This #SummerinBristol hop aboard the distinctive red open top buses of Bristol Insight, and enjoy the sights and sounds of this wonderful city from a different perspective. Accompanied by a friendly and knowledgable member of the team, you will be guided through the city with weird and wonderful information and have some unique vantage points for taking pictures.

The Feathers McGraw on the Bristol Insight Bus

What's more, the cheeky Feathers McGraw has managed to waddle upon a bus in disguise! He's saved a seat next to him so you can grab a selfie as part of Gromit Unleashed 2.

Sights to see and things to do at each stop

Driver and Tour Guide from Bristol Insight

Stop 1 - Broad Quay

Open seven days a week for all your visitor needs, the Tourist Information Centre services include a very handy luggage room and maps for the city - including Gromit Unleashed 2, of course. Get a terrific 10% discount on souvenirs at the TIC with your bus ticket. Soak up the atmosphere as you stroll around the Harbourside or perhaps travel by boat to the next stop on your bucket list with Bristol Ferry boats. Embarkation points are dotted around the dockside and it couldn’t be easier to board especially with the exclusive Bus/Boat combo ticket.

Stop 2 - We The Curious, Anchor Road

It’s in the name! It couldn’t be easier to get to We The Curious than with the second stop on Bristol Insight’s bus tour. This state-of-the-art visitor attraction offers an amazing world of hands-on discovery. Home to the UK’s first 3D Planetarium, fly into space with a stunning immersive experience, full-surround sound and awe-inspiring sights from the universe! Even better there’s 2 for 1 entry - cheapest ticket goes free (T&Cs apply) with the discount voucher and valid bus ticket. Another star (fish!) attraction nearby is Bristol Aquarium taking you on a spectacular undersea safari. With their naturally-themed habitats, all tanks are designed to inspire deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Get £2 off entry for up to 6 people with discount voucher and bus ticket.

View of the ss Great Britain

Stop 3- Hotwell Road

Make sure you’re on top deck for this stop; the best place to get your Instagram worthy snap of the magnificent ss Great Britain from across the river - before you visit her at Stop 5. This stop is handily right next to the Grain Barge for those who need a refreshment. A historic converted barge bursting with character, it’s the perfect place to relax for those who like a spot of people watching accompanied by the taste of the local nectar.

Outside of Spike Island

Stop 4 – Spike Island

Spike Island is home to the fourth stop. A vibrant hub for production, presentation and debate, it offers opportunities for audiences to engage directly with creative practices through participation and discussion. Inside you’ll find a gallery, fabulous café and working space for artists, designers and creative businesses. This stop also gives you access to the Underfall Yard, a working boatyard welcome to visitors. There's an ever changing landscape of boats to enjoy thanks to the skilled maritime businesses that call the yard home. In their Visitor Centre you can explore the fascinating story of Bristol’s Floating Harbour through hands-on displays, a giant interactive map. If you get peckish there's Pickle Cafe, home to delicious hot sandwiches prepared onsite, as well as hot and cold beverages, snacks and treats to enjoy.

Stop 5 – Brunel's ss Great Britain 

This stop is a maritime marvel with easy access to Brunel's ss Great Britain and the replica of John Cabot’s The Matthew. With £1 off entry to the ss Great Britain when you use your ticket and discount voucher, this is a chance to step back in time and discover the true stories behind Brunel’s engineering brilliance. Climb aboard and experience the sights, sounds and smells of life on board for Victorian passengers and crew. Descend under water, below the dry dock to touch the world’s first great ocean liner before you come back to surface level and enjoy Bristol’s newest museum, Being Brunel. Further up the harbour you can board the replica Matthew, used by John Cabot when instructed by King Henry VII to discover a new land – later to be named Newfoundland, Canada.

View of Clifton Suspension Bridge from the bus

As you move on to the next part of your tour you'll come across two great vista points. The first being on the Cumberland Basin where you can get a snap of the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon Gorge.

