If you have just one day in Bristol you need this Bristol travel blog to know how to really make the most of it.
You don’t need to go far to have an adventure, especially not now. If your idea of adventure, or your budget for adventure, are a little more UK than universal, then our beautiful land of Great Britain has a lot to explore. Spending 24 hours in Bristol is a great way to have a getaway, without going too far.
– How to see Bristol in a day
Bristol is a coastal city, on the west of GB, towards Wales. Outside of London, Bristol is known as one of the most desirable places for the young and trendy to live, but with 24 hours in Bristol, you don’t need to worry about those house prices. We’re here to have fun!
But for now, here’s how I think you should spend your 24 hours in Bristol. Activities, food, shopping, and a place to stay all included.
24 Hours in Bristol
In this Bristol travel blog you’ll get to see all the top sites in the city, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton, the city centre, Stokes Croft, the Science Museum and Bristol Museum too. I’d strongly recommend you walk the route, that way you’ll get to see a whole bunch of amazing Bristol attractions along the way too.
When to visit Bristol
The best time to visit Bristol is when there’s a festival on. Bristol loves a festival, but the best one of all is the International Balloon Fiesta in August. This is a great time to see hot air balloons flying all over Bristol, a brilliant time for keen photographers. If I could choose anytime for you to visit Bristol – this would be it.
What to see in Bristol in 24 hours
10am The Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is the obvious choice for your 24 hours in Bristol. This 75m high bridge is the icon of Bristol, and on the beautifully sunny day I was there it was easy to see why. I walked across, and back again, and admired the view from being up that high.
You can go to the Observatory for the best views, but I was an early bird that day and it didn’t open till 10. Let me know what it’s like?
11am Mooch round Clifton
About a mile’s walk away, Clifton is such a pretty place to look round – all colourful houses, wonky streets, beautiful vistas and green spaces. Walk back through Park Street and College Green for maximum Bristol beauty.
Check out the Clifton Lido if you want an outdoor swim, or Birdcage Walk for a quick photo. I swear, I was crouching down taking a picture and a squirrel came over and offered me a nut, I’m not even joking.
If you’re visiting Bristol on the weekend, as would be normal, then check out some of the tours. Cycling is big here, as is street art (Banksys galore!), see the Harbourside by boat, or go up in a hot air balloon – sadly for me none of these run on Mondays, which is when I was last there.
Of course there are coffee bars all over, this is a city after all. Avoid the big chains, if you want a Bristol chain try Cafe Gusto, or head to Wainright’s Coffee in Clifton. I had a really nice cold brew there just a few minutes walk from the suspension bridge.
You can take it to sit in the nearby City Hall and Bristol Cathedral grounds for a brew with a view and a great day out in Bristol for adults.
11:30am Brunch in Clifton
Rosmarino is a really popular spot in Clifton for brunch, breakfast or lunch. It’s an Italian-style eatery offering Bristol’s most satisfying ‘colazioni’ (breakfast spread). It’s on the corner of Clifton Road and York Place, a few minutes’ walk from Clifton Village centre. You can get breakfast until 3pm.
Or, go to the Primrose Cafe. I organised about 20 of us here for a hen party once, it was fab. They had a separate upstairs area for big groups.
– Gotta keep satiated if you want to see Bristol in a day!
With just 24 hours in Clifton you need to make the most of the foodie opportunities, and a big brunch is one of them.
If you like your shops a little boutiquey, a bit different and more unique then check out Boyce’s Avenue in Clifton. You’ll find plenty more cute ones around too.
1pm Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Head down to Millennium Square in the centre of town, but go via Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Here you can learn all about the city, and admire the trove of treasures from around the world that seem to have been collected here. The building is stunning Edwardian baroque architecture, so it could be worth visiting just for that.
2pm Learn something at the Science Museum
Walk back into the heart of the city and head for the We The Curious Science Museum. I love a good science museum – playing on the exhibits and learning things I totally should’ve learnt at school. The Planetarium here was just the piece de resistance. I mean, the chance for a sit down and a look up at the stars was obviously a pleasure, but she pointed out the Autumn constellations and told us more about the Greek history of the skies. So interesting.
