? Then take a look at this hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour.

On this tour, you’ll take a comfy seat that will drive around Bristol’s highlights, including the harbourside, Park Street and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. 

I took this open-top bus tour the first time that I visited Bristol when I was looking around the university, and it helped me to fall in love with the city.

Just a warning – once you’ve seen all the sights, you might have to drag yourself away too! 

Click here to read more about this bus tour.

5. Go stand-up paddleboarding

Four girls paddleboarding on the River Avon in Bristol City Centre. It's one of the best things to do in Bristol!

One of my favourite outdoor activities is stand-up paddle boarding – and you can do it right here in Bristol harbour. 

But you can’t just take a board out on the harbour; you’ll need to book a stand-up paddle board tour/ lesson.

I did this a few years back – it was actually the first time I ever went paddle boarding. And it was great fun! 

We took the boards out from the watersports shop and paddled down the harbour towards the SS Great Britain. 

We paddled back and played a few games (optional with a greater chance of falling off the board!), before eventually floating back to the watersports centre! 

Ideal if you’re looking for a fun Bristol date or something to do with a group of friends, stand-up paddle boarding in Bristol is a great idea!

6. Drink at a Historic Pub in the Old City

Kings Street in the Old City in Bristol City Centre.

Just steps from Bristol’s harbourside is the Old City, which still maintains its medieval layout. 

To reach it, walk towards Queen Square, and then take any of the streets leading from this square.

My favourite street is King Street, which is lined with pubs.

In the daytime, it offers a fascinating snapshot into Bristol’s past, and in the night, it’s a thriving road with ample pubs and restaurants. 

Don’t miss: 

  • The Llandoger Trow: Located in a building dating in 1664, which was said to inspire Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.
  • The Old Duke: This pub was named after the American jazz musician Duke Ellington, and has ties with New Orleans jazz.
  • Hole in the Wall: The Hole in the Wall was used to keep a look out for press gangs who used to kidnap drunk sailors back in the day!

7. Learn About the City’s Story at M Shed

shot of the outside of M Shed

A fantastic museum that is completely free to enter, M Shed tells the tale of Bristol.

Through exhibitions detailing each Bristol neighbourhood and its history, Bristolian culture and the people who have shaped the city – as well as props like an entire double-decker bus – this free museum is an absolute must to get to grips with the South West’s biggest metropolis.

8. Go bowling in the Lanes

The Lanes is one of Bristol’s funkiest venues. A retro bowling alley, The Lanes is also host to live music, karaoke and pool tables. 

They serve mouthwatering Ray’s Pizza and even have a hostel on-site; it’s the perfect venue for the beginning of a fun night in Bristol! 

9. Museum Hop Around the City

M Shed in Bristol

Bristol has an impressive array of museums that are perfect if you’re visiting on a rainy day or want to learn about the city on a deeper level. 

The best museums are: 

  • M Shed: I already mentioned this one, but it’s so good it deserves it’s own section! It’s all about Bristol’s social history, and it’s completely free to visit! 
  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: This is home to natural and sociological history exhibits (many which are temporary)
  • We The Curious: This museum has science and arts exhibits
  • The Georgian House Museum: Here, you can learn about Bristolian history in the Georgian period – which was, regrettably, when much of the city was built on the profits of slavery. It’s an unpleasant period of Bristol’s history to learn about, but it’s important to educate yourself in, particularly if you’re living in the city. 

10. Catch a Show – or a tour – in the Bristol Old Vic

Fancy seeing a show at the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world?

Bristol Old Vic is just that, being housed in the Theatre Royal which was built between 1764 and 1766.

There are still plenty of shows to see at the Bristol Old Vic, and it’s possible to take tours around the theatre itself on specific days.

You could also take in a show at the Bristol Hippodrome, where there’s a diverse array of productions throughout the year, including a panto at Christmas time. 

