Last Updated: 3/2/23 | March 2nd, 2023
While most travelers who visit England only visit London, there are actually a lot of other gems in the country worth exploring.
One such place is Bristol.
“Bristol? There’s not much there.”
That was the standard reply from locals whenever I mentioned I was heading to Bristol.
Needless to say, I had low expectations. But I visited anyway. After all, there’s no such thing as “must-see” — and that means there’s no such thing as “must skip” either.
On arrival, I found a hip college town with amazing eateries, wonderful things to see, and plenty of green space.
Bristol is like the English version of Seattle. Most travelers seem to use it as a base for trips to Bath but never fully explore this city, giving it only a brief glance before heading back to London.
This is a mistake.
With a population of around 500,000, Bristol is the largest city in southern England (after London) and is also one of the largest shipping ports in England. It received a royal charter in 1155 and, until the rise of Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester during the Industrial Revolution, was one of England’s largest cities.
Bristol suffered extensive bombing during World War II and a subsequent decline in its manufacturing industry. Today, the city is a vibrant college town. The University of Bristol dominates the city, and the students provide a lot of income and jobs for the community.
To help you make the most out of your visit, here’s a list of my favorite things to see and do in Bristol:
1. Bristol Cathedral
This beautiful cathedral was consecrated in 1148 and was built in the Romanesque style (and has a similar design to Notre Dame in Paris). Originally named St. Augustine’s Abbey, the cathedral stretches over 300 feet and while much of it has been rebuilt, some of the original building remains.
College Green, West End, +44 117 926 4879, bristol-cathedral.co.uk. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm and 11:30am-3pm on Sundays. Dress respectfully as this is a place of worship. Admission is free. Tours are available on most Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:30am and 2:15pm for 5 GBP.
2. Wander King Street
Originally laid out in 1650, King Street is a fascinating, historical part of Bristol. It used to be where the old sailing barges docked after their journeys from South Wales. Now the area is the heart of the theatrical district and features outstanding bars and restaurants. There are even some pubs from the…
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