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Bristol is a wonderful city in the south west of England. I visited for the first time in March 2022 and stayed for 4 weeks. In my short time there I definitely crammed a lot in, however there’s still plenty more for me to cover – any excuse to go back I guess! There are so many things to do in and around Bristol, but here is my Bristol bucket list of attractions you don’t want to miss when visiting Bristol.
- 1 BRISTOL BUCKET LIST: 15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRISTOL IN 2022
- 1.1 1. Admire the Clifton Suspension Bridge
- 1.2 2. Enjoy the Attractions of the Clifton Observatory
- 1.3 3. Visit the Largest Independent Shopping Street in Europe
- 1.4 4. Start the Weekend off Right at Whiteladies Road Farmers Market
- 1.5 5. Dip Your Big Toe in at Bristol Lido
- 1.6 6. Chase the Sunset on The Downs
- 1.7 7. ‘Say no to sh!t wine’ at KASK
- 1.8 8. Deer Spotting at Ashton Court
- 1.9 9. Enjoy a Whole Lot of Good Coffee
- 1.10 10. Tour Bristol Harbour
- 1.11 11. Embark on a Street Art Tour
- 1.12 12. Visit Bristol’s Oldest Park – Brandon Hill
- 1.13 13. Marvel at the Bristol Cathedral
- 1.14 14. Grab a Bite at the UK’s Most Iconic Kebab Van
- 1.15 15. Wander Around the Pretty Streets
- 1.16 16. Go on a Day Trip from Bristol
- 1.17 Enjoyed reading Bristol Bucket List?
BRISTOL BUCKET LIST: 15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRISTOL IN 2022
1. Admire the Clifton Suspension Bridge
The most iconic Bristol attraction has to be the Clifton Suspension Bridge, so it had to come first on my Bristol bucket list. When visiting Bristol, the only thing I knew about the city was that is had a suspension bridge, so of course I headed there on my first day. And it didn’t disappoint. The bridge was originally designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, however the construction was halted due to the Bristol riots. An adaption of Brunel’s design was completed in 1864 after his death. The Clifton Suspension Bridge has been a toll bridge since its opening. It costs 1 whole pound to drive across.
Of course a must is to walk across the bridge. The bridge takes you across to Leigh Woods, just over the North Somerset border. But the Clifton Suspension Bridge is best enjoyed from above at the Observatory.
2. Enjoy the Attractions of the Clifton Observatory
The Clifton Observatory building is a former mill which dates back to the 1770s. It’s now some to some of the most interesting things to do in Bristol. Unbelievably, you can access a cave from the observatory. A 61m tunnel and 130 steep steps now link the observatory to the Giant’s Cave. You probably didn’t expect caving to be on a list of activities to do in Bristol, right? The cave can even be hired out for events!
The observatory is also home to one of just three working Camera Obscuras in the UK, which dates back to 1826. Visitors can go up to the top of the tower and operate the Camera Obscura to see a 360 degree view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge.
The observatory is without a doubt the best spot to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge from. Why not enjoy a coffee at the same time from the 360 Cafe.
Full access to the observatory’s attractions is £5 for adults.
3. Visit the Largest Independent Shopping Street in Europe
I couldn’t make Bristol bucket list without mentioning the UK’s best independent shopping strip – Gloucester Road. In fact the street is the largest independent shopping street in Europe. Whether you’re looking for food, gifts, plants or homeware, there’s something for everyone on Gloucester Road.
If you’re looking for other places to indulge in some retail therapy, Clifton Village is one of the best places to visit in Bristol. There’s also plenty of indie shops here, selling stuff you really want but really don’t need. The affluence of Clifton also makes for some good charity shopping.
4. Start the Weekend off Right at Whiteladies Road Farmers Market
Every Saturday from 8:30am-1pm there’s a farmers market at the top of Whiteladies Road. This Bristol attraction always gets the weekend off to a good start with a breakfast sandwich, coffee and a pastry from Farro Bakery. There’s plenty of stalls here too, selling handmade gifts, homemade cakes and snacks, and plants.
5. Dip Your Big Toe in at Bristol Lido
Branded an ‘urban retreat’, this historic lido first opened in 1850 but fell into disrepair and was closed in 1990. It was restored and reopened in 2008, and the water is now maintained at 22-25 degrees celsius. You can pre-book a 2 hour slot at Bristol Lido for £20 which includes swim, steam, sauna and hot tub. They also offer a variety of packages including meals and massages. You can book on their website.
6. Chase the Sunset on The Downs
This massive area of parkland is found at the very top of Whiteladies Road. The Bristol Downs are made of of Clifton Down and Durham Down. You don’t want to miss going up here on a sunny evening! Clifton Down extends to the edge of Avon Gorge, the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
7. ‘Say no to sh!t wine’ at KASK
Next on my Bristol bucket list is an independent, natural wine bar which really gives you the chance to feel sophisticated and like you’ve got it together. I’m not going to try and pretend to be anything I’m not here. My idea of good wine is the cheapest bottle of red going at Aldi. However, on my final Friday evening in Bristol I found myself lost on North Street, Bedminster and wound up getting tasters of red wine and a cheese platter at KASK.
