Banksy: notorious graffiti artist and Bristol’s most famous creation. This English city is famed for the world-class street art that adorns the back alleys, underpasses and pretty much any accessible areas of Bristol. Street artist Banksy lifted this reputation to new heights when he shot to fame, defying capture by police, bedaubing the city with his bold, controversial murals. Banksy is now famous across the world, and visitors flock from all four corners of the globe to admire these priceless pieces of graffiti by the true master of street art. Maps and walking tours are available to ensure you don’t miss anything in the outdoor gallery that is Bristol’s streets.
A must-visit for culture lovers, this creativity and media-centre houses three cultural cinemas, a media studio, events spaces, and a café-bar. The hot hang-out of Bristol’s young, hipster population, this striking building is located inside various former warehouses on Bristol’s harbour side, one of the best settings in the city. The refurbished transit sheds provide a stylish and modern backdrop to the incredible range of films here at the Watershed, with everything from world-famous blockbusters and award-winning documentaries to niche art-house films and the up-and-coming stars of foreign cinema. The complex plays host to many film festivals, such as Encounters Film Festival, Wildscreen, and Afrika Eye, where it promotes the unknown masters and tomorrow’s stars of modern film.
The Watershed, Waterfront Bristol, City of Bristol, BS1 5TX, +44 117 927 6444
The SS Great Britain, one of Brunel‘s world-famous creations, is one of the most important historic ships in the world. In its time it was the most powerful and pioneering ever constructed. Discover the ship’s fascinating history, and how it was rescued from ruin and brought back to its home in the Bristol docks. Hear real stories, amusing anecdotes, and day-to-day gossip from the accounts of the ship’s passengers. Afterwards, visitors can opt to harness up and be led by one of the ship’s expert climbing instructors up to the top of the rigging for a breathtaking view of Bristol’s harbour and a true crow’s nest experience. The whole complex has been designated a site of outstanding national importance by Arts Council England.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5.30pm
This colourful and diverse city is famed for being a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, and there’s no better way to experience the best and brightest of Bristol than in its outstanding array of street food. Weekly markets are lunch-time hot-spots where locals rush to in order to experience some of the best ethnic cooking in the UK. Middle Eastern mezes, dainty English cakes, piquant Indian curries, melt-in-your mouth Jamaican jerk chicken: Bristol’s food scene truly has all to offer. Come and discover the rising stars of the UK’s food scene at the permanent St Nicholas Market or the pop-up Wine Street, Bristol Eats, The Tobacco Factory, and Temple Quay Markets.
Ancient mummies, exhibits of regional wildlife and natural history, and outstanding collections of art in Bristol’s celebrated art gallery. Exhibitions from world-famous painters, artists, and sculptors have decorated the walls of the historic building throughout the years. Archaeology, geology, anthropology, biology, and artistic excellence all rub shoulders in the three floors and 19 galleries of this fascinating museum, which truly does offer something for everyone. The beautiful Edwardian building almost rivals the art it contains in terms of beauty.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-6pm
This museum is a true celebration of Bristol life. Come and explore the places and people that have earned this English city its fame. The museum is home to exhibits on the city’s history, from its pre-historic beginnings right up to modern day, with fascinating ancient artefacts and wonderfully quirky present day stories and anecdotes that make visitors truly feel a part of Bristol life. Some of the best art and photography to have come out of the city are displayed here and the exhibit on the local Aardman Studios, animators of Wallace and Gromit, is particularly interesting. The museum also owns an historic steam train and visitors are able to enjoy jaunts along the harbour side.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-6pm
M Shed Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol, City of Bristol BS1 4RN, +44 0117 352 6600
Bristol’s harbour side is a buzzing hive of activity hosting markets, festivals, and street performers. The area itself is a wonderful location to sit and soak up the best of Bristol’s artistic atmosphere in a picturesque waterside setting. For those seeking to get even closer to those sun-dappled waves, why not embark on one of Bristol’s famous boat trips? Bristol’s ferry boats are a quick and cheap way to commute across the river to explore the opposite banks of the city, or for a more extensive excursion the Bristol Packet Boat Trip Company offers river tours and harbour cruises with award winning commentary about Bristol’s history.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm
Bristol’s shopping is famous across the UK. Shopaholics will find themselves in heaven wandering along the streets of this superb city. The newly built Cabot Circus is a huge, stylish and modern complex which houses all the high-street favourites as well as a vast array of designer stores. Given Bristol’s young and trendy student population, the vintage shopping in the city is some of the best in the UK. Make a beeline for Bristol’s Park Street, Gloucester Road, or one of the city’s vintage fashion warehouses to grab the best bargains. For those simply seeking to ogle at exquisite artisan wares during a day of window shopping, the boutiques and jewellers of Bristol’s St James’ Arcade are an unmissable stop.
By Marianna Hunt
Marianna is a languages student and travel blogger with an eye for the unusual, a heart for exploration, a stomach for food adventures, and a penchant for a pun. Visit her blog, A Hunt Around Russia, or follow her on Instagram to discover more.