How to spend a day in Bristol

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Bristol is a vibrant city in the Southwest of England that sits pretty on the River Avon and boasts an impressive maritime history combining a plethora of cultures. Its social and industrial history is present in its bustling sights and attractions. For those planning to depart from Bristol on a British Isles Cruisel, then read on to find out what sights and sounds you could enjoy before heading out to sail the seas with Ambassador Cruise Line.

Things to do in Bristol:

  • Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • SS Great Britain
  • Harbourside
  • Cabot Tower
  • Georgian House Museum

Clifton Suspension Bridge

When you think of Bristol, you often think of the iconic engineering of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon and connects Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in Somerset. Opening in 1864, the bridge is open to pedestrians and motor vehicles and offers panoramic views down the river and into the city centre.

For those visiting the city for the day, the Clifton area of Bristol is wonderful for a light bite to eat, independent shops and cafes and has a plethora of green, open spaces perfect for a picnic. Plus, of course, a walk across the iconic suspension bridge!

SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain is an iconic piece of Bristolian history and now lays to rest in Bristol docks, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Completed in 1845 and designed by the famous name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain frequently travelled between Great Britain and New York and, in her time, was the largest vessel afloat.

Visitors to the ship today can travel back in time to see what life was like upon this magnificent ship, travelling through the crew, third, second and first-class quarters. Sights, sounds and even smells make the experience as authentic as possible and offer a real insight into travel back in the 19th century.

The blog Love Travelling Blog commented on their experience on the SS Great Britain on their website: “Touring the museum ship was an absolute treat as it is set out with interactive displays and rather than just being able to glance into cabins, kitchens etc. visitors are actively encouraged to step inside and relive the voyage. I was also pleasantly surprised to find how accessible each part of the ship was. Over the years, I’ve visited numerous museum ships where it’s been necessary to clamber up and down steep, narrow stairways, and although I haven’t found it problematic, it could be for some visitors. Don’t let that dissuade you from touring the SS Great Britain and enjoying life on board the ship.”

Tickets are £22 for adults between 19th July and 3rd September, and for every paying adult during this time, you’ll receive a free child package, perfect for those going on a family cruise holiday.


Harbourside is a bustling area in Bristol that is often the beating heart of nightlife past dusk. A vibrant atmosphere is present here at all times as people enjoy the waterside dining and entertainment. The harbourside used to be the home to Bristol Docks, and remnants of that past are still present in the buildings and surrounding areas today.

Not only is it home to eateries and entertainment spaces, but you can also enjoy the aquarium and boat rides down the Avon River. If you’re looking to enjoy a drink or a meal in the beating heart of Bristol, then look no further than Harbourside.

Cabot Tower & Brandon Hill

Cabot Tower is situated on Brandon Hill in the city centre between Clifton and Hotwells. Originally the site of a medieval church, the tower was built to commemorate John Cabot, who set sail in the ship Matthew and sailed from Bristol to what would later become Canada. Built in 1897, the tower was built and paid for by public subscription, and the area surrounding the tower was subsequently called Cabot too.

If you’re looking for a glorious green park that caters to all needs, then Brandon Hill and the surrounding areas are a great choice, with children's parks, benches and a wonderful array of flora and fauna.

Georgian House Museum

Bristol is known for its Georgian architecture, and there is no location more iconic in the area than 7 Great George Street, which is now known as the Georgian House Museum. Built in 1790 for John Pinney, it is now one of the best-preserved examples of a late 18th-century Georgian townhouse in the UK.

You’ll be able to meander through the maze of rooms, including the dining room, study, drawing room, library, bedrooms and even the hidden staircase. Open from April to the end of December, the house is a real treat for those visiting the city.

READ MORE: How to spend a day in Liverpool

If you’re planning to enjoy a no-fly cruise on Ambition from Bristol Port, then why not take a little time prior to enjoying the sights and sounds of Bristol? For more articles and guides like this, then head to our blog and have an explore.