Wondering how to spend a quirky weekend in Bristol? There are so many kooky things to do in Bristol that’s it can be hard to know where to begin!
Bristol is full of uber-cool cafes, colourful streets, a lively harbour, foodie finds, funky street art, craft beers and independent shops. It’s one seriously happening city.
48 hours in Bristol is the perfect time to get a flavour of this quirky and bohemian city.
Weekend in Bristol
48 hours in Bristol
If you are short on time in Bristol why not book a Bristol Like a Local tour? This customised, private tour of Bristol allows you to see the city through the eyes of a Bristol local.
With no set itinerary, you can customise your private tour, or leave it up to your local for an insightful tour around the city.
Things to do in Bristol
If you only have a weekend in Bristol, there are so many quirky and fun things to do in Bristol.
I’ve created a bumper guide on how to have a quirky weekend in Bristol, to help inspire you and give you some options for fun activities in bristol.
Whilst there might not be enough time to visit all the places in this guide, you can pick and choose what activities you most want to do and create your own Bristol itinerary.
#Bristol is full of uber-cool cafes, colourful streets, a lively harbour, foodie finds, funky street art, craft beers and independent shops. It's one seriously happening city.
Bristol Street Art
Bristol has some incredible, cutting-edge street art to be found when you go and scour its streets.
Book a Bristol street art tour or take yourself on a trip down side streets and into hip parts of Bristol.
There are so many fantastic street artists to check out in Bristol including some of Bansky’s earliest works.
Bristol Banksy street art
Around Bristol, there is a mix of tags, murals and many iconic Banksy works, including ‘Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’ and ‘Well-Hung Lover.’ Banksy began his career as anonymous street artist extraordinaire in Bristol.
Bansky locations Bristol
His striking images often have varying political and controversial themes as well as slogans. His works are created using multi-layered stencils and spray paint.
Several Banksy original pieces are located throughout the city. The main locations of Banksy Bristol street art include well-hung lover on Frogmore Street and the grim reaper, located at the M Shed.
Bristol street art tour
I went on an informative Bristol street art tour with Graft. This Bristol-based organisation has graffiti workshops and street art tours.
Graft’s Bristol street art tour will take you to the most iconic street art sites in Bristol. You will also be able to learn more about the history of street art in Bristol.
Our guide took us around the street art areas of Bristol and explained more about the various murals and the artists behind them.
Nelson street Bristol
We also ventured to Nelson Street to see some of the huge murals that were created as part of the ‘See No Evil’ Street Art Festivals.
Nelson Street has some massively impressive works of street art, including a man in a bowler hat piece by Nick Walker and a beautiful mother and baby mural by El Mac.
They both really brighten up what would otherwise be pretty drab concrete buildings.
Stokes Croft Bristol
After the tour, I headed to over to Stokes Croft, an eclectic and cultural area of Bristol that is full of colourful street art.
You will find mural based works and graffiti on buildings, bins and on alleyways and side streets.
Wandering the streets of Stokes Croft seeking out street art and trying out its cool cafes is definitely one of the more fun and unusual things to do in Bristol.
If you are looking for nice cafes in Stokes Croft, I would recommend Café Kino, a co-operative owned space with a super tasty vegan menu.
Have a pint in a Bristol cat pub
Cats and beer, what’s not to love right? Enjoy a pint in the quirky and only slightly smelly, Bag of Nails Pub.
This is a proper old fashioned British pub that is frankly full of cats. There are cats on the chairs, table, the window sills and the bar.
Bag of Nails Pub Bristol
There are all the elements of a hipster pub here, a free record player with suitably bohemian records to play, mismatched knick-knacks as decor and of course, the wandering cats.
I’ll be frank with you, if you aren’t really, really into cats, this might not be the place for you. Husband is a lot less enthused by cats than I am and he really struggled with the “overpowering smell of cat wee”.
Cat fans, however, will probably be so overjoyed at cuddling a cat whilst they sup a craft ale that they will barely notice.
Take a dip in Bristol Lido
Take a dip in a heated, 24m heated outdoor swimming pool in a Victorian building located in the swanky area of Clifton.
The Bristol Lido offers swimming for member and swimming for non-members in the form of spa and dining packages. Have 3 hours’ use of the pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub for just £25 per person.
