Top 10 things to see and do in Bristol, UK
Whether you are taking a stroll through the harbour, walking down Park Street or exploring Bristol’s alternative scene, there is always some kind of music tinkling (or occasionally blaring) away. It may be a busker, a DJ set, or one of Bristol’s eccentric characters having a sing-a-long, but close your eyes and the city is as colourful for the ears as it is for the eyes.
Walking down Park Street, close to the university hub, I was reminded of how expressive Bristol is. It’s not just the street art – splashed across the city in eruptions of colour – the people are also dressed with flair and imagination, donning rainbow make-up, brightly dyed hair, costume jewellery and funky outfits that contribute to the city’s fun, youthful vibe.
Take an alternative walking tour of Bristol’s street art
Street art in Stokes Croft (c) Lucy Woods
Learn about the history of Bristol’s street art and graffiti on a walking tour such as Where The Wall, which starts on College Green near Bristol Cathedral.
Our tour, led by Bristol legend John Naton, took us on a fascinating journey through the history and development of Bristol’s street art scene, starting with the global phenomenon Banksy, whose stencil themed artwork can be spotted all over the city.
From College Green we headed towards Nelson Street to admire the numerous large-scale graffiti projects that formed part of the “See No Evil” graffiti festival in 2011.
The tour takes 2-2.5 hours and ends at Stokes Croft, the graffiti “hub” of the city, where almost every shop, home and pub is covered in graffiti (sometimes legally, but more often than not, illegally). I couldn’t recommend this tour highly enough!
Hang out in Stokes Croft
The Full Moon & Attic Bar (c) Lucy Woods
At the end of the tour, make the most of your location and explore Stokes Croft, which has some great alternative shops, bars and restaurants.
One of the jazzier buildings is The Full Moon & Attic Bar, which has been run by the same owners for two decades and is painted to look like a starry constellation. The bar regularly hosts live music and has a great beer garden.
If you’re getting peckish, drop by Caribbean Croft, a traditional Caribbean restaurant with a relaxed vibe, which serves the most delicious, spiced pork belly I have ever eaten.
Take a self-guided “Everything is Music” tour of Bristol
Bristol is well known for its live music scene and has produced bands including Massive Attack and Portishead. If you want to learn more about the city’s musical history you can take a self-guided tour using your smartphone via the “Everything is Music” digital museum.
The location-based and free-to-use platform launched this year in May, and all you need is your smartphone and a pair of headphones. Open the website (and have your GPS turned on) and you’ll see a map covered with pins pointing to music-themed venues, labels, artists and more.
As you explore the city, notifications will pop up and you can access all kinds of information including stories, interviews, songs, Youtube videos and even 4D audio visualisers (hence the need for a smartphone).