The vibrant jewel of the west.
Bristol is one of England’s warmest cities, both literally and figuratively. It has an annual average temperature of 12°C and nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. It also has a warm feeling: people with gentle rural accents, plenty of pubs and masses to do for the visitor. Lying 170km west of London, it is home to nearly half-a-million people, 40,000 of whom are students. The Harbour side area centres on Bristol’s famous “floating harbour”; take a sightseeing boat-trip or go on a Pirate Walk to soak up some of the city’s seafaring heritage. The Old City bristles with hidden alleys and cobbled streets. Discover the multicultural east end; it has a unique bohemian feel, with plenty of organic food and international cuisine. Your retail therapy can take a wide range of forms, from the chic Cabot Circus shopping centre, a farmers’ market and a slow food market.
Bristol has a delightful range of different environments to offer. Enjoy a stroll around the Harbour, soak up some history in the Old City and take a bracing hike across the Clifton Downs parkland area. The gentle hill-country of the Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty, is within easy reach.
When to go?
Temperatures in Bristol drop to 3°C in winter and rise to 23°C in summer. Annual highlights include Mayfest, a festival of contemporary theatre; the St Paul’s African Caribbean Carnival in July and the Harbour Festival, in July/August. For one day in September each year, Bristol’s historic buildings open their doors for you to visit free! There are no fewer than three film festivals a year, in January, October and November.
How to get there?
Bristol International Airport (BRS) is 8km southwest of the city; 40 minutes on the “Flyer” bus and you’re in the city centre. It is a Low Cost Carrier Terminal and handles flights from all over the UK and from many European cities; there is also a service to New York. Bristol can also be easily reached by train, car or bus.
Join a guided tour of Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol’s most famous landmark. Within the city, take a walk on the Clifton Downs where you’ll find an Observatory, a Camera Obscura and a cave leading to an observation point built into the 90m cliff! The SS Great Britain launched in 1843, was the world’s first iron-hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam-powered passenger liner and you can explore it in a dry dock next to the Harbour. Enjoy “At-Bristol”, with over 300 hands-on exhibits, seeking to bring science to life. The World Heritage Site at nearby Bath is well worth a visit.
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