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Bristol Travel Tips

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Bristol is a major UK hub and a rather photogenic city break destination, with gorgeous Georgian architecture, a bustling, regenerated harbourside, and acres of lush green parkland. You’ll find world-class museums celebrating local history and international art, and a plethora of things to keep you busy once the sun goes down, from first-class theatre to cutting-edge nightclubs and gig venues.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Bristol is one of the warmest and sunniest cities in the country. However, this being the UK, visitors would be well advised to pack for all weather conditions, whatever time of year you may be arriving. Summers are usually pleasant rather than hot, and evenings can still be chilly, while there’s always a reasonable chance of rain. Winters are rather cold, though milder than in many other parts of northern Europe. While Bristol is a popular visitor destination, it doesn’t attract global tourists in droves like other southern cities such as Bath and Oxford, so you don’t need to worry too much about peak season over-crowding.

 

Not to Miss

 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the world’s first major ocean passenger liner, takes pride of place in the Great Western Dockyard. It’s been lovingly restored to its former glory, and can be fully explored, putting visitors in the shoes of those who experienced its maiden transatlantic voyage in 1845. It’s complemented by a wonderful museum too. Meanwhile, Bristol Zoo Gardens is among the world’s oldest zoos, and is home to an amazing array of creatures great and small, from adorable red pandas to majestic Asiatic lions.

 

Getting around

 

Bristol Airport is conveniently located around 8 miles from the city centre. It’s served by regular flights from many major European cities, including Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Lisbon, and Prague. Taxis and rental cars are readily available, and there are regular bus services offering easy connections to Bristol Temple Meads railway station and Bristol Bus Station, 24 hours a day. Most major city centre sights and attractions are within walking distance of one another, but there’s an extensive public bus network if you feel like exploring more widely.

 

Cuisine

 

The West Country is the heartland of cider, and Bristol is awash with pubs and specialist shops selling a mind-boggling array of variations on the drink. Traditional, farm-made cider is known as scrumpy – its sharp, tangy taste and strong alcoholic kick can come as quite a shock to drinkers familiar only with its sweeter, mass market cousins. The city is situated around 18 miles from the village of Cheddar, the home of the UK’s favourite cheese. You can visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, the village’s only remaining cheesemakers, and treat yourself to a taste of their delicious, hand-crafted produce.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Bristol is a laid-back, friendly, and forward-looking city. It’s vibrantly multi-cultural, and has a thriving LGBT community, so you can be assured a warm welcome, whoever you are. If you’re visiting from another country, it’s worth noting that tipping for services in the UK is the norm, and an increasing number of restaurants add a discretionary service charge of 10 – 12.5%, so you needn’t feel obliged to leave anything more than this. It’s also common to round up taxi fares to the nearest pound, and to give a small cash tip to hotel porters.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 437500

Spoken languages: English

Electrical: The UK runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +44 117999