2020 is the year of the staycation and in our (slightly biased) opinion, Bristol should be top of your list for a UK city break, even if you live locally. As more and more restaurants, attractions and hotels reopen responsibly, ensuring your visit is safer than ever, there’s heaps to explore right on your doorstep. In order to really kick back and relax, and to get that much-needed change of scene, book into a hotel, apartment or bed and breakfast in the city centre for a night or two.

We’ve shared a few ideas for places to stay and things to do in the city centre, showing off just a fraction of what you can get up to on a Bristol staycation this year. It’s proof you don’t have to go far to have a great getaway! 

Where to stay

Start your Bristol staycation by checking in at a city centre hotel.

For a room with a spectacular view, book in at high-rise Harbourside hotel, Radisson Blu. Towering over Broad Quay at 18 storeys high, floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the city centre and beyond. The ‘Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol’ has been introduced since reopening, so you can be confident your stay is a safe one.

Right next to the water is The Bristol, a Doyle Collection hotel, which reopened on 17 August. Their 'Rest Assured' programme highlights all of the extra precautions that are in place to ensure you have the very best guest experience.

Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre is also welcoming guests again, opening with ‘We’re Good To Go’ along with some great special offers. Conveniently located opposite Cabot Circus, rest up in one of the spacious, modern rooms here.  

If you’d prefer a more historic setting, Hotel du Vin may be more up your street. It’s based in a Grade II listed former sugar factory that’s been transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel that’s full of character.

Hotel du Vin room
Image - Hotel du Vin & Bistro

Things to do 

A few of Bristol’s big-hitting family attractions can be found within the city centre. Be transported to an underwater world at Bristol Aquarium, with its collection of fascinating sea creatures and naturally-themed habitats. 

At Brunel's SS Great Britain, you’re invited to step back in time aboard the iconic Victorian ocean liner as well as uncovering all there is to know about its engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Like the Aquarium, it’s been given Visit England’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark. 

Right in the city centre, get your culture fix at Arnolfini, which has reopened with a new major exhibition by photographer Hassan Hajjij. It’s free to enter but you do need to book in advance and wear a face covering. Opening times are 12-5pm from Thursday to Sunday.

Just a little further afield, meet exotic wildlife at Bristol Zoo Project near Cribbs Causeway, where you can also be wowed by Bristol’s amazing aviation history at Aerospace Bristol

Put your brains and teamwork to the test at Locked In A Room. They’re running at reduced capacity with new thorough safety steps, but still the same exciting immersive experience in themed escape rooms, making it the perfect team-building exercise for families, friends and work colleagues. Another option is nearby inPlay Golf where you can test your skills on some of the best courses in the world without leaving the room!

Perhaps you fancy learning something new? Wannabe DJs can get lessons at Basement 45, which is running its workshops with new safety measures for groups of up to four people or one to one. 

New for 2020 is 'A Piece of....Banksy' from the team at Where The Wall. This self-guided tour uncovers the story of Banksy and over 30 years of graffiti art history, with 13 audio commentaries in 13 different locations in central Bristol.

Hassan Hajjaj exhibition at Arnolfini Bristol

Image - Hassan Hajjij at Arnolfini

Where to eat 

With a brilliant selection of restaurants that range from fine dining to cheap street eats, the hardest part of eating out in Bristol is deciding where to go.

Another crowd-pleaser is La Grotta over on Union Street in Bristol Shopping Quarter. It’s a traditional family-run Italian serving classics from margherita pizza to spaghetti carbonara. 

Where to go shopping

Shoppers in central Bristol are spoilt for choice with hundreds of independent stores mixed with chains from Bristol Shopping Quarter, Old City, Park Street and Queens Road and other areas too. Check out our blog of how to spend 'A Shopping Day in Central Bristol' for more inspiration. The Bristol Tourist Information Centre is now located on the ground floor of the Galleries shopping centre. Be sure to pick up a locally made gift or souvenir to remember your special time away.

Patagonia sales person in mask holding up clothes for sale.

Image - Patagonia (credit Plaster)

How to get around the city centre

Locals probably already know to leave the car at home. You can’t beat exploring Bristol on foot - it’s easy to get around (much easier than driving!) and is a great way to get to know the city better. Where walking is not possible, the bus is another option, especially now you can make use of the new ‘Book my bus ride’ feature by First Bus. This allows you to save a space on specific journeys up to a week in advance.  

If you are bringing the car, make the most of NCP’s £6.50 for 24 hours of parking offer, which can be used at the Rupert Street car park.

Check our page on COVID-19 advice and information for more help with planning your visit. 

We hope you enjoyed this content, it was funded by Bristol City Centre BID, as part of the #BristolTogether campaign. Please note the latest Government guidelines require you to wear a face covering, unless exempt, in indoor settings and where social distancing may be difficult. You are permitted to meet in groups of no more than six people. Please socialise responsibly.  

In partnership with Visit Bristol, Business West, Broadmead BID, the One City Economy Board and Bristol City Council. The project is also supported by the European Regional Development Fund through HM Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Supported by:

LogoERDF_BW_LandscapeHM Governement logo 

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Hotel du Vin & Bistro
Hotel du Vin & Bistro room

Quirky, elegant and luxurious hotel, with some loft-style rooms and a fantastic on-site bistro

Bristol Aquarium
Bristol Aquarium sharks

A spectacular aquarium near Bristol's Harbourside that provides an amazing underwater adventure from the British coast to exotic tropical seas

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.

Arts Centre
Arnolfini at Bristol Harbourside

Arnolfini is a centre for contemporary arts based on Bristol’s Harbourside. The organisation is dedicated to producing and presenting visual arts, performance, film, music and events.

"A Piece Of…..Banksy!” Self-Guided Street Art Cultural Walking Tour
Walking Tour
"A Piece Of…..Banksy!” Self-Guided Street Art Cultural Walking Tour

The Banksy Story: Visit 13 significant Banksy locations with audio commentary and exclusive & archive photos to take you on a journey with this new for 2020 COVID-19 secure, self-guided tour. No app downloading required.

Bristol Zoo Project
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Giraffes at Bristol Zoo Project

Discover a world of animal adventures – right on your doorstep! Bristol Zoo Project is the perfect family day out, with 50 acres to explore. Say ‘hello’ to bears, giraffes, zebras, gelada ‘baboons’, cheetahs, meerkats and ring-tailed lemurs, among many others.

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.

Locked In A Room
Activity Centre
Locked In A Room group

Locked In A Room is a live escape-room experience. Participants are locked in a room with a series of tests, puzzles and clues that combined allow the unlocking of the rooms mystery and hopefully a successful escape.

inPlay Golf
inPlay Golf

Based in the city centre of Bristol, inPlay Golf is Bristol’s first indoor golf simulation facility where you can LEARN, PRACTICE & PLAY, whatever the weather!

Bristol Shopping Quarter
Bristol Shopping Quarter

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

Bristol Tourist Information Centre
Bristol Tourist Information Centre Shop Front

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