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There's a reason why Bristol is one of the UK's best-loved cities: a wealth of attractions, a vibrant nightlife and a rich history has propelled Bristol to fourth in England's top visitor destinations. It's a meteoric rise for a city that was largely flattened during the Second World War, but from the ashes Bristol has grown into one of Britain's best cities.
What to do in Bristol
Bordering the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, Bristol is an easy city to access via plane, train, bus or car. A multitude of stations along with Bristol Airport means venturing into the heart of the city is only a short ride (or, if you've hired a car, a short drive) away.
Most attractions in Bristol are reasonably easy to walk to and there are plenty of quayside routes and central streets to walk down. Harbourside is home to Brunel's SS Great Britain - the world's first iron hulled, steam-powered passenger liner built by Brunel - while the Blue Reef Aquarium guides travellers through an underwater journey complete with seahorses, corals and sharks. Great fun for adults and kids alike!
Bristol's Old City is where the city's historical roots flourish, containing all manner of old buildings, hidden alleys and cobbled streets; perfect for those looking to experience some of Bristol's history. For example, Castle Park and St Peter's Church respectively contain the ruins of Bristol Castle and what is left of St Peters church as a memorial to those during the war. Furthermore, King Street is a 17th-century street that represents the heart of Bristol's roots, featuring all manner of buildings listed by English Heritage.
Away from history and architecture, Bristol Zoo is a fun outing for all of the family and one of Bristol's best-loved attractions as it holds 400 species within its award-winning 12 acre gardens. The zoo contains a plethora of animals from gorillas, flamingos and meerkats to pygmy hippos, red pandas and Asiatic lions, ensuring that visitors can see creatures from all corners of the animal kingdom.
One of the city's most famous landmarks is the Clifton Suspension bridge, a 19th-century bridge that spans the Avon Gorge. The bridge is free for walkers and a mere 50 pence for visitors in cars; a bargain. However, if you're scared of heights then don't look down as the bridge lies a nervy 245 ft above ground!
Away from Bristol
Bristol's location makes it an ideal base for exploring other areas of England and Wales. If you've rented a hire car, a short drive to the west will take you into Wales, with Newport and Cardiff representing just two of the coastal Welsh cities nearby. Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has an absolute wealth of attractions on offer while Newport is a busy commercial town with golf clubs, cathedrals, museums and markets all open to travellers.
A short drive south should take you to Weston-super-Mare, one of Somerset's (and England's) most famous seaside resorts. With miles of clean, sandy beaches and a promenade that boasts superb views of the Channel, Weston-super-Mare is the perfect location for travellers looking to feel the coastal wind in their hair and sand between their toes.
Bristol is an exceptional city and any travellers with even a remote interest in English history should make the trip to the area. As well as a rich heritage, Bristol also has more attractions and events that you can count, making for an exciting vacation for domestic and international visitors.