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Bristol, England – city, coast and countryside

Bristol, England – city, coast and countryside

The largest city in south west England, Bristol has come of age. Mixing a rich maritime heritage with a contemporary vibe, you’ll now find world-class restaurants, museums, hotels, a cutting edge music scene and a vibrant nightlife – all just over 90 minutes by train from London, and just 12 minutes from the UNESCO heritage site of Bath.

Start your journey at the historic harbourside, packed with cafes and bars, as well as family attractions. Young and old will enjoy at-Bristol, a stunning interactive science center and as well as the Bristol aquarium. The city’s new M Shed history museum is also here, and home to 3,000 artefacts, memorabilia and local ephemera. For contemporary art including performance, poetry readings, talks and cinema, the Arnolfini takes its name from Jan van Eyck’s 15th century painting, The Arnolfini Portrait.


Back at the Old City, wander along cobbled streets, stopping at the Bristol Cathedral and John Wesley’s New Room – the birthplace of Methodism. All are rich reminders of the city’s medieval past. At the historic St. Nicholas Market, browse the food stalls and bric-a-brac or stop by England’s oldest continuously working theatre, Bristol Old Vic.

If shopping is your bag, leave London behind and head to Bristol’s City Centre. With over 500 shops right there, this is the consumer capital of South West England. Surrounding Cabot Circus, find well-known threads at Harvey Nichols, Ted Baker, House of Fraser, plus plenty of independent shops.

In Classy Clifton, leafy Clifton Village is full of sweeping Georgian crescents, designer shopping and elegant cafes. Don’t miss the stunning views of the Avon Gorge as you explore the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. This Isambard Kingdom Brunel masterpiece of Victorian engineering is a landmark of Bristol, and featured prominently on postcards and websites.

Also close by is Hotwells, the vast greenery of the Downs and Bristol Zoo Gardens. Near this sanctuary is the exciting nightlife of the strip along Whiteladies Road. From here, head straight to Park Street, site of one of Banksy’s most famous pieces of street graffiti. The artist may be Bristol’s most famous native son that no one has ever seen. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world.

This could be said of Bristol, too. Beautiful sights than many recognize, but have never seen. Set forth on a journey to South West England, and journey to a place of history and beauty so close to London, yet so far.

Bristol station(s)

Bristol city guide