When it comes to thinking about England’s most historically rich cities, Bristol might not always be one of the first locations that comes to mind, but the large city in the west of the country actually boasts some of the most interesting and important cultural history that England has to offer.
There are some stunning buildings, such as the Wills Memorial Building and Sugar House (now a luxury hotel and part of the Hotel du Vin group), and various other historic and culturally important sites. Here are a few of our favourites across the city.
Up until the 19th century, rivers were the most important factor in goods transporting between different cities in the country, and the burgeoning municipality’s location around the rivers Frome and Avon made it an essential hub for much of the trade in the country. In fact, the word Bristol translates in to ‘bridge place’, and the city is very proud of the part that it played in early trade between England’s towns and cities.
SS Great Britain
Between the years of 1845 and 1854, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world, and for a long time it has been proudly moored in the city’s port and has proved to be one of the city’s most loved and visited tourist attractions. Visitors to the impressive ship can walk aboard its historical decks and learn a lot about the history of its many journey’s all over the world.
Bristol Blue Glass
Over the years, the distinctive blue glass has become something of an emblem for the expert craftsmanship that has graced the city from the 18th century onwards. Though the manufacture of the sought after glass was halted from the 1920s to the 1980s, pieces of the famous blue glass have once again become an in-demand product, and interesting group visits can be arranged for visitors to tour the factories and studios that create these wonderful pieces.
For those visitors who want to experience some more modern culture, nothing has permeated the public consciousness quite like the rise of mysterious graffiti artist Banksy. With the majority of his quirky and social commentary pieces being displayed in his home town, visitors can perform their very own treasure hunts and go in search of some of the unknown artist’s most infamous creations.
City Museum and Art Gallery
The City Museum and Art Gallery is one of the leading museums in England, boasting rich collections of local glassware – blue, naturally -, natural history, Egyptology, art, local archaeology and Chinese ceramics. A consistent top attraction for visitors to the city, the museum also plays a part in many separate attractions including the Blaise Castle, the remains of Kings Weston Roman Villa and the famous Tudor Red Lodge built in 1580.