For anyone contemplating a tour of the UK and particularly the western region of England Bristol has to be top of the list of places to see. The city has a long and checkered industrial past and was once famous for shipbuilding and manufacturing, before falling into decline but in the last few years has completely shirked this tired image to become one of the most exciting and lively places in all of Britain. Top performers such as Portishead (named after a neighborhood in Bristol) and Massive Attack made their name in this fashionable and artistic city, not to mention the internationally famous graffiti artist Banksy whose work adorns the city walls.
Bristol is a city with a young population and buzzing nightlife highly rated by the local students and is one of the places to eat, drink and be entertained in Britain. But if all that sounds a bit ‘hip’ for you then why not explore the finer side to this south-western city. Historical sights abound in Bristol, from the moment you enter the city via the Clifton Suspension Bridge designed and engineered by Isambad Kingdom Brunel. The bridge spans the stunning Avon Gorge with awe-inspiring genius that sets the tone for the rest of your visit here. Take your time to discover the story of Bristol’s five hundred years of exploration, innovation and imperialism (including its part in the British slave trade) at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum; then enjoy the City Museum and Art Gallery and stunning Bristol Cathedral. If you fancy a bit of fresh air and sunshine afterwards why not head to the waterways of the southern area of the city for a lazy cruise amongst the now converted factories and mills before returning for a evening of entertainment in one of Bristol’s restaurants or bars.
If you are using Bristol as a base to see the surrounding countryside then you will have beauty in abundance on your doorstep. Just a few miles to the south-east in the Avon Valley is the elegant Georgian city of Bath with its exquisite architecture and Roman baths. If you fancy viewing the dramatic landscape of this area up close then make a trip to the Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills for some outstanding views. Then turn the world on it’s head by venturing into the world famous caves at Wookey Hole, Somerset.
The rest of the West Country is within easy reach of Bristol. Attractions will be hard to choose between, with Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Exmoor National Park, and the many pretty seaside towns and villages just a short distance away.
Alex is a travel writer and blogger. He loves writing about exotic places and is currently working on a secret vacation guide .
Images by pandrcutts