Bristol’s contribution to the arts and UK culture in general is huge, with many famous and influential people hailing from the city – from big names in music like Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack, to giants of comedy such as John Cleese and Lee Evans. And some stellar film actors too – including Jeremy irons and the definitive Hollywood leading man: Cary Grant.
So it may be a surprise to many that Bristol is only England’s sixth-largest city, with a population of just under 450,000. This is a place that punches above its weight in lots of areas – if you’re in Bristol it’s impossible not to be impressed by the city’s arts and foodie scenes as well as its nightlife – which offers a choice between cutting-edge club culture, sophisticated bars and traditional English pubs.
If you’re looking for a UK city that’s full of character and bursting with spirit, Bristol is the ideal choice. With its universities and large student population there’s a youthful, modern and vibrant feel here – as well as a strong sense of history.
Take some time to have a look around the SS Great Britain – the steamship Brunel designed to cater for growing transatlantic travel in the 1840s. Once the world’s longest passenger ship, the SS Great Britain is still a wonder of British engineering and today is anchored in the city’s Great Western Dockyard, where it is now a fascinating – and award-winning – tourist attraction.
Brunel’s Bristol links don’t stop with the SS Great Britain, of course – and the Clifton Suspension Bridge is easily one of Bristol’s most iconic structures as well as one of Brunel’s most pioneering achievements in design.
While Bristol has plenty of history to offer visitors, it’s also strikingly modern in its outlook.
And no visit to Bristol would be complete without a little bit of Banksy spotting. And what better way to do so than on a walking tour? Combine the enjoyment of seeing a Banksy artwork in real life with the pleasure of Bristol’s architecture on The Banksy and Historic Harbour Walking Tour.
John Betjeman – the Poet Laureate perhaps now always known for being complimentary about UK towns - was very direct in his appreciation of Bristol, describing it as the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England. And who are we to disagree?