The city of Bristol is made up of a series of districts and areas, each with its own unique character and charm. You'll find plenty of information and ideas of things to see and do in each of the sections below.
Bristol City Centre
The centre of Bristol is best known for it's shopping areas, and is also home to the largest permanent street art exhibition in the UK, as well as many fantastic restaurants and attractions.
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 to the second largest Primark in the country - means that whatever you're looking for, you're sure to find it in the centre of Bristol.
The area is also home to See No Evil, the most ambitious permanent street art project ever to take place in the UK. With this vibrant arts scene filling the heart of the city, you can expect to see plenty of culture as you shop, with vibrant street art and soulful buskers being a big part of the city centre vibe.
The centre of the city is also incredibly easy to get to, with the M32 leading to its doorstep and plenty of parking, and Temple Meads, the city's main rail station, arriving right into the heart of the city.
Beginning with the Clifton Triangle and reaching into the area affectionately known as Clifton Village, this stunning Georgian area is always hugely popular with visitors.
The Clifton Triangle is popular place with daytime shoppers and night-time revellers, with plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs to keep you going into the early hours. It stretches from the top of Park Street to Whiteladies Road, encompassing the likes of the beautiful Cabot Tower, and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the RWA.
Farther away from the city centre, Clifton Village is reputed as being one of the best addresses in the city, and is a must-see area for visitors to the city. It has a great selection of boutique clothing stores, jewellery shops, cosy cafes and classy restaurants. Wander the leafy Georgian crescents or take a stroll across Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge for a breathtaking view of the city.
Gloucester Road is located in North Bristol and runs through St. Andrews, Bishopston and Horfield. It is another popular and thriving suburb of the city with bars, shops and restaurants aplenty.
Shops line the long street, with a large number of independent traders as well as household names, from Beast Clothing to The Real Olive Company and The Carphone Warehouse. A real quirky and bohemian addition to Bristol’s shopping areas.
There is also a great choice of cafés, bars and restaurants for when a rest is needed, whether it's a local Bath Ales brew from the Wellington at one end of the street or a authentic Jamaican curry in Plantation at the other, there is a whole myriad of options inbetween.
Once a busy dock where sailors and merchants would trade goods and set sail for voyages of discovery, Bristol's harbourside remains the buzzing hub of the city.
The harbourside is now an attractive, modern development filled with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. With the long stretch of waterway making for lovely strolls on either side of the harbour, and Millenium Square acting as a fantastic central hub, with it's fountains and big screen, there is plenty to do to keep everyone amused here.
Key attractions to look out for include At-Bristol, the Bristol Aquarium, Brunel's ss Great Britain, M Shed, the Watershed Media Centre, Arnolfini and Spike Island art space. And why not hop on one of the boat tours for a great way to see the harbour from a different perspective, with stops at key points along the waters' edge.
Just a short distance from the busy central shopping area, step into the Old City and you'll find yourself surrounded by the incredible old buildings and relics of the past.
The cobbled streets and winding alleyways of Broad Street, Corn Street, St Nicholas Market, King Street and Welsh Back remain much the same today as they were hundreds of years ago. The beautiful Queen Square has played an important part in the history of Bristol and remains a popular spot for visitors and locals alike.
Don't miss the old Corn Exchance and original 'nails' on Corn Street, or the quirky old Llandoger Trow pub on King Street. Another gem not to be missed is Christmas Steps - an ancient, steep, winding street containing old shops, buildings and novelty stores that are well worth a look and that have been frequented by shoppers since the 1600s.
Also based in the Old City is the Bristol Old Vic. The home of theatre in the city since 1766, it remains at the forefront of the Bristol arts scene, staging world-class productions and performances under the watchful eye of its talented and renowned creative team.
With a host of fantastic places to eat, and a great nightlife scene too, this ever-popular area of Bristol is one to ensure you explore to the fullest when you visit Bristol.
The Old Market area was once a thriving market, on what was for centuries the main road to London. Now it is home to some of Bristol's most historic buildings, and you can see architecture from all periods nestled side-by-side.
The area is steeped in history and contains over 60 listed buildings, a real testament to its historic past. Old Market still bears witness to some ancient customs such as its Pie Poudre Court, which wasn’t formally abolished until 1971. The court was situated in the still open Stag and Hounds pub and dealt out summary justice to market-day offenders.
Old Market is a chest of shopping treasures, and is beginning to build itself up as another independent and bohemian area of the city. Home to an array of independent traders from furniture makers, vintage fashion and antique shops to art galleries and cafes.
Recently the area achieved the Purple Flag award for its safe and diverse nightlife so whether you want cabaret, live music, world food or a quiet traditional pub, you can find it in the Old Market Quarter. Old Market is also home to Trinity Centre which is recognised as the birthplace of the 'Bristol Sound' and still hosts live music and club nights today.
