The Bristol area guide for the over 50's visitor

I found a lot of helpful information on line for families who want to visit the West of England but a lot less for older travellers. I hope to provide the more mature traveller some information and inspiration for holidays or day trips to Bristol and Bath.

I have lived in Bristol for most of my life and I enjoy exploring and taking photographs. I hope to share some of my discoveries with you and provide some links which I hope will make it easier for you to plan your own trip. I would like to give you some suggestions of places you might not find on your own.

The 3 D planetarium in Millenium Square
Bristol Planetarium

Bristol is the largest city in the South West and the gateway to Devon and Cornwall and to South Wales.  Tourists come to visit the shopping centres at Cabot circus and Cribbs causeway as well as to see Brunel’s suspension bridge and the Great Britain. It  has a slightly subversive street culture with homegrown graffitti artists  such as Banksy.

It is a former port city with an uncomfortable past. It owes much of its prosperity to the transatlantic slave trade.  It was a triangular trade, goods such as pots and pans were shipped to  West Africa and exchanged for slaves who were taken to the West Indies to work on the sugar plantations. In return merchants bought sugar and tobacco back to Bristol.

Nowadays the harbour area has been turned into a fashionable recreation area where you can see Brunel’s ship the Great Britain which was built in 1854 and took  thousands of emigrants to America and Australia before being abandoned in the Falkland isles. In the 1970’s she was returned to Britain as a rusty hulk a nd has been lovingly restored.

Parks and gardens

Bristol is the only British city to have held the title European green capital which it did in 2015. We are also proud of the fact that the city led the way in developing the national cycle network.

Bristol has a lot of open green space. Perhaps the most famous are the Clifton Downs but you should also visit the Ashton Court Estate where you will find the famous rose garden and be able to watch the deer herds. 

One of my favourite parks is Brandon Hill where you can ascend the Cabot tower for magnificent views over the city or visit the wild flower meadows in summer. If you are a keen gardener you will enjoy the University botanic garden or the flowers in Bristol zoo. For something a bit different how about visiting Bristol cathedral café and enjoying a coffee in the peaceful cathedral garden.

Museums and art galleries

Bristol has several award winning museums which are free to enter. Bristol city museum and art gallery is situated at the top of Park Street and has a fine collection of Egyptian artefacts. 

M shed a converted warehouse on the harbourside tells the story of Bristol’s development through the centuries and its industrial past. A new addition is Bristol aerospace museum at Filton which houses the last Concorde to fly. The Concorde which was built in Filton was the famous supersonic plane with the bent nose which was built in Bristol.

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The Avon gorge

This is perhaps one of the most famous views in Bristol. I took this picture from the Clifton suspension bridge. The bridge is free for pedestrians to walk across and you can learn more about its construction in the free Brunel exhibition on the Ashton side. For an even better view of the gorge take a look at the Clifton Observatory and marvel at the Victorian camera obscura.

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