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Bristol Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Bristol is a city, unitary authority area, and county in the South West of England, having a population of 442,500 people in 2015. It is the sixth most populous city in England and the United Kingdom, as well as the most populated city in Southern England after London. Bristolians are people who live in Bristol. The ancient cities of Bath and Gloucester lie to the south-east and north-east, respectively, of the city, which is bordered by the Unitary Authority districts of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Near the junction of the rivers Frome and Avon, Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were erected, and the community was known as Brycgstow about the beginning of the 11th century (Old English “the place at the bridge”). Bristol was granted a royal charter in 1155 and remained a part of Gloucestershire until 1373, when it became a separate county. Bristol was one of the top three English cities in terms of tax revenues after London (together with York and Norwich) from the 13th through the 18th centuries. During the Industrial Revolution, Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham quickly overtook Bristol.

Bristol served as a departure point for early voyages of discovery to the New World. In 1497, in a ship from Bristol, John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European to settle on mainland North America since the Vikings. In 1499, a Bristol merchant named William Weston led the first English expedition to North America. Since then, the Port of Bristol has relocated from Bristol Harbour in the city center to Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock on the Severn Estuary.

Bristol’s current economy is based on the creative media, electronics, and aerospace sectors, and the city’s ports have been transformed into historical and cultural hubs. The University of the West of England and the University of Bristol are two of the city’s universities, while the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate, and the Memorial Stadium are among the city’s cultural and athletic organizations and sites. The M5 and M4 (which links to the city centre via the M32), Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway mainline train stations, and Bristol Airport connect it to London and other major UK cities by road, rail, sea, and air. Bristol, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK, was named one of the top ten cities in the world by worldwide travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness guidebook for young people in 2009. Bristol was awarded Britain’s greatest city to live in by The Sunday Times in 2014, and it also earned the EU’s European Green Capital Award in 2015.

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Bristol | Introduction

Bristol – Info Card

POPULATION : • City and county 442,500
• Urban 617,000
• Metro 1,006,600
FOUNDED :  Royal Charter 1155
County status 1373
TIME ZONE : • Time zone GMT (UTC)
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
LANGUAGE :  English
AREA :  40 sq mi (110 km2)
ELEVATION :  36 ft (11 m)
COORDINATES :  51°27′N 2°35′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.3%
 Female: 50.7%
ETHNIC : 84.0% white (77.9% white British)
6.0% black
5.5% Asian
3.6% mixed-race
0.3% Arab
0.6% other
AREA CODE :  0117, 01275
DIALING CODE :  +44 117

Tourism in Bristol

Bristol is the unofficial capital of England’s West Country. It is known for its nautical heritage, but it also has a wide choice of attractions, hotels, bars, and events. According to data from 2008, Bristol ranks fourth among England’s top tourist attractions, and the ideal time to come is during the summer, when the city hosts major events.

Bristol is an amiable, grooved, laid back city whose mellow vibe is reflected in the superb music of Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky, particularly the Massive Attack track “Lately” (from their brilliant debut album “Blue Lines”), which perfectly captures the sultry, lean burn atmosphere of a warm summer’s evening in this historic and cultured city.

Although it is frequently overlooked as a tourist destination, Bristol has much to offer on its own and is an excellent base for exploring the West Country, with reasonably priced lodging compared to some of the main ‘tourist traps’ (such as nearby Bath) and a diverse range of bars, restaurants, and shops. It is one of England’s most culturally lively cities, with a diverse range of visual and performing arts, theatre, specialty shopping, and live music.

Young people have flocked to Bristol in recent years because of the city’s stunning and brilliant music scene, with bands like Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky, and Roni Size contributing some of the most outstanding back catalogues of albums in British music history – not bad for a city that was considered a backwater of the British music scene even in the early 1980s. Bristol was rated Britain’s most musical city in 2010. Massive Attack’s majestic opus “Blue Lines,” which contained the soaring “Unfinished Sympathy” and social critiques such as “Safe From Harm” and “Daydreaming,” cemented the triumph of the Bristol music scene in 1991. Parts of “Blue Lines” were recorded at the Coach House studios in Clifton, Bristol (now sadly defunct). “Blue Lines” – notably the tune “Lately” – captures the ambiance and feel of a certain place like no other album in British music. With Shara Nelson’s vocals and a bass rhythm sample from Lowrell’s “Mellow mellow straight on,” this tune so perfectly depicts the ambiance of a summer’s evening in Bristol – notably on the Clifton Downs – that it’s nearly a hallmark song for the whole city.


