Bristol, a vibrant and historic city in southwest England, is known for its rich maritime history, lively arts scene, and a plethora of exciting activities for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a nature lover, or an art enthusiast, Bristol has something special to offer. In this guide, we’ll explore the 14 best things to do in Bristol, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this dynamic city.

1. Clifton Suspension Bridge

One of Bristol’s most iconic landmarks, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, spans the Avon Gorge. The views from this historic bridge are breathtaking, making it a must-visit spot for photographers and sightseers alike.

2. Bristol Harbour

Bristol’s historic harbor is a bustling area filled with waterfront restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions. Explore the M Shed museum to learn about the city’s industrial history or take a leisurely boat ride to see the city from a unique perspective.

3. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

For art and history enthusiasts, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is a treasure trove of exhibits showcasing everything from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art. It’s a great place to delve into Bristol’s past and cultural diversity.

4. Bristol Zoo Gardens

A fun-filled day for families and animal lovers, Bristol Zoo Gardens is home to a wide variety of exotic animals. It’s a fantastic place to learn about conservation efforts and get up close to some incredible creatures.

5. SS Great Britain

Visit the SS Great Britain, Brunel’s historic ship, which was the first iron-hulled, propeller-driven steamship to cross the Atlantic. Take a step back in time and explore the ship’s interiors, gaining insight into the life of passengers and crew in the 19th century.

6. Bristol Street Art

Bristol is renowned for its vibrant street art scene, and you can explore this outdoor gallery throughout the city. Don’t miss the famous works by street artist Banksy and take a guided tour to discover hidden gems and local artists’ creations.

7. St. Nicholas Market

For foodies and shoppers, St. Nicholas Market is a must-visit destination. You’ll find an array of international cuisine stalls, vintage shops, and local crafts. The market is a hub of cultural diversity and a great place to savor delicious street food.

8. Bristol Balloon Fiesta

If your visit coincides with August, don’t miss the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. This annual event features hundreds of hot air balloons taking to the skies, creating a colorful spectacle that’s truly unforgettable.

9. Blaise Castle Estate

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Blaise Castle Estate, a vast parkland featuring woodlands, walking trails, and a historic castle. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with picturesque views.

10. Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Step aboard the SS Great Britain, a groundbreaking Victorian ship designed by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Explore the ship’s interiors, see how passengers lived during its voyages, and learn about the ship’s history and restoration efforts.

11. Cabot Tower

Climb Cabot Tower in Brandon Hill Park for panoramic views of Bristol. This 105-foot tower offers a fantastic vantage point to capture the city’s skyline and enjoy a peaceful stroll through the park.

12. The Matthew

Experience a taste of Bristol’s maritime history by boarding The Matthew, a replica of the ship John Cabot sailed when he discovered North America. Take a guided tour and learn about Cabot’s voyage and the history of exploration.

13. Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece with stunning Gothic features. Visit this place of worship to admire its intricate stained glass windows, impressive vaulted ceilings, and serene atmosphere.

14. Visit the SS Great Britain

A visit to the SS Great Britain is like stepping back in time to the Victorian era of maritime innovation. This historic ship, designed by the legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the world’s first iron-hulled, propeller-driven steamship. Explore its beautifully restored interiors, including the opulent First-Class Dining Saloon and the atmospheric Steerage area, where passengers in different classes experienced vastly different journeys.

As you explore the ship, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the challenges and luxuries of 19th-century travel. Discover the stories of the people who sailed on the SS Great Britain, from the wealthy passengers in First Class to the emigrants seeking new lives in far-off lands. Don’t forget to visit the Dry Dock, where you can see the ship from below the waterline and appreciate the incredible engineering that made her seaworthy.

Bristol offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to every interest and age group. Whether you’re fascinated by history, art, nature, or simply want to enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere, Bristol has something for everyone. Make sure to include these 14 top-rated attractions in your Bristol itinerary to create unforgettable memories of your visit to this remarkable city.


Bristol’s eclectic mix of history, culture, and natural beauty makes it a captivating destination for travelers from around the world. Whether you’re wandering through the historic streets, taking in the stunning views from the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or exploring the city’s vibrant art scene, there’s always something exciting to do in Bristol. With this list of the 14 best things to do, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your visit to this lively and dynamic city.