The real Bristol

Categories Traveller's Stories

Maybe you’ve paid a feeting visit. You may well have taken a wander around the shops at Cabot Circus
and gawped at the Clifton Suspension Bridge. But have you ever properly ‘done’ Bristol? It’s quite possible you haven’t. It’s said that if you really want to get under the skin of the city, approach it like a local. From backstreet cofee shops to the best time to arrive at Bristol Zoo to avoid the queues, insider tips are invaluable. Visit Bristol’s blog is a hive of information such as this, and many people have joined in using the hashtag #ProperBristol on social media. Read on for a round-up of Bristol’s lesser-known and unique attractions.The real Bristol (1)

  • Inspirational art scene

    Bristol is the birthplace of Banksy – street artist extraordinaire. As such, the city is now a hotbed of young artistic talent. Take to the streets for a guided walking tour of the latest works with Where Te Wall Street Art Tours – it’s an experience you’ll get nowhere else. And don’t miss the return of Upfest in July, Europe’s largest street art festival.

    See Banksy’s The Mild Mild West artwork on a walking tour
    See Banksy’s The Mild Mild West artwork on a walking tour

    Te city’s more traditional galleries are creating waves too, with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery hosting Hogarth and Hockney shows this year, while Te Royal West of England Academy hosts its 163rd Open Exhibition. Bristol is home to the world-renowned Aardman Animations, and its streets will soon be lined with 60 giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep.

    Take a stroll harbourside and uncover attractions such as At-Bristol Science Centre
    Take a stroll harbourside and uncover attractions such as At-Bristol Science Centre

    Created by artists, celebrities and designers, these incarnations of the lovable sheep will be available to see dotted around the city before being auctioned for charity. Shaun in the City 2015 runs from 6 July–31 August 2015. And don’t neglect Bristol’s thriving music scene. Catch something diferent every night of the week, from current chart acts to folk and roots performers, as well as experimental, classical and dance music. Venues include Colston Hall, St George’s, Te Louisiana, Tekla and Te Canteen among many others.

  • Eccentric and unconventional

    Awarded the title of European Green Capital for 2015, the city is on a mission to demonstrate how to create a healthier, happier and more sustainable urban environment. As part of this, Bristol’s annual International Balloon Fiesta will feature its frst ever solar-powered hot air balloon, currently being developed in the city.

    The Bristol Harbour Festival – one of the city’s many cultural event
    The Bristol Harbour Festival – one of the city’s many cultural event

    Catch this colourful extravaganza of the skies from 6–9 August. Looking for somewhere a little diferent to stay? Book a Rooftop Rocket at Brooks Guesthouse – a collection of well-appointed retro aluminium caravans sitting atop this contemporary boutique accommodation in the heart of the old city. And when you’re looking for a drink or a bite to eat, try one of Bristol’s ‘secret’ bars or an underground steak house, or a local ale or cider on a boat.

  • Just for fun

    If your ethos is ‘live to eat’, rather than ‘eat to live’, you’ll love Bristol Food Connections – a festival celebrating west country fayre. From 1–9 May, festivalgoers can experience the sights, sounds and smells of good food at markets, cookery classes and demos, and a huge food trail.

    Take to the skies in August with the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
    Take to the skies in August with the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

    Stroll along the city’s harbourside and enjoy excellent bars and restaurants as well as attractions including Brunel’s SS Great Britain, At-Bristol Science Centre and Bristol Aquarium. Tere’s even a working boatyard to explore before you drop into arts venue the Watershed to catch an independent flm.