24 Hours in Bristol
The lifeblood of modern Bristol, the Street Art scene is constantly evolving
With a rich, industrial past and vibrant present, Bristol offers endless opportunities for an action-packed day out. Sadly, it is impossible to explore all this city has to offer in just one day, but here is a guide to the most unique, iconic and thoroughly Bristolian attractions, restaurants and bars to help you enjoy your 24 hours here.
There is none more splendid an entrance to the city than the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. Built in 1864 from an original Brunel design, the bridge is a magnificent feat of engineering and synonymous with Bristol itself. A drive across it not only allows a closer look at its astounding construction, but also affords breath-taking views across the Avon Gorge.
To ease you into the day is the reverential charm and tranquillity of the Bristol Cathedral. Situated in the city centre on the edge of College Green, this majestic cathedral has graced the heart of Bristol since 1148. A step inside will reveal the beautifully grand interior, with sweeping curves and glittering stained-glass windows, this cathedral is one of the finest examples of the ‘Hall Church’ in the world.
From here, the city centre offers countless attractions, but one of the most intriguing and iconic is its collection of Street Art. Sprinkled across the city centre, the work of revered artists including Banksy and Inkie can be seen, streaking the streets with colour and satire. The lifeblood of modern Bristol, the Street Art scene is constantly evolving, with new work appearing every day. Tours of major works take place all day on Saturdays (and Wednesdays in the summer), or alternatively you can wander through the city and discover the work for yourself.
If the vivid graphics of Street Art are not for you, also nearby is At-Bristol, a lively and dynamic science museum, perfect for kids and adults alike. The museum includes an ‘Animate It’ area, in which visitors can create and upload their own animated film. The ‘All About Us’ area allows exploration of the body and identity. At-Bristol is an excellent way to while away a few hours in the city.
For lunch, head harbour-side to the Waterfront. This picturesque area of the city boasts a wealth of restaurants, cafes and bars, all complete with beautiful scenery of the harbour. No1 Harbourside is a quirky and fun café, serving freshly made sandwiches, cakes and seafood. Free soup and bread is served with every meal, and this combined with the waterfront view makes it a thoroughly local and unique choice for a bite to eat.
The start of the afternoon is reserved for a bit of culture by the harbour. Identified by four large cranes that form its structure, the M Shed breathes life into Bristol’s history through its vibrant exhibitions that trace the city’s maritime heritage, including an honest and humble portrait of its involvement in the slave trade, and a giant floor-map of the city. This museum captures Bristol’s past through a modern and colourful lens.
Alternatively, take a stroll around the quirky St Nicholas’ Market in the city centre. Overflowing with products from local, independent traders, the stalls offer anything from books, jewellery and fashion to craft supplies, food and fabrics. There is also a farmer’s market selling local farm produce. It’s easy to get carried away through this warren of stalls.
From the market, head back to the harbour for dinner with a view, on board the Glass Boat. A converted, glass-front barge, this beautiful restaurant is surrounded by the scenery of the harbour. The Glass Boat offers a variety of seafood and locally sourced produce, creating a true taste of Bristol.
If the Glass Boat is a tad pricey, you needn’t miss out on the harbour-dining experience. Try the Severn Shed, a converted boathouse restaurant with an outside terrace. The Severn Shed offers a variety of dishes, also including local seafood, with a Mediterranean twist.
What better to do after dinner here than sample some traditional Bristolian cider? The Bristol Cider House in the city centre serves over 20 local ciders and sells bottles of many of them in the adjoined shop. This cider house is devoted to serving up a traditional taste of Bristol. For a different evening vibe, or to head to after sampling some cider, The Fleece hosts a large variety of local live music acts most nights, with a bar and dance-floor. This is the perfect way to soak up more of the local culture, and to dance the night away to live music.
There are countless places in Bristol to rest your weary head after a fun-filled day. Brooks Guesthouse, situated just minutes from St Nicholas’ Market and the harbour is a sleek, modern and tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Or, for a smaller budget, hotel 24 Seven Bristol provides spacious and airy rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and large, comfortable beds on which you can drift off and reflect on your 24 hours in Bristol.