Bristol

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Bristol City View

Image used under Creative Commons from Brizzleboy

A short 90-minute flight from Shannon Airport will take you to the wonderful UK city of Bristol. Situated in the south west of England, Bristol is sandwiched by Gloucestershire and Somerset, while two of the UK’s main arteries (the M4 and M5) intersect just outside the city. This makes Bristol one of the most easily accessible places in all of Britain.

But rather than simply being a pit stop on the way to some more well-known destinations, Bristol itself is becoming a magnet for holiday makers and joy seekers. The international airport is located just eight miles from the centre and with regular rail, bus and coach links, approximately €13 will suffice for the last leg of your outward journey.

Accommodation

Bristol and the surrounding areas are awash with accommodation options. Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs are in plentiful supply, while those who prefer self-catering are spoilt for choice. For those looking for the tranquillity offered by the British countryside, farm cottages and campsites dot the perimeter and are perfect for a quiet and recharging escape.

History and Arts

When you’ve settled in, it’s time to explore an area steeped in British history. Bristol was hugely important to trade in the UK – in fact, its port was one of the world’s most renowned in the 15th and 16th centuries. The alleged birthplace of legendary pirate, Blackbeard, Bristol was also the starting point for John Cabot’s expedition further west where he discovered Newfoundland in North America.

In more recent times, Bristol has produced famous actors and comedians such as Cary Grant, Bill Bailey, Matt Lucas, David Walliams and John Cleese, while JK Rowling also calls the city home. If there is a dark side then it definitely came to the fore when another famous son, David Prowse, took on the role as Darth Vadar in the epic Star Wars movies. Art lovers will also be aware that arguably the world’s most famous street artist, Banksy, hails from these parts.

Food and Drink

Once you’ve overcome being star struck in such illustrious company, take a break for lunch or dinner in one of the many award-winning restaurants. For something a little more novel, why not try a meal on one of the boat eateries? If Bristol takes anything seriously then it’s definitely its food so there’s something for all tastes and budgets.

There’s plenty of cafés and bistros for a quick snack too, and if gastro festivals are your thing, then a break here during June, July or August will delight. Food markets of traditional English fare, as well as more exotic offerings, can also be found during the spring and summer months.

Despite its deep British heritage, Bristol is a fun and modern city. It’s perfect for school holidays, golf breaks, and even stag and hen parties. Visitors from Ireland will find a holiday spot that will reveal new treasures every time they arrive here.

Five for free

  • 1 - Unearth the most famous urban artist

    Banksy is one of the world’s most well-known artists, with some of his works selling for hundreds of thousands. While you’re in Bristol, take the free walking tour that showcases his talent and find out how the kid with a can of spray paint first showed off his remarkable skills.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Tony Hisgett

    Banksy Art in Bristol
  • 2 - Look into Bristol’s storied past

    Some of Bristol’s history is overshadowed by murky dealings in the transatlantic slave trade in the 17th century. At the M Shed, visitors can access over 150 restored digital films to take a modern view into exactly what went on here during that time. The same museum also explores what it was like to live in Bristol during war-time, while also highlighting a rich heritage.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Paul Townsend

    Historical picture of a Bristol Street
  • 3 - Get into the swing of things at a festival

    Every year, Bristol attracts thousands of revellers, foodies and history buffs to a wide array of festivals. Perhaps the biggest and liveliest, however, is the Harbour Festival – a three-day event which takes place over a two-mile stretch of the city’s harbour. With music from top acts, a busy on-water itinerary and lots of fun for the kids, it’s perfect for the entire family. What’s more, entry is free, as are many of the events.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Nard to Bard

    Festival goers
  • 4 - Stay fit

    The local council has invested heavily in making sure locals and visitors alike can get their daily dose of exercise, even in a bustling city. The Harbourside running trail boasts six measured running and walking distances from 100m to one mile, and takes in some of Bristol’s well-known sites like the Cathedral Walk and Millennium Square. So whether you’ve got Olympic aspirations or just fancy some fresh air, this is the place for you.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Baird

    Woman Jogging
  • 5 - Keep the kids occupied with a treasure hunt

    If you have a smart phone, you’ll be able to keep the kids guessing with iTreasure, an app that allows access to public treasure hunt games. There is a small cost of £1.99 to download, but once you’re up and running, you’ll be on your way to hours of fun and discovery. Who knows, you might even uncover Blackbeard’s long lost treasure on your way!

    Image used under Creative Commons from Mark Surman

    Kids doing a treasure hunt
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