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Basic information

  • Area: 110 km² (42.5 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +44117
  • Currency: Pound Sterling - GBP (£)
  • Population (EST): 421,300
  • Official language: English
  • Time Zone: GMT (UTC0)

Bristol – Overview

Bristol is a beautiful, vibrant and fashionable city. Its harbour, which weaves its way through the heart of the city is lined with restaurants clubs and bars, museums, arts, science and media centres. The narrow winding streets, radiating from the water's edge, reveal elegant parks and squares and stunning architecture.

Bristol's diversity shines brightly in its many distinctive quarters. Classy Clifton and Whiteladies Road are filled with antique shops, restaurants and boutiques. In the Old City, grand, dignified buildings rub shoulders with Bristol's fashionable vision of the future along the reborn harbourside. Bristol boasts an all-action annual programme of festivals and events including everything from balloons to boats, kite flying to street carnivals, and the city's thriving theatre scene continues to delight and entertain, creating stars of today's stage and screen.
Bristol Harbour

In the last decade, Bristol has renewed its links with the sea in a way that has revitalised the entire city. The harbourside, the driving force of Bristol in the days of pioneering seafarers and industrial barons, has returned to the centre stage taking the city into the 21st century and beyond in a confident and supremely stylish way.

It's a little different nowadays to the rough-and-ready dockside's of the 19th century. The harbourside is now lined with bars, restaurants, museums and art galleries from converted transit sheds and tea warehouses. Every summer the harbourside comes alive for the spectacular harbour festival, and the Lloyds TSB amphitheatre continues as the venue for open air concerts. Visitors are flocking to the waterfront to enjoy eating in excellent restaurants and socialising in fashionable wine bars. They come here for the art, film, cutting edge culture, and for the water sports - there's rowing, windsurfing, sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, narrow-boat hire and more.

The conservation project on the SS Great Britain was completed in summer 2005, restoring her to her former Victorian splendour. The new museum transports visitors back in time through the various phases of the ship's history. All the rooms inside replicate the former glory of her Victorian cruise liner days, and outside there are huge glass plate at the ship's water line, which will be covered in water to give the impression that she is floating in Bristol's docks.

The celebrated Arnolfini contemporary arts centre underwent major refurbishment creating new arts and education facilities. This new centre is home to the Arnolfini's vibrant programme of new and experimental visual arts, live art, performance, dance, film, literature and music.

The new premises are bigger and better with more space, more public facilities, provision of full access for wheel chair users, more galleries and a new education centre including a library and archive.

The jewel in the crown of the revitalised harbourside quarter is At-Bristol. Both fascinating and futuristic, it's the harbourside's major visitor attraction and a perfect example of the city's ability to create something different. Heralded as 'UK Family Attraction of the Year', this unique interactive experience hosts three separate attractions. Wildwalk-At-Bristol has a living rainforest, Explore-At-Bristol is a thrilling hands-on discovery centre and the Imax-At-Bristol cinema is the biggest screen in the West.


Compiled with the kind assistance of Destinations Bristol.