Bristol has reinvented itself from a centre of heavy industry into a city full of culture, attractions and nightlife. Whether visiting for a few days or a local looking for something different, you will never be short of things to do in Bristol. History lovers will find plenty to admire from Brunel's SS Great Britain to Clifton's iconic Severn Bridge. Art-lovers can trace the work of street artist Banksy or head further back in time with a world-class collection of art galleries and museums. If you like to be beside the water, then head for the lively harbour-side, where museums sit alongside restaurants and nightclubs. The official Bristol website, has plenty of information to get you started.
Take a stroll around Bristol's streets to reveal a mix of buildings charting the city's history from its small beginnings as Brigstow hamlet to its industrial height during the Georgian period. The ruins of the Norman Bristol Castle can be explored in Castle Park. Follow this with a visit to the Gothic splendours of Bristol Cathedral. Visitors fascinated by the intrigues of Tudor history will enjoy nearby Thornbury Castle and the Red Lodge Museum, where a charming Elizabethan Knot garden can be viewed. Maritime history, which brought wealth to the city, can be seen in the interactive displays of the M Shed Museum at the harbour.
Children are happy if they're outside and animals are involved. Bristol has plenty of both. Bristol Zoo Gardens is one of the oldest zoos in the world, with over 400 species of exotic animals. At the Wild Place Project visitors can get up close to wolves and enjoy a lemur experience. There are also lots of physical activities where children can burn off excess energy. At Windmill Hill City Farm, domestic farm animals are brought into town for children to pet and learn about.
If you fancy a night out and aren't quite sure where to start, then take a Heritage Pub Crawl. Sample local ales in some of Bristol's traditional pubs, such as the Three Tuns and the Hole in the Wall. The latter pub is said to have been Stephenson's inspiration for Long John Silver's Spyglass Inn in Treasure Island. If one of the pubs you visit has a tempting menu, then return for lunch or dinner. Bristol has restaurants from cafes and bistros through to Michelin star dining, meaning there's something for every taste and budget. To help you choose, visit the Michelin guide. For those who like to party through the night, Bristol is well-known for its clubs, from the huge Motion to the more intimate Cosies.