Is Bristol worth visiting? Top 10 reasons to visit fun-filled Bristol!

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Is Bristol worth visiting? Top 10 reasons to visit fun-filled Bristol!

Full disclosure: Bristol is one of my all-time favourite UK cities! It’s one of those rare and fabulous places that combines everything that you love about city breaks. It has a fascinating history, thriving art and foodie scenes and a beautiful harbour that gives it an extra dash of charm. So, is Bristol worth visiting? Here are my top 10 reasons to visit fun-filled Bristol!

Check out hotels in Bristol for an epic weekender!

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1) The awesome Foodie scene!

When people have asked me in the past: “Is Bristol worth visiting?”, the first thing I think about is food! 😂 Bristol is a foodie paradise no matter what your dietary requirements are. It’s well worth the visit for food experiences alone!

There’s every kind of global cuisine you can think of in Bristol so you’re completely spoiled for choice. It’s also renowned for being super vegan and vegetarian friendly too!

If you’d like to discover more of Bristol’s amazing food scene, you can go on a food tour of Bristol with a local food expert. You’ll discover some of the city’s best-known independents and best-kept secrets!

But if you’d rather go with the flow whilst visiting Bristol, here are some of my top eatery recommendations:

  • Oowee Vegan – serves American style vegan junk food like burgers, wraps, loaded fries, fried ‘chicken’ strips and cauliflower buffalo wings. Plus, a selection of irresistible non-dairy milkshakes!
  • Pastan – if you’re a pasta fan, you’ll LOVE Pastan! This fully vegan pasta house serves all your favourites (including vegan carbonara!) made from the finest plant-based ingredients. They also have a wicked dessert menu which includes, Biscoff-filled donuts so make sure to leave room!
  • Pieminister – Bristol-born Pieminister is hugely popular with vegans and veggies alike as they have such a wide-range of plant-based dishes including the Mooless Moo, a jackfruit ‘steak’ and ale pie and a mushroom, tomato, red wine and thyme pie.  
  • Cafe Kino – a lovely vegan cafe that serves all day breakfast, BLT’s, homemade bean burgers, soups, salads, speciality sandwiches and sweet treats.

Book tickets for a Food Tour of Bristol (with local food expert).

Juicy vegan burger up close with lots of garnish and vegan cheese sauce

2) The fascinating history

Steeped in centuries of maritime heritage, Bristol is loaded with stories waiting to be discovered!

From its role as a bustling transatlantic port to its status as a thriving hub of industry during the Industrial Revolution, Bristol’s past is etched into its streets, architecture, and cultural institutions.

Visitors can explore iconic landmarks such as the awesome Clifton Suspension Bridge, delve into the city’s maritime legacy at the SS Great Britain, or wander through the cobbled streets of Bristol’s Old City, where medieval history blends seamlessly with modern-day charm.

Whether you’re uncovering tales of exploration and adventure or confronting challenging aspects of its past, Bristol offers a fascinating journey through time that promises endless discoveries for travellers seeking to connect with its diverse heritage.

You can also get to know Bristol a little better by going on a walking tour. You’ll be guided through the main attractions such as its Clifton Suspension Bridge, Royal York Crescent, Victoria Square, Corn Exchange and the Christmas Steps.

Book tickets for the Bristol Guided Walking Tour (Suspension Bridge Clifton Splendour & City).

I also recommend the Bristol Ghost Tour to discover the darker side of Bristol’s history!

Clifton Bridge in Bristol with colourful hot air balloons in the background

3) Beautiful harbour and waterfront

Bristol has its roots in maritime history with a trading port being located here since 1051! By the 14th century Bristol was trading with Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Ships also left for the “New World” here – how cool is that?!

Bristol’s Harbourside is no longer home to sailors and merchants. Instead it’s now a thriving social scene with tonnes of restaurants, trendy bars and hotels which makes it the ideal place to hang out!

It’s so picturesque, you could very well spend an entire day just here at Bristol Harbour!

If you’d like to find out more about the harbour’s history and see its most significant sights, I highly recommend going on a Guided Walking Tour of Bristol Old City and Harbour.

You can also explore Brunel’s SS Great Britain (the world’s first great ocean liner), At-Bristol Science Centre and M Shed – a brilliant exhibition on the history of Bristol.

Book tickets for the Guided Walking Tour of Bristol Old City and Harbour.

Bristol Harbour with candy coloured houses in the background and a yellow and blue boat sailing in the foreground

4) cool street art

I am a huge fan of street art and find myself seeking it out wherever I travel to! If you’re the same – you’ll LOVE Bristol’s endless streets of graffiti art. It has a thriving creative industry and reputation for being a hub for artists.

You certainly feel that creative vibe from the minute you land in Bristol. Every corner has its own story to tell and you really get to know the city through the artists’ expression.

Some of the top European graffiti artists have left their mark in Bristol, including famed street artist Banksy. Bristol is actually the elusive Banksy’s hometown and his art can be found all over the city. 

I managed to see two of Banksy’s pieces during my day trip on a walking tour of Bristol. These included the controversial, “Well Hung Lover” on Frogmore Street and the “Paint Pot Angel” in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

The “Well Hung Lover” is my favourite as it’s very tongue in cheek, being sprayed onto the side of a sexual health clinic!

The mural depicts a naked man hanging from a window ledge as another suited man looks out trying to find him. Meanwhile his wife, (dressed in underwear!) holds his shoulder, worrying that her affair will be uncovered!