If you just want to swim in the Bristol Lido, there are a few public swimming sessions available for non-members during the week. These swim sessions are from Monday to Friday, from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Roll the dice at a Bristol board game cafe
Play a huge range of board games with locals at Bristol’s only board games cafe. Mingle with hipsters, roll a dice or tow and sip on craft ales.
Chance & Counters is a super cool Board-Game cafe/bar that has developed something a cult following with gamers in Bristol.
Chance & Counters
There are literally 100s of board-games in this hip cafe. Super friendly staff are on hand to wow you with their board game knowledge and to help you set up a board game.
Why not make an evening of it and order food and drinks whilst you game? There’s wines, craft beer, cheese and meat platters, paninis and baguettes.
Rent a private screen in a Bristol video shop
If you are looking for alternative activities in Bristol, why not rent your own movie screen at 20th Century Flicks Ltd?
20th Century Flicks Ltd is Britain’s smallest cinema and one of the UK’s last video rental shops. It’s located on the Christmas steps area, next to a variety of other independent Bristol businesses.
20th Century Flicks
Gather your buddies in their tiny cinema and watch your favourite movie in style in your own private screening room in this quirky and old fashioned video shop.
The 20th Century Flicks cinema seats 18 people, you can choose your film and have a two-hour slot to watch it in.
You can also browse their many, many film titles and pick up a few new films to take home with you.
Shop for vintage items at the Stokes Croft Vintage Market
For incredible vintage finds, check out the Stokes Croft Pop Up Vintage Market. Tere is a crazy assortment of weird and wonderful pre-loved items to be discovered.
You can pick up vintage clothes, retro furniture items, vinyl, old board games and costume jewellery.
It’s an absolute treasure trove of wacky items and is one of the best alternative things to do in Bristol.
Bristol Craft Beer Tour
Craft beer fans rejoice! You can discover the city via a unique Bristol Craft Beer Tour.
Bristol Hoppers are organised jolly good afternoons where you can try 8 different types of Bristol brewed beers in a variety of locations.
You’ll sup ales in venues such as The Beer Emporium, a historic pub on the Christmas steps and a microbrewery.
Local bristol pubs
It’s a wonderfully boozy way to discover all the best real ale places in Bristol.
You can also do a Self-Guided Craft Beer Tour, on a unique mystery self-guided walking tour of the Bristol ale scene.
At the starting point of the tour, you will be given a welcome envelope with a map, tokens to spend in pubs, written instructions and interesting facts about Bristol’s past.
If you want to drink like a local without going on a tour, then check out this guide to 18 hidden Bristol Pubs that locals love.
Hunt for coloured houses Bristol
If you are wondering where the coloured houses in Bristol are located, there are several photogenic neighbourhoods in Bristol.
The prettiest streets in Bristol can be found in Cliftonwood & Totterdown.
It has long been a dream of mine to live in an ‘Instagram worthy’ street and walking around the vibrant streets of Bristol will give you serious #colourfularchitecture envy.
I spent some time exploring Cliftonwood, a pretty area of Bristol where the most common houses to be found in are towering Victorian terraces painted in bright colours.
This adds character to an already charming corner of the city and these colourful terraces are one of the iconic sights of Bristol. It has some of the most colourful houses in Bristol for sure.
Royal York Crescent
I also went to look at the gorgeous houses in Royal York Crescent, a colourful and major residential street in Clifton, Bristol.
This rather stunning and expensive street overlooks the docks and has fantastic views of the city.
Totterdown is a quirky little suburb, south of the River Avon and sits high above the city.
The horizon of brightly coloured Victorian terraced houses and super steep narrow roads can be seen from quite a distance.
Totterdown also hosts an annual ‘Front Room Art Trail’ which is a funky three-day festival featuring music, poetry, art and film.
Residents open up their homes to the public to show off their artwork, it definitely is a feel-good festival!
There are also other colourful houses scattered around Bristol and you can spend a very pleasant afternoon strolling around, seeking out Instagrammable spots in the city.
Remember to be respectful of residents when photographing colourful houses. You don’t want to stand on people’s doorsteps or invade their privacy.
If you are looking for a quirky evening in Bristol, then an evening at Bristol’s 3D Planetarium is a rather unusual and immersive experience.
The Planetarium part of We The Curious, a science centre and charity in Bristol. Features include exhibits, live shows and the Planetarium.
Step inside the huge, silver dome and watch a show on a gigantic screen with full surround sound.
