Bristol City Centre & Old City
The City Centre and Old City of Bristol are the heart of the city and offer a superb taste of culture, food, history and fantastic shopping opportunities. A trip to Bristol would not be complete without a visit to its central area.
There's a lot crammed into one space including Central Bristol and the Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol Shopping Quarter, Bristol's Old City and Bristol Old Vic, Park Street and College Green and Christmas Steps Arts Quarter. Making this an area to explore to its fullest on your visit.
Bristol Shopping Quarter
Bristol's shopping quarter has over 500 stores, more than 50 cafes and restaurants, great cinemas and entertainment. The amazing range of shops - from the world famous Harvey Nichols and a flagship House of Fraser to one of the largest Primarks in the country - means that whatever you're looking for, you're sure to find it in the centre of Bristol. From mid-November until late-December, Bristol Shopping Quarter is also home to popular German-themed and local Christmas markets.
The Old City
A veritable rabbit warren of diverse businesses and projects piled into a small, charming space. The streets of the Old City including Broad Street, Corn Street, St Nicholas Market, King Street, Welsh Back and Queen Square remain much the same today as they were hundreds of years ago and are dotted with cobbled streets, secret alleys and interesting architecture. A wander through the Old City will be overflowing with character.
As the name might suggest, this area contains some of the oldest buildings in the city and is described as the medieval heart. Take a heritage walk around the area to discover what remains of Norman Bristol and the city wall remain, then find a spot at one of the many independent and quirky coffee shops in the area for watching the world go by. Or take a break in Georgian Queen Square which is leafy, peaceful and perfect for picnics. It also hosts a number of events throughout the warmer months, not least the Bristol Harbour Festival in July and Eat, Drink, Bristol Fashion in May.
You can eat and drink at some of the best restaurants and bars in the city in this area, including restaurants aboard boats such as The Glassboat and Three Brothers Burger, secret speakeasies, jazz pubs, a cacophony of street food stalls and world-famous pies.
This area is home to some of the most diverse shopping in bristol too. So take the time to browse the stalls of the covered St Nicholas Market, and the old Corn Exchange where you will find anything from jewellery, records and crystals to games to hats and instruments. Also don't miss the original 'nails' on Corn Street where the English expression 'paying on the nail' is thought to have originated.
Or stroll towards the ancient, steep and winding seven streets of Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, which have been frequented by visitors since the 1600s and come complete with its own small theatre, a museum, pubs, restaurants and eclectic shops, including Bristol Cider Shop, the city's only specialist cider and perry store.
For more information on the Old City of Bristol visit the Old City website.
Park Street and College Green
Park Street is a beautiful Georgian street flanked by excellent independent and boutique shopping, restaurants, cafes and funky bars. Stroll up the hill, stopping for a coffee, lunch or a new pair of shoes on the way and be rewarded with stunning vistas and gorgeous architecture to marvel at. The road is overlooked by the Wills Memorial Building, home to the University of Bristol. Next door is the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
Near the top of Park Street is Brandon Hill, the oldest park in Bristol featuring landscaped paths and Cabot Tower; free to enter and climb and offering views across the city to Wales in the north and the Mendip Hills to the south.
On nearby Great George Street is St George's Bristol, one of Britain's leading concert halls, and The Georgian House Museum, an 18th-century six-storey townhouse, restored to its original glory. Nearby is the Red Lodge Museum, tucked away behind Park Street on Park Row, featuring an Elizabethan 'Knot' garden dating back to 1580.
Take a stroll back down the hill to the bottom of Park Street to see Banksy's famous Well Hung Lover on the side of a building opposite City Hall and College Green. On the other side of College Green is the magnificent Bristol Cathedral.
There are also a number of LGBT bars and clubs in the area including the Queenshilling, The Pineapple, Bent and OMG, all offering popular music nights and a vibrant atmosphere.
Theatres and Concert Venues
The Bristol Hippodrome is located slap-bang in the middle of it all and is extremely popular. It hosts huge West End shows, opera, ballet and comedy. Big bands, live music, stand-up comedy and more can be enjoyed at nearby Colston Hall, Bristol's largest concert venue. Based on the cobbled King Street in the Old City is the Bristol Old Vic. The home of theatre in the city since 1766 and described by actor Daniel Day-Lewis as "a sublimely beautiful theatre." It is the oldest continuously working theatre in England and remains at the forefront of the Bristol arts scene, staging world-class productions and performances.
The centre of the city is also incredibly easy to get to, with the M32 leading to its doorstep and plenty of parking, including Cabot Circus. Temple Meads, the city's main rail station, arrives right into the heart of the city.
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- Green Awards Green Tourism Business Scheme (Silver) 2012
Luxurious and historic hotel by Bristol’s waterfront, offering excellent leisure facilities and a fantastic restaurant offering locally sourced produce from the South West.
Traditional, Victorian hotel located in the Old City area of central Bristol, with 182 rooms and suites.
Walter’s Bar & Grill where ‘first class’ continues with a twist on tradition.
City centre hotel featuring great dining and views of the river
The Health & Leisure Club is a relaxed, friendly club in the city centre.
Elegant hotel dedicated to the arts, located in a square just off Park Street in the Clifton area
With 42 luxury bedrooms, some with spectacular views over St Nicholas Market and Bristol Crown Court, you will feel instantly relaxed as you settle into your surroundings.
A great family hotel in the centre of Bristol which has a large number of rooms which have with two double beds, suitable for families. The hotel also has an indoor pool and restaurant.
The Square Kitchen is open for breakfast, lunch & dinner plus delicious Sunday Roasts accompanied by Bristol's best jazz musicians.
Critically-acclaimed bistro restaurant, serving fine European cuisine
Housed over four floors in one of the finest historic buildings in the city, The Milk Thistle incorporates a cocktail bar, lounge & private function rooms.
Following on from the success of The Jetty restaurants in Christchurch, Dorset and Salcombe, Devon and most recently Brighton and Guildford, The Jetty restaurant in Bristol offers a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere, alongside fantastic menus.
Britain's oldest working theatre showcases some of the most cutting-edge theatre in the country.
Museum and art gallery exhibiting some outstanding collections of art, archaeology, Egyptology and natural history in a magnificent building
Enjoy concerts and entertainment by major pop, rock, classical, leftfield and stand up comedy artists in this magnificent concert hall
Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.
Located in the heart of Quakers Friars at Cabot Circus, Raymond Blanc's Brasserie brings to Bristol elegantly executed French cooking with friendly service in a relaxed environment.
Luxury Georgian townhouse suites, offering all the services and luxuries associated with staying in a hotel, whilst also providing guests with the privacy of a serviced apartment.
The Ox is a bastion of simple, top notch, British fayre. Situated in the heart of the Old City, you’ll find a menu packed with the choicest cuts of prime steak and tasty, meaty morsels.
Join The Tea Set at Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol; an elegant yet relaxed spot to indulge in quality time with good friends old and new.