City Guide: Bristol
Bristol is a city located in South West England. While it is not the most popular city in the UK, it has been featured by many travel guides and was named in 2014 as the best UK city to live in.
Due to its proximity to Exeter, where I currently study, I have visited Bristol a few times.
While the city has a vibrant University life, its historical culture, nice architecture and beautiful greenery are the main attractions of it.
Bristol Temple Meads
We arrived from Exeter after a short one hour train ride and got off at the beautiful train station.
It was first opened up in 1840 and has eight tracks with fourteen platforms. These are shaped in a half round shape, which looks quite interesting. Our hotel Bristol DoubleTree City Centre was just a short walk away from the train station.
It’s all about John Cabot
Everywhere in the city you can see historical remarks of John Cabot.
For those of you who don’t know him, he was a Genovese explorer who set off in Bristol in 1497 and became the first European national (since the Vikings) to land on mainland North America (now Canada).
Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill
The tower is situated on Brandon Hill within lush greenery. It was build in the 1890s to mark the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage to today’s Canada.
From the top of the tower (which is freely accessible) you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city of Bristol. Moreover, there is a ton of squirrels in the park of Brandon Hill, which you can also feed with peanuts.
Bristol University belongs to the Russell Group and is among the best in the UK. Being first established in 1876 it has quite a rich history.
Its different buildings and faculties stretch around the city and are mainly based in the Clifton area.
The cathedral was first build in 1140 and used to be known as St. Augustine’s Abbey until 1542.
Its architecture is a result of hundreds of years of refurbishment, repairs and additions.
SS Great Britain
The SS Great Britain is a museum ship.
From 1845 to 1854 it was the longest passenger steamship (length of 98 metres), which travelled between Bristol and New York.
The harbourside in Bristol along river Avon is quite beautiful. Several restaurant brands are located very closely and it is one of the main meeting points of Bristol University students.
When the weather permits to, it is a nice location to take a stroll or to go running at.
Millenium Square is located near the river and hosts both the Aquarium as well as the At-Bristol (an exploratory science museum)
Furthermore between Millenium Square and the waterfront you also find Bristol’s very own amphitheatre, which looks rather beautiful.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
The suspension bridge spans the Avon Gorge and River Avon. Ever since opening people had to pay a toll to cross it.
Every year Bristol has a Hot Air Balloon Festival in summer. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it myself yet, but the pictures of the bridge with the colorful balloons all around it look absolutely stunning! If you plan to visit Bristol you should try to attend the festival!
Culinary detour – British Cream Tea
In the afternoon we decided to have afternoon tea. As we were running quite late, we couldn’t really find a place offering a full afternoon tea anymore so we opted for the less calorie heavy option of cream tea.
As all other UK cities, Bristol has a lot of different cafes and hotels offering traditional British tea. Our choice was a rather small little cafe on Park Street. However, arriving about 50 minutes before it was due to close, the service was rather frosty and we didn’t feel very welcome. Nonetheless, the scone and cupcake were really good, so we got what we wanted after all. But next time we will indulge in a proper afternoon tea!
This wasn’t my first visit to Bristol, but definitely the one which was blessed with the best weather. I generally really like the city and love how green it still is in October. However, I don’t really find the Suspension Bridge to be very spectacular, but maybe there are some bridge fans out there who can appreciate its beauty more than I can.