Cited as the West Country of England’s unofficial capital, Bristol is a city rich with nightlife as it is stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture, making it a popular destination for people of all ages and tastes. During the summer months, Bristol hosts a number of major festivals and is currently ranked fourth in England’s top visitor destinations. With accommodation to suit all budgets, Bristol is an excellent base for exploring other areas of the West Country should you have the time. As well as having a huge choice of bars, restaurants and shops, it has in recent years become known for its contribution towards British culture, especially where music and visual arts are concerned.
A hatchback is ideal for urban driving in Bristol and will be sufficient for motorway driving should you decide to venture further afield.
Driving in Bristol
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
The centre of Bristol operates a one way system, which can be a source of frustration for drivers new to the city, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll soon get used to it.
Note that driving is by far the best way to see the surrounding areas, and a couple of routes into Bristol operate a car pool lane system for cars with more than one occupant.
Bristol isn’t short of NCP car parks and street parking, however cheap parking in the city centre is scarce, your best chance of this being Queen Square at off-peak times.
Highlights & Hotspots
Despite having so much to offer, Bristol is often overlooked as a tourist destination meaning visitors can often get some great deals on hotels, much cheaper than other West Country hotspots such as Bath.
As well as some beautiful buildings to take in, Bristol is also home to the world famous, grade 1 listed Clifton suspension bridge, which spans the Avon Gorge and River Avon. A distinctive landmark, its image is often used postcards and it has appeared in several TV shows and documentaries over the years.
During summer months, the city hosts many festivals, one of the most famous being the ‘Bristol International Balloon Fiesta’. Usually held in early August, and attracting crowds of around 500,000 over its four days, people come to enjoy the majestic hot air balloons, fairground rides and traders selling locally sourced food and cider amongst other things.
Since 1991, Bristol has grown a reputation for its thriving music scene, and several local bands and acts, including Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size released some of the most influential and cutting edge dance albums of the 90’s. Nowadays, it has a large underground dance scene, as well as hosting a wide variety of live music, theatre and art.
Bristol Airport is situated conveniently just 8 miles southwest of the city centre and offers scheduled flights from many major European cities. It is a major base for budget airlines with nearly 80 destinations.