Treasure hunting, road tripping, street art spotting, fact finding, beer tasting – you can try out all these activities and more via self-guided experiences in Bristol. Great for exploring the city safely and at your own pace, here’s an introduction to some of the best on offer in 2021.

Sherlock: The Official Outdoor Game

Think you have what it takes to step into Sherlock’s shoes? Find out by playing this detective challenge where you have to crack clues, conundrums and codes to find key evidence and solve a mystery.

The app-based game takes you around the city and even features content from the hit BBC show’s cast in the form of animated videos, voicemails and text messaging. Gather up to six intrepid teammates aged seven and over and give it a go!

Watson and Sherlock in the BBC series

Image - Sherlock 

Treasure Hunt Bristol

Another way to see the city while you put your brain to work is Treasure Hunt Bristol. As well as solving clues and following beautiful maps via your phone, find out all kinds of fascinating facts about Bristol along the way. It can be played at your own pace and is easy enough that kids aged eight and over can join in yet challenging enough for teens and adults.

Four people playing Treasure Hunt Bristol looking over a wall

Image - Treasure Hunt Bristol

The Mystery of the Sabotaged Balloon: Bristol History & Puzzle Adventure

Who sabotaged Archie Russell's Amazing Flying Machine? That's what you're tasked with finding out. Follow the route from King Street, eliminate suspects and return to the scene of the crime to get to the bottom of this legendary Georgian mystery.

The cryptic clues including word games, maths puzzles and hidden objects along the way are designed for adults and older children. 

Mystery Guides Georgian Bristol adventure

Image - Mystery Guides

Wetland Heroes at WWT Slimbridge

Wetland Heroes is a free app that helps visitors make the most of a day trip to wetland wildlife reserve WWT Slimbridge. Created by Aardman, the digital guide features illustrations inspired by wetland hero species such as the flamingo, kingfisher, otter or swan.

Take on different digital challenges each time you visit and discover more about the reserve’s wildlife – even seasoned members will learn something new.

Flamingos at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Image - WWT Slimbridge 

Uncover Britain Road Trips

While most of these self-guided experiences are done by foot, Uncover Britain has itineraries for exploring the region on four wheels. The Bristol Self-Drive Tour is densely packed with inspiration for a local road trip, with over 70 suggestions for attractions to visit as well as accommodation, food and drink, activities and gardens. Simply pick and choose what you’d most like to experience and hit the road.

People sat outside campervan

Image - Uncover Britain Road Trips

A Piece of Banksy by Where The Wall

Street art tour guides Where The Wall developed this fully narrated audio and visual exploration of Banksy, so you can have a Banksy day out on your own schedule. The elusive Bristol-born artist’s story is told through 13 significant stop-offs, covering many of his works around the city, from early pieces to more recent activities.

On top of this, you get to view exclusive and archive photos, with local street art legend John Nation – an internationally recognised authority on the global graffiti art movement – providing the commentary.

Someone holding smartphone showing A Piece of Banksy walking tour on screen

Image - Where The Wall

Banksy Bristol Trail by Cactus Apps

Another self-guided Banksy tour, this time in app form. The Banksy Bristol Trail takes you on an easy-to-follow route around remaining Banksy works in Bristol, with the option to include older, less visible pieces if you want to be thorough about your Banksy adventure. In-depth articles, photos and information to help you get around are all included.

Banksy's Mild Mild West in Stokes Croft, Bristol

Image - The Mild Mild West by Banksy

Treasure Island Trail

Take the family on a swashbuckling adventure with the Treasure Island Trail app. It celebrates Bristol’s maritime, cultural and literary heritage through the classic adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. From the pub that inspired the Spy-Glass to boatyards, caves and historic almshouses, there are eight stop-offs on the tour, each marked by barrels planted with a desert island-inspired palm tree.

Treasure Island Trail guide

Image - Treasure Island Trail

Placeum

Dive into bitesize chunks of intriguing Bristol history through Placeum, a new app that’s been described as ‘like Pokémon Go for facts’.

Markers on the city map show you where to find locations linked to pithy and memorable audio recordings. Each around a few minutes long – like super mini podcasts – these contain history, background, context and sometimes comment, excerpts from novels and contemporary accounts of events.

How you explore the locations is completely flexible. Visit all 25 in one day or spread them over several visits!

Bristol Hoppers

Want to get a taste of the Bristol craft beer scene? One of the best ways is with Bristol Hoppers, who offer self-guided tours introducing you to the city’s hoppy history, brewers and pubs, plus some great sights along the way.

Take as many beer stops as you like – you won’t be rushed along as the clever location-aware app plays audio at exactly the right time and place automatically. Try out the Best of Bristol audio tour any day of the week or the Bristol Brewery Taproom tour on weekends.

Two people holding up beers on Bristol Hoppers tour

Image - Bristol Hoppers

Bristol Open Doors

Make the most of the chance to discover hidden and forgotten places around the city from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 September, as annual festival Bristol Open Doors returns. Among the 60 plus adventures on offer this year are a selection of self-guided, immersive audio tours. Uncover 1000 years of hidden harbour history, the LGBTQ+ people who have shaped the city, the story of Bristol’s street art obsession and more.

Mum and son with phones and headphones on Bristol Open Doors walking tour

Image - Bristol Open Doors

Everything is Music

From IDLES and Rita Lynch to Sarah Records and Tears For Fears, via venues like The Granary, Lakota, Moles and Thekla – Everything is Music takes you on a journey through Bristol and Bath’s musical landscape. Head to more than 250 location pins across the two cities and hear figures of the music scene – past and present – explain why they’re important to them.

Covering more than 70 years of musical history through photographs, video, audio, podcasts, music and experiences, it’s free to access and requires no download. Simply visit Everything is Music on your smartphone browser to get started. 

Every pin you unlock also counts as an entry into the 'Pins Win Prizes' competition. Prizes include Love Saves The Day tickets, a signed Squid album and a year subscription to Crack Magazine!

Wriggle Foodcations

If a day of devouring local food and drink as you explore different neighbourhoods of Bristol sounds up your street, we suggest you take a Wriggle Foodcation. Six self-guided tours (there are more in the pipeline too) cover sunny dining spots, pub gardens and picnic destinations, alongside walks, bike rides and swimming opportunities.

A Foodcation passport contains all you need to know about your route and food stops, as well as recommendations of what to do and see while you’re in the neighbourhood.

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