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What links Brunel's breathtaking Suspension Bridge with the silver Orange Imaginarium at Bristol's harbourside? And what's the connection between Cabot's 15th century voyage from Bristol to the New World and today's hot-air balloon heroes? The answer is innovation - a desire to push the boundaries. It's been in Bristol's blood for centuries.
From the dawn of mankind's voyages of discovery to 21st century exploration of the limits of flight, Bristol has been at the forefront of the development of technology and science, the arts and culture. That spirit is exemplified nowhere more than in At-Bristol, one of the world's finest hands-on, minds-on, science centres recently opened on Bristol's waterfront and described by Sir Richard Attenborough as "a revolutionary departure, which people throughout the world will look at with envy".
Those intrigued by Victorian engineering can do no better than follow the footsteps of the great engineer I. K. Brunel whose Clifton Suspension Bridge, ss Great Britain and Temple Meads Station are amongst the greatest creations of this 19th century genius. Step straight from the past into today's high tech aerospace industry in Bristol's Industrial Museum. Did you know that Concorde was designed in Bristol? Here you can walk through the original test cockpit and marvel at other great 'firsts' for the city. And the buildings all around you are a constant reminder of the creative brilliance of people from this magnificent city - the Bristol Byzantine decoration on the dockside buildings and the sweeping Georgian crescents and squares of Clifton, John Wesley's New Rooms (the world's oldest Methodist chapel), and the magnificent Bristol Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe Church, and countless more.
At-Bristol is a unique destination for the 21st century combining science, nature and the arts to create an unparalleled world class leisure experience. A place for discovery, excitement and exploration, At-Bristol offers a fantastic day out for everybody with its three main attractions: Explore, Wildwalk and the IMAX Theatre.
Opening September 2002. A major new museum covering the dramatic history of Britain's imperial past and modern day Commonwealth. Over 500 years of history brought to life using state-of-the-art presentational techniques. The galleries will tell the story of British exploration, trade and conquest and the continued impact this has on Britain and the world today.
The Visitor Centre describes the fascinating story of Brunel's world famous bridge which has become the symbol of Bristol. The story is told through displays, models, interactive items and memorabilia. There is also a Children's Room.
One of the most beautiful churches in all England and one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the country. St Mary Redcliffe church was founded in the 13th century and built over a period of 200 years by the merchants of Bristol.
A magnificent building, home to countless objects and artworks. Look out for minerals, egyptology, oriental ceramics, natural history, geology and archaeology. There are several galleries ranging from old masters to modern 20th century artworks. A programme of exciting exhibitions are featured in the modern air conditioned Exhibition Gallery.
Today it lies hidden in the heart of Bristol's Broadmead shopping centre - a sanctuary in the centre of a busy city. It can be seen today as it was in the eighteenth century. Above the Chapel are the rooms where the founder of Methodism John Wesley lived. His hymn-writing brother Charles stayed here too.
ss Great Britain: The world's first great Ocean Liner. Plus the Maritime Heritage Centre and the Matthew - three attractions on one ticket.
Bristol shows its special character in special ways. It's there in the glint of blue glass, the curve of a Clifton terrace and the earthier tones of the old dockside. The city that launched a thousand ships has also stamped its mark on some of the world's ultimate planes and cars. And where else can you find a bridge with horns?
Bristol's name is known throughout the world. It's carried on products as diverse as Harveys Bristol Cream, the world's finest sherry, Bristol Cars that epitomise grace and elegance, Bristol Blue Glass and the Bristol Sound of today's contemporary music scene.
Quality hotels of the city, the coast and countryside provide the warmest of welcomes, and wonderful restaurants and pubs serve great locally made beers, fine wines and food that is of an outstanding standard, often from local farms and gardens.
