Bristol is the jewel of the south west.
A lush English belle of a city that stands on its own when it comes to architecture, culture, music and sheer proximity to Wales. But for a relatively small place, it can still be tricky to traverse. That’s why we’ve taken the time to unearth all the best places you want to be visiting while you’re here.
Follow our Bristol taxi driver’s guide for great advice on where to go, drink and chow down in this west country mini metropolis.
To anyone who’s never been to Bristol before, the first thing you’ll probably fall in love with is the accent. Trust us, once you’ve been called ‘my luvverly’ for the first time, you’ll never want to be addressed any other way again.
Step out of the train station at Temple Meads and you’ll quickly grasp the ‘other’ beauty of Bristol. Tall, sloping hills stretching upwards in every direction (Bristolians aren’t afraid of a big hill – perhaps one of the reasons everyone’s so fit around here).
But to get to know the city better you’ve got to really get under its skin. Boasting a rich history of ocean trade, musical innovation and outright invention, this is a place worth getting to know.
Bristol is not only the birthplace of Ribena, it also lays claim to being the first place to create blankets, chocolate bars and of course, drum & bass. As well as being home to the elusive street artist Banksy and at one time, lauded architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel. We know, it’s a lot to take in right? There’s really only one way to do it properly. Book with Addison Lee and you’ll be choosing more than just a Bristol Taxi service. You’ll be choosing better standards, fair pricing and above all, a service you can rely on.
Whether you’re local to the area or it’s your first time visiting, Addison Lee are here to help.
Where to drink
This snug little den, not far from the epic sights of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, (just sayin’, in case you’re nearby) is a Bristol institution. Known as the Cori Tap to locals, the internet and just about anyone who’s ever been here. This place famously serves a lot of its drinks in halves. Why you ask? Well it’s because of the scrumpy. If you’re not familiar, scrumpy is a particularly potent home-made cider. And if there’s one thing Bristol’s famous for, its cider. Drink at your peril but do enjoy this lovely little boozer.
8 Sion Place, Clifton BS8 4AX
It’s no mean feat hiding four floors of cocktail bar from sight but the Milk Thistle have managed it. Of course, like most hidden bars, this one is well worth seeking out. Inside it’s a near viscous blend of dark leathers, oak panelling and the occasional stuffed animal. This place breathes its own history. The drinks are suitably sublime, with all manner of cocktails, classic and revived available across the different floors. And they also knock out some pretty decent food if you’re feeling peckish.
Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, BS1 1EB
Bristol’s a pretty cool place. You’re probably starting to gather as much. And when places are cool, they have lots of speakeasies. But Bristol’s really cool, so it has lots. Another of these sexy hidden bars is the Red Light. A “retro den” on the inside, a graffiti ridden alley on the outside. Just pick up the payphone under the red light outside and you’re in. Once inside try the cocktails, try them all. There’s a vast range and the bartenders will go out of their way to find something for everyone.
1 Unity St, BS1 5HH
Where to eat
If you’re familiar with the Hawksmoor restaurants in London then you’ll forgive yourself a jolt of familiarity when you walk into the Ox. But what with flattery being the highest form of praise and all that, we can’t see why that would be a problem. Fine dining that focuses heavily on red meats and terrific wines make up a good chunk of the menu here. And there are plenty of great British alternatives if that’s not your deal. Owned by the same crew who put together Milk Thistle, the cocktails are also bang on. Try the Sunday Roast, it’s divine.
Basement, 43 Corn St, BS1 1HT
Pony & Trap
Conspicuously disguised as little more than a 200 year old country pub plumped in between Bristol and Bath. This exquisite restaurant is far too modest for its own good. The Pony & Trap is a Michelin starred eatery that has folks flocking to try its taster menu from miles around. Priding itself on its use of incredible local produce and never knowingly overcharging for it. There’s usually a bit of a wait to get a table here. But it’s worth it! Oh and don’t forget to try the Sunday Roast here too, it’s that good.
Chew Magna, BS40 8TQ
Sky Hong Kong
We hear the words ‘organic Korean cafe and restaurant’ and just drool. At least our inner hipster does. The rest of us is more than satisfied by the amazing food on offer in Sky Hong Kong. The interior is simple and convivial. Looking like it stepped out of a Chinese street market. While the food is lovingly prepared by chef and owner Wizzy. Coming from some seriously good stock (she worked at Nobu amongst others), Wizzy writes a different menu every night depending on what fresh produce is available. But she always chooses well. Not to be missed.
2, Haymarket Walk, BS1 3LN
What to do
Clifton is an area in Bristol that’s famous for being a bit posh. So if you’re one of those self hating types who let their politics get in the way of a good time, look away now. For everyone else, check out Clifton Lido. Not your average swimming pool, this exquisite bathing spot was originally built in 1849 and then sadly left to rot in the years after the war. Now restored far beyond its former glory, it also houses a spa, restaurant and bar. Take that Croydon Fusion Leisure Centre.
Oakfield Pl, BS8 2BJ
OK so you may be a bit old for this one. Me, you ask? Yeah you. Because we’re guessing if you do already go clubbing, you probably don’t read about it in online guides set up by prominent minicab firms. That being said, if you’re new to the city and are thinking of getting an early night – don’t! Bristolian’s love of a good night out is what provided the city with carte blanche to build and sustain places like the big named sounds of Motion, the dubby noise of Cosies and the Jazzy vibes of The Attic.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Aside from having just the best name ever, Isambard Kingdom Brunel also designed some fairly historic British landmarks in his day. Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of them. Hanging imperiously over the river Avon and linking Bristol with Somerset, this is one of his crowning glories. Sadly Brunel never lived to see it completed and several aspects of the original design never made it to the final product. Fortunately for you, you can still visit it regardless.