How Many Days Should I Stay in Bristol? Ideas for a Weekend in Bristol
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Are you visiting Bristol and want to know how many days you should stay in Bristol? Between the world-famous street art, fantastic food markets, history museums, and a view over the city from Cabot Tower, you’ll find plenty of things to do during your stay in Bristol.
With three Michelin star restaurants and other trendy eateries, this city provides incredible culinary experiences too. The night life isn’t bad too!
The following guide can help you plan your visit to ensure you get the most out of any length of time.
Things to Consider When Planning How Many Days to Spend in Bristol
The following questions on the four topics below may help you to understand the goals of your trip to Bristol:
- Your Schedule – Do you have time to spend a week exploring the city’s activities, or will you travel to Bristol from London by train only for a weekend?
- Your Itinerary – Are there attractions that are unique to Bristol that you simply have to see? Plan enough time, prioritise the essential activities and book ahead to avoid disappointment.
- Your Budget – How long will your budget allow you to stay? With fewer affordable accommodation options, it is important to consider how much you have to spend on food and entertainment.
- The Weather – While the best weather in Bristol is between spring and summer, the weather in England is always tricky to predict. If you aim to tackle outdoor activities, April is the month with the least rain.
Is A Day Trip to Bristol Enough Time?
As mentioned above, the length of time you spend in Bristol depends on several factors, such as your schedule and budget.
The treasure trove of activities, restaurants and monuments make it suitable for a full two days. However, if you can afford to stay longer, you can space out the number of activities planned each day. So, as not to get overwhelmed and rushed to do everything in s short space of time.
Is a Weekend in Bristol Enough?
Bristol is a great tourist destination, often listed amongst the top cities to visit in Europe. It provides a modern fine dining experience, easy-to-use public transport, plastic-free shops, and incredible historical monuments.
Is a weekend in Bristol enough? The answers is Yes, if you plan to spend 48 hours in this popular city, you will want to stay near to the attractions in the city centre to save time on travelling.
Is 3 Days in Bristol Enough?
While a weekend is enough time to experience the best things to do in Bristol, three days is a comfortable amount of time to spend exploring the city.
An extra night can add to an already unforgettable experience as you begin to find your way.
Is 5 Days in Bristol Too Long?
After visiting the main attractions and top restaurants in Bristol, you’ll find there are still plenty of things to see and do.
From the ‘well-hung lover’ street art on Frogmore Street by the world-famous artist Banksy to live music events along the River Avon at Beese’s Bar, you’ll be easily entertained.
Spending five days in Bristol also allows you to experience life from a local’s perspective.
Consider visiting a nearby pub in the evening to enjoy a drink and people-watch. If you have the extra time, you won’t regret staying 5 to 7 days in the city.
If the weather is pleasant, you can always unwind on Portishead Beach, only 19 kilometres from Bristol. You can even day trip from Bristol to a neighbouring city such as Bath. Or even visit Stonehenge from Bristol.
What to Do in Bristol (In 3, 5, and 7 Days)
Below are some of the top things to do and how long you should plan for each activity.
What to Do in 3 Days
While it is possible to have an incredible trip with lots of activities over two days, three days is an ideal number to experience the sights and savour the flavours of this city.
Consider starting with a two-hour walking tour to get your bearings on your first day. The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery lets you dive into the history of the natural world.
The Bristol Old City quarter is one of the best places to see the city’s historical sights, be sure to visit the Georgian-era Exchange Hall and St. Nicholas Market.
Spend your evening at the Bristol Old Vic, the UK’s longest continuously working theatre, for a drama or comedy performance.
Alternatively, soak in the sunset views from the top of Cabot Tower, one of the best free things to do in Bristol.
On your second day, you can visit the Great Western Dockyard by ferry to step onboard the historical Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
She was the first iron steam-powered boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1845 and now rests in the same dock in which she was built.
Next, you can amble through the streets to see Banksy’s Girl with the Pearl Earring before a boat trip to the watershed.
The third day can be spent exploring the Bristol Cathedral and other nearby sights like the Aquarium.
The Cathedral is one of Britain’s great mediaeval churches with a 12th-century heritage, and best of all, it is free to enter.
Following this, you can enjoy a visit to the contemporary Arnolfini Art Gallery. It has a programme of exhibitions, performances, lectures, and a cinema.
Consider visiting the café bar for a drink before or after seeing the work on display.
Here is a list of the must-see places for your Bristol visit:
- Cruise on The Matthew
- Cabot Tower
- University of Bristol Botanic Garden
- Old Vic Theatre
- Brunel SS Great Britain
- St. Nicholas Indoor Market
- Bristol Cathedral
- Bristol Aquarium
- M Shed museum
- Arnolfini Art Gallery
- Ferry boat on River Avon
If you visit during the month of August, you may be lucky enough to see beautifully coloured hot air balloons in the sky.
Consider taking to the skies for an exhilarating view of the city below during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
What to Do in 5 Days
With an extra two days, there is still lots for you to see. After exploring the city centre, you can visit the beautiful Georgian quarter of Clifton.
Clifton Village has quaint shops, great restaurants, and natural attractions. Of all of these, the University of Bristol Botanic Garden is the most striking, with glasshouses, tropical plants, and rare local species worth visiting.
The Bristol Zoo Gardens offers 12 acres of well-maintained exhibits. Here you can expect to find gorillas, seals, penguins, reptiles, and even lions.
The nearby Clifton Downs is the perfect park for a picnic or simply to walk in, with an Iron Age fort and views onto River Avon.
If you are in search of a fine dining experience with modern British cuisine, look no further than Bulrush. This Michelin star restaurant should be booked ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
What to Do in 7 Days
If you have longer to enjoy the city, there’s time for some of the hidden gems in Bristol. The Royal West of England Academy is Bristol’s oldest art gallery showcasing contemporary and historic British art across five naturally lit galleries.
The Aerospace Bristol Museum tells of Britain’s aviation achievements and gives you a chance to step aboard the last of the supersonic jets ever to fly.
Exhibits include aeroplanes, helicopters, missiles, satellites, engines, and interactive exhibits.
Ashton Court Estate is a historic mansion in an 850-acre park. This is a fun destination for a game of pitch-and-putt golf, a miniature railway for kids, and nature trails. While walking through the park, you are likely to see deer roaming too.
After seeing all the sights, sampling the foods, and soaking in the art, you may want to try The Wave. This inland-surfing destination gives you a consistent wave every day of the year.
Best Places to Stay in Bristol
There are so many great things to experience in Bristol. The following accommodations options will depend on what you are looking forward to:
Best for sightseeing in Bristol: City Centre – Hotel of choice: Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
Best for nightlife in Bristol: Old Market- Hotel of choice: Future Inn Bristol
Best for shopping in Bristol: City Centre- Hotel of choice: Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel
Best for food in Bristol: City Centre- Hotel of choice: Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
When is the Best Time to Visit Bristol?
The best time to visit is between late spring and early summer when the weather is the most pleasant.
Bristol is busiest during August when the International Balloon Festival takes place. While this is a great time to take in the sights with colourful balloons floating overhead, the hotels and transport will be at their busiest.
How Many Days Should I Stay In Bristol
With an abundance of historical sights, world-class restaurants, art galleries, and theatres, Bristol is an incredible place to visit.
So how many days should you stay in Bristol? As we discussed above, your ideal itinerary depends on your schedule, your budget, and when you decide to visit.
I wouldn’t suggest less than two days, with three or four days being a perfect amount of time to experience Bristol.
After your adventure to this popular destination, tell us about your experience and share the highlights from your trip in the comments below.