Bristol in the south west of England boasts a vibrant city with a strong industrial and maritime heritage. Enjoy the choice of shopping, restaurants and bars, together with a number of tourist attractions.

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Bristol Overview

Welcome to Bristol

The county of Bristol – officially entitled the City and County of Bristol – is in the south west of England.

Bristol, the largest city in the south west region has a population of approximately 500,000 and is a vibrant location for business and tourists alike with many sights, restaurants and shopping to enjoy.


The River Frome and River Avon are sites of Roman settlement in the region, with evidence of villas and forts across the landscape.

Over the years Bristol has been administered by both Somerset and Gloucestershire – but is in fact a county in its own right.

Bristol’s location has meant that sea trade was important to the area – and the city became the first port in the country to build trading links with America, and was a starting point for adventures to the New World. As well as trade, Bristol also manufactured vessels for war, with frigates being built at Albion Dockyard for both the Napoleonic and Second World wars.

Today the dockyards have largely been renovated and developed to become centres of culture and heritage with an array of tourist and visitor attractions.

Places to visit in Bristol

Bristol has a great choice of activities and days out to interest and entertain all the family. Take a walk on the wild side and visit Bristol Zoo to get up close to the animals. The fifth oldest zoo in the world opened in 1836 and has played an important part in global conservation. Bristol has a strong maritime heritage and down at the Great Western Dockyard you will find the SS Great Britain. Created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and launched in 1843, the ship had a profound impact on ship building, combining steam and sail power to significantly increase both speed and efficiency. Whilst at The Dockyard, take in the Being Brunel museum to discover the history and legacy of the great engineer who constructed tunnels, railways, ships and bridges – including the nearby Clifton Suspension Bridge that spans the River Avon and local landmark the Avon Gorge. Take a tour of the MShed to discover the history of Bristol over the years including exhibits from the city’s industrial and maritime past and its part in the 17th century transatlantic slave trade.

If you enjoy art then head to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to take in the fantastic collections including the works of local boy Banksy. Across the way on College Green you will find the Cabot Tower, with views across the city – if you climb the 108 steps! Not too far away stands the amazing architecture of Bristol Cathedral, built in the 12th century – take a tour, enjoy the gardens and café.

Bristol has a great range of choice for those looking to indulge in some retail therapy. From high street brands, to designer collections and individual boutiques – check out Gloucester Road – there is something for all tastes. Choose from the Clifton Village, St. Nicholas Market, or head for the Bristol Shopping Quarter where you will find more than 500 shops, cafes and restaurants or explore the Christmas Steps Art Quarter with its shops, galleries and studios.

From a sporting perspective you will find two rival football teams – Bristol City and Bristol Rovers and the ground of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, as well as basketball, ice hockey and American football.

Bristol has a large range of annual events including the Bristol Balloon Festival at Ashton Court Estate, maritime extravaganza the Bristol Harbour Festival, Upfest, Valleyfest and Bristol Americana Festival.

Bristol’s famous faces include film star Cary Grant, Poet Laureate Robert Southey and social reformer Mary Carpenter.

Bristol’s traditional food includes typical West Country fayre such as cheeses and cider – but the area has also gained a reputation for being the burger capital of Britain with some amazing examples available in the many restaurants of the city.

Getting There

Bristol is well connected to the UK’s transport network. The M4 brings road traffic from England and across the River Severn Crossing from Wales, whilst the M5 runs past the city from Birmingham.

The mainline railway runs from London to Bristol and on into Wales, whilst Bristol Airport is the main route for travellers flying into the region.

Businesses in Bristol

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