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Things to Do in Bristol

Bristol began life as a small Saxon village and river port, while today, it’s the biggest city in southwest England, bursting with quirky galleries and theaters, Banksy’s street art and bohemian cafes. Badly damaged during World War II, Bristol grew rich during the British Empire, its port traders growing fat on the sale of cocoa, sugar, rum, tobacco and slaves.

For a feel of Bristol’s past, visit the mighty SS Great Britain steamship on the river Avon, which was designed by pioneering Victorian engineer Brunel. Other portside attractions include the Maritime Heritage Centre and the replica of ship Matthew, which John Cabot sailed when he found North America on his 1497 voyage to Newfoundland.

You can learn more about the history of Bristol at the city’s innovative M Shed museum, and on sunny days, the Downs are a popular picnic spot for locals. In summer, city beaches and pop-up cinemas show up around town.
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Brunel's SS Great Britain
3 Tours and Activities

Making headlines as the largest ship in the world when it was launched back in 1843, Brunel's SS Great Britain was a revolutionary work of engineering, spearheaded by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Today, the mighty ship remains an important part of Britain’s maritime heritage, now a museum ship that stands proud on Bristol’s waterfront and draws up to 200,000 annual visitors.

Visitors to the SS Great Britain can explore below deck, dress in Victorian costumes, climb the rigging, and peek into the engine rooms, kitchens and crew quarters. Interactive on-board exhibitions tell the story of the ship’s great voyages, including accounts from passengers, crew, and ship captain, Captain Gray; the ship’s many engineering innovations; and its triumphant restoration and return to Bristol in 1970.

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Smoke & Mirrors
4 Tours and Activities

Smoke & Mirrors offers a one-of-a-kind Bristol experience. Enjoy an evening of comedy and magic at this atmospheric pub and 1920s-style performance venue, which hosts a cast of house magicians performing masterful feats and illusions. With seating for only 44 people, the theater offers a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

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