Destinations / City Breaks / Bristol
Bristol has a strategic location in southwestern England, built around the river Avon, with a short coastline on the Severn estuary flowing into the Bristol channel. Naturally, the city has a huge seafaring history and all things nautical are celebrated around the harbourside and Great Western Dockyard. In fact, Bristol is often referred to as the city of boats, bridges, balloons and Brunel.
The marvellous Clifton suspension bridge is an iconic symbol of the city (designed by Brunel) and the world's first great ocean liner, SS Great Britain, was also the brainchild of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The historic harbour area comes alive in wonderful Pirate walks with shivery tales of piracy, slavery and discovery and there are haunted and hidden Bristol tours of ghostly buildings which are interesting and good fun for all the family. In terms of architecture, Bristol Byzantine is unique to the city, but there is great variety and a stunning example of Gothic style in St. Mary Redcliffe Church (one of the finest in all England); Red Lodge Elizabethan house with its walled garden; Tudor mansions of wealthy merchants, Almshouses and public houses. Visit Llandoger Trow in the heart of the city and enjoy a local beer in an atmospheric setting.
Other landmarks in the city include Bristol Cathedral and Cabot Tower or admire "The Matthew", a replica of John Cabot's ship that discovered Newfoundland in 1497. History and gorgeous buildings aside, Bristol is actually a world class shopping mecca with three amazing shopping centres and tons of trendy boutiques, smart stores and intimate backstreet shops. As you wander round, keep an eagle eye posted for some very clever and often politically incorrect grafitti as the famous anti-establishment artist, Banksy, is let loose on the city.
A very culturally aware city, Bristol has a vibrant arts life and the Royal West of England Academy of Arts (the city's first art gallery) shows a lovely collection of paintings from 19th century to the present day. The Old Vic Theatre, Bristol Hippodrome and Jongleurs Comedy Club will keep you well occupied in the evenings and, together with a vast selection of superb restaurants and bars. boredom is never an option. Hot air ballooning is a big pastime in the city too and the International Balloon Fiesta is held here annually. All told, Bristol is a fabulous venue for a few days break.
There is so much more to the city than you first imagine and the beauty is just exploring and discovering hidden gems at every turn.
Aer Lingus operates direct flights to Bristol and we offer a number of hotel options in the city.