A guide to the alternative Bristol – If I had to make a “Top Favourite English cities”, Bristol would be mentioned twice. No joking.
There are plenty of reasons to visit it, but the main one is definitely its natural inclination towards culture and arts. It’s spread through all over the city. And the fact it’s the hometown of Banksy, makes easy to imagine why street art as a big deal there.
Located in southwest of England, Bristol has practically everything that could attract visitors: an important port, a famous cathedral, a centenary zoo, a breath-taking bridge, besides bars and restaurants in a beautiful harbour to suit all tastes.
However, it’s the very alternative, bohemian and cultural atmosphere that makes Bristol a perfect route for a day/weekend trip.
A good starting point would be at the St. Nicholas market, where you can find practically everything. From a wicked shop specialised in the (the hottest) pepper sauces ever tried, to a stall with very popular and famous Brazilian flipflops.
The building with stunning Georgian architecture is dated from 1743 and it’s definitely a hotspot to check, especially if fancy soups, pasta and very tasteful organic sandwiches and cakes.
Walking through the narrow streets of the city, we find all the cultural diversity that makes Bristol famous for being .
In 2011, about 60 gorilla sculptures were scattered in squares, parks and everywhere else you imagine in the city to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the local Zoo, a very creative idea that ended up in a big auction raising £ 427,300 for charity.
The bars at the harbour area are a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the stunning view by the River Avon. For a simple coffee to some few pints, there are plenty of venues, for all kinds of pockets. Drinking in Bristol is not that expensive but if you’re short of cash, there’s always a good pub chain around to save you.
Another highly recommended thing to do would there is visiting the boat venues. Bristol has plenty of reputable bars and nightclubs placed inside boats and the most famous one is definitely Thekla, considered in 2011 and 2012 as the “best small venues” in the south west region of the countty, by NME.
The cargo ship itself was brought to the city in 1982 as a showboat and just in 1990 that it became an underground nightclub where bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Portshead, Massive Attack and lots of local ones have performed. Thekla has also the honour of having a Banksy graffiti outside its hull.
Another amazing venue to be checked is the Start The Bus, a mix of restaurant, café, bar, art gallery and probably the coolest cultural space in the city. The Stairway to burger heaven is an unforgettable experience and during the weekend, the avenue has music for all tastes.
The best way to finish your visit to Bristol is heading down to the outstanding and legendary Clifton Bridge, which is tacked away from the city centre, at the Clifton Village.
As you walk along this amazing suspension bridge, which was built in 1864, you will see houses located along the river and boats passing through, with the seagulls providing a perfect soundtrack. But the true reward is a fantastic view of one of the most beautiful cities in UK.
* This is an adaptation of what was published originally here on September 2012.