I’d always heard good things about Bristol but never visited. Last week we put that right.
With 48 hours to explore, we set out armed with the official visitor guide from Tourist Information and my trusty Fuji cameras.
There are various ways you can do the tourist thing, including the usual open top bus tour and boat trips on the river, but we like to walk and our first port of call, if you’ll pardon the pun was the harbourside district.
It’s a fascinating mix of old and new, of leisure and business, but it works because they have managed to retain the character and charm of the area. It’s here where you will find Brunel’s SS Great Britain – probably Bristol’s biggest visitor attraction.
Many of the old harbour buildings have been converted now. Some are modern museums or offices, others are restaurants and bars. At night there is an added vibrancy to the area which makes it a fascinating place to explore.
Move away from the harbour, towards the central area of Bristol and you are reminded of the City’s affluent past. Magnificent buildings greet you at every turn. City Hall and the imposing Bristol Cathedral alongside College Green are two examples but there is so much more of architectural interest.
Another very noticeable building which can be seen standing proud above the City is Cabot Tower, atop Brandon Hill. It’s a nice walk through a park area up the hill to the tower which you can ascend via a narrow, stone staircase for views across the City.
From the Tower we made our way to another of Bristol’s ‘must see’ sights – the Clifton Suspension Bridge. You can walk across the bridge and also view this engineering marvel from various observation points.
Bristol is also where the artist Banksy hails from and you can see examples of his work around the city. Street art is a bit of a thing here . You can even go on street art tours but we will have to save that for another time.
Bristol also has a diverse range of shops, from small independent traders in charming markets to the large chain stores.
Our time in Bristol was short but enjoyable. The only slight negative impression was the number of homeless people sleeping rough and begging during the day. Sad to say that this seems to be a feature of most large cities these days. It doesn’t feel right.