But it wasn’t the nature of the artwork that caused controversy funnily enough! “The Well Hung Lover” appeared at a time when Bristol Council was cracking down on graffiti.

Following pressure to keep the mural, the council created an online poll and 97% of the respondents were in support of keeping the mural. This led to retrospective permission being granted – the first legal street art mural in the UK!

Book tickets for the Walking Tour of Bristol (including Banksy art stops).

Banksy's, "Well Hung Lover" mural in Bristol

5) The cool museums

Bristol is a captivating blend of history, culture and creativity, making it a great destination for museum and art gallery lovers.

Dive into Bristol’s maritime heritage at the iconic SS Great Britain, marvel at contemporary masterpieces at the Arnolfini, or explore the vibrant street art scene in the creative hub of Stokes Croft.

With institutions like the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery showcasing eclectic collections ranging from ancient civilisations to modern art, there’s something to ignite curiosity and inspire wonder in every corner of the city! Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, or simply seeking inspiration, Bristol promises an unforgettable culture experience!

Book tickets to Bristol’s SS Great Britain Experience.

SS Great Britain is a museum ship and former passenger steamship in Bristol harbour

6) Awesome Nightlife

Bristol has a reputation for having one of the best night’s out in the UK! From buzzing bars and cozy pubs to dynamic clubs and underground music venues, Bristol offers something for every nocturnal adventurer.

The city’s renowned music scene sets the stage for unforgettable nights, with live performances spanning genres from jazz and blues to rock, electronic, and everything in between.

Trendy harbourside bars offer stunning views and a lively atmosphere, while hidden speakeasies and rooftop terraces provide intimate settings for sipping craft cocktails under the stars.

With hundreds of bars, pubs and night clubs that would give Ibiza a run for its money – you’re sure to have the time of your life in Bristol!

Book a hotel in Bristol for an epic weekender!

DJ with a crowd in front of them in a nightclub with red strobe lights behind

7) Vintage shopping

Bristol is a treasure trove for bargain hunters and vintage lovers alike. Even if you’re not in the market for vintage items, it’s so much fun just having a look around. Every item you come across is rare and/ or unique – it’s hard not to want to buy everything!

A particular point of interest for vintage lovers is Bristol’s Clifton Arcade. Opened in 1878, it’s home to rows of awesome quirky art and vintage shops.

It’s a really unique shopping experience! Not just because of the treasures you can find, but for a chance to wander around this wonderfully preserved historic building.

With an elegant Victorian staircase and Venetian inspired decor, this gorgeous little shopping arcade is one of the coolest and loveliest things to see in Bristol!

Clifton Arcade, a victorian arcade with rows of vintage shops both sides and high bright ceilings

8) Loads of colourful Festivals!

One of the many reasons that people love to visit Bristol is its vibrant festivals! Bristol hosts dozens of city-wide festivals every year ranging from food and culture to art and music.

From the world-famous Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, where colourful hot air balloons fill the sky in a breathtaking spectacle, to the diverse sounds of the Bristol Harbour Festival, which transforms the historic harbourside into a bustling waterfront celebration, there’s no shortage of excitement to be found!

You can also immerse yourself in the eclectic beats of the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival, savour the culinary delights of the Foodies Festival, explore the cutting-edge arts scene at the Bristol Biennial and enjoy one of the largest Pride festivals in the UK!

Book a hotel in Bristol for an epic weekender!

Pride letter balloons with a crowd of people with rainbow flags

9) green spaces and epic view points

Nestled amidst rolling hills and picturesque countryside, Bristol offers plenty of opportunities to escape the urban bustle and connect with nature.

Explore scenic parks such as Brandon Hill and Ashton Court Estate, or embark on a leisurely stroll along the scenic River Avon.

Brandon Hill is a personal favourite of mine as its home to Cabot Tower which boasts one of the best (and free!) views in Bristol. The 105 foot tower was built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of famed explorer, John Cabot’s voyage from Bristol to Newfoundland.

There’s even a reconstruction of the ship in the harbour in Bristol’s city centre, that you MUST check out!

Cabot Tower, a Victorian brick tower in the middle of a green park filled with flowers

10) The diversity and inclusivity

Bristol prides itself on being an inclusive and diverse city, welcoming people from all walks of life, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and beliefs.

With a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant community spirit, Bristol celebrates diversity and strives to create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and included.

The city is home to a wide range of organisations, initiatives, and events dedicated to promoting equality, social justice, and acceptance, including LGBTQ+ pride festivals, multicultural celebrations, and community outreach programs.

Bristol also boasts one of the largest and most significant Pride events in the UK, drawing thousands of attendees each year to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture, diversity, and equality.

The festival typically features a diverse lineup of events, including a colourful parade, live performances, dance parties, community gatherings, and educational workshops, all aimed at promoting inclusivity, acceptance, and pride.

Bristol’s Pride festival reflects the city’s progressive and welcoming ethos, making it a standout event on the UK’s Pride calendar.

God I love Bristol! ❤️🌈

So what are you waiting for? Check out hotels in Bristol for an epic weekender!

Girl kissing another smiling girl on the cheek both wearing rainbow tops celebrating pride

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So, is Bristol worth visiting? Hell YEAH! I hope you have a great time in Bristol! 😉

Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links to some tours and hotels I recommend. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

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