City of Bristol
Ever since pre-historic times Bristol has been an important settlement. Built on a hill, protected by two rivers and with access to the sea, Bristol was an important port. Trade and transport have made Bristol into the largest city in the south west of England.
Visitors can discover buildings and artifacts from the city's earliest history right up to modern supersonic times. Being a university town Bristol caters for all age groups. The City and County of Bristol is approximately 122 miles (186 km) west of London, readily accessible by rail, air and road.
Most visitors go to Bristol to see a couple of superb examples of British Victorian innovation and confidence. The magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge built in 1842, Temple Meads Railway Station built 1841 and the steamship ss Great Britain built in 1845.
The Floating Harbour
Bristol Old Port has been turned into a brilliant living history book of the city’s maritime past. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bristol was a key port in the slave trade. Old harbour warehouses now house numerous museums, exhibitions, coffee houses, entertainment venues, bars and night clubs. Some of the harbour-side attractions are:
- The At-Bristol Science Centre
- The Arnolfini Art Gallery
- The Museum of Bristol now known as the M Shed
- The Watershed Media Centre
- The steamship ss Great Britain
- The square rigged Sailing Ship Matthew of Bristol
Ferry services near Temple Meads Railway Station and in the City reaches of the Floating Harbour provide a hassle free way of visiting the above attractions.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:
- Bristol Ferry Boat Company (Yellow boats)
+44 (0)1179 273 416
- Bristol Packet Ltd Boat Trips
+44 (0)1179 268 157
- Number Seven Public Ferry Boats
+44 (0)1179 293 659
Bristol is also known for its links with explorers, the American colonies and religious dissenters such as John Wesley, William Penn and the Quakers. In 1739 John Wesley built The Chapel known as ‘John Wesley's New Room’ - the oldest Methodist building in the world. The Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill commemorates the explorer John Cabot.
Tourist Information Centre
The city centre has many pedestrian precincts and the Council has thoughtfully provided distinctive and colourful ‘BLC’ signs pointing the way to the city’s attractions. Be sure to pick up a copy of the visitor’s map from the Bristol TIC.
Discover the medieval St John’s Gateway, Quakers Friars, the quaint Christmas Steps, Bristol Anglican Cathedral, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Georgian House Museum, and Red Lodge Museum.
In 1743, St Nicholas Market was opened in the Old City quarter in the Exchange. This covered market still operates and has three market areas. A perfect spot to ‘get the character’ of Bristol and therefore well worth a visit. If modern shopping centres are more to your taste then Broadmead in the centre of town is for you.
Bristol has a few small parks close to the city centre. Amongst these are College Green, Queen Square and Castle Park. Brandon Hill is a steep walk but gives good views over the city.
For visitors who are interested in chasing history as well as enjoying a beer, coffee or counter meal, The Avon Packet Pub may be for you. It is situated at Southville, across the Avon – about twenty minutes from the City.
Bristol Zoo Gardens occupies 12 acres in Clifton and was awarded Zoo of the Year in 2004. A number of other green spaces are detailed on this website under the ‘Parks & Gardens’ menu.
Just off the M5 South at exit 18 are Kings Weston Roman Villa, the Blaise Castle House Museum, the Blaise Castle Estate and Blaise Hamlet NT.
For visitors interested in restored heritage steam railways, the Avon Valley Railway on the A431 about half way between Bristol and Bath is worthwhile.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:
Bristol city is split by the River and also the docks. The only way to get across the city by car & local buses is by one of the bridges and in peak times, the traffic queues can be mind blowing, the buses crowded and subject to traffic enforced delays.
A great idea for the visitor is to take a ferry. Bristol Ferry Boat Company runs reliable timetabled ferries, seven days a week all year. In winter the boats are heated and covered. For ferry timetables go to Web: Bristol Ferry Boat Company website.
- Local Bus & Taxi Service
There is a good local bus and taxi service.
The contact for the bus service is:
Bristol Taxis operate in the Bristol district
contact is: Tel: +44 (0)1179 428 080
- City Sightseeing
The Visit Bristol website has an excellent website which links to walking tours, boat & ferry tours, opentop bus tours as well as small group tours and historic building tours. All the Visitor could ask for Web: Bristol Insight City Sightseeing Tours
Getting To Bristol
- From London by Train (first Option)
Train Company: First Great Western
Departure Station: London Paddington to Bristol (BRI)
Arrival Station: Bristol Temple Meads station (has Disabled Access)
Journey time: Approximately 1hr 45 minutes
Ticket Web page - see website below
- From London by Train (second option)
Train Company: First Great Western
Departure Station: London Paddington to Cardiff Central – disembark at Bristol Parkway (BPW)
Arrival Station: Bristol Parkway station (has Disabled Access)
Not recommended Bristol Parkway station is located several miles outside the city centre
Journey time: Approximately 1hr 25 minutes
Ticket Web page: National Rail Ticketing & Info website
- From London by Coach (Bus)
Coach Company: National Express
Departure Point: London Victoria Coach Station
Arrival Point: Bristol Marlborough Street Bus Station
Journey time: Approximately 2½ hours
Ticket Web Page: National Express Official website
- From London by self-drive car
Journey time from London Heathrow Airport is approximately 2¼ hours.
Take the M25/M4 from London and exit at Junction 19 on to the M32 south. It is about six miles (9.7 km) to Bristol central. Journey time is about 2 hours 50 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
Getting to & Around Bristol
Bristol City Council has a superb travel information website. It incorporates information on all types of public transport, car parking, suggested heritage walks, cycling routes, Open Top Bus tours and Tourist Information Centres. It is easy to navigate and well worth a look.
- Local Parking
Other parking information is available on the Bristol City Council website at Bristol Local Parking Information. This information is mainly addressed to Bristol local residents.
Google Map - Bristol