2018 Destination Hotspot: Bristol

The southwest England city of Bristol attracts everyone from culture vultures on the trail of Banksy to engineering aficionados keen to learn about Isambard Kingdom Brunel. 2018 sees the opening of Being Brunel, a museum dedicated to the fascinating life and works of the aforementioned engineer, who was one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution; he gave Britain dockyards, the Great Western Railway, the magnificent Bristolian landmark the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the impressive ss Great Britain, a popular visitor attraction in the city.

Bristol is synonymous with art, as the hometown of street artist Banksy, but did you know the much loved animated characters Wallace and Gromit hail from there too? Summer 2018 will see a new public arts trail from Aardman Animations, which promises to amuse children and adults alike. For nocturnal entertainment, Bristol’s cultural scene is brimming with options ranging from Britain’s oldest continually working theatre, the Bristol Old Vic – currently undergoing a revamp that will be revealed in 2018 – to the world-class music venue St George’s Bristol, also getting a facelift for 2018 that will include a glass sound wave sculpture suspended in the foyer, based on a musical score by the composer Philip Glass. In late July, #Upfest, Europe’s biggest, free, street art and graffiti art festival returns to Bristol, attracting more than 250 cutting-edge graffiti artists from all over the world.

And cameras at the ready for the 40th anniversary of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in summer 2018; the free spectacle transforms the city skyline, peppering it with hundreds of brightly coloured hot air balloons. It’s the city’s largest outdoor event and the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

EAT, STAY AND PLAY IN BRISTOL

Bristol is one of Britain’s coolest cities, with a thriving arts scene, rich pickings for foodies, fabulous cocktail bars and some of 2018’s hottest new hotels and attractions. 

EAT

Cargo at Wapping Wharf – Explore this community of repurposed shipping containers housing excellent indie eateries, bars, ice-creameries and shops. All the world’s cuisines are covered from modern British at BOX-E to fresh Asian at Woky Ko.

Birch – An intimate, unfussy, neighbourhood restaurant on the southern fringes of Bristol with its very own field, where the produce for the daily-changing, seasonal menu is grown.

Paco Tapas – One of only a handful of restaurants to have been awarded a prestigious Michelin Star for 2018, this modern tapas restaurant is one to add to your list.

DRINK

The Clockwork Rose – Newly opened, Britain’s first steampunk bar is the fictional watering hole of the adventurer Captain Sebastian Commodore. Its cocktail menu is full of salty stories with intriguing names like the ‘Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster’ and ‘Dark Tide’.

Florist – Set to be a favourite among locals and visitors alike when it opens in early 2018, Florist is a new venture from the New World Trading Co, who already run some of the most inviting cocktail bars in the country; it’ll offer cocktails, world beers and a lip-smacking menu.

SLEEP

Artist Residence Bristol – Set to open by summer 2018 in a former boot factory, this will be the fifth hotel in a quirky micro chain of boutique British residences; you’ll find it in the up-and-coming Stokes Croft neighbourhood.

Kyle Blue – Bristol’s ‘luxury hostel boat’ is moored in the heart of the city’s historic harbour, a leisurely stroll from the centre. Climb aboard for private or shared accommodation and don’t miss a photo op sporting your captain’s hat with one hand on the helm!

PLAY

Being Brunel – This new museum will open in 2018, inviting visitors to step into the mind of the impressively-named engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Channel your inner sailor and head on board the Brunel-designed ss Great Britain for the ‘Go Aloft!’ experience – a chance to climb its rigging!

Banksy – One of Bristol’s most famous characters is also its most elusive; his identity remains a secret. Head on a street art trail and find the graffitist’s famous works on walls all over the city. 

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