A sustainability guide to Bristol

Make the most of your time in Bristol while keeping your trip as sustainable as possible with our guide to a green and sustainable visit. The city celebrates its green credentials, and rightly so!  Planet-friendly eats, transport and things to do are plentiful so you can make eco-friendly choices during your trip to the city.  

Fiercely fond of our status as European Green Capital in 2015, Bristol is also the UK’s second Gold Sustainable Food City, first Cycling City and a former European Green Capital. Bristol is also a Fairtrade City which sees it trading fairly with nearly five million workers in 58 developing countries.  

Renowned environmental organisations like Soil Association and sustainable transport charity Sustrans call Bristol home too, while more and more local businesses are being granted Green Tourism awards. 

So, how can you experience Bristol as a green city?  

Green activities in Bristol 

We The Curious

Please note, We The Curious is closed until summer 2024 due to a fire.   

Science centre We The Curious was the first attraction of its kind to declare a climate emergency in 2019. It also pledged to be carbon net zero by 2030. This interactive museum has cutting edge environmentally friendly features, like the UK’s only phase-change tank, air source heat pumps and green roofs. But their commitment to sustainability goes beyond the bricks-and-mortar part of the experience. It’s about the ideas explored inside too, with hands-on exhibits designed to get you thinking about people and planet.   

City Farms 

Visit one of Bristol’s four city farms, where you can get involved in the practices of growing plants, rearing animals and sustainable life. 

Nature Reserves 

Avon Wildlife Trust manages and cares for 30 nature reserves in Bristol and the surrounding area. There are many nationally important sites from salt marshes and wetland to wildflower grasslands, ancient woodlands and Iron Age forts. 

Green spaces 

Bristol is not only surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Somerset, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, but the city itself is blossoming with green spaces to spend a lazy afternoon or packed with fun play equipment to entertain the children. With over 400 parks and gardens, you’re never far away from somewhere to take time out from the thrill of the city. 

Create Centre and Ecohome 

Explore environmental issues and greener choices at the Create Centre and Ecohome, Bristol’s flagship environment centre. It’s free to enter with a programme of changing exhibitions, events and activities throughout the year. The Ecohome itself is a demonstration of a sustainable house, highlighting changes that can be made in our homes and showcasing ideas for greener living in the future. 

Shop sustainably 

Bristol has an excellent ethical and second-hand shopping scene. Come ready to thrift in the vintage stores, refill at plastic-free retailers, pick up locally made homewares or stock up at organic foodie shops. If it’s second-hand clothes you’re after, you can find a range of vintage and thrift shops along Park Street and Gloucester Road. Then there’s Sparks Bristol in Bristol Shopping Quarter, a different take on a department store with a strong focus on sustainable fashion, food, nature and energy.

Eat green in Bristol 

Green, ethical and organic food and drink is taken seriously in Bristol – it’s why we’re the second place in the UK to become a Gold Sustainable Food City. Many individuals, projects and initiatives are working to create an ever fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system for the city. Enjoy eating at restaurants, cafes and food festivals where thought goes into the quality and impact of ingredients, reducing food waste and supporting producers.  

Bristol is also a dream for vegans (or anyone trying to cut back on animal products). The city has been named the world’s vegan capital by foodie website Chef’s Pencil multiple times in recent years, thanks to a delicious variety of plant-based eats. There are dedicated vegan restaurants but also countless other places to enjoy amazing plant-based cooking – from fine dining establishments to street food markets. These unmissable vegan spots might just convince you to visit.   

Sustainability events in Bristol 

Green-themed exhibitions are often running at Bristol’s museums and galleries, which you can find through our what’s on listings. Visit in September for Sustainable Fashion Week, the first fashion week of its kind, dedicated to driving positive change in our relationship with clothes through sharing skills and knowledge.  

Wildscreen Festival and the Festival of Nature explore our connection to the natural world. Even the city’s music festivals have a green, socially responsible streak, with Love Saves The Day launching a sustainability campaign in 2022 and FORWARDS Festival creating a space for discussing cultural and environmental issues of the day. Find more green events in Bristol.  

Green accommodation in Bristol

Book a sustainable hotel and sleep easy knowing you’re staying somewhere that’s mindful about environmental impact. In Bristol, there are slick new hotels built to the highest sustainable standards, as well as everything from friendly guesthouses to grand countryside piles upping their green game.  

Some of the hotels with a Green Tourism accreditation in the city include:

Sustainable Transport & Getting around 

Leave the car at home – you won’t miss it in Bristol. Much of the city is easily explored on foot or if you’re comfortable on two wheels, by bike. Bristol’s long been recognised as a welcoming place for cyclists, crowned England’s first Cycling City back in 2008. There are a number of bike hire shops and bike tours, plus scenic cycling paths such as the popular Bristol to Bath Railway Path.

When you arrive in Bristol, you’ll soon notice the flash of electric scooters whizzing by. These are available to hire all over the city from TIER, along with e-bikes, and are a quick, easy and carbon neutral way of getting around.   

Handy apps for a sustainable visit 

A greener trip to Bristol can start before you arrive by downloading these apps to your smartphone. Refill is the city’s tap-water campaign and offers a digital map of friendly businesses who will fill your reusable bottle for free, to help reduce the number of plastic bottles polluting our rivers and seas.  

Fight food waste and get an introduction to many local foodie businesses with Too Good To Go. Restaurants, cafes and shops sell goodie bags of their leftover food at a discounted rate through the app. It’s a great way to get a taste of Bristol’s food scene for less, while having a positive impact.  

Delivery app Foodstuff is another way to discover independent restaurants, with food arriving to your accommodation via zero emissions delivery by riders paid a living wage.  

Carry on planning an eco-friendly trip to Bristol with a look at our list of green-certified accommodation,eco-friendly things to donature attractions and our overview of Bristol's parks, gardens and green spaces

Make greener choices during your visit

There are plenty of ways to lessen your impact on the environment and on the city when you visit, from travelling sustainably to supporting our local producers.


Bristol caters for every cyclist. There are beautiful riverside country trails for weekend excursions and an extensive network of city centre cycle lanes for commuters.


Looking for information on walking and walks in Bristol? Click here to find out about routes, guided walks and resources for walkers.

Parks & Gardens

Bristol is truly a green city and has over 400 parks and green spaces. So take a deep breath and find the perfect places to walk, cycle, relax or picnic. 

Our top picks

Shop for pre-loved clothes, eat the best vegan restaurants and explore more of the city on foot or by bike!

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