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Things To Do In Bristol
Bristol is a bustling city in England, one that you’ll never tire of! From exploring world-class art on its streets to making merry with its club nights, seeing sights from atop the Cabot Tower/Suspension Bridge to taking a nose-dive at the Lido, there’s so much to do in Bristol that will have you make the most of your visit to this great city. Here’s a snapshot of things to do in Bristol.
A Boat's Eye View
Built on the tobacco to sugar trading route that the city’s docks and floating port facilitated, Bristol’s economy thrives now more on service than slavery. Its waterways around Bristol are its most significant assets. One of the best ways to explore this small but magnificent city is to hop on a boat and view it from the waterline. With operations through the year for locals and visitors alike, Bristol Ferry Boats allow you to climb into and get off, as you choose to go from Bristol Temple Meads to SS Great Britain, while Bristol Packet Boats provide guided harbor tours and into the Avon Gorge, with opportunities to wine and dine while sailing!
Touring Bristol on a 2-Wheeler
Bristol has more slopes than a Scottish ski resort and cycling around the city could be exhausting, however, to avoid all the traffic congestions that are normal in any UK city, cycling may turn out to be more promising and easy to move around with. Wheels up, you can head into large open spaces and wooded tracks of Ashton Court or head off on the Bristol-Bath Rail Path that shadows an old rail line through a 13-mile peaceful countryside. There are plenty of cycling routes that can lead you to some of the city’s best landmarks as well.
A Pint or Two
Just a few steps from the Suspension Bridge is one of the city’s most infamous drinking joints, Coronation Tap, stuck down a side street. A cider house and pub that has earned its repute for serving cider in the suburbs of Clifton, the Coronation Tap has been around for nearly 200 years and is popular for its most renowned drink, the ½ pint glass of Exhibition Cider. The ‘Cori tap’ offers a deadly glass or more of the Cider that’s exclusive to this place and has been a popular haunt for city students for decades.
The High Road
Bristol isn’t flat and has massive climbs which makes it difficult for most tourists to getting around the town. However, its sights are the reason why the city has its distinct charm, so you really can’t miss getting high up there and get a panoramic view of some Bristol’s most amazing vantage spots. Beginning from Brandon Hill Park, behind the Park Street, you climb a tight spiral stairway, right to the top of the Cabot Tower, where you can view the beautiful city of Bristol in one magnificent move!
Clifton residents are known for their high-class thought process which purports that their part of Bristol’s an elite corner as compared to the rest of the city. There’s a gorgeous swimming pool here with an attached restaurant concealed on the street. This pool was built way back in 1850 and shut down for nearly 20 years, resurrected and revamped in 2008 with a new restaurant and café, not to mention with spa facilities. Renamed ‘Bristol Lido’, the pool allows you to lounge, have a massage or a facial, and make the most of its cocktails at the bard or head up for some up-market visuals at the gallery restaurant.
Bristol is also known for its popular artistic spreads, its graffiti. From an assortment of passionately guarded murals on its shop shutters to the city’s public walls, from chrome to black impromptus’ to the careless marks on the windows and vans, Bristol is covered in doodles. If you’re interested in glorious street art, then the best place to visit is the Dean Lane skate park at Bedminister or the ‘Hall of Fame’ underneath the M32 flyover, where the locals and visitors put their artistic skills to play, creating masterpieces that warrant more appreciation and applaud than any quasi-radical model with an expensive price tag!
Every year Bristol’s streets go crazy with a string of festivals that include family events, food and drinks, music and cultural occurrences. From a weekend of music, mud and getting pureed, to events like Love saves the day, St. Paul’s Carnival or the Tokyo World, the Harbor Festival, the Balloon Fiesta or the Pride and more, there’s never a dull moment here with crowds swarming in colorful quirky hats and flowing ciders, nearly every summer weekend.
Some of the best festivals include the Slapstick Festival which brings in a wide schedule of side-splitting comedy events and live shows, the Bluegrass festival which involves a weekend of free jams, concerts and workshops celebrating the best of Bluegrass and Americana. The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival is one of the biggest musical events in the city that’s grown considerably in the last 6 years with the city’s illustrious musical connection to jazz, spanning the 1950’-60s’. The Bristol Walk Fest is a very popular annual walk celebration which attracts visitors from across the city and far and involves a variety of historic tours, street art exploration, walking sports and nature walks. Then, there’s the Food Festival with a noteworthy line up of Master Chef Champions, Celebrity Chefs and Great British Bake Off stars with some live music to build on the ambiance.
The Haunted & Creepy Tour
Given its long history, there are plenty of spooky tales and ghostly encounters that are attached to the pathways and several old structures, woven delicately into the city’s culture. Bristol’s haunted and hidden walking tours entail leaving the College Green every Friday evening at 8 pm and experiencing a journey through some of the most haunted coaching inns, cinemas, residences and be privy to tales of dwarf highwaymen and monks through the 90-minute tour. Here’s one tour that’s bound to leave you with chills and thrills along the way.
The Groovy Records & Sounds of Bristol
Bristol’s earned its repute for its modern music as well with the likes of Massive Attack, Smith & Mighty, Full Cycle, Pinch, Portishead and Julio Bashmore that have taken the city to top the music charts and set them at par with the music topper cities like Detroit and Berlin. Once known as the ‘Bristol Sound’, the musical scene is still alive and progressing within the four walls of bars and popular clubs like Motion, Lakota or Cosies as well as joints across the city nearly every weeknight. So don’t miss out on the musical renditions in this part of the town, when visiting.
Bristol was laden with a record shop every 50 m or so in the late 90s. Despite the technological advancements and advent of internet and mp3 now, the city continues to be run by true music loyalists that offer the latest reggae and electronic music as well used vinyl and CD that spans all musical genres. Some of the most reputable music players in the market include the Idle Hands, Wanted, Prime Cuts, Payback, Plastic Wax and PK Music Exchange.
Bristol is a lot more invigorating and enlightening in its cultural representations, with a host of auditoriums and playhouses that bring in an assortment of theater events that are a mix of internationally acclaimed touring shows, intimate performances and cutting edge theatrics. With events nearly every night of the week, some of the best places that run events in the city include the impressive Old Vic or Hippodrome, the Tobacco Factory Theaters, and the Redgrave, the Little Black Box or Tiny Wardrobe theatres.