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Tourist Places To Visit In Bristol
Encircled in the South West hills of England, Bristol has its own inimitable character, much rooted in the history and shaped up since then by its enthusiastic citizens and feisty aficionados. A hub of activists and artists, explore the streets of Bristol and become a part of its live canvas, riding your way through the city on a bicycle to the outskirts and discovering its beautiful treasures. Bristol is popular for its rich legacy and artistic culture with an engaging display of historical exhibits, cutting edge artworks and museums that span the city’s archeology, natural history and more. Here are some of the best tourist places to visit in Bristol.
Museums & Galleries
Bristol’s Museums come in all sizes and shapes, right from the ‘Brunel's SS Great Britain’ that takes you back to the Victorian era to ‘M Shed’, the city’s social records center housed in a transit shed from the 1950s. ‘We the Curious’, is a 3D planetarium while the Aerospace Bristol represents the city’s world-class aerospace industry, also giving visitors a chance to get onboard the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, a British icon.
John Wesley’s Chapel, ‘The New Room’, is one of the oldest Methodist buildings that was constructed as a meeting room and represents the story of Bristol and the Wesleys from the 18th century, featuring several furnishings and artifacts from Wesley’s time. The New Building also includes a café with seating for 40 people and a shop on the ground floor, archive facilities and a library on the first level and an education/conference center on the second level. Then, there’s the Gregorian House Museum that is a 6-story townhouse from the 18th century, just off the city’s popular Park Street, an independent shopping space. The house was restored and ornamented to its original magnificence to present the affluent ways of life that existed several decades ago.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge
Spanning the Avon Gorge and the Avon River, The Clifton Suspension Bridge links Clifton to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is funded entirely by tolls which have compensated for its maintenance since its inauguration in 1864, and is open & staffed 24X7, 7 days a week through the year. Hailed as one of the most important buildings since the Victorian Era, the bridge is a masterpiece that continues to support the economic and social value of the society’s infrastructure.
Brunel's SS Great Britain
A museum ship and a former passenger steamship, Brunel’s SS Great Britain was the longest ship and 1st ocean liner in the world between 1845-54 and was way advanced for her time. Made for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between New York and Bristol, the ship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Popular as Bristol’s top tourist attraction, this iconic steamship was endearingly restored to her original glory from rust and wreckage of 1970 and takes you back in time to explore true experiences from the elite class to the cramped steerage, with each cabin, kitchen, dining room and doctor’s clinic emitting authentic smells and sounds, giving you the real look and feel aboard this magnificent ship.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Located in South West England, the Bristol Zoo Gardens was established to upkeep and protect the biodiversity by breeding endangered species, boosting a wider understanding of the natural habitat and conserving the rare species and their dwelling. The Bristol Zoo offers an exciting and adventurous journey through 12 acres of beautiful landscapes with over 400 exotic species of endangered animals from across the globe. Some of the most popular animals at the zoo.
With over 9 covered animal houses, the zoo offers a wonderful 180-degree view of the Gorilla House, with an interesting introduction to the reptiles in the Reptile House after sunset. Some other favorites worth a Hello are the Asiatic Lions, Meerkat Lookout, the Seal & Penguin Coast, Bug World, Monkey Jungle and the Aquarium. There’s Splash, a water play area that is made with streams and dams.
Formerly known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy & Undivided Trinity, The Bristol Cathedral was founded in 1140 and blessed in 1148. Situated on College Green, the Bristol Cathedral has a zenith skyline and tall Gothic Windows, with the Eastern side being a hall church, where the aisles are of the same height as the Choir, sharing the Lierne vaults. The cathedral also includes several memorials and a historic organ. A beautiful and ancient cathedral that’s withstood the tests of time for over a 1000 years, Abbey Gatehouse and the Chapter House are clearly visible along with other ancient remains with the Bristol Cathedral School. The Cathedral is open for visitors all through the year from 8 am to 6 pm through the week and 7.20 am to 5 pm over the weekend.
