This forward-thinking West Country city strides ahead with secret-garden-like restaurants, harbourside hotels with sustainability handbooks and zero-waste shops selling local Clifton coffee.
With one foot in the past, thanks to its Georgian architecture, and the other firmly in the future, with its cutting-edge creative scene, bohemian Bristol has always marched to its own beat. What’s more, this West Country city is one of ethics and individuality, having been named European Green Capital in 2015 and awarded Gold Sustainable Food City status in 2021, as communities worked together to create a better food system. Add independent shops, cafe culture, characterful pubs and imaginative galleries, and you might find a weekend is not quite enough.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Bristol’s very own secret-garden restaurant, the Ethicurean sits in a glasshouse surrounded by veggie fields and walled gardens. The building itself feels as organic as the food, with bunches of herbs hanging from white brick walls, crooked beams and a wood-burning stove. Multi-course set menus showcase local produce, such as hand-dived scallops and grass-fed heritage meat.
Housed in a brutalist building overlooking the harbour, this is a chic option in the centre of town. The Arnolfini gallery is practically next door and it’s just over the water from the Watershed arts centre. In the lobby, you’ll find a handbook detailing everything the hotel is doing to become more sustainable, from installing lifts that run on their own kinetic energy to hosting a Green Festival, with pop-up stalls and games.
Bristol is a hotbed of urban growing spaces inspired by permaculture, and Windmill Hill City Farm is a case in point. This 4.5-acre (1.8ha) site in Bedminster is home to chickens, sheep and goats, and they also have guinea pigs and rabbits if you fancy a cuddle. The vegetable gardens supply the light, airy cafe, which serves only home-reared meat when it is available.
A stylish take on an American motel from the Soho House group, Mollie’s is located on Cribbs Causeway, just outside Bristol, and is therefore the ideal pit stop on a West Country road trip. Soho House is implementing an impressive sustainability plan, including screening all its suppliers to check they’re following inclusive, environmentally responsible practices.
A centre for scientific research and an inspiring morning out for anyone who wants to know more about the world around them, We The Curious has more than 300 exhibits. In the space of a few hours you can be wowed by the UK’s first 3D planetarium, walk through a tornado, meet robots and create your own animations.
Friends Lidia and Stacey founded Bristol’s first zero-waste shop in 2018 and it continues to be a favourite with the city’s sustainably minded types. From rice to reusable razors, everything is plastic-free and ethically sourced. There are also plenty of products from local producers: look out for brews from Clifton Coffee Roasters and vegan, family-run FabFudge.
This Scandi-style bakery in trendy St Pauls does a mean line in modern viennoiserie (sweet baked goods) and bread made from stone-ground British flour. They consider the whole system of making bread from field to table, and work closely with millers and farmers to make sure it’s as sustainable as possible. Don’t miss their laminated spice buns, a local institution.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.