Bristol or Brizzle, as it is affectionately known by the locals is the capital of the West Country and has undergone a meteoric transformation over the past ten years. Now no longer overshadowed by neighbouring Bath; Bristol has established itself as a gastronomic, cultural and activity filled powerhouse. Bristol is teeming with incredible restaurants, stunning bars and boasts a diverse and vibrant nightlife scene to rival anywhere else in the UK. Not to mention sights such as the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, Pero’s bridge and of course Banksy’s artwork dotted throughout the city.
Getting to Bristol
Bristol is a very well connected city. For international travellers Cardiff International Airport is one hour to the west. Domestically, Bristol Temple Meads train station runs regular inter-city and regional train services from Bath, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, London, Plymouth, Southampton and York. The fastest train service from London will get you to Bristol in one hour and ten minutes; there are also budget train options operated by Megatrain. By road, the M4 and M5 cross above Bristol with the M32 leading in to Bristol. Travel time from London by car is about two hours and National Express run Marlborough St. Coach Station to many cities throughout the UK. For a budget option, Megabus operates a service from London Victoria to Bristol and fares can be purchased for as low as £1.50 if you book far enough in advance!
What’s on and when to go?
Bristol runs a very full calendar all year round but July and August have some incredible offerings. The two biggest events are the St. Pauls Carnival, which attracts around 90,000 people, celebrates African and Caribbean culture and is an incredible spectacle. The carnival, which has been running since 1967, is an amazing mix of colour, music and food guaranteed to delight your senses. The Bristol Harbour festival is one of the UK’s largest public events attracting over 250,000 people. The festival showcases Bristol’s cultural and musical roots. Tall ships are on display but the main focus of the festival is the entertainment provided by circus acts, musicians and street theatre.
There are no shortages of activities to keep you busy and entertained. Bristol seems to have purposely positioned itself to cater for groups and there is something to suit all tastes and interests.
SUP Bristol is a company that runs stand up paddleboarding on Bristol harbourside. They run taster sessions for individuals to introduce you to paddleboarding and also run group events that they will tailor to your specific group. Bailey Balloons and Bristol Balloons run hot air balloon excursions over the area; both companies offer group and corporate packages.
The Adventurous Activity group provide a massive range of options. From canoeing and kayaking to abseiling and climbing. They offer team building days and their very popular Bristol Urban Adventure Challenge. All packages can be adapted and tailored to specific needs and abilities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for activities that are available and if you prefer something more sedate, then Bristol has some incredible spas if you would rather be pampered than paraglide. Or if shopping is your thing then treat yourself on Gloucester road, one of the UK’s last remaining truly independent high streets.
Bristol takes its evening entertainment seriously! From Michelin starred dining at Casamia to ten pin bowling at 50s themed The Lanes; an evening of theatre at the innovative Tobacco Factory to the many bars on the Harbourside area, which includes the Apple, a floating cider bar. Bristol rightly enjoys a growing reputation for good food and great bars to rival any city. For the party crowd, Bristol has a huge number of nightclubs that cater for many different tastes. For something unique there is the Thekla a permanently moored boat that is a real fixture in Bristol’s clubbing scene.