11. Take a look at Bristol Cathedral

The inside of Bristol Cathedral, a historic building in the heart of Bristol centre

Looking out over College Green, Bristol Cathedral was founded in 1140, although it was originally called St Augustine’s Abbey

After the dissolution of the monasteries, it became a seat of the Diocese of Bristol

With the east end being called ‘superior to anything else built in England and indeed in Europe at the same time’, you’ll be in awe as you step into the majestic building. 

It’s completely free to visit, and while Bristol’s cathedral isn’t as famous as others in the West Country, I highly recommend adding it to your itinerary. 

12. Admire the Historic Bristol University Buildings

Even though I went to the University of the West of England, the campuses of which are in North Bristol, I do have to admit that the University of Bristol has better buildings. (UWE students have more fun though!). 

The University of Bristol was a Merchant Venture School back in 1595, and its buildings are spread out all over the city centre. 

The most famous building is the Wills Memorial Building, which is known as one of the nation’s last great Gothic buildings. 

It sticks out from the top of Park Street, and you can easily catch a vista from the bottom of the hill (at College Green) or the top of Park Street. 

Tours take place at the Wills Memorial Building every Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm, which will guide you around the tower and finish with one of the best views in Bristol, looking out over a gorgeous panorama of the city centre. 

The tours detail the history of the tower and, importantly, go into the history of Wills and how he too made a lot of his wealth from slavery, which results in controversy and complexities in revering his name today. 

In fact, just like a lot of place names featuring Colston, a former slave trader, were changed after the Black Lives Matter protests, there have been campaigns to change the name of the Wills Building.

13. Visit the Bristol Planetarium 

The Bristol Planetarium is effectively a huge silver ball in the middle of Millenium Square (frequently used to take huge “mirror selfies” on nights out!).

You can take a guided tour to learn more about how you can see the planets and outer space from the planetarium.

Shows include Life in the Universe 3D, Space Explorers 2D (for under 6 year olds!) and the Ever Changing Sky 3D. Here’s some more information about the planetarium.

14. Walk up the Christmas steps

Board game cafe in Bristol, South West England

Bristol has its own Diagon Alley – the enchanting Christmas Steps, which lead from Lower Church Lane near Park Row down to the A38. 

The original name of the street is unknown, although the medieval name was Queene Street, and it was subsequently known as Knyfesmyth Street, which sounds kind of like Christmas Street. 

However, there was also a nativity scene at the nearby Chapel of the three Kings of Cologne, so the name could have come from here too! 

No matter the name origin, it’s an adorable higgledy-piggledy row of steps to walk down.

Lit by charming street lights, it’s home to an array of independent shops. At the bottom, you’ll find the Chance and Counters board game café, the ideal place to snuggle up in with a hot drink! 

Side note: Take a look at my YouTube video about Bristol!

I recently returned to Bristol to re-visit some of my favourite spots, and created a YouTube video all about it.

Take a look at this video to see some of my Bristol highlights!

15. Snap a Photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Few scenes are as iconic of Bristol as its Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Opened in 1864, the bridge has a foremostly practical purpose; to connect the City of Bristol to the North Somerset region on the opposite side of the Avon.

However, it has attracted many tourists around the world due to its architectural uniqueness.

It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was also behind the SS Great Britain (also in Bristol) and won a competition to design the Suspension Bridge.

Take a stroll over the bridge, taking in the lovely views of the gorge, and enjoy the museum at the end, which will teach you all about the construction of Bristol’s favourite landmark.

You can enjoy the Clifton Suspension Bridge from a distance as well; check out the White Lion Bar for a Bristolian cider while looking out over the bridge, or climb up to the Observatory for a vista.

Click here to learn the full story of the suspension bridge – and visiting tips!

16. Take in the view from Clifton Observatory

The Clifton Observatory sits next to the Suspension Bridge.

It started life as a windmill in 1766 and then became an observatory, where people used to take their telescopes and look at the stars!

Nowadays, you can enter and enjoy the gorgeous views, see the rare Victorian camera obscura (I struggled to get it to work when I visited the observatory recently, but see if you can get it to function!) and learn about the history. 

