Bristol is one of England’s most important cities, both historically and financially. It brims with attractions, from the developments of genius engineers from yesteryear to redeveloped haunts of the present day. No matter what time of the year you visit, Bristol is sure to entice you with its brilliant man-made structures, colorful parks and gardens and the attractive prospect of rummaging through a huge selection of quality shops and boutiques.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Best seen on the approach to Bristol on the A4, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is Bristol’s most endearing sight. This monumental structure spans the Avon Gorge, hundreds of feet in the air, and is still a feat of engineering, even by today’s standards. The bridge was designed by renowned English architect and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and it was completed as a memorial to him in 1864, five years after his death. It was originally designed to carry horses and carts, yet today it is still a main artery into Bristol from destinations south of the Avon Gorge.
Bristol Clifton Observatory and Caves
Another top attraction in Bristol worth visiting if you intend on seeing the Clifton Suspension Bridge close up. The Bristol Clifton Observatory is a converted windmill and comes complete with a special ‘camera obscura’ where a collection of Victorian lenses used to project images of the landscape onto the tower’s interior wall. The nearby Giant’s Cave offers spectacular Avon Gorge views.
The Bristol Harbour
Not far from the city centre, Bristol Harbour has a history dating back to the 19th century and has in recent years been totally revitalized. There are shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and bistros galore here as well as two of the city’s best known attractions – the magnificent SS Great Britain and the brilliant At-Bristol museum.
SS Great Britain
Another of Brunel’s “babies”, the SS Great Britain was the world’s first iron steamship. Originally known as the ‘Floating Palace’, the ship was built in the mid-1800s and has been largely restored to its former glory.