The second being the chance to drive under the bridge, where you really feel the enormity of it. It is possible to go in one of the red brick abuments that support the bridge. Don a high vis jacket and hard hat in the aplty named Hard Hat Tours at Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Stop 6 – Bristol Zoo Gardens

We’ve reached new heights at stop 6 as we’re now in hilly Clifton. Hop off the bus at this stop if you want to visit Bristol Zoo Gardens. Home to over 450 species and nine animal-houses, it’s set within award-winning 12-acre gardens. Take a walk on the wild side with their walk-through exhibits allowing you to get close to lemurs, butterflies and bats. All of this with a fraction of the price using your bus ticket and discount voucher allowing 33% off zoo entry. The Hogwart-esque Clifton College is also along this stop. Founded in 1862, the school has had some notable students such as comedian John Cleese, Sir Michael Redgrave CBE, broadcaster John Inverdale and engineer W.O. Bentley. The school was also the headquarters of the US army in Britain for part of the Second World War.

People sat by the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Image credit: Tamany Baker

Stop 7 – Clifton Village

A must for any visitor (and resident) to the city, Clifton Village is the closest stop the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. Undoubtedly the symbol of the city, this iconic Grade I listed building, has been an integral part of the Bristol skyline for over 150 years. With a recently redeveloped visitors centre that’s free to enter, enjoy a refreshment in their new café and join in on a free guided tour of the bridge available every weekend and bank holiday. Then stroll amongst the wonderful Georgian architecture, up-market independent shops and boutiques that Clifton Village has to offer - not forgetting the mesmerising Royal York Crescent. A Grade II* listed terrace of 46 houses, this is reputed to be the longest terrace in Europe. After all that exploring sit back and enjoy the view at The White Lion Bar. A local favourite, the large terrace with all year-round heating ensures whatever the time of year you can enjoy the panoramic landscape of Avon Gorge. Spoil yourself whilst you’re there with a delicious Cream Tea at 10% discount with your ticket.  Alternatively stop off at the award-winning Fishers Restaurant for a free dessert, glass of wine or children’s meal with every main course.

Birdcage walk Clifton

Stop 8 – Victoria Square

Perfect for those who love a picturesque place, Victoria Square is a leafy Georgian square with famous past residents including England cricketer W. G. Grace. Nearby Birdcage Walk, as it is known today, is the graveyard of the former St Andrews church. Blitzed during the Second World War, all that remains is a stone platform outlining the foundations. The wild, sunken graveyard is rich with decaying ornate tombstones. Also nearby you’ll find the University of Bristol’s Students Union – voted the ugliest building in Bristol, we’re sure the students will tell you it’s what inside (the Balloon Bar) that counts! Try it for yourself with a 10% discount on total bill with your bus ticket.

the RWA building

Stop 9 – Victoria Rooms

Another Grade II* listed building, The Royal West of England Academy of Art  (RWA) is an established venue for the fine arts, embracing an artistic awareness of the widest nature. With 2-4-1 tickets to main exhibitions and 10% off drinks in the Epiphany café with your bus ticket it would be rude not to visit. Across the road the Victoria Rooms first opened its doors to the public in May 1842, and for many years served as the most important and lively cultural centre in the West of England, now it belongs to the Department of Music of Bristol University.

The Wills Memorial Tower

Stop 10 – Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Pay a visit to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, with ancient artefacts, precious works of art and an ever-changing schedule of exhibits and events - you can take a trip around the world and through time without leaving the city! It’s imposing neighbour, Wills Memorial Building, belongs to the University of Bristol but tours can be booked in advance for the chance to climb to the top of the tower and see the famous Great George bell – the sixth largest in England, weighing in at 9.5 tonnes. Often described as Bristol's 'hidden treasure' Red Lodge Museum houses magnificent original Tudor rooms and is a short walk from the stop. Built in 1580, it’s furnished in Elizabethan, Stuart and Georgian styles. In the opposite direction is the 105-feet-high Cabot Tower. It commemorates the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland in America. Inside the spiral staircase leads you to the top for a splendid view across Bristol. The gardens around the base are a haven for wild life, the perfect place for a picnic. Take a pit stop at Browns Brasserie and Bar and enjoy 20% off the a la carte menu, Mon-Fri, 10-6 & special cocktails on offer.

