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Bristol is FAR more than just a cheap place to lay your head when you're visiting Bath. Firstly, Bristol's maritime and industrial history tells a dramatic tale. Secondly its architecture is impressive, with a particularly famous contribution by Brunel - the Clifton Suspension Bridge - and some lovely Victorian and Georgian set pieces. And thirdly it's a particularly vibrant place to be - there's a healthily blossoming arts and music scene and the streets are packed with cutting-edge restaurants, bars and world class museums. And the range of accommodation is wide too, with the best places to stay in Bristol ranging from traditional establishments to chic guesthouses.

Once Bristol's docks had the look of being used up and discarded, as this city's great industries, shipbuilding, the railway and manufacturing, moved out.

But these days they've been polished up and this is where you can find some of Bristol's must-see treasures. Including the SS Great Britain, Brunel's great vessel, and the world's first iron hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam powered passenger liner. Almost 100metres long, she could manage the Atlantic crossing to New York in just 14 days. Next to the SS Great Britain, which is in dry dock, set upon a 'glass sea', is the Maritime Heritage Centre, also definitely worth a look in.

Bristol's new M Shed museum has been built inside a massive old warehouse by the docks, and it's certainly worth a look in - especially seeing as it's free. It's a social history museum about Bristol, which might sound a bit dry until you realise that quite a bit of interest has happened here, including the docking of slave ships and Wallace and Gromit.

Before we stray too far from Brunel, remember to add the Clifton Suspension Bridge to your 'to-do' list. 76metres high, and highly photographed, the bridge dramatically spans the Avon Gorge. Clifton was once a well to do spa resort but became an elegant, cliff top suburb in the 18th and 19th Century.

As befits a city of this size, Bristol has great entertainment options for local folks too, like great parks, a zoo and an aquarium. It's also got an excellent art gallery, an observatory, and an older part of town with beautiful architecture, markets and plenty of shopping.

Bristol also has it's own Old Vic theatre, and, as the home of Banksy, it's known for its excellent street art. So, as you can see Bristol has a very varied and meaty cultural life to get your teeth into!

The Best Places to Stay in Bristol

  • If you're looking for something a bit unique you'll be wanting No 38 Clifton, a stylish and intimate Geogrian townhouse in elevated Clifton, with stunning views over the city and countryside. No 38 also does spa breaks in conjunction with the famous Bristol Lido.
  • The Grand is perfect if you're looking for a comfortable hotel in an excellent location.

Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Bristol, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Bristol

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  • The Grand


    A traditional grand chain hotel but in a central location.

    182 rooms from $114
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
  • No 38 Clifton

    Bristol (Clifton)

    Stylish and intimate townhouse accommodation in Bristol – a real home from home. The elevated position provides stunning views over city and countryside alike. A classy spot for relaxing city break or base for exploring the area.

    9 rooms from $141
    Views  -  Wonderful views over both Bristol and the surrounding countryside
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith, CN Traveller
  • The Bristol


    A large yet discreet, contemporary hotel in a quiet, central location with a waterfront restaurant, gym and free parking. Recommended for both business and social occasions.

    187 rooms from $175
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance of theatres, art galleries and much more
    Views  -  Book a room with a harbour view
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