Suffice to say the wine was considerably nicer than an Aldi special buy and the cheese and tiny little squares of something-that-tasted-a-bit-like-chutney were delicious. Not only do they have wine on tap, but they host wine tasting sessions too! So I’d highly recommend paying KASK a visit, even if you’re no sommelier – just make sure you book ahead if you’re visiting at the weekend.
8. Deer Spotting at Ashton Court
Just over the Somerset side of the Clifton Suspension Bridge is the mansion house and estate of Ashton Court. This amazing parkland is perfect for a walk on a sunny day, and hopefully you’ll be able to spot some deer roaming around.
Ashton Court is home to Park Run every Saturday morning. The first half of the 5k is entirely up hill and is brutal to say the least, however the second 2.5km allows you to briskly ‘free-wheel’ back down the hill, whilst admiring fantastic views of the Bristol skyline. And you might even get to see some deer along the run, what more could you ask for?
9. Enjoy a Whole Lot of Good Coffee
Some of the best independent coffees shops are without a doubt in Bristol. From Stokes Croft to Whiteladies Road to Clifton, no matter where you are in Bristol there’s a coffee shop waiting for you.
10. Tour Bristol Harbour
The docks are an unmissable part of Bristol. There’s so much to see and do, whether it’s finding a Banksy in the M Shed, getting some food from a container in Whapping Wharf, or checking out Bristol’s #1 attraction – SS Great Britain. Bristol Ferry Boats operate a water-bus service allowing you to see some, or all of the harbour by boat. Check out the timetable and prices on their website.
To get from one side of the other you have to walk all the way around, which I do highly recommend. The coloured houses you can see from across the docks aren’t too be missed! Also try and get yourself down to the docks on a sunny evening, the sunset is wonderful. However if, like me, it’s late Saturday afternoon and you’ve already walked 45,000 steps you might want to hop on the ‘Cross Harbour Ferry’. These operate between Hanover Quay and SS Great Britain. Fully worth the £1.20 let me tell you.
11. Embark on a Street Art Tour
Now of course a Bristol bucket list wouldn’t be complete without seeing some Banksy. After-all, he hailed from the Bristol underground scene back in the 90s. The best way top incorporate as much Banksy into a day as possible, is to follow a Banksy walking tour around Bristol.
Banksy’s ‘Well Hung Lover’ (pictured below) – 1 Unity Street / Frogmore Street, BS1 5HH
But Bristol’s street art scene doesn’t stop at Banksy. Upfest is the largest street art festival in Europe and another great Bristol attraction. The festival runs every summer, giving the public opportunity to watch live street painting. Of course, the art doesn’t just vanish overnight and there are now over 100 murals around Southville and Bedminster for you to check out. Wandering around here on a nice day and searching for all the art is a great thing to do in Bristol. Use this map from Upfest so you know exactly where to look. And don’t forget to look back!
12. Visit Bristol’s Oldest Park – Brandon Hill
Brandon Hill has been a public open space since 1625, making it the oldest park in Bristol, and possibly in the country. The upper area of the park, Brandon Hill Park, not only offers a great view of Bristol city, but is split into gardens and a small 2 hectare nature reserve. You can find a pond, wildflower meadow and butterfly garden here. At the summit of Brandon Hill you’ll find Cabot Tower, which you can climb up for even better views across the city. However, it hasn’t re-opened since the COVID-19 pandemic.
13. Marvel at the Bristol Cathedral
Of course you can’t visit a city without seeing the cathedral. Unless you’re (un)fortunate enough to go to Wolverhampton or Stoke on Trent, where there are no cathedrals, and not much else for that matter. Bristol Cathedral was founded in 1140, but the building as it is now was constructed between 1220-1877. You can admire Bristol Cathedral from outside at College Green or have a look inside for free. The cathedral is open to the public 8-5 Monday to Saturday and 11:30-3:30 on Sundays.
14. Grab a Bite at the UK’s Most Iconic Kebab Van
No Bristol bucket list would be complete without a visit to the this truly iconic Bristol attraction. In fact,Jason Donovan finally ticked it off himself in March 2022. Now I’m sure this is some sort of pubic offence but I’ve never had a kebab, and probably never will. However, I was still starstruck when I obliviously wandered past the van on a Saturday evening. So if you’re stumbling home from a night out in Bristol, take a detour via Queen’s Avenue to experience this true slice of Bristolian culture.
15. Wander Around the Pretty Streets
There are so many nice houses, streets and shops around Bristol that it’s the perfect city for just simply getting lost in. And I’d always recommend walking if you have the time, as opposed to taking public transport. Taking some time to just wander aimlessly around is definitely worth a spot on your Bristol bucket list. And the best thing about this? It doesn’t cost a penny!
16. Go on a Day Trip from Bristol
There are so many things to do near Bristol, and lots of close-by places that are worth heading to for a day trip from Bristol. One of my top recommendations for a Bristol day trip is a day trip to Bath. There’s also some coastal hotspots like Clevedon and Portishead which are easy day trips from Bristol by bus or car. The Welsh capital, Cardiff, is only 40 minutes from Bristol City Centre.
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