If you’re looking for food nearby I can recommend Broken Dock. The fish broth I ordered was absolutely delicious – they’d made the boiled egg go pink, and it was amazing, I don’t know how places do these things. The guy next to me ordered a cheese toasty, and by the looks of the oozing cheese over the sourdough, that was a good shout too.
This is in a really good location for the Science Museum, and the SS ship, which I didn’t actually make it to.
4pm shopping in Bristol
I always claim I don’t really like shopping, but somehow I manage to find myself in the changing rooms when I go on these little UK jaunts. Cabot Circus is a huge shopping centre dedicated to all the usual high street stores. I went a bit nuts in Primark there, and bought myself a necklace from Oliver Bonas.
Gloucester Road in Bristol has Europe’s longest street of independent shops, while the year-round St Nicholas Market (or St Nick’s as it’s known locally) is just somewhere a little different to peruse. It’s often voted as England’s best indoor market, in awards that check that kinda thing. The independent retailers here are great, but even better are the stalls at the street food market.
You’ve got to include a bit of shopping in your 24 hours in Bristol, right?
6pm Evening entertainment
Monday is obviously the slowest night in any city for entertainment. There’s plenty going on in Bristol… all the other nights of the week. I could’ve gone to see the big show at the hippodrome: Legally Blonde. But A) I’ve already seen it. B) I wanted something more ‘Bristol’.
I ended up at the Wardrobe Theatre watching Closer Each Day – a fortnightly improvised soap opera that’s been running for over five years. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was actually really funny, and I enjoyed going by myself. Even lolled at a few times and everything.
You could end your first day in Bristol partying at The Louisiana. The bar is based on New Orleans cool, and the music is just as good. The party goes on till late. Or you could try nightclub-on-a-boat Thekla, ultra-alternative discoteque Lakota and bowling alley-cum-bar-cum-nightclub The Lanes.
Day two in Bristol
Head to Stokes Croft
Stokes Croft is known as the arty area of Bristol – where all the cool kids hang out. The atmosphere here is just unbeatable on a Sunday, with BBQs and beer gardens to enjoy soaking up the sun in.
Just head for the start of the area on the map, and wander around. There’s absolutely no way you can’t find something cool to see in Stokes Croft.
There are some great places to eat in Stokes Croft. I had an incredible lunch at Jamaica Street Stores. It’d only opened two weeks previously, serving up kind of healthy dishes in a cool bar which I kind of just want my house to look like. For lunch you can order three small dishes for £10, which I did. Definite 5 out of 5.
I’d also recommend The Crafty Egg in Stokes Croft, although there were quite a few good looking places up there. Turn around, touch the ground, just pick one.
The Crafty Egg is a great spot for chilling, or for enjoying a brunch-style breakfast.
More things to see in Bristol in 24 hours
Cabot Tower is situated in a public park on Brandon Hill, between the city centre, Clifton and Hotwells. The grade II listed building was built in the 1890s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to land which later became Canada. Pretty cool history hey? Nowadays you can climb up it and enjoy the views out to the city.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Bristol Zoo Gardens is the fifth oldest zoo IN THE WORLD, having opened in 1836. Since then the zoo has saved over 175 species from extinction. Visit and you can see red pandas, tree kangaroos and more.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Visit Wapping Wharf to see Brunel’s SS Great Britain, once the longest passenger ship in the world. You can pay to join a tour to look round it and learn more about its history.
If you like marine life there’s no better place to see it in Bristol than the Bristol Aquarium. There are over 40 different displays here, and all kinds of sea creatures to admire. The Bristol Aquarium is well known as one of the best aquariums in England.
Your day in Bristol
Bristol is the largest city in South West England, and like much of England, dates back 100s of years. There’s a lot of maritime history here, but today, it’s known as one of the coolest places to go in the UK.
As well as the ‘cool’, Bristol has a great location on River Avon and the River Frome – two of the best rivers in England – as well as facing the Atlantic. With all the financial opportunities this has given the city over the years, you can expect cool architecture, and a well designed city, built on the hills of the coast.
Bristol is a great place to spend 24 hours. In fact, in writing this I’ve convinced myself I need to go back ASAP.