A blend of history, culture and adventures, Bristol offers endless possibilities to every type of travelers. One of the most prosperous shipping and trade ports in history, Bristol will surely awaken your inner history buff. This 3-day suggested itinerary will lead you to Bristol’s famous tourist attractions and will lead you to experience its creative and artistic scene. Depending on your traveling priorities, you can certainly fine tune this itinerary to suit your needs.
Things to know before travelling in Bristol:
Language – England does not have an official language. Although English, the de facto official language of the United Kingdom, is spoken by majority of the population. In 2011, the second-most spoken language in England is Polish. Please note, England is a melting pot of different cultures, which means that there are people who don’t speak English in places.
Currency exchange – The official currency in England is the British Pound Sterling, which is the same currency used in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and Bureau de Change Kiosks which are located in the airports and city centers. If you plan to use your credit card in England or other parts of the United Kingdom, check with your bank if they have a “chip and pin” or “chip and signature” credit card. The United Kingdom uses the “chip and pin” for added security.
Getting there – Getting to Bristol is pretty straight forward! A round-trip airfare from Boston to Bristol can be found for 450 USD (dates in Octoberm flying with WOW through Reykjavik); from Amsterdam and Berlin – 87 USD and up; from Moscow – 225 USD via Zurich. It is not a bad idea to check the prices of the ticket to London because sometimes the savings could be substantial (Heathrow Airport in London is only 97 mi from Bristol).
Getting around – Biking is the cheapest and easiest way to get around Bristol. If you plan to bike around the city, then please consider the hilly topography of Bristol. Also, make sure to ask your hotel’s receptionist about secure bike parking so your bike won’t get stolen. Buses are also excellent travel options as Bristol has vast network of buses. For timetables and routes visit the official website of TravelWest, Wessex or First Bus. Renting a car and driving on your own is not recommended because of heavy traffic especially in the city center.
Where to stay – There are many types of holiday accommodation in Bristol, from luxury hotels to cheaper accommodation like youth hostels and bed and breakfast. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. If you are going to follow our suggested itinerary, we recommend accommodation options available in the City Center and Old City.
Hotels to consider in Bristol:
The Bristol (The Harbourside | Prince Street, BS1 4QF, England)
Hotel du Vin & Bistro (The Sugar House | Narrow Lewins Mead, BS1 2NU, England)
Holiday Inn City Centre (Bond Street, BS1 3LE, England)
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel City Centre (Redcliffe Way, BS1 6NJ, England)
Hilton Garden Inn City Centre (Temple Way, BS1 6BF, England)
Detailed Itinerary Best of Bristol, England in 3 Days
Take an international flight to Bristol International Airport. If you are coming directly from London, then you can travel to Bristol by train or by coach. National Express and Megabus are two coach operators who run services between Bristol and London. There are also direct trains from London to Bristol. For time table and ticket information, visit National Rail’s official website. Check into your preferred hotel/guest house. Rest and settle in before you start the tour.
There’s no better way to get to know a city than visiting some of its significant historical attractions. Come to grips with Bristol’s history by taking a stroll through the City Docks, the original port of the city and now an attractive Harbor-side filled with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. Here, you will also find Millennium Square, At-Bristol Science Centre, Brunel’s ss Great Britain and Bristol Aquarium. Also, one of the best ways to get acquainted with Bristol’s maritime culture is by a ferry boat ride.
In the evening, it’s time to get spooky! Bristol is an ancient city. With its history that dates back centuries, it provides the perfect settings for ghost stories. If you are up for adventure, join one of the ghost tours offered by Haunted and Hidden Ghost Walks. It’s true that some ghost tours are a little under whelming, however, ghost tours will let you explore historical and ancient buildings around central Bristol after dark. Some of the most haunted places to visit in Bristol are Odeon Cinema, Pembroke Road, Arnos Manor Hotel and Brunel’s ss Great Britain.
After having a filling breakfast, set out this morning and head east to the beautiful suburb of Clifton. Famous for its amazing Georgian and Regency architecture, Clifton is a unique shopping quarter in Bristol. Do not miss Clifton Arcade, which features a lovely collection of Victorian clothing shops, antique stores and jewelry shops. Aside from shopping, you can also visit some of Clifton’s tourist attractions like the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Observatory (Litfield Rd, BS8 3LT, United Kingdom) and Bristol Zoo Gardens.
In the afternoon, explore Avon Gorge National Nature Reserve on foot or by bike. The Avon Gorge features a stunning landscape, home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Then, make your way to Cabot Tower. You may also explore Brandon Hill Nature Park, the public parkland surrounding Cabot Tower. If you still have energy, be ready for a city nightlife hit at the Bell Pub on Hillgrove Street.
Today is your last day in Bristol. Taking into consideration that you most likely stayed out rather late on your second night, you can start your last day at around 10 or 11 in the morning. Savor your last morning in the city with a relaxed breakfast in your room or at a nearby restaurant. Spend the rest of your day checking out some attractions that you might have missed. Do not miss to take photographs of the street art of Banksy, the elusive graffiti artist from Bristol. Fit in one last amazing lunch or dinner in the town. You could even squeeze in some souvenir shopping before you travel back to London. You may opt to continue traveling independently, or extend your stay in the area. The decision is all yours!
This is the end of our 3-day suggested itinerary to Bristol. If the pace gets too hectic, just chill out and prioritize which area you would really like to visit.
Have you been to Bristol? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.