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Bristol has become an emerging city in recent years with a focus being on the heritage and culture. It’s now a busy city with plenty going on. The prosperity of Bristol, in south west England, was historically linked with the sea via its bustling port, but in more recent years the original dock in the city centre has been regenerated as a centre of culture and heritage. When you fly to Bristol, a main university city, you’ll find that there are plenty of quirky restaurants and bars on offer to suit all tastes, from bohemian hangouts to ultra- modern lounge bars.
Bristol is the gate way to the South West of England, with stunning scenery to be discovered in counties like Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall and the Cotswolds. Below you’ll find a short overview of what to do and see, all within driving distance from Bristol Airport.
Somerset is the ultimate picture of English countryside with stunning landscapes, hills and fields. From the elegant streets of the cathedral city of Wells to the hippie chic of Glastonbury and the open fields of Exmoor, this is a place to wander, ponder and drink in the sights at your own laid-back pace. The world famous Glastonbury outdoor music festival takes place nearly every year and draws thousands of visitors.
Dorset is mainly known for thatch- roofed cottages, Iron Age remains, tumbledown abbeys and medieval towns. Take a stroll on the promenades of the coastal resorts of Weymouth and Bournemouth and treat yourself to an ice cream! Further down the East you’ll find the crumbling coast line, also known as the Jurassic Coast, where many fossils have been discovered.
The Cotswold’s have many postcard perfect villages with old mansions, cottages and churches full of British charm. You simply won’t find anywhere more English. The Cotswold’s are approximately one hours drive from Bristol Airport.
Other sights in Cornwall to see include:
- The Eden Project, where you’ll find the world’s largest rainforest in captivity inside giant Biomes.
- St Michael’s Mount
- Land’s End – the furthest point south in the UK
- St Ives
- Newquay – the home of surfing in the UK.
Hotels in Bristol
When you’re flying to Bristol from Aberdeen, Munich, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris, Nantes, Dusseldorf or even Hamburg, you’ll find everything from luxurious four star chain hotels to contemporary hostels. With excellent transport links in and around the city, you can find accommodation to suit your own budget.
Located next to Bristol Cathedral, the historic waterfront and Cabot Circus, the Victorian-style Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel offers the ideal base for exploring the city. www.marriott.co.uk
The four-star Stone Easton Park is a Palladian mansion offering luxury and country charm. Set among 36 acres of parkland with the River Norr running through the grounds, it has a Victorian garden providing much of the produce for the award-winning restaurant. www.stoneaston.co.uk
The Holiday Inn Bristol Airport offers the perfect base for those flying in or out of Bristol. Located just three miles from the airport, the hotel offers the ultimate convenience and comfort for both business and leisure travellers alike.
Located in a picturesque position on the quayside of the Floating Harbour, the luxury Bristol Hotel (formerly Jurys Bristol Hotel) is close to Bristol’s Old City, Queen Square, Bristol Cathedral and The Arnolfini contemporary arts centre.
For a full Georgian experience, try the luxurious Best Western Henbury Lodge Hotel country house. This intimate hotel is the perfect base for exploring Bristol and the surrounding areas.
The Cabot Circus Hotel, part of the Future Inn chain, is located in Bristol’s city centre close to the business district and within walking distance of The Bristol Hippodrome, Blue Reef Aquarium and Bristol Zoo Gardens. Offering free parking and wireless internet, the hotel is a perfect choice for business travellers on a budget.
Choose from a range of bmi regional flights to Bristol and plan your trip today!
Places to eat and drink in Bristol
Restaurants in Bristol
Bristol has many award-winning restaurants set in quirky locations such as boats, renovated townhouses and former banks. When visiting the West Country area of the UK, you must try “Afternoon Tea”, typically eaten between 4 and 6PM. Enjoy scones with clothed cream and jam, a selection of cakes, finger sandwiches and off course a pot of tea. Bristol also host fantastic foodie events and markets throughout the year.
Note, many restaurants get extremely busy on Friday and Saturday nights, so we recommend you book a table in advance to avoid disappointment!
Explore Bristol – shopping and sightseeing
The Grade I listed Clifton Suspension Bridge, which spans the picturesque Avon Gorge, is the symbol of the city of Bristol and has attracted visitors from all over the world. Set on the Avon Gorge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Brunel in 1831 has become an iconic landmark in Bristol.
Spot some of Banksy’s work around the streets of Bristol. Banksy, the famous Graffiti artist was born in Bristol, and has worked cropped up mayor cities around the world, however his most famous pieces of art can be found in Bristol. Graffiti Thekla, The Well Hung Lover, the Mild Mild West are just some of the must see works dotted around the city.
Step onboard the SS Great Britain, the award winning attraction, and find out more about the world’s first great ocean liner. Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner, is Bristol’s no.1 attraction on TripAdvisor (2013). The brainchild of famous Bristolian, Isembard Kingdom Brunel, this iconic steam ship is the heart of a multi-award winning visitor attraction. Rescued from rust and wreckage in 1970, and since lovingly restored to her Victorian hey-day, a visit to the ss Great Britain allows you to step back in time and explore true stories from the opulent first-class to the cramped steerage quarters.
If you’re interested in learning a little bit about the history of Bristol, make sure you visit The Red Lodge, which is located close to the busy shopping area of Park Street. Seven rooms over two floors tell the history of the famous Elizabethan house, from its Tudor origins to its role as a Victorian girl’s reform school.
Clifton is the poshest postcode in Bristol, with a wealth of street side cafes and designer shops, and a village atmosphere that’s far removed from the rest of the city. Chill out on the Clifton Downs on a sunny day with a pick-nick, and enjoy the stunning view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
If you’ve come all the way to Bristol without your favourite shirt, or if you just fancy something new then Cabot Circus Shopping Centre is where you need to be. Part of Bristol’s newly branded Shopping Quarter, Cabot Circus boasts over 120 stores including some of the UK’s most coveted brands from Harvey Nichols to Apple. As well as a great shopping scene, the centre is home to over 30 cafés and restaurants, exclusive ‘Director’s Hall’ auditoriums and hosts frequent events and activities throughout the year.
Take a day trip to Bath, with its grand Georgian terraces, the magnificent Royal Crescent and one of the world’s finest Roman spas. The whole city has been named a World Heritage Site by Unesco, and it’s blessed with a wealth of architectural wonders. It’s only 13 miles away. It’s easily accessible by car, bus or train. The famous Roman Baths were built around the only hot spring in Britain by the Romans. This stunning temple and bathing centre is the only place in Britain where you can bathe in naturally warm mineral water and provides a truly relaxing experience. www.thermaebathspa.com
Other things to see when in Bath include the Royal Crescent which is a well known landmark that contains 30 houses, one of which is now the Royal Crescent hotel. Nearby in Wiltshire, you can also visit Stonehenge and see close up features of the prehistoric monument – see www.stonehenge.co.uk
In August each year Bristol plays host to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Europe’s biggest Hot Air Balloon event. The event attracts over 100 hot air balloons from all over the world with 500,000 members of the public attending the festivities over four days.
From the airport
Bristol International Flyer buses operate between 2.30am and 11.45pm and travel regularly to Bristol city centre and the Bristol Temple Meads railway station, taking 30 minutes and costing around £5.
Taxis are available outside the terminal: remember to go into the taxi office first to book your cab.