The bustling city of Bristol in southwest England is famous for its university, its eclectic cultural offerings and the dramatic Clifton Suspension Bridge that straddles the River Avon. Thanks to the countless trendy bars, lively events and cool attractions in the city, Bristol consistently ranks highly in lists of the most liveable cities in the UK, and in Europe as a whole. Whether you're doing a day or weekend trip from London (it's three hours away by train) or a road trip around England, you're in for a treat when you visit Bristol.
Fun fact: Bristol is also home to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, the largest annual meeting of hot air balloons in all of Europe!
Ancient Roman houses and Iron Age forts discovered in the area indicate that this region has been occupied for thousands of years. Officially founded around 1000 AD, Bristol became one of the main trading centres and ports in the country. Later on, it was an important departure point for early exploration voyages to the New World. And since the expansion of its Avonmouth docklands and the Royal Portbury Dock in the 1900s, the city has continued to grow both in population and economically.
One of Bristol's most recognisable landmarks is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, a veritable icon of the city. The bridge was designed by world-renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was also responsible for building the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping (with his father), as well as working on the Great Western Railway and numerous important transatlantic steamships and bridges.
A new museum dedicated to the engineer, the Being Brunel museum, was opened in Bristol in March 2018. Here you can learn more about his life, his achievements, and the relevance of his work today.
Another important Bristolian is the world-famous street artist Banksy. He began painting his distinctive graffiti on Bristol's city walls back in the 90s, and these days he's one of the best-known artists in the world. When you're strolling around the city centre, keep your eyes peeled and see how many of his murals you can spot.