Bristol is one of my favourite, and most visited, cities in the U.K.
Living less than two hours away from the wonderful city in the South West of England means I don’t need much of an excuse to visit. I usually plan a weekend trip every couple of months to go to a show, an event or to visit some of my favourite sights, bars and cafes (and find new ones to add to the list!).
I’ve split my recommendations into ‘Places to Eat’, ‘Pubs and Bars’ and ‘Things To See and Do’, which will give you plenty to pick and choose from. Whether you’re planning a jam-packed trip or a lazy adventure, there’ll be something to suit you!
Here’s the best that Bristol has to offer
Places to Eat
If you think vegan food is always healthy, green or boring then you haven’t tried Oowee!
Imagine the biggest, dirtiest burgers and the most delicious stacked fries you’ve ever had… but all plant based!
I personally love the chickn topped fries featuring breaded ‘chicken’, gravy, cheese and spring onions. Warning: you need a serious appetite to finish a whole basket of these on your own.
I came across Pinkmans after scrolling through different options for breakfast on a recent trip to Bristol. Although I didn’t make it for breakfast, I was on a mission to try one of their sourdough sweet treats.
On a chilly day, a takeaway coffee and one of Pinkman’s little ‘knots’ is a recipe made in heaven. The flaky, soft and delicious sugary-cinnamon coated knot is a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. I don’t have a sweet tooth and I could have eaten five (and immediately regretted not buying another four).
I’m definitely planning on going back to try a sourdough-nut and the array of amazing lunch dishes that they have on offer.
One of the best places for breakfast in the city. It’s my usual go-to for a delicious veggie breakfast. I highly recommend the roasted mushroom bap!
If you’re just looking for a hot drink and a sweet treat then they’ve got you covered too – there’s always a huge spread of decadent muffins, cakes and all kinds of bakes available.
One weekend we decided to try somewhere other than Spicer & Cole, and ended up picking this spot. The vegetarian breakfast was incredible and I often refer to it as ‘the place with the mushrooms’ because they were that good. It’s usually pretty busy but well worth a wait.
After a long afternoon drinking your way around King Street, there’s no better place to stop for a bite to eat than Pepe Nero in Beer Emporium. There’s great beers on tap, delicious pizzas and it’s the coolest shaped bar I’ve ever seen!
A lovely vegan, community-focused co-operative café in Stokes Croft that’s owned and run by its workers. Whether you’re vegan or not, this is a great place to visit for breakfast or lunch. It’s perfect for a hearty hangover breakfast or if you fancy a vegan BLT for lunch.
Pubs and Bars
A hidden gem that my dad introduced me to, The Green Man is perfect if you love gin.
Alongside the rotating line of real ales and craft beer, they have over 120 different varieties of gins available to go alongside their incredible Sunday roast, with a sophisticated twist.
You definitely need to book in because it’s a cute, cosy pub that fills up quick on a Sunday!
Usually my first stop in Bristol and a great place for a ‘welcome back’ drink.
I love the wooden and industrial decor inside, and they have a great selection of craft beers and ciders. If you like spicy food, you’ll love their Asian fries (just be prepared for the heat)!
Block out a couple of hours if you’re going to head to The Lanes!
Take your pick from a range of beers, ciders, cocktails and (my favourite) hardshakes then peruse the amazing pizza menu (always with mushrooms for me!). Once you’re full up, there’s pool tables, fussball tables, bowling and kareoke to take your pick from. Plus a photobooth!
This isn’t just any bar… it’s a bar on a boat!
Grab yourself a pint, a packet of crisps and sit and watch boats, rowers and swans pass you by. It’s a really relaxing place to chill out for an afternoon. Plus, it’s usually busy for Sunday dinners so although I can’t vouch for them myself, I imagine they’re pretty good.
If you’re bored of sitting around in pubs, not really doing much then definitely head for Kongs!
This bar is filled with loads of different arcade games plus a games console, table football and ping pong. It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours with friends, especially if you’re an arcade game fiend.
One of my favourite places to visit on a night out. It’s a grungy, rock ‘n’ roll vibe kind of place with cheap drinks and loud music. Probably best to head here when you’re a few drinks in and want to keep the party going!
Bag of Nails
Officially (at least on my list) the cutest little pub, simply because of the fact that it’s basically run by a bunch of cats. Okay, not quite run by them, but there’s lots of friendly and fluffy cats wandering around the place. It’s a definite must-visit for a cat lover.
Things to See and Do
Brandon Hill Park
I always head here on any trip to Bristol – especially when it’s clear and sunny.
Brandon Hill Park has some amazing views over Bristol – just be prepared for your calves to ache! Bring a coffee and take a seat. You can sit, relax and just take in the view, watch the squirrels and fall in love with all the dogs running about.
Once you’re done enjoying the peace and quiet, head to the top of the tower and take your views to another level!
From busy bookshops to retro vintage stores, Park Street is the place to visit if you want to browse for music, secondhand clothing, books or little trinkets. It’s rare that I leave Park Street without at least two new books (the 2 for £5 deal always gets me) and it’s a good choice for a lazy afternoon of wandering and cafe hopping.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Arguably the best view in Bristol… you have to see it to believe it!
I remember the first time I saw the view over Clifton Suspension Bridge and I gasped out loud. It’s a great walk and well worth it for the reward at the end. If the weather is particularly good, I recommend bringing a picnic with you.
The Mirror Ball
It’s become a little bit of a tradition to take a photo in the mirror ball whenever I’m in Bristol. So, if you want to start your own little tradition too (or just fancy the photo op) then you’ll find the mirror ball in Millennium Square!
A lovely, new community-focused area to stroll around in Bristol. It’s full of great places to eat, drink, browse and relax. There’s some really cool businesses running out of repurposed shipping containers such as a yoga studio, artisan cheese seller and a very tempting fish and chip shop.
Another great place to have a wander and grab some lunch on the go.
From Caribbean to Portuguese, there’s loads of different cuisines and flavours to choose from but my go-to is always the falafel stall, Eat a Pita. There’s mountains of fresh veggies, grains and pickles to choose from. It all gets packed tightly into a pita or box, with warm, crumbly falafel and it’s incredible!
There’s often a bunch of different stalls outside the market selling bits and bobs, vintage clothing and art, so it’s a fun place to stroll around (falafel box in hand).
This creative space is part museum, part gallery, part unique celebration of Bristol.
Right on the harbour, it’s in a great location and it’s free to enter. You’ll see everything from films and photographs to displays and quirky objects. I once visited a model of Bristol made entirely out of wool – it even included the iconic hot air balloons floating overhead!
Gigs and Theatre
Bristol is fantastic for live music and shows, especially for those living in Wales. If an artist isn’t visiting Wales you’ll often find they have a Bristol date. I usually try to coincide a visit with some kind of event, whether that’s seeing Kevin Devine in a cool venue or trying not to cry during Wicked in the Hippodrome!
This won’t appeal to everyone but I love heading to Bristol Tattoo Convention every year! It’s the only one I have been to so far but it’s a great day out and jam-packed with some of the best tattoo artists from around the U.K. and the world.
It’s definitely a challenge to only come away with one new tattoo!
Have you ever visited Bristol or are you planning to?
Let me know if you’re adding any of these to your ‘must visit’ list or share some of your favourites with me so I can check them out too!