Bristol is a big city with a lot of different locations in the center; a map can assist you figure out where everything is. This is when the free map from the Tourist Information Centre at the Harbourside comes in handy. The Floating Harbour is a length of water that snakes its way through Bristol’s heart, seeming like a river in sections but really being a dock. Ships stopped in the Floating Harbour for centuries, bringing commerce and wealth to the city. It was built in the early 1800s by diverting the River Avon to the New Cut to the south and utilizing numerous locks to create a non-tidal pier. The Floating Harbour is now mostly used for leisure, pleasure vessels, premium waterfront residences, and the odd visiting sailing ship, as opposed to industrial ships.

It’s best to conceive about city areas in terms of their proximity to The Centre, or Central Promenade (it’s named “The Centre” since it used to be known as the “Trams Centre” until the tram system in Bristol was destroyed in the 1940s due to bomb damage). It’s now more of a bus terminal.) The Centre is a large boulevard featuring fountains, trees, stores, and traffic that runs north-south and ends with the Floating Harbour. The Centre is a significant bus interchange for most city bus lines; you may ask a bus driver for a ticket to “The Centre” and you’ll be taken back there.

The Old City, located to the east of The Centre, is the heart of old Bristol. Queen Square, King Street, Baldwin Street, and Corn Street are among the city’s main thoroughfares. It boasts beautiful Victorian and Georgian architecture, as well as old and picturesque taverns and a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants. Broadmead, centered on the Broadmead itself and adjoining streets like as the Horsefair, Union Street, and Penn Street, as well as the Galleries retail mall, is located to the north-east of the Old City. The big new retail mall at Cabot Circus, as well as a connected development of additional boutique stores at Quakers Friars, are located towards the east end of the Broadmead. Going east of Cabot Circus and across the dual carriageway leads to the less wealthy Old Market neighborhood, while going north leads to the St. Paul’s neighborhood, which is a cultural hotspot but best explored during the day.

The city’s hospitals, the bus station on Marlborough Street, and the University of Bristol are all located to the north of The Centre.

To the west of The Centre lies the Harbourside neighborhood, which includes elements of what was formerly known as Canon’s Reach and has been undergoing extensive urban reconstruction since 2000. Eateries in converted warehouses, Millennium Square with attractions like At-Bristol, and offices and sophisticated flats in new constructions can all be found here. It’s a fantastic spot for spending time by the sea. It continues south of the Floating Harbour to the M Shed, a museum of Bristol life, and then to the SS Great Britain.

To the north-west of The Centre, up Park Street, you’ll find the West End, which has smart independent shops, the City Museum, and other attractions, and if you continue along Queen’s Road, you’ll find the upmarket Clifton neighborhood, which is known for its suspension bridge and elegant Georgian architecture.


The Tourist Information Centre is located in the Watershed, a converted warehouse located immediately off The Centre on the west side of the Floating Harbour’s inlet (St. Augustine’s Reach). Walking south through The Centre, turn right at the pier and walk under the colonnade. The Tourist Information Center is a short distance away.

Climate of Bristol

Bristol, in southern England, is one of the hottest cities in the UK, with an average yearly temperature of 10.5 degrees Celsius (50.9 degrees Fahrenheit). With 1,541–1,885 hours of sunlight each year, it is one of the sunniest. Although the Mendip Hills provide some protection, the city is exposed to the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel. Annual rainfall totals rise from north to south, with 600–900 mm (24–35 in) north of the Avon and 900–1,200 mm (35–47 in) south of the river. The rain falls equally throughout the year, with autumn and winter being the wettest. Bristol’s weather is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which keeps the average temperature above freezing throughout the year, however frosts are common in the winter and snow occurs on occasion from early November to late April. Summers are hot and dry, with a mix of sun, rain, and clouds, while spring weather is unpredictable.

Geography of Bristol

Bristol is situated in a limestone region that stretches from the Mendip Hills in the south to the Cotswolds in the north. Bristol’s generally steep topography is created by the rivers Avon and Frome cutting through the limestone to the underlying clay. The Avon runs east from Bath, through flood plains and marshes until the city grew up around it. The Avon Gorge is formed to the west of the Avon River, which was helped by glacial meltwater after the last ice age.

The gorge, which contributed to defend Bristol Harbour, has been mined for stone to create the city, and the surrounding countryside has been protected as The Downs and Leigh Woods from development. The river drains into the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth, and the Avon estuary and gorge form the county border with North Somerset. Another gorge is carved through the Blaise Castle estate in northern Bristol by the Hazel Brook (which drains into the River Trym).

Economy of Bristol

The aerospace, defense, media, information technology, financial services, and tourist sectors all contribute to the city’s economy. The Procurement Executive of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), subsequently known as the Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Equipment and Support, relocated to Abbey Wood, Filton, in 1995. This organization, which employs 7,000 to 8,000 people, procures and maintains MoD equipment. Bristol, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK, was named one of the top ten cities in the world by worldwide travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness guidebook for young people in 2009.

