The informal capital city of the South West, Bristol is the destination to visit if you’re a fan of art, culture and music. This lively, creative university city is full of exciting attractions and hosts one-of-a-kind events and festivals throughout the year, from Caribbean carnivals to hot air balloon spectaculars.

There's fantastic shopping on independent-minded Gloucester Road, great global cuisine from the Georgian market hall at St Nick’s Market, and buzzing bars and cafes along the Harbourside and the newly-built Wapping Wharf area.

Bristol has a rich history, from industrial heritage to pirates and more modern cultural phenomena. The most iconic attraction is Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge – a treat to walk or cycle across. Then marvel at another of the engineer’s feats at Brunel’s SS Great Britain museum - the ship was the largest afloat when it was launched in 1843.

Bristol has a thriving arts and culture scene, and the home of famous band Massive Attack has many eclectic live music venues and summer festivals. Take a Banksy street art tour, visit the Arnolfini, M Shed or Spike Island to check out the latest gallery show, or see historic works of art at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

Just a short trip away is the Roman city of Bath and the rural splendour of Somerset and Wiltshire.

More to see

Bristol Zoo Gardens: The famous zoo in Clifton, founded in 1835, now also features their conservation project, Wild Place, on the outskirts of the city.

SS Great Britain: Delve into maritime history on the legendary steamship.

We the Curious: Visit the 3D planetarium at this huge interactive science centre.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: Explore the collections of art, nature and history on display in this beautiful building.

Clifton Suspension Bridge: The most iconic image of Bristol.

Banksy walking tour: See some of the Bristol street-art icon’s most famous works, in his hometown.

M Shed: From prehistoric times to the present day, M Shed tells the story of the city and its unique place in the world.

English language centres in Bristol