Bristol, gateway to the West Country, was for centuries an inland port second only to London in size and importance. It remains a bustling and vibrant city, with more Georgian buildings than neighbouring Bath. Once a major seaport, dating back to the 11th century, its Merchant Venturers financed explorers on voyages to discover new lands and sent their ships to trade throughout the known world. Much of that maritime heritage can still be found: the city’s harbourside retains evidence of its past glories, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s pioneering steamship ‘ss Great Britain’ (now a major visitor attraction) together with many other fascinating relics and friendly waterside inns, all helping to evoke the atmosphere of the bygone days of sail. M-Shed, a new, free museum in one of the old dockside wharehouse buildings which charts aspects of Bristol’s history. Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge has become a symbol of the city and is a ‘must’ for visitors.
Your group can be met in Bristol, Bath or another location of your choice. If you have an idea or a particular theme, we probably have an expert to cover it, so just ask.
Here are just a few examples of what we do:
1. General panoramic coach tour of Bristol taking in wonderful views of the city centre, two cathedrals, waterfront, SS Great Britain, the Avon Gorge, the Clifton Suspension bridge, Clifton viilage and the University.
2. Walking tours including:
Maritime Bristol: Discover the historic docks and harbourside area, the river Avon, famous waterside inns, tales of pirates and the slave trade.
3. Medieval Bristol: Explore Bristol’s Saxon and medieval core – ancient churches, old streets and gateways, curiosities such as Bristol’s ‘nails’ and a clock with two minute hands!
4. Clifton: On the edge of the Downs, Clifton, with its elegant squares, terraces and open spaces, still feels like the separate village it once was. Formerly a spa that attempted to rival Bath, it remains a genteel haven and an ideal setting for Bristol Zoo. A lions roar away is Brunel’s amazing Suspension Bridge. Come and discover some of the characters who have lived here.
1. Combine a coach tour or the Maritime Bristol Walk with a visit to the ss Great Britain – the ship that changed the world and is now beautifully restored. A visit to see the world’s first iron-hulled, steam-powered ocean going ship is a must.
2. Combine the Medieval Bristol walk with a visit to the wonderful Bristol Cathedral – the present church is more than 800 years old and the Chapter House and Abbey Gatehouse date from that era. Henry Vlll elevated the priory of St. Augustine to Cathedral status and many of its medieval treasures remain. Bristol Cathedral is the major example of a ‘Hall Church’ in Great Britain and one of the finest anywhere in the world.
3. A Circular Walk – taking in a ferry ride to Hotwells, walking past Humphrey Davy’s house, where he experimented with laughing gas, up the hill to Clifton with it’s stupendous views of the Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge, down to Clifton village and through a country churchyard, over Brandon Hill, where it is still forbidden to beat your carpets before 6am! Then visit the Georgian house owned by the merchant, John Pinney, who made his fortune in sugar, admire the university buildings, visit the Cathedral and end up back in the centre, imagining the masts of the sailing ships that once sailed into the heart of the city.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finished after his death.
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All guides have gained the coveted Blue Badge and all are members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding. We have specialists in all the topics covered and guides speaking English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. We aim to make tours informative and entertaining.