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Bristol Tourism And Travel Guide
11.5° C / 52.7° F
May to July
3 to 4 Days
Bristol Temple Meads
A wealthy port that’s been in the trading line since the Roman Era, Bristol is a port city that’s earned its repute as the ‘Birthplace of America’. Having played a significant role in England’s sea trade in the realm of cotton, wine, tobacco and more, the city is independently spirited and is the kind of place where you can enjoy a magic show while having dinner or celebrate anything from sea shanties to graffitis or just cordon off an entire street to install a community water slide!
Placed just at the right place, Bristol’s tourism has opened doors to the South West with easy access to Cardiff, Bath and the most scenic countryside. From being a part of the hiking trips at the Waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons to the tree-top adventures at Go Ape and being privy to nature’s finest in England’s ancient forests Bristol is all about incredible sights and memories of a lifetime. Here’s a travel guide to Bristol to help you find your way around the city.
How to Reach
The fastest way to reach Bristol is to take a flight out from New Delhi, operated by KLM with a travel duration of 13 hours or so. Once you arrive at the Bristol International Airport, Bristol City Centre is just a few minutes away via a bus. Other flight operators on the New Delhi – Bristol sector include Alitalia, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, Flybe, and Air France.
Boarding a flight from New Delhi to London Heathrow Airport and then taking the onward journey on a train, with a travel time of 14 hours plus, is the cheapest way to reach Bristol. From the London Heathrow Airport, there’s a train to London Paddington every 20 minutes, which just takes 16 minutes and the onward journey to Bristol Temple Mead Station can be made from there again on a train with a travel duration of an hour and 42 minutes.
Another way of reaching Bristol is to drive down from London Heathrow Airport by bus, which takes approx. 2 hours and 10 minutes at an estimated fare of INR 1300-2400. A bus leaves for Bristol every hour. Or you could use the Rideshare platform to go by road.
Getting around in Bristol is pretty convenient thanks to its great public transport system. From its frequent and fast bus services to the park and ride services to riding the ferries, you can allow yourself to relax and explore the beautiful city of Bristol through its different means of transportation, not to forget walking along its several walking routes or cycling through the countryside!
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Bristol is its prettiest during spring, while winters are exceptionally cold, with the temperatures going down below zero. The best time to visit Bristol is during the months of May through July, ie., Summertime as well as August & September.
Bristol gets relatively cold owing to humidity and temperature that varies between 18.4°C-9.4°C with the days getting warm in the later months. You can enjoy the rains which happen about 5 days in a month. This also slows down the incoming tourist traffic considerably, so you can look forward to some pocket-friendly travel deals then.
June through August is a bit cooler with comfortable temperatures and a moderate rainfall that ranges between 7 to 9 times in a month. Summers are the busiest time in Bristol and traveling can be an expensive affair this time of the year.
With oscillating temperatures of 19.6°C-8.6°C on an average and fall’s chilly climate, the period between September through November experiences rain or snowfall at least 4 to 10 days each month. This makes the fall season the second busiest time of the year for tourism in Bristol.
For travelers who enjoy warm weathers, winters can be really cold in Bristol, hence tourism is the slowest in December through February. With an average temperature that varies between 9.4°C-6.9°C, rains or snow occurs between 7 to 11 days in a month.
Things to Do
Bristol’s streets are enriched with progressive works of street art or graffiti as it is popularly known to adorn the walls of the city, along the side streets, under passages or the narrow alleys, from bold displays on bridges to building walls, the vibrant graffiti art pops out with a revolutionary and cynical show of humor. Banksy, the mysterious street art extraordinaire is from Bristol and has to his name a massive collection of street art, and work spanning bridges and walls.
From the choicest attractions to world-class activities, Bristol will keep you and your family busy with a mix of adventures at the Bristol Aquarium for sharks underwater, or climbing the ropes at Brunel’s SS Great Britain or traveling back in time at We the Curious and piloting a Concorde at Aerospace Bristol. Visit the penguins at the Bristol Zoo or the naughty lemurs at the Wild Place Project or perhaps get up close and personal with a dinosaur at the Museum and Art Gallery.
Admire the Heritage:
Despite its contemporary look and feel, Bristol’s ancient past is a visible delight of a diverse mix of buildings, an architectural marvel evident through varying eras, that include the Gothic masterworks of St. Mary Redcliffe or the Bristol Cathedral, Castle Park with the ruins of the Norman Castle, the picturesque Clifton and more. The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is popular for a variety of rocks, fossils, and other national treasures, while the M Shed Museum houses extensive details of Bristol’s history along with the SS Great Britain, just below the deck.
Explore the wondrous city of Bristol and say hello to the floating harbor or the Harborside on a boat trip, with the choice of a themed cruise, or an afternoon tea up to the River Avon, while a trip on wildlife spotting with local guides.
Bristol’s nightlife is no less popular! From its gigantic pubs that host some of the best DJs to live gigs that happen underground, the city comes alive with its streams of karaoke bars, magic events, comedy shows, and fancy speakeasies, not to forget the progressively growing LGBT scene.
Where To Eat
Bristol is known to be a foodie’s delight, renowned for its quirky street delicacies as well as its fine dining experience. Extremely proud of its liberated bars, cafes, and restaurants, Bristol has the likes of Pieminister and many more award-winning names to boast of. The Pieminister is popular for its homespun pies, as is the Casamia at Harborside, known to be a fancy place, founded by local families on a small scale, and now being on the top list of the London Food Critics. Given the popular demand, it's best to make your reservations in advance!
With an enriching blend of cultures that reflects deliciously in the food that makes out in different parts of the Bristol city, St. Marks’s road in Easton is good for Asian or Middle Eastern Cuisines, St. Paul is popular for Caribbean delights, while burgers are a rave at The Triangle; and Clifton & Park Street are the best haunts for seafood or classic British meals. People from far and wide flock to Welsh Back at all hours of the day for cider on a boat and the home produced beer, while King Street tries matching up with a dose of jazz in the background at King Street. Don’t miss Swoon’s lip-smacking Gelato for dessert, or a soft serve sprinkle in Vee Double Moo from a VW.
Where To Shop
From tiny pop up stalls with locally designed fashion accessories to enormous shopping malls in Bristol, you’ll find the South West’s shopping capital. An easy saunter along the Clifton village’s Regency streets will treat you to a variety of elite boutiques, while the Bristol Shopping Quarter and a quick swoop of the High Street regulars and exclusive marvels will keep you in awe for long! For vintage fans, Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft are alternative means and the longest lanes for independent shops. Visit the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, going way back to the 1600s, where you can spend an entire day roaming the quirky streets with their ensemble of book shops, designer stores, and silversmiths.
Then there is the Wapping Wharf, one of Bristol city’s newest locality and the core of independent business houses just a few steps from the harbor. Find your favorite bands under one roof at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway, with the added advantage of long hours to keep up with Bristol’s hardcore shopping escapades! The markets in Bristol are equally enticing, with the likes of the Harborside Market over the weekend or St. Nick’s Market (as is known locally) in addition to the markets that are set up seasonally.