Bristol is regarded as the capital of the South West of England. Lively yet laid-back, Bristol blends its rich maritime heritage with an innovative, dynamic culture, making it one of the most cosmopolitan centres outside London. It is also a leader on the green scene and has an enviable cycling culture, as well as being named European Green capital 2015.Compact enough to get around on foot, yet big enough to boast an exciting line-up of entertainment, Bristol has much to offer. The city’s most celebrated sights include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 19th century and celebrating 150 years in 2014, and Brunel’s ss Great Britain in the thriving Harbourside.There are fine museums and galleries, many of which are free to enter including M Shed, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and Arnolfini, one of Europe’s leading centres for the contemporary arts. Attractions such as Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Aquarium and At-Bristol Science Centre, make Bristol a particularly family-friendly destination.
Food and drink are taken seriously in Bristol. There are award-winning restaurants in the Harbourside, including the very popular Bordeaux Quay, global cuisine in St Nicholas Market, and independent cafés on Park Street and Gloucester Road. A full line-up of foodie festivals and events includes the first ever Bristol Food Connections in May 2014 and the return of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, a tipi village on leafy Queen Square from some of the region’s top chefs.
The city is a mecca for shoppers looking for high street fashion and designer brands. The Bristol Shopping Quarter in the heart of the city centre has hundreds of shops including Harvey Nichols. Bristol is well-known for its vibrant music scene and nightlife boasting retro nightclubs, live music bars, friendly pubs, sophisticated cocktail lounges, underground clubs, a classical music hall, and popular gig nights. There is also a daily line-up of live entertainment at the Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic, Colston Hall and Tobacco Factory Theatres. Not to be missed is Bristol’s ever-evolving street art scene, made famous by the elusive graffiti artist Banksy whose original murals can be seen around the city. Look out for the giant ‘Breakdancing Jesus’ created in Stokes Croft in 2013 by artist Cosmo Sarson.
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