You've booked your trip to Bristol, packed your bags and now all you need is a good read to accompany your travels. To help you we've teamed up with some local bookworms to put together our pick of Bristol-related book recommendations, from a historic novel by a local author to a striking non-fiction title exploring one of Bristol's most famous sons - Banksy. 

All of the below are available from our excellent booksellers including Stanfords, Foyles and Bristol Tourist Information Centre... 

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman 

"In this addictive début novel, two Bristolian women – brothel-born Ruth & wealthy recluse Charlotte – find themselves battling together for a chance to lead a free life. Alive with the sights, smells and sounds of the Bristol boxing ring, and glorifying in some unsavoury aspects of our city's vibrant history, The Fair Fight packs a fantastic punch!"

Recommended by Lucy Wright, Bookseller at Stanfords Bristol

The Bristol Giants by Oliver Rigby 

"A beautiful children's picture book, this story is based on the myth that the Avon Gorge was created by two brother giants." 

Recommended by Charlotte, Children's Book Specialist at Foyles Bookshop, Cabot Circus* 

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

"This poignant novel by mental health nurse and now-renowned local author, Nathan Filer, has won a host of awards for good reason. Brimming with heart and sadness – but ultimately optimistic and uplifting – it gives compassionate insight into grief and mental illness." 

Recommended by Lucy Wright, Bookseller at Stanfords Bristol 

Wall and Piece by Banksy 

"He's probably one of Bristol's most famous exports: Banky's a Bristol boy and we're pretty proud of it."

Recommended by Charlotte, Children's Book Specialist at Foyles Bookshop, Cabot Circus*

Bristol Women and the City by Madge Dresser

"Not surprisingly, Bristol's women have never been passive bystanders to the goings on of the city. This fascinating book recounts how medieval Bristolian ladies were businesswomen in their own right; how Georgian women ran the city newspapers; how multitudes of women fought for Women's Liberation - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. You'll see Bristol in a whole new light." 

Recommended by Lucy Wright, Bookseller at Stanfords Bristol 

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson 

"Treasure Island is a classic. It transports you a world of pirates and larger than life characters you think you know already – Long John Silver, Billy Bones, Benn Gunn and Blind Pew, plus lines like ‘Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum’ and ‘Shiver me timbers’ that always raise a smile. Even if you aren’t familiar with the city, it’s not hard to imagine Bristol's bustling harbour with ships crammed together and surly seadogs around the Harbourside with their ‘swaggering, clumsy sea-walk’. Allow yourself to get swept up in the beautiful narrative and set sail for the adventure of a lifetime – it’s an easy read, an uncomplicated adventure story and a whole heap of fun."

Recommended by Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism at Destination Bristol

Heartman by M. P. Wright

"Reminiscent of the novels of James Ellroy & Ed McBain, but set in the familiar territory of 1960's Bristol, Heartman races along at a fine pace with a charismatic central character.  It's a wonderful evocation of Bristol's inner city during the era & is impossible to put it down."

Recommended by Marion Behn, Bookseller at Stanfords Bristol 

The Art of Aardman by Aardman Animations 

"From the creators of hits such as Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, Aardman Animations are loved all over the world and call Bristol home."

Recommended by Charlotte, Children's Book Specialist at Foyles Bookshop, Cabot Circus*

The Jenny Cooper crime series by M.R. Hall 

"The Coroner is the first instalment of this gripping series of novels based around Jenny Cooper – a determined ex lawyer, taking over as Severn Vale District Coroner. Based in Bristol, Jenny inherits dark secrets and a piles of buried evidence as she investigates tragic deaths and suicides around the region. Setting the scene in and around the city; you get a true feeling of what makes Bristol the perfect match for Jenny’s ambitions whilst she tried to overcome personal struggles. Other novels in the series include The Disappeared, The Redeemed and The Flight."

Recommended by Lynsey McKinstry, Conference and Business Tourism Sales Co-ordinator at Destination Bristol

Spannered by Bert Random 

"A dizzying trip back to the 90s when Bristol's famous free party scene was at its peak. Centred on one long night out, this fun and energetic book is as much about finding friendship and kindred spirits as it is about documenting a scene. Great illustrations too."

Recommended by Hannah Stuart-Leach, Content Assistant at Destination Bristol

The Naked Guide to Bristol by Gil Gillespie 

"Gil Gillespie is a brilliant writer. He's witty, opinionated and armed with a killer turn of phrase. These aren't necessarily qualities you expect in a guide book, but they make this celebration of counter-culture Bristol tremendously enjoyable."

Recommended by Richard Jones, Publisher at Tangent Books 

Amongst Friends by Katharine E Smith 

"This novel starts with a bang and works backwards to explore the characters and events leading up to it. Set in Bristol, mainly during the 1990s, the writing reflects Katharine E Smith’s love of the city."

Recommended by Jon Chamberlain, Marketing Manager at Destination Bristol 

*Books marked with an asterisk (and many more) are available from Foyles bookshop in Bristol Shopping Quarter with 20% off during February 2017 when you quote VISITBRISTOL. (Valid until Monday 28th February 2017. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer. The 20% discount is not available on stamps, gift cards, national book tokens, theatre tickets and some standard items. This offer can be removed at any time without notice. Valid only at Foyles Cabot Circus, Bristol.)



Stanfords is the UK's leading specialist retailer of maps, travel books, travel accessories and travel literature.

Mythical Bristol Giants Walking Tour
Walking Tour
Mythical Bristol Giants Walking Tour

Britain is no stranger to tales of Giants and the legendary havoc they wreaked across the country.

Bristol Tourist Information Centre

Browse their range of gifts, souvenirs, books, locally-products products and maps at the Tourist Information Centre or visit their online gift shop.

Treasure Island Trail
Walking Tour
Treasure Island Trail

The Treasure Island Trail is a fun, family-friendly trail and app that guides you round Bristol’s historic Floating Harbour to discover Bristol’s literary connections, maritime history and tales of piracy!

Bristol Shopping Quarter
Bristol Shopping Quarter

Home to hundreds of shops, from high street favourites to independent boutiques, plus great restaurants, cinemas and bars.