Bristol is a vibrant old city, the home to Banksy as well as Wallace and Gromit with an amazing range of shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions for all ages.
Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. On a ship out of the city in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America.
In 1499 William Weston, a local merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America.
At the height of the slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas.
The Port of Bristol has since moved from the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock.
Bristol’s modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture.
Local landmarks include the Cathedral and the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge – a real focus point for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta each August. Brunel’s other masterpiece is SS Great Britain, which you can visit in the Harbourside area.
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection encompassing natural history, archaeology, local glassware, Chinese ceramics and art.
The M Shed museum opened in 2011 on the site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum. Both are operated by Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, which also runs three historic houses — the Tudor Red Lodge, the Georgian House and Blaise Castle House — and Bristol Archives.
The graffiti artist Banksy is believed to be from Bristol, and many of his works are on display in the city.
The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery (both in dockside warehouses) exhibit contemporary art, photography and cinema, and the city’s oldest gallery is at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton.
Children (and parents) love We The Curious, the interactive science museum. The venue on the harbourside is a bit like an indoor festival, with all sorts of different experiences, where you can interact with exhibits and take part in experiments.
Open and ready for boarding, Aerospace Bristol tells the amazing story of the city’s world-class aerospace industry and gives you and your family the chance to step aboard a British icon, Concorde Alpha Foxtrot. Designed, built and tested in Bristol, she was the final Concorde to be built and the last to fly.
The Old City and Harbourside district have many independent shops and restaurants. St Nicholas market is an intimate and atmospheric indoor market with lots of delicious street food stalls.
A £500 million shopping centre, Cabot Circus, opened in 2008 amidst predictions by developers and politicians that the city would become one of England’s top 10 retail destinations.
Explore the historic docks, and stop in at the M-Shed, an unusual – and free – museum that documents Bristol’s story via film, photographs, personal stories and objects.
Some of the biggest exhibits are actually outside the main building, including a locomotive engine, industrial crane and 19th century tug boat (rides are available on special weekends). It’s closed Mondays.
A visit to Bristol Zoo Gardens is an adventure into an exciting animal kingdom, all set within 12 acres of beautiful gardens. Visitors will come face to face with over 400 species of exotic, endangered and adorable animals from the four corners of the globe.
Visitors can see the family of gorillas, stroll through the tropical Butterfly Forest or become immersed in the impressive Seal and Penguin Coast. Some other Zoo favourites include Monkey Jungle, Reptile house, Asiatic lions, Bug World, Twilight World, and the Aquarium.
Other great places to see animals in include Bristol Aquarium and the Wild Place Project, a new attraction where animals roam free in themed habitats.
Distance from Nunney
26 miles (42 km); 56 minutes by car
Tourist Information Centre
1 Canon’s Road
Bristol BS1 5TX
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm
Open 362 days of the year, and only closed on 25 and 26 December and 1 January
Telephone 0906 711 2191 (calls cost 50p per minute plus network extras)
Telephone from overseas +44 333 321 0101
Email [email protected]