Planning to spend a few days in the city? Here's a list of must-sees in Bristol to get you started...

Day one: The Harbourside

Grab a coffee by the Harbourside and visit M Shed, a museum telling the story of Bristol’s past and present, before climbing aboard The Matthew on the quayside nearby.

The ship is a faithful replica of the one John Cabot sailed to discover America in 1497 and does regular trips around the harbour, as well as afternoon tea cruises and trips further along the River Avon.

The Matthew Bristol
The Matthew

Feeling peckish? Grab lunch at Watershed, Mud Dock or No.1 Harbourside – all overlook the water and have outdoor seating.

Or you could explore the waterfront district of Wapping Wharf just behind M Shed, packed full of exciting independent businesses, including over 20 restaurants in shipping containers.

Cargo 2 - Jon Craig
Cargo 2 in Wapping Wharf - Source: Jon Craig

Walk via Millennium Square or take a Bristol Ferry to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the world’s first luxury cruise liner, fully-restored to its Victorian glory. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the ship and don’t miss the chance to visit the Being Brunel museum.

Wander down historic King Street (known locally as the Beermuda Triangle due to its abundence of excellent craft beer bars) to Bristol Old Vic, the UK’s longest continuously working theatre, which boasts the stunning Bar and Cafe at Bristol Old Vic.

1766 Bar and Kitchen Bristol
Source: Bar and Cafe at Bristol Old Vic

End a day of exploring with some relaxation. Swim in the outdoor pool, pop in the spa and eat fine food in The Lido.

Top tips

Casamia Bristol

Day two: Clifton, Cargo and Cocktails

Head up to the beautiful Georgian quater of Clifton for the Suspension Bridge and fascinating visitor centre.

You can then browse the independent shops of Clifton Village before having lunch at one of the many great restaurants and cafés in this pictureque neighourhood. The Ivy Clifton Brasserie and the grand vistas from Goram & Vincent at The Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin are the perfect options for those looking for something a bit special, or indulge in some top quality comfort food at The Clifton Sausage, and Fishers Restaurant. 

In the afternoon, pop into the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and after, head to Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill for fantastic city views.

Cabot Tower Bristol
Cabot Tower

Then it's time for a spot of retail therapy in Bristol’s Shopping Quarter, home to Harvey Nichols and many well-loved high street names.

Pop into St George’s Bristol or Colston Hall to hear world-class musicians and performers throughout the week, or if you time it right, you might even catch a lunchtime concert or recital at Bristol Cathedral.

Shrek at Bristol Hippodrome

If you're planning on seeing a show or gig, it's worth checking our pre-theatre dining suggestions, many of which do a great value early bird menu. You can also see a list of upcoming theatre shows in Bristol here.

End your evening with a nightcap at The Milk Thistle, Strawberry Thief or The Rummer. Or if you're more of a night owl, don't miss a chance to experience Bristol’s legendary live music scene and top DJ sets in the pubs and clubs.

Top tips

Milk Thistle Bristol
Source: Milk Thistle

Day three: Street food and street art

Start the day exploring the galleries and latest exhibitions at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on Park Street and the esteemed Royal West of England Academy nearby.

For lunch, take your pick from the much-loved vendors at St Nick’s Market in the Old City - the market recently celebrated its 275th birthday and is one of the top foodie hot spots in Bristol.

St Nicholas Market

Before you leave, don’t miss the amazing street art in various areas of the city, including North Street in Bedminster and Stokes Croft, best discovered on a street art tour.

Or you could end your trip on a high by seeing a real-life Concorde at Aerospace Bristol.

In fact, two nights might not be enough…

Top tips

Upfest Bristol 2018
Street art in Bedminster, created for Upfest 2018

Handy travel tips

Maximise your time in the city by following these pointers...

- Arrive early. Make the most of your weekend by checking in on Friday afternoon.

- Get organised. Book restaurants or tours in advance – popular spots can get very busy.

- Leave the car at home. Walking, cycling, ferry, bus and local trains are the best ways to get around.

- Be tour savvy. Take an open-top bus tour and see all the sights in one hit.

- Stay longer. Here for business? Why not add on time to get out and explore this wonderful city.

For more ideas plus details of amazing festivals and events year-round, check out our What's On Calendar.

Read more

Clifton Suspension Bridge


M Shed
M Shed Museum Bristol

The M Shed is an innovative and exciting flagship museum for Bristol, featuring gallery space and a packed events schedule.

Watershed Bristol Harbourside

Enjoy a lively programme of independent film, digital media and events at this fantastic media centre in the heart of the Harbourside

Bristol Ferry Boats
Bristol Ferry Boats

Explore Bristol's Harbourside by ferry, go on a trip with friends or colleagues, or simply get from A to B without worrying about traffic

Brunel's SS Great Britain
Historic Ship
SS Great Britain Hero Image

Voyage back in time at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Theatre exterior

Built in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

The Lido
The Lido Spa Bristol

Bristol’s most unique spa destination, featuring a pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, spa, restaurant bar and terrace

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Historic Site
Clifton Suspension Bridge credit Chris Hartley

The world famous bridge and the iconic symbol of Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death

University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Environmental Attraction
University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Discover over 4,500 stunning plant species, including rare and threatened plants, in this huge University collection

Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill
Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Bristol

Cabot Tower is a century-old 105ft tower, set in the gorgeous parkland of Brandon Hill near Park Street in the West End.

St George's Bristol
Music Hall
St George's Bristol

One of the country's finest music venues, offering the best in classical, chamber, world, folk, blues and jazz

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery exterior

Museum and art gallery exhibiting some outstanding collections of art, archaeology, Egyptology and natural history in a magnificent building

Royal West of England Academy
Royal West of England Academy exterior

Bristol's first art gallery, housing over 1200 works of art from 19th century to the present day, a coffee shop and a small gift shop.

St Nicholas Market
St Nicks Market Corn St

Established in 1743, St Nicholas Market is the oldest and best loved market in Bristol, famous for being home to some of the best food in the city.

Aerospace Bristol
Aerospace Bristol Concorde

Journey through more than a century of fascinating aviation history – including aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets, engines and more – and step aboard the last Concorde ever to fly.