With friendly people, a music scene that punches well above its weight, and a vibrant arts scene to boot, Bristol has always maintained an unrivaled eclectic charm. Whether you’re looking for Bristol’s best brunch, or a fresh pint of scrumpy, we’ve rounded up our favourite city spots in our guide to 48 hours in Bristol.
4pm: Refresh and recharge with some cider
Bristol is famous for many things, but arguably none more so than cider. And what better way to refresh and recharge after some travelling? The most well-known cider bars are towards the city centre. The Apple Cider Boat is probably the most popular cider spot in the city. With two decks to choose from, and around 40 ciders on offer, this bar is a must-visit for cider lovers in Bristol.
5.30pm: Dinner in the Old City
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Bristol’s medieval centre, all just a few steps from The Apple. For steaks and burgers, it doesn’t get much better than Chomp on St Nicholas Street. Kathmandu on Colston Street is another Bristolian favourite, serving Nepalese curries and Indian tandooris. Or for something a little more upmarket, try the Ox on Corn Street.
7.30pm: Enjoy a bit of theatre
Bristol is brimming with culture, and what’s more entertaining than a bit of theatre? The city centre is home to the Bristol Hippodrome where you’re likely to find stand-up comedy and musical favourites. Also situated in the centre of the city is the Old Vic – Britain’s oldest working theatre – showcasing some of the most cutting-edge theatre in the country. Further afield you’ll find the Redgrave, the Tobacco Factory Theatres, as well as the more intimate Wardrobe and Little Black Box theatres.
10am: Wake up at Spicer+Cole
Saturday morning means coffee, and in Bristol there’s no shortage of excellent coffee shops. Spicer+Cole has three independent coffee shops in the city – one at Queen’s Square, with its own coffee roastery, one at Clifton Village, and another on Gloucester Road. All three serve delicious coffee, loose leaf teas and fresh, locally sourced food. The perfect way to set yourself up for the day!
11am: Tour the city
It’s time to really see what Bristol has to offer, and you won’t be stuck for things to do. As the UK’s first ‘cycling city’ Bristol is a playground for those on two wheels. You can hire bikes using the YoBike rental scheme, or for sightseeing, food and wine tours, try Cycle the City. Or why not take a tour of the waterways on which the city was built? Bristol Ferry Boats operate a waterbus service all year round, whilst Bristol Packet Boats provide guided tours around the harbour and into the Avon Gorge.
If you’re more comfortable on two feet, don’t worry! Why not take in the city’s awe-inspiring street art, seen in the likes of Stoke’s Croft and Nelson Street?
3pm: Head harbourside
Mid to late afternoon is the perfect time to head down to the harbour to experience the Bristol buzz. Here, you’ll find the best museums, galleries, bars and restaurants around. The Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts is an internationally renowned arts destination, whilst We The Curious is an interactive science centre with a focus on fun education – a must see for kids, and grown-ups who love science.
6pm: Explore alternative Bristol
Stoke’s Croft isn’t just known for its street art. Along with Gloucester Road, the area to the north of the city centre is known for its abundance of local, independent shops, restaurants and cafes. Try Poco for some Spanish tapas, or 51 Stokes Croft for delicious, wood-fired pizza. If you’re a bit of a beer head, try Crofters Right, which has around 16 lines of craft beer.
10pm: Experience the sound of Bristol
Bristol is renowned for its eclectic music scene, and on a Saturday night, you won’t have to go far to find it. Head to The Old Duke in the old city for world famous live jazz. Nearby, the Canteen is a bar and restaurant which showcases up and coming artists. Between the areas of Stoke’s Croft and St Paul’s lies Cosies, a Bristol institution showcasing the best of underground Bristol in its basement bar. Then there’s Motion, which plays host to legendary DJs and club nights, mostly known for its drum & bass.
However, don’t worry if you can take or leave the music. Perhaps a cocktail is on the cards. Cocktail bars are easily found in Bristol thanks to the likes of the Milk Thistle, Flipside Cocktails and Hyde & Co.
10am: Breakfast in Montpelier
Montpelier was named one of the UK’s ‘hippest’ neighbourhoods thanks to its age-old bohemian reputation. But for us, it’s all about the breakfast at the Bristolian. Here you can cure your sore head with a classic Bristolian fry-up, complete with crispy fried potatoes and spinach.
12pm: Sunday stroll in Clifton
Clifton is known for being one of Bristol’s more affluent suburbs, perfect for a Sunday stroll. For a truly relaxing experience, head to the Clifton Lido. Hidden in an unassuming street, the tranquil spot includes an outdoor pool and spa complete with a beautiful restaurant. Pool access for non-members costs £20, but we think it’s worth every penny!
Would a trip to Bristol really be complete without crossing the true icon of the city, the Clifton Suspension Bridge? This feat of Victorian engineering will take your breath away. Take in the views across the River Avon before heading to the Clifton Observatory, an 18th century windmill on the east-side of the bridge.
So, whether you’re in town with friends, your other half or the kids, our guide to 48 hours in Bristol will make sure your time and money is well spent. At our new hotel in Bristol, you’ll have everything you need in one location, with a pub, restaurant, and Starbucks, and state-of-the-art gym with fitness classes and swimming pool in Filton, Bristol. Not to mention our super comfortable rooms, with flat screen TVs, a Tassimo coffee machine, and free WiFi throughout the hotel. Plus, with excellent links to the M4 and M5, as well as local train links to the centre of town, our Bristol hotel is perfectly placed for your stay.