Since travelling has become so affordable in recent years, it seems that everyone is seized by wanderlust and planning exotic trips all over the world. Let’s face it! Unless you’re British, when you think of UK, the first destination that pops into your mind is London, but do you really want to be like everyone else? Go backpacking through Europe and come back with the same memories as all the other tourists?
Do you know what place is all about individualism? You might have guessed from the title but Bristol! You may have gotten glimpses of its streets if you watched Benedict Cumberbatch strolling through, in his role as Sherlock Holmes, but you should do your own investigation in the city that gave us Banksy, Portishead and Massive Attack.
Bristol Houses Bring Color to Even the Grayest of Days
Since Bristol is so focused on standing out, breaking norms is encouraged which has resulted in a trend of candy-colored houses. You’ll see rows and rows of them all around the city, like an urban rainbow.
One of the most popular of these colorful neighborhoods is Cliftonwood, very close to the Clifton Village, but you can also see them in Hotwells, Clifton Down, Redland, Easton and the list goes on. They’ve become one of the visual symbols of the city, since the topography makes them visible from all around. Whoever came up with the idea should get a medal.
You Can’t Miss out on Clifton Village
Clifton Village is one of the most picturesque quarters in Bristol. You can think of it as a quaint little Georgian town within the city. Here you’ll find not only the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, but also lots of elegant boutiques, art galleries, cozy cafes, excellent restaurants, lively pubs and beautiful Georgian buildings.
Needless to say, this area is very popular with tourists.
In the heart of Clifton Village lies the Clifton Arcade where you will find some of the most unusual shopping opportunities. It first opened in 1878 but it has been recently restored and now it offers everything from hand-crafted clothes and jewelry to unique furniture.
When your head starts spinning and you need a place to settle down, you can stop by the Primrose Café where you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and some delicious, freshly prepared food.
If you want to get a great view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and maybe some nice pictures, you can go through Giant’s Cave, home to Goram and Ghyston, the giants from Bristol’s folklore. Of course, you can’t leave until you visit the bridge itself. Crossing on foot is free and It offers a great view over the city, not to mention, an excellent opportunity to find out if you suffer from vertigo.
It was designed by Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, considered one of the leading figures of the Industrial Revolution because of his innovative projects and ground-breaking ideas.
Sadly, he never got to see the bridge completed. Construction started in 1831, but because of political and financial concerns, it wasn’t finished until 1864 and dedicated to his memory. It has now become a symbol of the city and one of its biggest attractions.
The SS Great Britain
Another one of Brunel’s brilliant creations is the SS Great Britain, a ship 322 ft (98 m) long which has now been turned into one of the top 10 museums in the UK. Maybe its seafaring days are long over, but in its time it was by far the largest vessel in the world.
A visit will not leave you disappointed and the Being Brunel exhibition will give you some insight into his fascinating mind.
Bristolians Are the Nicest People You Will Ever Meet!
They’ve actually been deemed the kindest people in the United Kingdom. They do much more than just open doors and give up their bus seat. They’re the most inclined to donating money to charities or to the homeless and they like to help out strangers, which obviously will be very much appreciated since tourists are by definition strangers.
For this reason, while in Bristol, we suggest you try staying in a guest house instead of a hotel. You’ll save some money you can invest in sightseeing and travel entertainment, you’ll be made to feel at home and you’ll quickly make new friends you can go on cider tours with. This brings us to our next suggestion.
You Must Go on a Cider Tour!
These kind and friendly Bristolians are also very fond of cider and once you try it you’ll understand why. You can start with the Bristol Cider Shop which offers more than a hundred varieties of craft cider and you can have a sip from as many as you can handle during a cider tasting session. We recommend you accept the bread and cheese they give you to line your stomach or it won’t be much of a tour.
Now it’s time to drink cider on a boat! It might not sound like a great idea, but where’s your spirit of adventure? The Apple is a floating bar with plenty of outdoor seating, great choice of cider and friendly staff.
By now you should perhaps eat something which we suggest you do on solid ground. The Stable serves not just 60 varieties of cider, but also sourdough pizza made from fresh ingredients produced locally.
Bristol’s Street Art
Hopefully, once you’ve eaten you’ve recovered your balance and can go on a walk to admire some of the street art. You’ve probably heard of Banksy so go see some of his most (in)famous murals like “Well Hung Lover” at 7 Park Street, “The Girl with the Stick” at Bridge Farm Primary School and “The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum” at Hanover Place.
If you see some very detailed murals of dinosaurs or birds composed of cityscapes, you’ve stumbled upon some of the works of Andy Council who has been featured in the Guardian.
Stencil cartoons with some clever, funny messages? Check your phone, it might be an “Angus”. As for hypnotic, realistic, neon birds (yes, all at the same time) with pixelated details – this is the hallmark of Aspire.
Like we said, Bristol streets are anything but dull.