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Top 10 reasons to love Bristol

Famous for being the best place to live in the UK in 2017, Bristol is a port city on the Avon River west of the country. It is the birthplace of Banksy, home of Brunel's most admirable architectural feat and home of JK Rowling. This particular and fascinating city is often described as a happy place, rich in life and art.

But why are they all so happy here in Bristol and why will you learn to love this city too?

1. You will live life to the fullest

In addition to his title of best city in the United Kingdom, Bristol has received many other awards over the years. It has been voted the best city to study in, one of the 5 best stimulating cities in the world and also one of the 10 best cities to live on the planet. The reason is simple: something always happens in Bristol. It looks like a big city, but packaged in a more manageable dimension, and therefore it is impossible not to feel involved and inspired.

From hiking to incredible festivals, including Bristol Food Connections, Bristol Pride, Bristol Sounds and Bristol Harbor Festival, there's always something to do.

3. Flying up, up and away

About festivals, one of the most important and appealing is the Bristol International Balloon Festival which takes place during the month of August. The city turns into a perfect postcard, and everyone wants to photograph the colorful hot-air balloons that float above Brunel's bridge.

These images have become synonymous with Bristol, and there are usually around 100 different hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes. The best way to experience this magnificent day is to arrive early to see the hot air balloons rise together with the sun, and then stay up late to admire their beautiful descent and the finale with the "Nightglow" fireworks.

3. Enjoy the view

The Bristol Three Peaks Challenge is a copied and scaled down version of the National Three Peaks Challenge. Climb to the top of Knowle Hill, Maes Knoll and Blackberry Hill and you can enjoy the view of Denny Island Lake. Although technically not in Bristol, take advantage of your stay in the city to explore some of the beautiful countryside that surrounds it.

4. Explore Brunel, Banksy and more

As you walk through the city, you will surely be struck by the great variety of architecture that the city presents, from the medieval to the modern, up to the specific architectural style of the area, the Bristol Byzantine. However, the Clifton suspension bridge of Isambard Kingdom Brunel is the highlight. As the inventor of the first steam engine, Brunel not only revolutionized the industry but also excelled as an architect. His bridge in Bristol is famous for its impressive size and dramatic setting.

After having a picnic in the park and admiring the bridge, go to the Museum and the Art Gallery of Bristol. Despite the singular name, this place actually hosts seven galleries in one. Then walk to the second floor and explore the Oriental art gallery, the French art gallery, the British and European art gallery and much more.

And what would Bristol be without Banksy? You'll find Banksy's infamous paintings using Banksy Bristol's Trial app, including the pierced girl, the cat and the dog, the masked gorilla (and more - we can safely say that Banksy played his hometown as a white canvas to color).

5. The river "River"

It seems to have made a mistake in the title, but, in reality, the River Avon literally translates into the "River River", because the word "Avon" is a term similar to the Welsh word "afon" which means "river". To distinguish this river from the other eight in the United Kingdom that have the same name, it is sometimes called Bristol Avon.

The port of Bristol, or the floating port, as it is often referred to, is not influenced by the tide of the river due to the locks and becomes a meeting point for tourists and locals. On a sunny day, the port is the perfect place to relax and have fun with friends thanks to its vast offer of cafes, bars and tourist attractions.

6. Exploring mysteries and discoveries

Bristol is full of intriguing stories, many of which can be discovered during the many walking tours of the city. From Princess Caraboo (1791-1864), who appeared in Bristol in 1800 and became a topic of discussion in the city because she spoke a foreign language that nobody could understand, to Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) who fought to allow women to achieve a degree in medicine thus becoming the first woman to be registered in the register of the British General Medical Council.

A more recent example of a mysterious local story is that concerning Banksy, whose identity has remained anonymous despite its worldwide fame.

7. Jump on boats and bicycles

Take a cruise on Avon Gorge to learn about the local wildlife or jump on a boat to explore the floating harbor: many tours are often accompanied by a delicious afternoon tea.

A bike ride around the city can also be a wonderful way to take a nice walk, and there are many places where you can rent a bike and you can do it alone or with an organized tour. If you have problems with your bike, I suggest you stop at Mud Dock, a bar that also serves as a bicycle repair service.

8. Admire cathedrals and castles

History buffs will fall in love with the city thanks to its wealth of intriguing historic buildings. The Bristol Cathedral, for example, dates back to the 12th century and contains very ancient and intricate carvings.

Bristol is also home to the Blaise Castle, a 19th-century museum with a large, well-kept garden. The house contains everyday Victorian objects, a classic porch and a glass ceiling from 1830 and a terrace with a panoramic view of the property.

If you want to learn more about Bristol's legacy, you can download some free guides .

9. Hip culture

Bristol has been called the most artistic / hipster city in the United Kingdom . In addition to having an incredible art scene, you'll discover that Bristol also caters to other tastes: gourmets will be happy to visit the Saint Nicholas Markets, music lovers will want to linger in vinyl stores like Idle Hands and Payback, and lovers vintage will spend half a day at the old market. And don't forget all those independent artists who make graffiti all over the city and stop at the Centrespace collective: they definitely help make the city more lively and avant-garde!

Although it is only a city and a county, Bristol has its own currency, the Bristol Pound, to move money closer to home rather than being sucked into big business.

10. Go around

Bristol offers numerous outdoor activities and venues. When the sun is shining, relax in the green space of the Bristol Downs, dine outdoors in a country garden or take a stroll in the Leigh Woods nature reserve.

For a nice evening in a pub, you can sit at the White Lion, overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge. To get the most out of your trip to Bristol Downs, prepare everything for a picnic, go with some friends and, if you feel active, bring a soccer ball with you. If you want to explore the nature reserve, wear mountain boots and do these activities.
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About Minh Hiếu

Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.


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