My favourite part of the observatory was descending into the Giant’s Cave.

Legend has it that it was home to some of Bristol’s most notorious giants, Goram, Ghyston, and Avona. 

Descend down the steep steps (there are 130 in total), taking care to let anybody who is coming up through, before walking out to the cliff face.

You can step out onto a metal grate, hear the roars of cars on the Hotwell Road below you, and enjoy vistas over the river and gorge. 

Check out the rest of the best things to do in Clifton by clicking here!

17. Explore the relaxed suburb of Clifton Village

Lansdown Place is one of the fine terraces surrounding Victoria Square in Clifton, Bristol

Once you’ve ticked off Clifton’s best attractions, take a stroll around the village

Reminiscent of the grand Georgian buildings of Bath, Clifton Village boasts terraced houses and crescents. 

Bask in the splendour of Clifton just by walking around, but if you want to check out a particular road I recommend Royal York Crescent

18. Go For a Dip at the Clifton Lido

The Bristol Lido is an outdoor swimming pool in the heart of Clifton, with an attached spa and restaurant.

It’s a great place to cool off in the summer heat, and spa packages are available for special occasions.

Tickets book up far in advance (especially during Bristolian heatwaves!), so I recommend booking in advance. 

19. Discover aviation history at Aerospace Bristol

Most tourists don’t venture up to the northern part of Bristol, but Aerospace Bristol is a good reason to visit! 

A museum dedicated to all things aviation, at Aerospace Bristol you’ll have a chance to step onto a Concorde, learn about aviation history in World War One and Two and go back a century into the beginnings of aviation

It’s a fascinating look at how airplanes began as a luxury for only the rich and famous, to how important they were during wartime to how they became essential for holidays around the world

You can pre-book your entry ticket on Get Your Guide by clicking here.

20. Get your surf on at The Wave!

Once you’ve gone back in aviation history, take a spin onto the waves!

The Wave is an artificial surfing spot north of Bristol.

It’s primed to offer optimum surfing conditions whatever your level, with 15 waves of different shapes and sizes. 

Boards and wetsuits are rentable at the venue (if you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll be given a super-thick wetsuit and hood!), and you can either opt for a surfing lesson or an independent session. 

21. See Stokes Croft’s Street Art

Stokes Croft is home to many things; cool bars, a non-conformist attitude, and lots and lots of street art.

Street art adorns the walls of many a building in Bristol – the city is where Banksy was from, after all – but Stokes Croft possibly has the highest concentration.

See murals like Banksy’s “Mild, Mild West” which always puts a smile on my face whenever I visit the neighbourhood! 

22. Discover Street art in Southville

Terrace of houses, each with a mural on them, in Bristol.

North Street in Southville is a somewhat underrated street art location; while tourists frequent Stokes Croft, this is one of my favourite spots. 

There used to be a huge mural of Greta Thunberg looking over shoppers as they went to ALDI (reminding everybody to be careful of single-use plastic!), but this has since been changed; the last time I was there, it was a large purple flower. 

Also, don’t miss the “Six Sisters” murals which are painted above six shops in the town. 

North Street is also brimming with delicious restaurants, including Gourmet Burger Kitchen, The Malago which serves brunches and burgers and the Persian Souk Kitchen. 

23. See the “Well Hung Lover” mural 

This mural is so interesting that it definitely deserves a section of its own!

Sitting at the bottom of Park Street, this mural was actually ironically painted on the wall of an STI clinic. 

It features a scene where a man has caught his wife having an affair. The “Well Hung Lover” hangs from the windowsill and the man looks out the window trying to find him! 

24. Walk Around Ashton Court

Deer at Ashton Court

Just two miles from the city centre, technically in North Somerset yet merely a stone’s throw from Clifton, is the grand Ashton Court house and estate.

The extensive history of Ashton Court spans back to before the 11th century when a fortified manor house stood on the plot of land.