Built as a monument in honor of the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage to North America in 1497 and in lieu of the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, the Cabot Tower was constructed in the 1890s and is a grade II listed building. With a late Gothic restoration, the Cabot Tower offers an incredible panoramic view of the city of Bristol with its 105ft red brick tower and steep twisting stairs.
Spanning 70 acres, the Bristol Harbor has been around since the 13th century, but was developed into its present form in the early 19th century with the installation of lock gates on River Avon’s tidal stretch in the city center to provide a tidal-bypass. Popular as the floating harbor, the Bristol Harbor was initially the original port for Bristol, but owing to ships and their freight increasing in size, it’s been replaced by Portbury & Docksat Avonmouth largely, located 11 km downstream.
The Bristol Harbor serves as a tourist sport now with galleries, museums, exhibitions, nightclubs and bars, with warehouses replaced by or converted into cultural sites. Ancient boats are a permanent feature and moored in the harbor, including the Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the historic ships of the M Shed Museum as well.
St Mary Redcliffe Church
A Gothic marvel and an Anglican Parish Church located in Bristol’s Redcliffe district, St. Mary’s Redcliffe Church is just a short walk from the Bristol Temple Meads Station and was constructed in between the 12th & 15th centuries. Considered a place for Christian reverence for over 900 years, St. Mary Redcliffe is home to an evolving and wide-ranging audience. Renowned for its medieval architecture, the church stands tall like a calm refuge in the chaotic city center. The oldest part of the building goes back to 1185, even though most of its choir, transepts and nave were constructed in the 14th century by highly talented yet unaccounted for, stonemasons. The Church’s floor plan forms the conventional cruciform shape that symbolizes the cross used for crucifixion.
The placement of this building is significant to the mercantile repute and historic maritime of the city of Bristol, with the medieval Portwall standing to the north of the Church and the Quayside/Harbor to the west, in addition to the red colored sandstone cliffs.
A Victorian Gothic House that has been revived and an Estate close to Wraxall, in North Somerset, Tyntesfield is a grade I listed building named after the Tynte Baronets who were owners of estates in the area since the 15th century. Acquired by the National Trust in 2002, Tyntesfield was opened to visitors for the first time nearly 10 weeks after its purchase, with more rooms being restored to add to the tours. What is now the Tyntesfield Estate, was in 1700 advanced by an elm tree boulevard. The trees were planted after they were donated in Sir Charles Harbord’s will in 1678 to the public of Wraxall in the honor of two village boys who had interned with him.
Built of two kinds of Bath Stone, the house is wonderfully picturesque, with an elaborate roof and brimming with steeples, with most of its interiors styled with Gothic Designs. Some other significant features of the house include Hart, Son, Peard & Co.'s ironworks, Collier and Plucknett's Mosaic and Powell & Woolridge's Glass.
Blaise Castle Estate
A Folly built in 1766, the Blaise Castle near Hensbury, Bristol sits within the estate which also includes the Blaise Castle House, a grade II listed mansion since the 18th century. Spanning 400 acres of parkland, the Blaise Castle House Museum and Estate is home to a social history collection filled with ancient everyday objects, kitchen & laundry equipment, Victorian baths and toilets, period costumes, model trains, toys and dolls. The folly castle is open on some Sundays in summer by volunteers, where you can enjoy some beautiful views of the area from the roof of the castle. You can also explore the woodlands and landscape or relax at the café, while the kids have their share of fun at the adventure playground.
One of the oldest parks in the city of Bristol, Brandon Hill offers gorgeous views over the city and harborside locales and is situated in the West End, just off Park Street. Featuring a children’s playground, a natural conservation area, beautiful pathways and the Cabot Tower, an icon of the city’s skyline, Brandon Hill is close to the city center between Hotwells and Clifton and was named after the Chapel of St. Brendan and was the site for several battles, leaving behind the ruins of Water Fort, overlooking the river. It is a known fact, that Brandon Hill hosted over 30,000 people who came to witness the launch of the SS Great Britain in 1843. It also has one of the best ensembles of trees in Bristol with nearly 500 trees on the hill, spanning 100 different varieties.