Banksy's Well Hung Lover

Stop 11- Park Street and College Green

A hub of attractions, shops and places to eat and drink Park Street is a day out in itself! The recently refurbished St George’s Bristol concert hall has some of the best acoustics in the world. Expect classical, jazz, world and folk artists, plus spoken word and family events. Pop across the road for a trip to the 18th century, in the six-story townhouse of the Georgian House Museum.  Restored and decorated to its original glory, there are 11 rooms which provide an insight into life above and below stairs. Stroll further down the hill and you’ll come across the finest example of a Hall Church, Bristol Cathedral.  Thought to have been on the site for over a thousand years, it came to prominence in 1140 when Robert Fitzhardinge founded the Abbey of St. Augustine. Free to visit and is open to the public 365 days a year - guided tours are available on Saturdays, or as arranged directly through the Chapter Clerk. Opposite the Cathedral is an origianl piece by world-famous street artist Banksy. Having a selfie 'The Well Hung Lover' is a must for any Banksy fan, also you may be interested in the many street art tours around Bristol. 

Interior of Bristol Hippodrome

Image Credit: Oliver Jordan

Stop 12 – Bristol Hippodrome

Pulling up outside the Bristol Hippodrome you’re now at the end of the yellow route and about to embark on the red one. If you want to know what’s going on at the Hippodrome take a look at our theatre preview for the month. Need a refreshment? Stop off at Dom’s Café a few doors down for the special offer of any hot drink and cake for £4 with your bus ticket.

The New Room Cafe

Stop 13 – Broadmead, The Horsefair

The stop for shoppers. Some real retail therapy can be done both here and stop 14 with the attractive, pedestrianised streets of Broadmead and undercover shopping centre The Galleries. The UK’s second largest Primark can be found here in addition to a wide range of independent retailers. Take a moment or two away from the shops to relax in The New Room Café. Part of John Wesley’s Chapel, your bus ticket can provide you with 20% off cream teas.

Cabot circus

Image Credit: C Giles Rocholl, Hammerson

Stop 14 – Cabot Circus

Leading on from Broadmead you’ll find yourself at Cabot Circus, one of the country’s leading shopping experiences with over 150 shops, bars and restaurants under one roof. Bringing together a host of high-street and designer brands, it confirms the city’s status as the South West’s style capital.

Castle Park by Tamany Baker

Image Credit: Tamany Baker

Stop 15 –  Castle Park

Nestled between Bristol Shopping Quarter and the beautiful Harbourside is a little slice of history. Castle Park offers a quiet place to sit or stroll, whilst looking over the tranquil water. Once home to a great medieval castle, children can now explore the 'castle' playground. There are also the ruins of St Peter's Church, which was heavily damaged during World War II and unfortunately not open to the public.

Shot of Castle Park from Bristol Bridge

Stop 16 – Bristol Bridge

This Grade II listed building is said to be the bridge from which the city’s name derived from. Originally called Brigstow, meaning ‘place of bridge’, over time and due to the region’s unique accent we now know the city as Bristol.

Temple Church Gardens

Stop 17 – Victoria Street

A minute's walk away from the stop is Temple Church - so called because the original church was built by the Knights Templar, perhaps the most famous of the medieval military orders. Bombed during the Second World War and gutted by the resulting fire, this enabled the site to be excavated and the plan of the former Templar church was revealed. Among the treasures rescued from the debris was a unique medieval chandelier, now in Bristol Cathedral.

Temple Meads

Stop 18 – Temple Meads

Another of Brunel’s brilliant ideas, Bristol Temple Meads railway station is the oldest and largest railway station in Bristol. Opened in 1840, the historical significance of the station has been noted, and most of the site is Grade I listed. With great rail connections to the rest of the country and buses to Bristol Airport. 

Stop 19 – St Mary Redcliffe Church

Chronologically the last stop of the tour, St Mary Redcliffe is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, which has stood on this site for some 800 years. Within its hallowed walls, you will find a superb collection of carved bosses, elegant 18th century ironwork, beautiful stained glass and a world-famous organ.

Head to the Bristol Insight website for a handy online version of their timetable or pick one up from thier HQ on the harbourside by Stop 1 - Broad Quay. For larger groups private tours are also available. Choose the ‘Original Bristol’ guided tour or the ‘Cream Tea tour’, which includes a stop at the Avon Gorge hotel with views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and gorge.

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