It was believed to have been given to Geoffrey de Montbray by William the Conqueror. It passed through various noble owners throughout the centuries.

The house was extensively remodelled by both Sir John Smyth in the 1700s and Sir Greville Smyth in the latter half of the 19th century; it is still noticeable today which alterations took place and when.

You can’t go into the house, but there are beautiful gardens and a cafe there.

And, there’s the rest of the estate – which is home to deer parks, mountain bike trails, woodland and sports grounds.

It’s definitely one of the best places for walks in Bristol.

25. Head uphill in Brandon Hill Park

One of Bristol’s famous viewpoints, Brandon Hill is the oldest park in Bristol and has the most impressive views in the city. 

It’s home to an impressive amount of flora and fauna, with paths climbing up the steep hill toward Cabot Tower. 

This tower was built in 1897 to commemorate John Cabot’s journey to North America which took place 400 years before.

Standing out on the skyline of Bristol, it’s possible to climb up the inside of the tower and marvel at the city views below.

I did this for the first time on a recent trip to Bristol and can’t believe I haven’t done it more often (it’s free too!). 

26. Get lost in Leigh Woods 

Leigh Woods Hike

Leigh Woods is an enchanting woodland next to Ashton Court.

It’s a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) and boasts miles of walking trails, some of which lead to viewpoints of the city centre and others that wind down to the River Avon. 

27. Picnic on Bristol Downs

Bristol Downs stretches out from the top of Clifton to Whiteladies Road, and this huge grassy area is perfect for picnicking and chilling out. 

On a sunny day, there’s no place better to dine alfresco and have a stroll.

28. Cycle to Bath

The Bath-Bristol cycle path traverses the River Avon and connects the two cities. 

It’s about 13 miles between each place, so it’s a pretty easy cycle; you could even cycle further to Bradford on Avon if you desired!

Once in Bath, check out Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, the Georgian architecture and the many museums of the city.

Of course, if you don’t fancy cycling, you can easily get to Bath in other ways.

It’s a 40 minute drive or a 10 minute train ride from Bristol Temple Meads.

29. Take a hot air balloon ride over the city

There’s only so much nature you can see on walks around Bristol; so if you want a quintessential experience of the city, take a hot air balloon

Balloons and Bristol go hand in hand, and there’s no better experience than taking to the side in one of these giant devices! 

From a birds-eye view, you can take in an immense panorama of not only the city but also the countryside of Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire. 

30. Visit the Mendip Hills

The Mendip Hills are a Bristol day trip destination, but they’re so close to the city (the closest part is just seven miles from South Bristol!), so they’re basically a nature destination in Bristol!

These rolling hills are a dreamy break from the city; if you want an easy hike that’s just half an hour’s drive from Bristol, head to Blackdown which is the highest point in the area.

Or head to Blagdon Lake for more scenery! 

If you want to venture further south in the hills, head to Cheddar Gorge which is the most famous area of the Mendips (it’s actually one of the best places to visit in South West England). 

31. Visit Tyntesfield National Trust

Tyntesfield, a National Trust Property in Bristol

The closest National Trust property to Bristol, Tyntesfield is a Victorian Gothic Revival House, bought by the Gibbs family in 1843. 

While it’s a grand house, the Gibbs family wasn’t aristocracy.

In fact, William Gibbs was one of the first British entrepreneurs; he made his fortune by importing guano, which was Peruvian sea birds and bat droppings, to North America where it was a valuable fertilizer. 

Step inside the Victorian building and learn about its fascinating history and take a stroll around the landscaped gardens! 

32. Stroll around Blaise Castle Estate

the small Blaise Castle, which sits in parkland in Bristol

Blaise Castle Estate is one of the places that my partner and I discovered back in lockdown when all we could do was go for walks in Bristol

The 650 Grade II* listed acre park spreads over woodland and a small stream.

The castle itself dates back to 1798 and nowadays houses a museum which has exhibitions about social history. 