Shopping in style, and for style, is a Bristol experience. Visit Broadmead for big name stores selling all you would expect in the centre of a major regional capital. Visit Bristol's West End, Park Street, Christmas Steps, Clifton Village and Whiteladies Road where you will find finely crafted furniture, arts and crafts in shops like the Bristol Guild, exquisite boutiques, clothes for clubbing, music stores, art galleries, great cafes and if you are looking for something very different, try Bristol's East Side where Asian and Caribbean influences dominate stores selling food, fabrics and crafts.
On the edge of the city The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, the huge regional shopping centre, is so well placed to complete your day out in the lovely towns and villages of South Gloucestershire like Thornbury and Chipping Sodbury
An unbelievable range of dockside restaurants and bistros like Belgo or the Riverstation, tastes of the orient in places like the Raj Bari, floating restaurants like the unforgettable Glass Boat and dining in exquisite surroundings like Thornbury Castle or Bristol's Hotel du Vin.
Go to 'Accommodation' for details of Bristol and South Gloucestershire's stylish hotels, comfortable family run guest houses, self catering apartments, youth hostels, backpacker accommodation and everything in between. Many offer breaks with a real difference or just great value weekend getaways. Try 'Special Breaks' for current offers and ideas.
Free glassblowing demonstrations at the visitor centre in Redcliffe where there is also a gallery shop selling the full product range, studio pieces and quality seconds. Private evening displays are available. Please ring for details. Visit our second workshop alongside the historic ss Great Britain.
Take your pick from designer through to high street fashion, from home furnishings, ornaments and gifts - all from famous name stores. Offering a compliment to big name brands, the Galleries is also home to a variety of fascinating specialist shops.
Relaxed, stylish yet unpretentious hospitality is the key to the philosophy of the Hotel du Vin. The hotel's 'loft style' bedrooms and suites feature custom-made beds, double power showers, CD players, robes, fluffy towels & mini bar.
Work hard? OK. Learn hard? Yes. Play hard? Definitely. Bristol likes to keep things in their proper balance. It's a thrusting, high-tech business centre with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and top-notch international links. And it's a city of lifelong learning, with two of the best universities in the land. But it also knows when to put the books aside and let the good times roll. This is a city of balloons and kites, football and film, festivals and carnivals, clubs and DJs, theatres and museums, concerts, shopping, food and fun.
It's no wonder that Bristol continues to be acclaimed as one of Europe's finest provincial cities, nor surprising either that it attracts millions of visitors each year who want to immerse themselves in one of the classiest, most exciting, vibrant and often totally off-the-wall entertainment scenes in the country.
As for events, Bristol's got the lot starting with the Bristol Harbour Festival with boats galore and tons of great entertainment, and one of the world's biggest balloon fiestas (don't forget that Bristol is the home of Cameron Balloons, makers of record breaking Brietling Orbiter and what seems like every other amazing balloon aloft). The Bristol Community Festival is the UK's biggest free music festival, and not surprisingly draws countless thousands, and the St Pauls Carnival is an amazing celebration by the city's ethnic community - stay late for the latest deep urban sounds.
And when the sun goes down, Bristol lights up. The 'Strip' on Whiteladies Road offers an amazing range of places to eat, drink and party while the city centre, the waterfront and Clifton have recently come to the fore as places to be entertained, eat, drink and while away time. But having said that, Bristol is definitely not just about having a wild time. Its great historic parks offer wonderfully tranquil settings, and it really is worth taking the time to explore places like Ashton Court and Blaise Estate, and the waterways of the city.
As far as getting about is concerned, forget the car and hire a bike or take a hike. Bristol is the home of SUSTRANS so it's no surprise that the city offers great opportunities to explore the highways and byways of the surrounding countryside on bicycle and on foot, while many of the city's best quarters, its alleys and lanes simply cannot be reached by any other means. For sport enthusiasts, within easy reach are golf, horse racing and eventing, first class football, rugby, cricket and sailing. For the more adventurous, sports such as rock climbing, motor sports, dry skiing, trekking, caving, flying and gliding, mountain biking and ballooning, paint-balling and wind surfing can all be easily found.