Bristol City Centre

If West End shows, live music and buzzy craft beer pubs are your thing, head to the bright lights of Central Bristol. It’s not just about glitz and glamour though, some of the city’s oldest buildings are also found here, from medieval churches to Georgian terraces. 

A walk along Nelson Street reveals some of the city’s most ambitious outdoor art; join one of Bristol’s popular guided street art tours to hear its history.  

Looking for a place to grab a bite to eat? Head to the large and colourful terrace at Bambalan, where you can enjoy Mediterranean-style dishes and pizza, or dance away at their lively summer parties. Tuck into Indian street food at Talwar Express, comforting French classics at Hotel du Vin & Bistro or sophisticated small plates in a grand surrounding at Colonnade

Add a competitive edge to your day in Bristol with a visit to Roxy Lanes for bowling, batting cages and more, Flight Club for social darts, or Whistle Punks for urban axe-throwing.   

By night, take your pick from a range of entertainment. Bristol Hippodrome attracts major musicals from the West End while the new-look Bristol Beacon is a world-class venue for live music and comedy. Tucked away on nearby Denmark Street, Smoke & Mirrors hosts magic and comedy nights and is open six nights a week.   

Old City

This quaint but lively district boasts a handsome selection of indie traders, cool bars and a few surprises. 

The historic heart of Bristol, shopping in Bristol Old City is centred around St Nicholas Market and the beautiful Glass Arcade. Inside the Grade I listed building you’ll enjoy getting lost while wandering around the maze of small stalls selling everything from clothing, gifts, cards, art, textiles and leather, sweets and chocolate and jewellery. 

Take some time to experience this vibrant and buzzing marketplace that has been trading since 1743. If you get hungry, eat like the locals do and enjoy the street food stalls, whether you fancy pie and mash, Japanese dumplings, BBQ meats, Kurdish wraps or freshly-made falafel. There are various other markets on Corn Street out front throughout the week too, from a farmer’s market on Wednesdays to a flea market every Saturday. 

Surrounding the market are some of Bristol’s most impressive buildings, exciting bars and restaurants, and exclusive hotels, including the four-star Mercure Bristol Grand, the contemporary Clayton Hotel, newly-restored Grade II listed pub with rooms Hort’s Townhouse and Bristol Harbour Hotel, glamourous former bank headquarters.   

Explore the area and you’ll find an interesting variety of shops, like Stanfords - a specialist travel and map bookstore on Corn Street, and the Old City’s best kept secret Guilberts – the home of Bristol’s handmade chocolate. Learn more about the oldest part of Bristol by doing a self-guided Walled City Walk, or booking on to the St. Nicholas Market and Air Raid Shelter Walking Tour. Visit the Palestine Museum in Broad Street to see its permanent exhibition of Palestinian heritage, culture and daily life.   

The Old City is also a hotspot for cocktail bars, with one of the stalwarts being The Milk Thistle - a sophisticated, wood-paneled lounge bar set across three floors. The Clockwork Rose has a steampunk theme for its interior and cocktail menu, The Gold Bar is tucked away in the grand Harbour Hotel, and Brozen Bar makes frozen cocktails on the spot with liquid nitrogen. For something a bit different, Alcotraz Bristol invites you on an immersive experience as an inmate in a jail cell, where you can enjoy your smuggled-in liquor in bespoke cocktails! If beer is more your thing, The Strawberry Thief has over 70 local and international beers, plus a seasonal menu of beer-infused dishes. 

The Old City is just a stone's throw away from the central shopping centre, Bristol Shopping Quarter, or Park Street and Queens Road, depending on which direction you're coming from. 

Welsh Back, King Street and Queen Square

Head down the steps from the Old City and cross over to Welsh Back, where you’ll find the heart of Bristol’s craft beer scene, a grand Georgian square and the UK’s oldest theatre. 

Bristol loves a bar on a boat, and you’ll have a few to choose from along Welsh Back, whether you want burgers and beers aboard Three Brothers Burgers, gin cocktails on The Glassboat or some West Country ciders at local’s favourite The Apple.  

The cobbles of King Street are home to the historic Bristol Old Vic, where visitors can enjoy performances, behind-the-scenes tours or pre-theatre dinners. Celebrated jazz venue The Old Duke pub is just a moment away and offers free live music any night of the week. The street is also home to a fantastic selection of pubs, from sporty brewpub The King Street Brew House to craft beer specialists Small Bar and The Beer Emporium. Grab some pizza by the slice at Renato's, play ping-pong or arcade games at Kong's of Bristol, or find a cosy corner at the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer.

Just around the corner is Queen Square, a petite park set against a backdrop of Georgian houses which hosts annual events like Bristol Comedy Garden and Bristol Harbour Festival. It's also the perfect spot to take a breather and take in the views. Nearby you can get plant-based pasta at Pastan, hearty fare at all-day chophouse The Cow & Sow, or enjoy dishes cooked over fire at The Granary. Or opt for a harbourside terrace at Mud Dock, Riverstation or Harbour House

Christmas Steps

Uncover the quirky shops and cafes of the 17th century Christmas Steps. Home to the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, the area is full of independent art galleries and creative talent, as well as some impressive architecture.  

If you’re searching for a gift, souvenir or statement piece you will find unique pieces of artwork from some of Bristol’s best up-and-coming artists in the galleries and shops, or you can pick up some sweet treats from the mouth-watering display at Ahh Toots cafe. Want to rest a while? Try some beer brewed on site at Zerodegrees microbrewery, stop into Chance & Counters boardgame cafe, or check out the latest street food pop-up at The Scrandit

To gain a glimpse into the past, stop to enjoy the historic Fosters Almshouses, or travel back in time at the Red Lodge, an original 17th century townhouse museum. 

Go off the beaten track and explore the intertwining streets and alleyways surrounding Colston Street, Park Row, St Michael's Hill and Upper Maudlin Street where you’ll find an enchanting array of independent shops, studios, bars and cafes. You're also just a few minutes away from the shops, bars and restaurants of Park Street, which is home to some of the city's top nightlife.

Find the perfect place to stay

From luxurious hotels to cosy guesthouses and stylish serviced apartments, you've got plenty of options!

City centre accommodation

Want to be in the middle of the action? You’ll be spoilt for choice in Central Bristol, with plenty of options close to everything that the city centre has to offer.

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