33. Castle Park

Did you know Bristol had a castle?

While it’s not still standing, you can see some of its remains in Castle Park, located close to the centre of the city. 

Nowadays, it houses a church and some gardens and is a choice spot for many Bristolians when it comes to picnic venues in the summer. 

I’d recommend visiting Left Handed Giant, which does incredible pizza, situated just over the bridge from the park and getting a takeaway to enjoy!

34. Go back in time at Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, UK, with listed buildings and crematorium

It’s strange to have a cemetery on this list of best Bristol attractions, but Arnos Vale is a real Bristol hidden gem and I implore anyone who enjoys the weird and wonderful to visit. 

Quite possibly the most beautiful graveyard I’ve ever visited, this garden cemetery stretches over 45 acres and is home to over 50,000 graves

It dates back to 1839, not long after Queen Victoria took the throne.

Nowadays, it remains stuck in time.

As you walk through the leafy passageways, it’ll seem like the graves are echoing with whispers of its past, and it’s fascinating to read the graves and wonder what each individual person’s life was like. 

35. Shop on Gloucester Road

Gloucester Road, the home of non-conformity, has Europe’s longest length of independent retailers.

This makes it the most interesting place in Bristol, and possibly in the UK, to go shopping.

From antiques to vegetables, you can get anything you want on this street – apart from TESCO own products!

The shopkeepers are cheery, the Bristol Pound (yes, Bristol has its own currency) is accepted, and there is a really lovely old-timely atmosphere.

36. Vintage shopping on Park Street

Bristol, Uk - Circa September 2016: People in Park Street linking the city centre to Clifton

Park Street connects the Harbourside with the Clifton Triangle.

It’s a short but steep stretch of road which you can hike up to, but there are plenty of shops on the road too.

If you’re into vintage shopping, head to Sobey’s, Uncle Sam’s Vintage or The Vintage Thrift Store Bristol!

37. Browse the high-street stores at Cabot Circus

Bristol, UK - February 13, 2014:Cabot Circus shopping centre in United Kingdom, England, Avon, Bristol

Cabot Circus is the main shopping area of Bristol, and it offers the largest selection of shops in the South West. 

While it’s not as impressive as London shopping areas like Westfields and Oxford Street, there’s plenty to enjoy on a shopping trip here! 

There aren’t any independent shops in Cabot Circus, but there is a wide range of chain stores. 

Cabot Circus is also home to a cinema, a crazy golf route and a plethora of restaurants. 

38. Enjoy Bristol’s Food Scene

Chilli daddies noodle soup in Bristol City Centre

Bristol is undoubtedly a foodie city. 

There eateries from every corner of the world, as well as everything from traditional British restaurants to quirky modern eateries. 

Definitely spend some time eating at some of the best restaurants in Bristol while you’re here.

Some of my favourites include:

  • Atomic Burger: absolutely amazing burgers with delicious toppings.
  • Chilli Daddy: there are a few branches of this venue in Bristol; it serves authentic Sichuan noodle soups. This is one of my favourite places for vegan Chinese food in Bristol.
  • Taka Taka: this is a takeaway but does delicious pittas.
  • Pieminster: Bristolian chain serving up amazing pies.
  • Urban Tandoor: This Indian restaurant serves fresh curries with unique twists. Their Instagram always has been in stitches too. 

39. Lunch at St Nicholas’ Market

Ingredients at Eat a Pitta, a street food stall in St Nicholas Market in Bristol

If you want street food in Bristol, head to St Nick’s.

With stalls from every corner of the world (Eat a Pitta is one of my favourites!), this is an ideal spot to grab some lunch.

It’s close to Castle Park, so you could always take some food to go and enjoy it on the grass. 

There’s also a gift market where you can purchase crafts from local vendors and Bristolian souvenirs. 

40. Experience Bristolian Nightlife

hole in the wall pub in bristol

There’s something for everyone in Bristol when it comes to nightlife

There are plenty of chilled-out pubs dotted around Clifton, Gloucester Road, the Harbourside and every residential area.