As well as the city centre area, Old Market is known for its friendly LGBT community and shops. Popular bars include The Lounge, Bristol Bear Bar, The Palace and The Retreat. The area is particularly popular amongst male party-goers.
For lots more information about Old Market visit www.oldmarketquarter.co.uk
South of the city, you'll find Southville, Bedminster and Totterdown - lively areas popular with local Bristolians and city dwellers.
From Temple Meads station, you can see the famous multi-coloured houses lining the hills of Totterdown. There are plenty of friendly pubs and cafes throughout the area, and Victoria Park offers incredible views over the city and the south suburbs of Bristol.
Southville and Bedminster are popular spots to enjoy a relaxing drink and some great food. North Street is the centre of most of the activity. Here you will find the Tobacco Factory, which hosts great theatre and touring productions and offers a lively bar and cafe for visitors. Don't miss the weekly farmers' market in the yard at the back of the building.
Head to Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust and step into a secret world to discover 45 green acres, where the history of Bristol is told in a leafy and tranquil setting. Then step across the world to visit the famous Original Bristol Blue Glass Ltd, where you can view the glassblowers at work, blow your own bauble and take home a piece of Bristol's finest craft.
Between the city centre and Gloucester Road lies Stokes Croft, referred to by many as Bristol’s cultural quarter.
Stokes Croft attracts visitors from all over the country with its unusual shops, great pubs, real clubs, fabulous food and a wealth of artist studios and ever-changing exhibitions.
In fact the whole area resembles an outdoor gallery with colourful graffiti that continually transforms its walls and buildings. You might see some great artwork today – but by the time you want to show it to your friends tomorrow it has miraculously vanished or changed into a completely new picture. Keep your eyes open for some of Banksy’s best known pieces, your ears open for live music streaming onto the streets, and your taste buds prepared for some exciting culinary experiences.
And as for the shopping, you might find yourself heading home with a new piano, on the back of a new bike, a picture frame around your neck, whilst carefully balancing some locally produced bone china, and munching organically grown radishes.
For more information about Stokes Croft check out their own website www.visitstokescroft.co.uk which was set up be local traders and businesses.
One of Bristol's best-kept secrets, East Bristol is the gateway to gorgeous countryside, wildlife and walks.
East Bristol acts as the jump-off point from the city into the countryside, mixing different landscapes from park to water to woodland, bursting with wildlife and scenic views and generally being one of the best-kept secrets about the city. Bristol has more green spaces than any other city in the UK and East Bristol is a perfect example of this.
There is the Grade II-listed heritage park at Stoke Park, the walks up and down the River Avon, around Oldbury Court Estate and Feeder Canal, amongst others. There is St George Park with its thousands upon thousands of trees. There is history, spanning medieval times through to the First World War right through to the birth of Modern India. There's the oldest bridge in Bristol too. It's a diverse area where you can find walks, cycles, picnic opportunities, history, heritage and wildlife, from cormorants to deer. Here's an article giving you the Ten Things You Never Knew About East Bristol
St Mark's Road
Less than a 30 minute walk from Bristol city-centre is Mark's Road, Easton. A small but thriving street with a community feel.
St Marks Road is a small but thriving street in Easton, Bristol. Popular with locals, you’ll find award-winning restaurants, quirky independent shops and cafes and a thriving community feel. Restaurants include the award winning Café Maitreya, and the ever popular Thali Café, with its outside seating. There's also some wonderful independent shopping to be had, especially with the very successful Bristol Sweet Mart and East Bristol Bakery located in the area.
Conveniently served by rail (there's a station on Henrietta Street, adjoining St Marks Rd), and with free on-street parking, it's easy to get to and enjoy.
Home to one of the biggest and best street parties in Europe, St Pauls is one of Bristol’s most vibrant, creative and colourful areas of Bristol.
With a strong sense of community, St Pauls has always been a beacon for attracting new migrant communities. In the 1950’s the West Indians brought reggae, rum and carnival and more recently Eastern European, Spanish and Somali communities have enriched this cultural melting pot. This means that St Pauls has a wealth of independent shops that sell food, drink, fashion and music from around the world.
Otherwise every year on the first Saturday in July, St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival bursts into full Technicolor life with one of Europe’s largest celebrations of Caribbean culture, cuisine and costumes. Expect to be dazzled by a street procession then work up a sweat whilst dancing to a pulsating soundtrack of Reggae, Dub and Soca. Indulge in delicious sunshine dishes such as Jerk or Bar BQ chicken with exotic salads and succulent rice & peas, all lovingly washed down with a thirst quenching Rum Punch.