Our complete travel guide to the all too cool Bristol

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, England. A crowd moving among the lit up hot air balloons and fireworks in the night sky.

So many cool and artistic Londoners eventually find themselves living in Bristol. Just about everyone you come across here, from the hipsters in Stokes Croft to the posher residents of Clifton, are oozing with cool. They’re street artists, sustainable chefs, cocktail gurus, and lovers of music and alternative fashion. These guys are bursting with all kinds of creativity.

And they’re making Bristol into one of the best cities to visit for art, culture and food. It’s even said that Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road make up the largest strip of independent retailers in Europe. Unlike London, the chain stores don’t have such deep roots – local communities thrive here. Basically, what you do find here, you certainly won’t find anywhere else in the world. So, get yourself to the burgeoning Bristol already and hang with all the cool kids!

The Must-Sees

First off, if you ask any Bristolian what one thing you just have to see when visiting, they will all certainly mention the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. They love it. They’re so proud of it. And it really is a gem of a landmark. Take an easy stroll up to it, stopping in at the famous Coronation Tap for a half pint of super strong, locally made apple cider and take in the wild views. Head back into town to explore all the best bits of the city centre right after. General streets that have lots to see and do would be Gloucester Road, North Street, Old Market Street and Park Street. Clifton Village is also the perfect hub of shopping, eating and drinking.

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Just wander around the laneways and get lost in the City’s rich history and culture

Dining Out

The food loving travellers out there will be spoilt for choice here. You could easily spend 48-hours in Bristol, hopping in and out of quirky little restaurants and bars. You must head to the eco warriors at Poco Tapas Bar to try some of the best sustainable tapas dishes and cocktails. And Fridays should be spent at some of Bristol’s local breweries which open up to the public for the night – this makes for a super special evening out. Our favourites are Wiper & True, Left Handed Giant, Moor and Fierce & Noble.

Find the best burgers at both Smoke & Glaze and Pipe & Slippers. They’re both so good we can’t decide which we prefer! You’ll just have to try them both and then tell us. Brunch must be consumed at Baker’s and Co while the restaurant at the Clifton Lido is a stunner too. Beeses, Dela, Wokyko, The Old Butchers and Pasta Ripeina are also worth mentioning for general deliciousness. Seriously, there are so many banging options for dining out around Bristol, you’ll struggle to pick just a handful. Go with your gut (literally) when choosing where to go.

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Poco Tapas Bar is one of our favourite local dining institutions in Bristol

And you can’t visit Bristol without exploring some of their markets. On Sundays, the Tobacco Factory Market rules the area with all sorts of local food stalls popping up, spitting out all manners of delicious smoke and steam into the air. But St Nicholas’s Market, The Harbourside Market and Temple Quay Market are all bursting with locally made goods and produce too. There are plenty of souvenirs to be bought here and plenty more gifts from you to you to purchase too.

Art & Music

Nelson Street and Dean Lane Skatepark should be next on the list to find all the best graffiti before immersing yourself in the brilliantly creative community space at Hamilton House. You’ll find even more great art at Arnolfini Gallery and Spike Island. Check their sites for what’s going on when you’re there.

Music lovers should look no further than Thelka, Louisiana, The Exchange and The Fleece for great gigs most nights of the week. Rub shoulders with locals at each of these spots. While lovers of architecture and history should explore the Ashton Court Mansion and Bristol Cathedral. There’s definitely a little bit of everything in Bristol.

Lead Image by Rod Edwards (Visit Britain)