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Green Bristol

Bristol has a long association with the 'green' movement and is proud of its status as a Green Capital.

Not only is it the UK's first Cycling City, Bristol is also a Fairtrade City which sees it trading fairly with nearly five million workers in 58 developing countries.

To further boost its green credentials, Bristol is home to the Soil Association and Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity behind the development of the National Cycle Network.

But how can you as a visitor experience Bristol as a green city?

Green activities in Bristol

We The Curious

Step into the future with a Sustainability Tour at family-friendly attraction We The Curious and find out about the future of green buildings by exploring behind the scenes at one of the UK's most advanced low-energy installations. Key to We The Curious's award-winning sustainability is the revolutionary technology that regulates the environment of this iconic building. Join Sustainability Manager Chris Dunford for a special tour that takes in the UK's only phase-change tank which, along with air source heat pumps, thermal wheels, green roofs and photovoltaic array, is part of We The Curious's cutting-edge environmentally friendly design. Learn about the science, sustainability and history of this technology.

BBC Bristol Natural History Unit tours

Take a tour of the BBC’s headquarters in leafy Clifton. It is home to the renowned Natural History Unit, which has been based here since the 1950s. Award-winning productions include recent films on Africa and Frozen Planet. Tours, held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays take just under two hours.

Bristol’s Hydrogen Boat

Hydrogenesis, was built in Bristol and is an 11m steel hydrogen powered ferry that operates on Bristol's historic floating harbour. Commissioned by Bristol City Council in 2010 the boat has been designed and built by Bristol Hydrogen Boats and is a zero emissions fuel cell boat. You can book a river or harbour cruise aboard, as well as educational trips and projects for schools.

This project is unique to Bristol, made possible by a combination of Bristol's tradition of innovation, maritime history and expertise from the aerospace industry. The future aim is to produce Hydrogen locally from renewable energy sources. For further information go to ww.bristolhydrogenboats.co.uk

Bristol Ferry Boats Nature Tours

See Peregrine Falcons flying overhead on a wildlife cruise along the Avon Gorge with Ed Drewitt, naturalist and broadcaster for the BBC, as your commentator. It's the perfect way of spotting wildlife, plants and the world’s fastest bird of prey, the Peregrine Falcon, which breeds in the gorge. Look out too for the feral goats in the gully, sleeping foxes on the riverbank and small wading birds such as Redshanks, Lapwings and Common Sandpipers scurrying across the mud. Enjoy this summer/autumn trip along the gorge with Bristol Ferry Boats.

City Farms

Visit one of Bristol’s four city farms, where you can get involved in the practises of growing plants, rearing animals and sustainable life.

Nature Reserves

Avon Wildlife Trust manages and cares for 3,000 acres (over 1,100 hectares) of Nature Reserve sites in Bristol and the surrounding area. There are many nationally important sites from salt marshes and wetland to wildflower grasslands, ancient woodlands and Iron Age forts.

Green spaces

Bristol is not only surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Somerset, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, but the city itself is blossoming with green spaces to spend a lazy afternoon or packed with really fun play equipment to entertain the children. With over 400 parks and gardens in Bristol you will never be far away from somewhere to take time out from the thrill of the city.

Create Centre and Eco Home

Create Centre and Ecohome offers visitors the opportunity to explore environmental issues and discover greener choices in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. As a centre for environmental excellence (with free entrance), it has a programme of changing exhibitions, events and activities going on throughout the year. One of the most popular features of Create Centre and Ecohome is the Ecohome itself, which is a demonstration of a sustainable house, highlighting changes that can be made in our homes and showcasing ideas for greener living in the future.

Click here for more ideas on green things to do.

Eat your greens

Green, ethical and organic food and drink is taken seriously in Bristol and there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and food festivals to enjoy during your visit.

Friska, a café and fresh fast food chain exclusive to Bristol, has just been named the nation’s best ethical restaurant of year by Observer Food Monthly www.friskafood.com

Bordeaux Quay became the first Bristol restaurant to receive the highest possible national award in 2011 for its all-round sustainability www.bordeaux-quay.co.uk

Source Café changes its menu daily to showcase the range of produce available from a network of suppliers www.source-food.co.uk

The Ethicurean uses ingredients grown and sourced locally. With its own kitchen garden, the restaurant grows a huge variety of vegetables www.theethicurean.com

The Bristol Skipchen is a voluntary run food waste campaign whose entire menu is composed of only ‘waste’ or ‘surplus’ food and you ‘pay as you feel.’ thebristolskipchen.wordpress.com

Other ways to enjoy Green Bristol

Bring a Reusable Bottle with you to Bristol!

When planning your visit to Bristol don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle, as the city is full of friendly businesses who will happily refill it for you for free.

Refill Bristol is the city’s tap-water campaign, to help reduce the amount of plastic bottles polluting our rivers and seas. You can fill your bottle at a number of refill stations across the city – look out for the blue window sticker in our cafes, hotels, music venues, cosmetic stores and even opticians!

You can see the latest list of participating venues by checking out the Refill Bristol website.

Why Refill Bristol?

As part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, a local campaign group called City to Sea are working to stem the tide of plastic litter flowing out of our rivers into the Severn Estuary. Marine plastic is a global issue and Refill Bristol reflects the city’s commitment to reducing our own impact on the marine environment.

Plastic bottles were a focus in the city earlier in the year, during the Bristol Whales art installation, alongside a new drinking fountain installed in Millennium Square. By refilling your bottle, you’re having a positive impact on the health of our oceans!

Haven’t got a Bottle?

You can use any old bottle at our Refill Stations, but if you’d like one to last you a lifetime of refills you can pick up a limited edition Bristol 2015 stainless steel bottle in the Tourist Information Centre.

By bike

Bristol has a rich cycling heritage and was named as England’s first cycling city back in 2008. The charity Sustrans, creators of the National Cycle Network, has its headquarters in Bristol which includes an information centre and shop.

In 2013, Bristol was named as one of the world’s top-10 bicycle-friendly cities and was also awarded money to improve the local cycling provisions in the city and surrounding areas.

With over 300 cycle parking spaces, a number of bike hire shops, hotels offering bikes to guests and organised team-tours, Bristol is a welcoming city for visitors wanting to explore the sights by bike. Plus look out for free bicycle pumps along cycle routes, including the popular Bristol to Bath Railway path.

Spend in the city with the local currency – The Bristol Pound

The Bristol Pound is the UK’s first city-wide currency available to locals and visitors. It aims to support local, ethical and independent businesses.

Bristol Pounds can be used across the city, look out for the blue symbol or ask if they accept it. You can get hold of your own Bristol Pounds at the Tourist Information Centre where you can also buy gifts, books and souvenirs.

Bristol Pounds are accepted on First Bus routes starting in Bristol and on City Sightseeing Buses.

Want to know more about Green Bristol? If so, take a look at our list of green-certified accommodation, green things to do, nature attractions and our overview of Bristol's parks, gardens and green spaces.

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