For centuries, Bristol was the most significant, purely trading town in a country that owes its greatness to its trade. Bristol was second only to London, and London, at least from very early times, has been something more than a city of merchants. The first recorded fact in the history of Bristol was noted after two silver pennies, which belong to the rain of Aethelred the Unready (978-1016).
The largest city in the southwest (400,000 inhabitants) is the right place for marine fans. Bristol had the most important port after London, dating back to the 11th century. From here, John Cabot set sail and reached North America in 1497. The former grain exchange (Corn Exchange) and the medieval streets around the market hall form the old town centre.
Bristol Cathedral is one of the most exciting buildings in England and is, in many ways, unique. It is the only “hall-church” in England in which the roofs of the nave and aisles go up to the same height, without any triforium or clerestory. In fact, Bristol Cathedral was the first great church of this type in Europe.
The 32 m high Victorian tower in Brandon Hill Park, built in 1897, is dedicated to the explorer John Cabot, who set sail from Bristol 400 years ago and discovered Newfoundland. Stairs lead up, and the view extends far over the city.
Brunel’s ss Great Britain
Built in 1843 as the largest ship in the world, Brunel’s ss Great Britain was extensively restored. Now, amongst other things, the machine room and the first and third class cabins with the old equipment are an exciting visitor experience.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
The bridge over the Avon Gorge, built between 1836 and 1864, is the masterpiece of the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The bridge connects Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset.
M Shed is a very descriptive harbour museum dedicated to the history of Bristol and its people. Parts of the former industrial museum have been housed here, including old buses and vehicles of the vintage “Bristol” car brand. During the summer months, take a steam train ride on Bristol Harbor Railway from M Shed between the museum and the SS Great Britain, on weekends.