Bristol is one of the eight major regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group, and it is the fourth highest rated English city as a gamma global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Bristol had a gross domestic output of £30.502 billion in 2014. It had a per capita GDP of £46,000 ($65,106, €57,794), which was 65 percent more than the national average, the third highest in England (after London and Nottingham) and the sixth highest in the UK (behind London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Nottingham). Bristol’s unemployment rate in March 2007 was 4.8 percent, compared to four percent in South West England and 5.5 percent nationally.

Although Bristol’s economy is no longer reliant on its port, which was relocated to Avonmouth docks in the 1870s then to the Royal Portbury Dock in 1977 as ship sizes became larger, it is still the UK’s top importer of automobiles. The port was publicly owned until 1991; it is now leased, with £330 million spent and an increase in yearly throughput from 3.9 million long tons (4 million tonnes) to 11.8 million long tons (4 million tonnes) (12 million). Tobacco imports and cigarette production have ended, while wine and liquor imports have continued.

In the city, 59,000 people work in the financial services industry, while 5,000 people work in 50 microelectronics and silicon design enterprises. Hewlett-Packard established its national research facility in Bristol in 1983.

Bristol’s industrial operations grew in the twentieth century, with the Bristol Aeroplane Company producing aircraft at Filton and Bristol Aero Engines (later Rolls-Royce) producing aircraft engines at Patchway. Bristol Aeroplane is well known for the Bristol Fighter from World War I and the Blenheim and Beaufighter aircraft from World War II. They were a notable English civilian aircraft manufacturer in the 1950s, best known for the Freighter, Britannia, and Brabazon. During the 1940s, the business ventured into automotive manufacture, creating hand-built, luxury Bristol Cars at its Filton facility, which was split off in 1960. Bristol buses, which were built in the city from 1908 to 1983: by Bristol Tramways until 1955, then by Bristol Commercial Vehicles from 1955 to 1983, were also named after the city.

During the 1960s, Filton was a crucial player in the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic aircraft project. The British Concorde prototype flew for the first time on April 9, 1969, from Filton to RAF Fairford, five weeks after the French test flight. Concorde operations were discontinued by British Airways and Air France in 2003, with the planes being retired to various places (mostly museums) throughout the globe. Concorde 216 flew the last Concorde flight on November 26, 2003, returning to Bristol Filton Airport as the centerpiece of a projected aviation museum that would feature the existing Bristol Aero collection (including a Bristol Britannia).

The aerospace industry continues to be a significant part of the local economy. BAE Systems, a merging of Marconi Electronic Systems and BAe, is a major aerospace company in Bristol (the latter a merger of BAC, Hawker Siddeley and Scottish Aviation). Airbus and Rolls-Royce are also situated near Filton, and the University of the West of England conducts research in aeronautical engineering. Cameron Balloons, a manufacturer of hot air balloons, is another aviation firm in the city; in August, the city hosts the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, one of Europe’s major hot-air balloon festivals.

Bristol was designated one of England’s six scientific cities by the UK government in 2005. Cabot Circus, a £500 million shopping area, launched in 2008, despite developer and political promises that the city would become one of England’s top 10 retail destinations. The Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, centered on Bristol Temple Meads railway station and focusing on creative, high-tech, and low-carbon companies, was announced in 2011 and officially opened the following year. The Urban Enterprise Zone, which covers 70 hectares (170-acres), has simplified planning processes and decreased company rates. Avonmouth, Bath, Bristol, and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green, Filton, and Weston-super-Mare are among the five designated enterprise zones in the region that benefit from the zone’s revenue. Bristol is the only major city in the United Kingdom with a wealth per capita that exceeds the national average. Bristol claims to have the greatest concentration of computer chip designers and makers outside of Silicon Valley, thanks to a highly qualified workforce recruited from its institutions. The Filton airfield, which is home to Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and GKN, is one of the largest aerospace centres in the UK.

Internet, Communication in Bristol


The area code for Bristol is 117. From inside the UK, dial 0117 or +44 117 from outside the UK.


Bristol, like other cities, has simple internet connection, and as a city, it benefits from the fact that broadband is both easy to install and utilize. Bristol also boasts a plethora of internet cafes that are open to the public. The municipality has also recently introduced internet access in most of Bristol’s principal libraries. If you are a member of Bristol Libraries, you may reserve internet access, but expect to wait if you come during school hours, since students from the neighboring school and college commonly use the facilities. StreetNet, a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots, is being deployed in downtown Bristol. It can now be found in the Watershed and along Queen’s Road.

Many little I stations may be located around the city, enabling you to access authorized websites including job search pages, visitor information, transportation connections, and entertainment guides for local clubs and events. You may now send emails with media attachments, such as a video message that you can send along with your normal email.



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