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Balloon fiesta|© nicksarebi/Flickr
Balloon fiesta|© nicksarebi/Flickr

10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Bristol This Year

Picture of Colette Earley
Updated: 26 April 2017

Bristol is known for its vibrant culture and its exciting attractions. Here, we provide you with 10 reasons why you need to visit the South West city this year. 

The culture

There are so many different areas to visit in Bristol, each with its very own vibe. You have Stokes Croft, filled with cool vintage stores, independent cafes perfect for a spot of brunch, lively bars and street art. Then there’s Clifton, an extremely quaint area of the city with an abundance of concept stores, brasseries and home to the famous Suspension Bridge. Not to mention the upcoming North St area in Bedminster, home to the famous Upfest art festival. You’ll truly love exploring all of the different locations and discovering something new in each.

Art spaces

With a city bursting with as much creativity as Bristol, it’s no wonder the city is filled with art galleries and spaces that are open the the public. From contemporary galleries like the Arnolfini to classic museums like the M Shed on the harbourside, there’s plenty for art lovers to see and do here. Want to catch an independent film? Head to the Watershed, an independent cinema on the waterfront which is guaranteed to be showing the latest indie flick.

The Balloon Fiesta

One of the biggest and most anticipated events of the year in Bristol is the annual Balloon Fiesta – this is actually Europe’s biggest meeting of hot air balloons, with over 150 coming together from across the globe! Taking place over four days in beautiful Ashton Court Estate, this really is a sight not to be missed. If you don’t want to attend the actual lift offs, merely being in Bristol over the four days guarantees a sighting.


As well as being known for its daytime attractions, Bristol is equally known for its exciting nightlife. With every kind of bar, from speakeasies to dive bars, and clubs offering much-anticipated nights in pretty much every type of music you could imagine (drum and bass, house, hip hop… the list goes on), a fun-filled night out is pretty much a sure-thing when you visit Bristol.


Bristol is in no shortage of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. Good food is literally everywhere. Be sure not to miss St Nick’s Market, filled with stalls offering cuisine from all over the world.


It’s a given that the birthplace of Banksy would house some of his most-famous and original work. Keep your eyes peeled for his distinctive graffiti art as you walk around the city, like the classic ‘Well Hung Lover’ located on bustling Park St. If this isn’t a reason to visit the city, we don’t know what is.

The harbourside

It’s practically a tradition among the locals: the sun comes out, you head to the harbourside. Grab a drink and sit and watch the boats outside the Arnolfini, or take a stroll past the M Shed and stop in the many pubs along the way for a quick tipple. This really is a beautiful area to explore, whatever the weather.


Bristol houses some of the best coffee shops you’ll ever visit. Whichever area you choose to head to, you’re guaranteed to find an independent cafe such as Little Victories, Small St Espresso and Full Court Press, to name a few, each boasting amazing bean blends and a quirky atmosphere that encapsulates everything about the city.

St Paul’s Carnival

If you haven’t heard of Bristol’s renowned St Paul’s Carnival, where have you been hiding? The carnival started in 1968 and celebrates Afrikan Caribbean communities in the UK through music, dance, performances and food, people travel from far and wide to the St Paul’s area, near to Stokes Croft, to enjoy the festival.


Shopaholics, this is one for you. Fancy your pick of the high street stores? Then Cabot Circus is the one for you. This is a relatively new complex, housing over 90 different shops including Monki, Topshop, Mango, Urban Outfitters and House of Fraser to name a few. Prefer independent and concept stores? Head to Park St where you’ll find Carhartt WIP, Cooshti, Fifty Fifty, Reiss and many others. Or for chic boutiques, you can venture further up to Clifton. The possibilities are endless!