Bristol Destination Guide

Bristol Culture

Bristol has a rich diverse culture and is one of the main centres of culture in the region, from its earliest days much of Bristol’s prosperity has come from Bristol’s commercial port, which used to be in the city centre, but has now moved to Bristol Channel coast at Avonmouth and Portbury. In recent years much of Bristol’s economy has been built on the aerospace industry and with the regeneration of the city centre docks, which is now a main part of Bristol’s heritage and culture and is the main reason why Bristol was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture, with its unique music and film industries.

Bristol History

60,000-year-old archaeological finds at Shirehampton and St Annes confirm that the first settlers in the Bristol area was in the Palaeolithic era, near the city at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down where the Iron Age hill fortson, is on the side of the Avon Gorge, and on Kingsweston Hill, near Henbury. In the Roman times there was a settlement at Abona, which is now known as Sea Mills and connects by a Roman road to Bath, and another settlement which is now known as Inns Court, there were also many isolated villas and small settlements throughout the area.

Nautical Heritage

The town of Brycgstow, which means “the place at the bridge” in Old English, was first built around the beginning of the 11th century during the time that the Normans acquired one of the strongest castles in southern England. The River Avon in the city centre has slowly evolved into Bristol Harbour, and since the 12th century Bristol harbour has been an important port, handling much of England’s trade with Ireland. A new bridge was built back in 1247 to connect neighbouring suburbs which later led to it becoming a county in 1373, at the same time Bristol became a major port for shipbuilding and manufacturing and meant that Bristol was the starting point for many important voyages, including John Cabot’s 1497 voyage of exploration to North America.

Getting Around Bristol

It’s fairly easy to get around Bristol, especially for cyclists as Bristol is the hub of Britain’s national cycle routes, the cycle routes are also a good starting point for many marked country walks. Bristol has a good public transport network, with regular bus, ferry and train services and good rail links that connects to most parts of the UK, Bristol also has various sightseeing tours that offer a great way to see Bristol’s attractions.

Walking Around Bristol

Bristol city centre is well signposted for walkers, Bristol’s tourist Information Centre is the best place to buy walking maps and detailed maps of Bristol and its surrounding areas. Long distance walkers should try the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, this 13 mile path runs between Bristol and Bath, the path takes your through some of the best countryside in Avon Valley and has some great views of the South Cotswolds. The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is quite easy to get onto, if you require refreshments along the way, then there are several places where you can stop at. The path is fairly flat and is quite easy to walk, it’s hard surface is ideal for walkers, cyclists and wheel chair users, there is even a short section for horse riders, the Bristol and Bath Railway Path starts at Trinity Street in Lawrence Hill and ends on Brass Mill Lane on the west side of Bath.

Cycling Around Bristol

If you’re a cycling enthusiast, then Bristol is the ideal place to visit as it’s the hub of Britain’s national cycle routes and home of Sustrans and Britain’s leading sustainable transport charity. Cyclists should not miss out on a visit to Mud Dock, this revolutionary combination of cycle works and café offers everything from repairs, lockers and showers to a great cup of coffee, during the summer there are many cycling events for cyclists to take part in.

Sports & Leisure in Bristol

Bristol has plenty to offer sports fans, whatever sport your into you can be sure enjoy sporting events in Bristol, Bristol has two professional football teams, Bristol Rovers and Bristol City, if you’re not into football then you could go to watch Bristol Rugby club, who play in the Premier league, for basketball fans there’s the Bristol Basketball team. If you want to participate in sport then there are several cricket clubs, tennis courts, bowling alleys and squash clubs, in fact you should be able to find a wide range of sports that you can enjoy in Bristol

Bristol Nightlife

If you’re planning a night out in Bristol then you won’t be disappointed with the nightlife that Bristol has to offer, whether you’re planning to see the latest blockbuster movie or enjoy a night of clubbing. Bristol’s cinemas include the IMAX, which has the biggest screen in the South West, while the Watershed and Arnolfini both offer an alternative selection of world cinema.

For a night of laughs checkout Bristol’s growing variety of comedy venues, like Jongleurs and Jesters, both providing the best in sharp, new comedy from established stars and the big names of tomorrow.

The nightlife in Bristol can be very cosmopolitan, or if you prefer it can be Mojitio or Mai Tai, cocktails for every occasion and the locations are as varied as the menus. For the best mixologists, try Severnshed or Brownstone. If beer is more your thing, Zero Degrees is an award winning micro-brewery where the beer is carefully brewed on the premises.

If you’re into funky house, old skool, drum and bass, R&B, funk or Latino beats then a visit to the Elbow Room on Park Street and Walkabout in Corn Street is where it’s at.

For the latest news on club nights, pick up a copy of Venue in Bristol, giving you up to the minute club listings.