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URBAN ADVENTURES IN BRISTOL!
Whisk yourself away for a weekend of fun in beautiful Bristol! Located right in the heart of the city, the stylish Radisson Blu Hotel is a great base for exploring all Bristol has to offer. On the hotel’s doorstep, you’ll find a myriad of cosy cafés and restaurants, while the charming streets of the Old Town are just a few minutes’ walk away. Close by, explore legendary Glastonbury Abbey and marvel at the many historic castles.
Immerse yourself in Bristol and you’ll find pirates and castles, legendary ships and diverse architecture, contemporary street art and open green spaces. Bristol is the second largest city in the south of England and its core revolves around its place in history as a shipbuilding giant. You’ll hear stories of tobacco trading, slavery and the lives of the risky privateers and you’ll see one of the city’s incredible restored ships, the world’s first ocean liner, the Victorian SS Great Britain.
Bristol has evolved into a centre for media, science and innovation – it was voted as the first official UK Cycling City in 2008 and will carry the prestigious European Green Capital title for 2015. It’s a big bold University town, rich in history, art and culture and bubbling over with things to do. The Radisson Blu Bristol, Hotel is right at the very centre of this magnetic melting pot, close to the famous floating harbour and within walking distance of the Bristol Hippodrome and the main shopping streets. The hotel has an ideal location for you to explore – you may even bump into Blackbeard, Bristol’s most famous pirate.
The city is divided into areas, each with its own history. The Harbour has been redeveloped with shops, bars and restaurants and it’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon strolling or taking a boat tour. In the Old Town is Queen’s Square, home to some of Bristol’s oldest buildings including Custom House, which used to collect the taxes from the ships and their privateers. Big business is still done here inside the grand carved buildings. Wander the cobbled streets, pop into pubs or browse in the famous St Nicholas Market for quirky artefacts. Find the Christmas Steps, a 17th Century shopping street, or head to the flagship Cabot Circus shopping area for all things modern. The Old Market, with over 60 listed buildings, is where you’ll find antiques and vintage clothes, but when the sun sets this is the place to enjoy a colourful nightlife too. Stokes Croft feels like an open air museum dedicated to street art, including Bristol’s Banksy and in stark contrast there’s Clifton with its Georgian houses, leafy streets and the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge built in 1831. The views from here are a reminder that Bristol is the gateway to much more – an easy day trip to the Cotswolds, the southeast and Wales beyond.
If you’re feeling relaxed it may be time to leave the hotel and explore a bit of Bristol. We’ve picked just six cultural, historical and fun things to do while you’re here. For more great ideas just ask one of the hotel staff.
- You can’t visit Bristol without taking a look at its seafaring history and The Matthew is a great boat to get on board – it’s a reconstruction of John Cabot’s boat when he discovered Newfoundland in 1497 and The Matthew has actually done the same trip in honour of this achievement. Head to the harbour for tours and sailing trips with great views of Bristol.
- Just next to where The Matthew is moored is the new museum M Shed, which is on Bristol’s wharf. The museum is a contemporary event space in an old working shed and it tells the story of Bristol covering over 2000 years. There are exhibitions, objects, videos and places to discuss and debate the past present and future of the city.
- Head out to the theatre for the night at the Bristol Old Vic. This has been the place to watch talented thespians tread the boards since 1766. The theatre is having a lot of money spent on its redevelopment without affecting any of its popular performances and the £19.2 million project will be finished in 2016.
- Take a walking tour around Bristol and find Banksy’s art, quiet cathedrals or old merchants’ pubs and markets. If you’re interested in architecture, history or simply just want to get to know Bristol on your terms walking is a great way to explore the city. 5. Stick on your swimmers and get yourself to the famous Victorian Lido. If you don’t fancy a dip then don’t worry you can watch others take the plunge while you eat cake and drink coffee in the old viewing gallery restaurant.
- Tee off on one of Bristol’s beautiful golf courses. There are several to choose from – old school clubs like Filton, Henbury and Cleveden, which has amazing views over the Channel and the new courses like The Players Club, which is known for its challenging water holes.
For a night out in Bristol you can enjoy a meal and a drink or head out for some live music to see local bands and world famous singers. Here are a few popular music venues you can check out.
Bristol has a lot of trendy places to listen to music from the University Music Department’s Victoria Rooms which have been used for music concerts and even book readings from Charles Dickens since 1842, to the cool redbrick Tobacco Factory Theatre and Brewery Theatre which showcase fresh new talent. Mix it up a bit and head out for a night at The Old Fire Station which has three large rooms and a courtyard – great for those balmy summer evenings listening to live music. Another popular venue, and well known to the locals, is St George’s Bristol – centrally located in the city’s West End and close to the water. The acoustics here are spot on and the venue hosts around 200 events a year from folk to jazz to blues to classical.
For something completely different and a beautiful venue in the summer months, head out to the National Arboretum, Westonbirt. Here you can listen to bands in the middle of the green and diverse 600 acre parkland with more than 15,000 specimens of rare and beautiful plants. Back to the buzz of the city don’t miss out on the live gigs at The Canteen – if you want something really upbeat then the weekend events here are great and you’ll see live samba bands and crazy hip hop orchestras – you can even grab a bite to eat. You’ll need to check about tickets and how to book for all these venues so ask the concierge who will be happy to help and may have a few more Bristol music tips!