Founded, approximately, in early 11th century, Bristol is a city (and county) in South-West England with a rich history rooted in exploration, trade and industry.
Early in its history Bristol served as a launching pad for early expeditions to the New World. Sailing out of Bristol in 1497, John Cabot – a Venetian navigator became the first European to reach the North American continent since the Vikings did it in the 10th century. One of Bristol’s popular landmarks – the Cabot Tower is named in honor of the explorer.
Featuring many tourist attractions and a lush landscape, Bristol is one of the most popular travel destinations in the UK. In fact, Bristol was selected as one of the top-10 cities in the world by Dorling Kindersley – an international travel publishing company. More recently, in 2015, Bristol won the EU’s European Green Capital Award .
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One distinctive city attraction is the Clifton Suspension Bridge which opened in 1864 and spans River Avon and the Avon Gorge. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is often considered a symbol of Bristol, appearing on postcards and other promotional materials.
To travelers who have worked up an appetite while exploring the city and visiting its landmarks, Bristol offers a vibrant selection of cuisine. Owing to the cities diverse culture, visitors can find culinary selections ranging from authentic Thai food to traditional British “fish and chips”.
Because Bristol prides itself on being a “Green” city, diners have access to fresh, locally sourced produce which they can sample in local farm-to-table restaurants.
The city also makes available many family-friendly activities to those traveling with children. One such attraction is the Bristol Zoo.
A Victorian walled zoo, opened by the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society, in 1836, the Bristol Zoo happens to be the fifth oldest zoo in the world and features many exotic animals such as red pandas and penguins (shown below).
Art lovers visiting Bristol will also find available many attractions to suit their tastes. Whether it’s screening an independent film at the Waterside Cinema or strolling the exhibitions at Arnolfini – one of Europe’s leading galleries for contemporary arts – there is plenty of culture to take in.
An interesting Bristol tidbit, and something that street art aficionados would be happy to learn, is that Bristol is the home of Banksy and has some of the best street art in England.
Worthy of mention is that in a vibrant city such as Bristol, the bustle does not stop at sundown. Travelers interested in keeping the fun going, can enjoy the city’s Bohemian nightlife scene, featuring beer gardens with scenic views, as well as bars and nightclubs that attract top international DJs.
In concluding our brief introduction to the city of Bristol, we’d like to point out that travelers to England who limit themselves to only visiting London and its surroundings are likely missing out, when they forego a visit to a city such as Bristol. In addition to its landmarks and attractions, Bristol offers its visitors a chance to experience English culture in an authentic setting – something that may be difficult to accomplish amongst the “tourist traps” of a megapolis such as London.