Bristol is the perfect place for a romantic weekend. With its Georgian terraces, cosy pubs and lively harbourside, it’s ideal for a Valentine’s visit. We’ve put together an insider’s guide to Bristol to help you have the perfect romantic Bristol getaway.
Bristol is a city to explore on foot. Or by boat…
Take a walk around the lively harbourside area, which stretches from the city centre towards the Avon. Starting at the area known as ‘the Fountains’, head along the cobbled tree-lined street until you reach contemporary art gallery, Arnolfini. It’s played host to a number of cool exhibitions in the past – plus it’s free! Cross the water and soak in the industrial history – learn more about Bristol’s past at free museum M Shed. If it’s time for lunch, why not take a pitstop at Wapping Wharf, Bristol’s answer to Shoreditch’s Box Park, a cluster of shipping containers that host a great range of independent cafes and eateries?
Fed and watered, the harbourside walk continues past famous Bristol attraction SS Great Britain. Keep an eye out for The Matthew, a modern reconstruction of the original ship that John Cabot sailed to Newfoundland in 1497 – it’s usually moored along this part of the harbour. Pause to drink in the view of Cliftonwood’s colourful terraces high on the opposite bank of the river – an iconic Bristol sight and worthy of a few posts for the ‘gram.
Next stop is Underfall Yard, an historic working boatyard with a visitor centre and great café. At this point, you can either choose to head up the hill back towards Clifton Village, or keep circling the harbour to take in the sights from the other side of the water. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a trip back to the centre on a Bristol Ferry?
A Day in Bristol's Historic Centre
Nestled in among the hotels and restaurants in the centre is Bristol’s Old City. Roughly encompassing the area of Broad Street, Corn Street, King Street, Welsh Back and Queen Square, this area is filled with cobbled streets, little secret laneways, medieval buildings and other interesting architecture. It’s also home to lots of quirky independent bars and restaurants, including ones on boats and secret speakeasies. There’s also the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, Bristol Old Vic and Llandoger Trow, Bristol’s most-haunted pub that dates from 1164 (both on King Street)
It’s also a great area for shopping. Explore the maze of quirky stalls, street food and historic architecture at St Nicholas’ Market or take a wander to the medieval Christmas Steps area which has been welcoming visitors since the 1600s.
Shopping in Clifton
Sweeping Georgian terraces, cosy cobbled lanes, stunning vistas across Bristol – oh and *that* famous bridge – Clifton Village is an absolute stunner. Stuffed full of boutique independent shops, locally-owned restaurants and snug little pubs and cafes, it’s perfect for a wander around. Gift shops like About Face and pod stock a range of unusual gifts and design-led lifestyle products. Fashion hunters are well-catered for by the likes of family-run independent Maze Clothing with its curated selection of independent brands.
For a real treat, there’s the stunning Clifton Arcade. Built-in the 1870s, this unique shopping arcade is home to some of Bristol’s best independent shops. Browse art galleries, vintage clothing, plant shops, jewellery and furniture in this atmospheric haven in the heart of Clifton.
Of course, there’s also Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of Bristol’s most recognisable sights. Take a stroll over towards North Somerset and enjoy the view over the Avon as it sweeps out to sea. If the weather’s being kind, there’s also the Clifton Observatory.
After all that exploration, it’s time for a treat – and what better way to round off the perfect romantic morning than with an afternoon tea in a Georgian Townhouse? Enjoy a quintessential afternoon tea with an assortment of delicious sandwiches, traditional cream teas and a variety of cakes in the beautiful No.4 restaurant.