Last weekend, we were invited on a press trip to Bristol with Visit Bristol, and I can’t wait to share with your our experience! Weekend in Bristol was great and productive, and our 2-day itinerary for Bristol is full of different activities, restaurants and tours, so stay tuned for the ultimate checklist of the things to do in Bristol, England.
If you’re interested in some amazing Instagrammable places in Bristol, head to this post that I just published a couple of days ago.
Getting from London to Bristol: train, bus or …?
First of all, let’s talk about getting from London to Bristol. Bristol is located in the South-West of England, very close to Bath and just across the bridge from Wales. It takes around 2 hours 15 minutes to drive to Bristol from London (however, that depends on WHERE in London are you based, as it might take you 1 hour to exit London during the rush hours). There are different ways of travelling from London to Bristol: bus, car or train. The train is the fastest one, but also the most expensive one. The car will work if you own a car (or rented one for a weekend). The bus or coach is probably the most affordable way of travelling between London and Bristol. National Express and Megabus are some of the most famous ones. If you take a coach, it might be a little longer – it took us around 3 hours to get to Bristol. Buying a ticket for a coach to Bristol was actually pretty affordable (we paid something like per person £10 for a return trip). You can check the prices and availability of coaches to Bristol here >
Taking a train from London to Bristol would take between 1 hour 40 minutes and 2 hours, so a bit faster compared to driving. You can check prices for the trains to Bristol here >
If you live in the North, e.g. Manchester or Liverpool, it would take you around 3 hours to drive to Bristol, which is a bit further away compared to London but not too bad! Taking a train would be surprisingly a bit slower, it would take around 3.5 hours to get to Bristol by train from Manchester.
Weekend in Bristol: our 2-day itinerary for Bristol
Day 1: Museums, attractions and Clifton
Where to stay in Bristol
We arrived in Bristol at around 11:30 am and left our luggage in Radisson Blu Bristol. The location of Radisson Blu couldn’t have been any better – it’s located by the harbour, 5 minutes walking to major attractions and 0 (!) minutes walking to great bars and restaurants nearby. We stayed on the 16th floor in a business room with this view. Really, how gorgeous is this view? Only once I had a similar view from the hotel and that was in Miami (read about my trip to Miami Beach in this post).
Our room was very modern and sleek, and we had the cutest pillow spray in our room – never seen a pillow spray offered in the hotels before – it’s such a great idea! You can check the availability and prices of Radisson BLU Bristol here.
Best tourist attractions in Bristol for a weekend in Bristol
For the most part of day one in Bristol, we spent exploring the best tourist attractions in Bristol. We visited “We the curious” which is an absolutely amazing interactive museum for children (though we enjoyed it too), “Bristol Aquarium”, where we saw some amazing fishes, M Shed – basically the most important museum in Bristol – you can learn about the history and the place/importance of Bristol in the UK over the last 1000 years.
M Shed has a rooftop terrace on the 3rd floor, so don’t forget to visit it to take some good shots of the city. Later on, we headed to SS Great Britain – the largest steamship at the moment of its launch in 1845. Finally, we took the Bristol Insight bus tour and were pleasantly surprised by the fact that the tour had a live guide rather than a recording – that made the experience 1000 times better.
Clifton – the best place to live in Bristol
When I saw Clifton, I realised that I’d like to live there. If you haven’t heard of Clifton – it’s a charming bohemian district of Bristol.
It looks like a mix between Notting Hill and Hampstead in London, and it’s a place where wealthy, artistic or middle-class Bristolians live. Before visiting the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, we had a short tea break in Anna, an adorable and pretty cafe in Clifton with some of the best macaroons I’ve tried in my entire life (read more about beautiful and photogenic places in Bristol in this post).
We also walked around Clifton a bit and took some photos of some stunning locations.
It took us nearly 10 minutes to get from the heart of Clifton to the Clifton Suspension bridge, so it wasn’t a long journey (I mentioned it, because initially, it seemed to me, that the bridge is very far from Bristol and it’s tough to get there. No, it’s not). The bridge opened in 1864, and it was always a toll bridge. Now you need to pay £1 to cross it in the car, however, if you walk – it’s completely free. The best views of Clifton Suspension Bridge you can see from the tiny white building on the right – the Clifton Observatory, which also has a pretty cafe on its top floor.
We walked all the way from Clifton Suspension Bridge to our hotel (it took us about 45 minutes) stopping in the Shopping District of Bristol. I was genuinely impressed, as I didn’t expect Bristol to have so many great shops. It even had a Harvey Nichols (where I bought a new highlighter from Fenty Beauty – it was easier than getting to HN in Knightsbridge in London).
We had our dinner in the hotel, however, if you’re looking for some nice places, head to the Boxpark behind the M Shed – there are plenty of exciting street food places, and many of them are worth trying.
Day 2 (weekend in Bristol): Gorgeous cafe, Street Art, Pizza & Botanical Garden
The most beautiful restaurant in the UK
We started our morning with a very early Sunday Brunch. We arrived at Florist Bristol when it just opened and had the entire restaurant for ourselves (I managed to take a lot of shots for my Instagram @lizatripsget). Florist Bristol is a rare case when the food also tastes great in such a gorgeous place. For example, in Peggy Porshen in London, food isn’t that great, but people still flood there for Insta-worthy shots (read my post about the most instagrammable food spots in London). However, the food in Florist was great and the prices weren’t exaggeratedly expensive. I would say The Florist Bristol is definitely one of the most beautiful restaurants in the UK (at least from the ones I visited – and I’ve been to quite a few).
Street art tour with WHERETHEWALL
Later on, we embarked on a tour through all the significant street art in Bristol with WHERETHEWALL. I absolutely loved the tour – it was conducted by a real artist and he knew a lot about Bristol street art community as he’s one of them. I’ve learned a lot from this tour and actually started perceiving street art in a different way. You can check the availability of the street art tour of Bristol here.
Bristol has a very interesting history with street art and some of the most prominent artists of the street art scene have created something in Bristol. Not mentioning that Banksy is from Bristol and lives there. Here are some of the best works we’ve seen during the tour:
Pizza and Botanic Garden
We were quite hungry when we finished the tour and we had a great place for lunch in mind – Bosco Pizzeria (best-rated pizzeria according to Foursquare). The pizzas were delicious and the place was great – I would definitely recommend it to you.
From Bosco, we headed all the way to the Bristol University Botanic Garden that was hosting the exhibition of art connected to colour blindness. It was interesting to stroll around the garden and see some fascinating art. The greenhouses of the Botanic Garden were gorgeous as well.
We spent the evening in Bristol city centre, near the harbour, watching the sunset and enjoying our last evening in Bristol. To summarise, I liked the city a lot – it’s artsy, unusual and vibrant.
Summary of our weekend itinerary for Bristol:
Overall, we were able to see most of the things Bristol has to offer and I must be completely honest with you, Bristol impressed me a lot! There are so many things to do in the city! I was very happy that we spent 2 nights in Bristol – we wouldn’t be able to see all that just in one day. I hope that this itinerary was useful for you and you will find some of the activities that you might want to do in Bristol. If you’re on a budget, feel free to check out our other post: Free things to do in Bristol for 8 amazing things you can do in Bristol for FREE!