There are also your standard bars and clubs; dress-up places in the centre and more grungy type dance joints in the Stokes Croft area. 

Fancy an all-night rave? Bristol’s got you covered.

There are also plenty of places to enjoy an al fresco drink in the summer, whether that be looking out over the Avon or in a beer garden.

I said it when I was a 19-year-old uni student and I’ll say it now when I’m a 29-year-old young professional – there’s something for everyone in Bristol.

41. Try some street food at Wapping Wharf

Whapping Wharf is another one of my favourite foodie spots in the city.

The restaurants are all set in shipping containers which lead out to a pedestrian walkway

Try authentic Mexican food at Cargo Cantina, gorge on a gyros at The Athentian and enjoy Asian-tapas at Seven Lucky Gods

42. Try a Bristolian Cider

Cider tasting

When in Bristol, have a cider! 

The West Country is famous for the stuff, and it’s delicious here. None of that Strongbow nonsense, this is proper, pressed cider.

Most pubs here have a local on tap, but some places that I specifically recommend are:

  • The Apple: a cider boat with a range of options
  • The Stable: 60+ cider options and great pizza
  • The Cori Tap: this has a disgustingly strong cider that will have you drunk after a glass (it happened to me many a time when I was a student!)

43. Try urban axe throwing

Just down the street from The Lanes, you’ll find an urban axe-throwing venue. 

Urban axe throwing is a new craze that’s taking cities up and down the UK by storm.

It consists of exactly what it says on the tin; throwing an axe and trying to hit a target! 

It’s a lot safer than it sounds, and it’s a great way to burn off some stress or have a date night with a difference! 

You can book this experience on Get Your Guide by clicking here.

44. Take a Bristol cocktail-making class

If you’re visiting Bristol with a group of friends, why not try out a cocktail-making class

Bristol as a city loves its cocktail bars, and you’ll have a chance to make your own espresso martini, daiquiri or even make up a new cocktail staple during this session! 

You can read more about cocktail making in Bristol here.

45. Take a Bristol day trip

I’ve got a whole post about day trip ideas from Bristol, but here are my favourite ones: 

  • Bath: One of the most beautiful cities in the country, Bath is famous for its Georgian terraced houses and crescents, Roman Baths and Medieval Abbey. It’s also the easiest day trip from Bristol – it’s only 15 minutes away on the train!
  • Cheddar Gorge: This sweeping gorge sits at the bottom of the Mendip Hills. Visit to do the impressive Cheddar Gorge Rim Walk and take in the views, try some cheese (yes, cheddar was created here!) and explore the Cheddar Caves. 
  • Glastonbury and Wells: Glastonbury is a quirky town in Somerset, home to the Glastonbury Tor which is steeped in myth and legend. Nearby, visit Wells, the smallest city in England with a majestic cathedral. 
  • Exmoor: One of the best national parks in the country, Exmoor has a dramatic coastline and rugged moorland. Hike some of the South West Coast Path (it’s tricky here!) or voyage to Dunkery Beacon, the highest peak in Somserset. 
  • Exeter: A city with a fascinating history, Exeter Cathedral is known for its Medieval buildings, Exeter Cathedral and the beautiful quay. 
  • Exmouth: Only an hour and a half’s drive from Bristol (and with train connections), Exmouth is start of the Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

46. Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol international balloon fiesta from harbourside

If Bristol is synonymous with one thing, it’s balloons and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Founded by Dom Cameron, who also is in charge of the Bristolian hot air balloon company Cameron Balloons (and was the first man to fly across the Sahara in the hot air balloon!). 

150+ balloons take to the sky each year at the fiesta and it’s taken place every August since 1979.

If you’re in Bristol at the start of August each year, you’ll see dozens of balloons in the sky at any one time! 

47. St Paul’s Carnival

St Paul’s Carnival is a fiesta of music and dancing, a celebration of the wonderfully diverse area of St Paul’s in the heart of Bristol.

