Top 50 Boutique Hotels

48 Hours in Bristol, Somerset

By Charli Tomney | 26/10/2022


Bristol, Somerset 

What it has to offer:

The cultural capital of the Southwest, this city has its own unmistakable identity, carved out by passionate locals and spirited fans. From the city centre all the way to the outskirts of Bath, each neighbourhood in Bristol has its own unique personality and style.

Full to the brim with independent shops, markets, events, shows and gigs, the city is also famous for its historical role as a British port playing a major role in the European discovery of and trade with North America. The perfect blend of modern art and history with iconic buildings and sights deigned by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and famous artworks by the street artist Banksy adorning the city.

Quality food is of abundance with plenty of independent restaurants and small eateries dotted across the city. If you’re looking for a jam-packed weekend away and some quality evenings exploring local nightlife the Bristol is the place for you.

Where to stay:

For uber stylish bedrooms in one of Bristol’s most sought-after neighbourhoods you should check in to Number 38 Clifton. The hotel has bags of character and high-end intelligent design throughout, with that all important home-away-from home feel.

Soak up the sun on the sun trapped terrace and enjoy the views of Clifton. Unwind after your day exploring with a drink at the bar or enjoy them in the comfort of your room.

In the middle of Bristol’s historic Corn Street sits Bristol Harbour Hotel. Just a stone’s throw from St. Nicholas Market, home of local producers and bohemian stalls, this hotel is right in the heart of Bristol.

The rooms effortlessly blend the historic architecture of the building with Bristol’s modern edge to create a contemporary style. Each room comes with a Nespresso machine, access to the HarSPA, room service and luxury toiletries.

Where to eat:

In the suburbs of Redland, you’ll find the gastropub The Kensington Arms. Head chefs are always working hard to update and fill their menu with seasonal dishes, locally sourced from South-West suppliers.

You could be tucking into a delicious dish such as Porthilly mussels cooked in local cider with soft herbs and cream, served with Koffman fries and sourdough. What about finishing the meal off with a dark chocolate torte, chocolate ganache, walnut praline and raspberry sorbet?

Just around the corner in Cotham you will find Michelin Star modern British restaurant, Bulrush. Enjoy a tasting menu highlighting the best seasonal ingredients. Previous dishes have included cep & violet artichoke tart, whisky egg yolk, goat’s curd and Anjou squab pigeon, rowanberry, stuffed brioche.

For small plates and a Mediterranean vibe why not try Bravas. A relaxed environment serving inexpensive tapas. Hear, smell and see your food being cooked with the open kitchen.

From cured meats to seafood and vegetarian dishes all inspired by Spanish flavours this foodie hotspot is a must try. 

Where to drink:

Undoubtedly one of the best places to relax and enjoy a tipple is current number 27 on the Top 50 Cocktail Bars list, The Milk Thistle. Set over four floors, each area of the bar features eclectic décor and outstanding cocktails.

Cocktails of the past have included the Bristol tea, which has been described as “everything a Bristol bartender loves in a glass”.

Just off Bristol’s famous Gloucester Road you’ll find Filthy XIII, current number 30 on the Top 50 Cocktail Bars list. Inside you’ll be greeted by a moodily lit bar and an extensive and well thought out cocktail menu.

Why not try a Pornstar Spritz, made with Grey Goose, Bristol Cream Sherry, passionfruit and vanilla? 

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Sights to visit:

It’s hard to choose just a couple of unmissable sights when visiting Bristol, but we’ve highlighted a couple below.

The world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, with work starting in 1831. The striking bridge gives you a full view of the surrounding neighbourhoods of Bristol and the River Avon. The Bridge Visitor Centre can be found on the Leigh Woods side of the Bridge

Why not visit the unique Clifton Village with its eclectic mix of shops and cafes dining whilst you’re there?

For a more central historical experience why not visit Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
The website says ‘Explore our collections of art, nature and history on display in this beautiful building. Find out about the last billion years of Earth’s history, explore the region’s natural wonders and discover more about peoples’ lives, past and present’.

To celebrate Bristol’s maritime history, you can pop along to Brunel’s SS Great Britain on the harbourside. Bristol’s no. 1 attraction, you can learn all about this historic ship with crew talks and interactive experiences.  

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A post shared by Bristol Balloon Fiesta (@bristolballoon)

Events not to miss:

Bristol is a city full of events and activities to enjoy all year round, but some celebrations are not to be missed.

Each summer, the city hosts its own Harbour Festival to celebrate the talent and heritage that fills the community. The festival sees stages across the harbour so you can enjoy live music, DJs, local performers, not to mention plenty of food and drink stalls.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, you can expect to enjoy the next festival in July 2023.  

For street art fans, why not visit in May and enjoy Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival. South of the river all throughout May you’ll find plenty of murals to enjoy as local artists adorn the streets with new art.
The website says, ‘Following three weeks of street painting, the festival weekend will see hundreds of artists painting live with festival hubs at Tobacco Factory and Ashton Gate Stadium’.

What could be more iconic than Bristol International Balloon Fiesta? From 10-13 August 2023 you can enjoy the magical night-time displays and watch as 27 balloons ascend to the skies. A truly breath-taking event not to be missed.

Other worthy mentions are Bristol’s Pride festival taking place in July each year. Or St Paul’s Carnival, a celebration a celebration of Afro Caribbean culture during July.