Bristol is a colourful city that bursts with life on every corner. This vibrant cultural hub offers a wide variety of things to do and places to see. You’ll wonder where to begin and how to go about fitting it all in! Thankfully, we’ve cherry-picked some essentials for you to check off during your visit.
The Wellington is conveniently placed to access all that this magical city has to offer. There’s a wealth of history awaiting discovery, together with a fine collection of attractions, eateries, and beautiful outdoor scenery.
Visit the Zoo
Venture into a breathtaking animal kingdom at Bristol Zoo. This popular family destination will bring you face-to-face with over 400 species of adorable, exotic and endangered animals from across the world.
Marvel at the gorilla house, the monkey jungle, reptile house, and take a trip to the seal and penguin coast. Get hands-on with daily animal shows, feeds and talks, while the more adventurous at heart can tackle the aerial rope course and zip wires. Little ones can let off steam at the playground and playing field.
Attend a sporting fixture
The Wellington is the perfect venue for a pre-match pint, being a mere a stone’s throw away from the Memorial Ground, home of The Pirates - Bristol Rovers.
Across the city, you’ll also find the recently re-developed Ashton Gate Stadium, where football’s Championship side Bristol City and Bristol Rugby entertain up to 27,000 fans each week.
Discover the Harbouside
Once bustling with merchants trading goods and sailors setting off on voyages of discovery, Bristol's Harbourside is now filled with bars, shops and an award-winning visitor centre for Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the ship which changed the world.
Stroll along the water’s edge and you’ll come across the central hub, Millennium Square, where a host of sporting activities take place, from rowing and yachting to cycling and paddleboarding.
This corner of the city buzzes with Sunday markets, where you never know what delights you’ll find from one week to the next. It’s also a go-to for fine restaurants and bars.
Shop 'til you drop!
A visit to central Bristol’s Shopping Quarter is a must for anyone seeking a dash of retail therapy. With two covered shopping areas, Cabot Circus and The Galleries, you’ll find favourite high street stores, designer brands, independent shops, and department stores in equal measure.
There’s plenty to keep you going out-of-town too. Head to The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, home to Bristol Fashion Week and Winter Wonderland. The latter hosts the largest outdoor ice rink in the South West.
Cross the suspension bridge
The symbol of the city, Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, has spanned the picturesque Avon Gorge for more than 150 years, with its upkeep and visitor centre funded entirely by tolls.
Since opening to the public in 1864, the bridge has served as a stage for cultural events, including the first modern bungee jump in 1979 and Concorde’s farewell flight in 2003. Don't miss the nearby observatory, camera obscura, and caves too!
Discover a rich and diverse culture
Bristol is home to a mix of artistic and creative talent that’s proudly showcased across art galleries and museums. Highlights include Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the Arnolfini, and the M Shed. The city regularly plays host to an exciting programme of fashion, aviation, design, photography, and dance exhibitions.
You’ll also find a thriving theatrical scene at the city’s own West End Theatre, the Bristol Hippodrome, together with renowned venues such as the Bristol Old Vic and the Tobacco Factory Theatres. Bristol Beacon, formerly Colston Hall, is another historic venue which presents concerts and entertainment from major artists.
Hop across to Bath
A short journey by bus or train will take you to Bath. Bristol’s neighbouring city is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is famous for its thermal springs, Roman baths, stunning architecture, and rich culture.
For those who love craft ale, our top recommendation is, of course, a Bath Ales Brewery Tour, rounded off with a visit to Bath Ales’ flagship restaurant, Graze Bar & Chophouse. You could alternatively stop-off in one of their smaller watering holes as you put your feet up and relax following a busy day of exploring and shopping by foot.