The eight largest city in the UK, Bristol holds an interesting and actually quite unique spot in the UK's city sphere, with excellent shopping and a very well connected airport, but also a very village-feel atmosphere that is surprising in such a large city. With almost 800,000 people living in the wider Bristol area, it's hardly a quiet little place, but somehow it really does feel like one. Bristol sits in the heart of the West Country, and area that unsurprisingly is in the western part of England, and is known for its farming, funny accents (sorry West Country people) and green spaces. Bristol is sort of the gateway into Cornwall and the really southern parts of England, and is the main gateway abroad for those in the South-West and South. It's very similar to Birmingham in the West Midlands, which is a huge city, but feels like collection of villages, each one cosy and unique.
Bristol is small enough that if you want to, walking around the different places to visit is perfectly possible, but it might be worthwhile to take a bus or taxi every now and then, as it's not a small city really. Part two of this series will look at the Clifton Suspension Bridge and more.
This is considered by some to be the heart of the city, and much of the activity, business and social activities take place around, near and in this central square. You can see a bronze statue of the actor Cary Grant here, as well as an impressive water feature and what looks like a giant disco ball! One thing to note about Bristol is that it is never afraid to do things a little differently, and is quite an artistically brave and forward place. Statues of famous writers, artists and religious leaders also permanently reside in this square.
The religious and architectural focus point of Bristol, the cathedral is a 12th Century monster, commanding the College Green square/area that it sits on. It took a lot of damage during the bombing in World War II, and so, much of the stained glass window art has been replaced or re-worked, but even so the cathedral is one of the most historical and oldest places in Bristol, and incredibly impressive.
I love old ships - there I've said it! The HMS Warrior in Portsmouth and the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London are two of my favourite man-made sights to see in the UK, and now I'll add the SS Great Britain to this list.
It was designed by arguably the most famous and talented engineer in British history, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In 1843 when the ship was launched, it was the largest floating vessel in the world, and the first iron-steamer to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Although this ship didn't see a lot of action, I love to be able to visit what is essentially a historical museum, but the museum is the history! You can walk the decks that were walked by sailors more than 150 years ago and really get a sense of what life might have been like on this ship. There is no need for pictures, reconstructions or tired videos, as the evidence is under your feet, and in your hands.
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