Visit for community spirit, tantalizing food and heartwarming parades!

The carnival takes place on the third Saturday of July each year. 

48. Rave on Avon

Taking place in May each year, Rave on Avon is a complete takeover of Stokes Croft.

Enjoy a range of music events throughout the daytime and nighttime and try some gorgeous food! 

49. Love Saves the Day

Love Saves the Day started on my first year of university (all the way back in 2011!) and my friends and I adored the dance festival as a much-needed end-of-year party! 

It’s Bristol’s biggest dance music festival, nowadays taking place in Ashton Court (although it first took place in Castle Park and then Eastville Park). 

Previous artists have included Rudimental (all the way back in 2011), Eats Everything and Shy FX

50. Bristol Christmas Market

Bristol is a lovely place to be during Christmas

The main Bristol Christmas market is in Cabot Circus, around the Broadmead area, while Millenium Square is home to a vintage winter wonderland where you can enjoy rides and seasonal food. 

The entire city is lit up with millions of glittering fairy lights and the shops burst with seasonal decorations.

Here’s my full guide to visiting Bristol at Christmastime.

Bristol FAQs

Aerial panorama of the city of Bristol in the southwest of England in cloudy day

How do I spend a day in Bristol?

If you only have one day in Bristol, I’d recommend following this easy itinerary: 

Begin in Clifton. Walk over the Suspension Bridge, visit the visitor’s centre and take in the views from the Observatory. Don’t forget to descend into the Giant’s Cave!

Walk, take a bus or Uber to the Harbourside area. 

Head to St Nick’s Market for some street food for lunch (I adore Eat a Pitta or the nearby Chilli Daddies!).

Then walk around the harbourside, looking out for the city’s iconic coloured houses. Pop into the SS Great Britain and learn about the nautical history – and while you’re in the area, visit the free M Shed

For dinner, visit a city-centre restaurant like The Stable (for pizza and cider), Urban Tandoor (for Bristol’s best curry) or FiSH restaurant and bar (a fish restaurant on a boat!). 

Is Bristol worth visiting? 

Absolutely! I’ve travelled to over 60 countries, and Bristol remains my favourite city in the world. 

Its charms might not be as obvious as nearby Bath or other cities around the UK, but it has centuries of fascinating history, an incredible food scene, a diverse population and incredible nightlife.

Is Bristol a party town? 

Being the biggest city in South West England, Bristol certainly has good nightlife.

I’d recommend heading to Stokes Croft, Park Street or the Harbourside area for fun bars.

There are also quite a few rave venues!

However, if you’re visiting as a family or aren’t looking to party, it’s easy to stay away from the nightlife areas.

Is Bristol a walkable city? 

Yes, the city centre of Bristol is very walkable. If you like walking, Clifton is around a half-hour stroll from the centre and Stokes Croft is about 20 minutes, with a charming atmosphere and great city views at every step.

What is Bristol best known for?  

Bristol is best known for street art by Banksy, the pirate Blackbeard, its seafaring history, hip alternative culture (it’s been called the vegan capital of the world!), great nightlife, friendly local people and probably cider! It’s famous as a university city, but there’s something here for everyone.

All of the best things to do in Bristol!

Love Bristol with me sitting in heart

I hope this list of the best Bristol attractions helps you when planning your trip to this amazing city!

As you might have guessed, I absolutely abore Bristol, and I really want to encourage more people to visit.

From the Clifton Suspension Bridge to the SS Great Britain, there are some immense bucket list attractions in the city, but part of the charm in Bristol is merely enjoying a fresh coffee or an incredible meal while taking in the atmosphere.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Bristol travel guides, and if you have any questions feel free to drop me a message on Instagram – I’m always happy to help!

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  1. I have been living in Bristol for just over ten years. I was just on here looking for places to visit in Bristol and saw your page. Thank you so much I have fallen in love with Bristol all over again and learn about new places.

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