Watching a stargazing show at Bristol Planetarium is a great rainy day activity in the city.
We the Curious Planetarium nights
I went along to see ‘Dark Side of the Moon: The Fulldome Experience’ which promised to be an “audio-visual extravaganza, inspired by the music of Pink Floyd”.
The entire showing was absolutely packed, with many people who seemed to have an explicable case of the munchies and the odd patron having a snooze.
The show featured the sort of retro computer graphics that tended to act as computer screen savers in the 90’s. These are perfectly timed to the entire 1973 ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album.
We the curious events
After 10 minutes of hypnotic graphics and masterful music, I sort of entered a trance-like state, I felt as if I had sunk into my seat.
Perhaps several glasses of wine before the show wasn’t a great idea on reflection?
If you aren’t a Floyd fan [then you should be frankly ashamed of yourself], the Planetarium has a wide variety of shows on offer. One of the best is the rather rad stargazing show.
Being Brunel museum
Visiting the Being Brunel museum is one of the more quirky activities in bristol. Learn more about iconic architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the new ‘Being Brunel’ museum at SS Great Britain.
This modern museum looks at the life and works of one of Britain’s greatest engineers with displays, exhibits and interactive experiences.
Brunel in Bristol
Brunel was an incredibly bold and skilled engineer, designing bridges, ships and railway lines in the 19th century.
When you visit ‘Being Brunel’ you can have a glimpse into the mind of a genius.
You can literally enter Brunel’s mind when you step inside a giant head of Brunel, for an audio-visual experience that shows life through his eyes.
SS Great Britain prices
It’s a slightly strange experience being sat inside a giant head and watching recreated scenes of Brunel’s life, complete with sounds and smells.
Entry to Being Brunel is included in the ticket price for SS Great Britain.
Current ticket prices for SS Great Britain are:
- Adult: £17
- Child 5-16: £10
- Children age 4 and under: Free
Boat ride around Bristol Harbourside
Bristol Harbourside is a vibrant and happening place to hang out. There are markets, bars, restaurants, attractions and great vibes.
You can also see the harbourside from the water with a Hop-On Hop-Off Bristol Sightseeing Cruise.
See some of the iconic sights of Bristol from your vessel including Brunel’s SS Great Britain and St Mary Redcliffe Church.
You can choose to relax onboard for an 80-minute journey around Bristol harbour or hop on and off at one of the 16 different stops to discover Bristol at your own pace.
Discover Foodie finds Wapping Wharf
Wander around harbourside development Wapping Wharf to find funky bars, restaurants and cafes and the remarkable CARGO. Bristol’s first-ever shipping container yard.
Wapping Wharf is Bristol’s exciting new quarter and is hugely adding to the already thriving food and drink scene in Bristol.
You can eat, shop and drink all in one nifty container city. There are so many good places to eat in Wapping Wharf, you will be spoiled for choice.
Guided tour of Clifton Suspension Bridge
Take a walk across the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
This impressive bridge spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon and links Clifton to Leigh Woods, which is part of North Somerset.
Clifton suspension bridge facts
Most people come to admire the views and take snaps of the iconic Clifton suspension bridge.
However, not many people realise that you can actually take a free guided tour of this engineering marvel.
The free guided tour of Clifton suspension bridge that runs at 3 pm, every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from Easter to October.
Learn all the Clifton suspension bridge facts and history on this free, informative tour.
You could also spend some time wandering the surrounding area of Clifton, which has a fabulous mix of independent cafes, shops and restaurants.
Sip coffee on an indoor swing
The Playground Coffee House is at the cutting edge of the speciality coffee scene in Bristol.
This kooky coffee shop is where you can swing and sip lattes at the same time. Enjoy quality coffee on their fabulous indoor swing seat.
You’ll also find a free board game library here, loose leaf tea emporium and their fantastic, artisanal bakery.
It’s a brilliant place to hang [or swing] with friends whilst enjoying some seriously good coffee.
Have a boozy bottomless brunch in Bristol
You simply must have a boozy bottomless brunch when experiencing a Weekend in Bristol.
There are so many incredible bottomless brunches in Bristol that it can be hard to know where to begin?
I would recommend the Steam Bristol Bottomless brunch with a twist. Feast on Spanish inspired sharing plates of tapas, that, of course, bottomless Prosecco for a whole 90 minutes.
Steam Bottomless Brunch
Staff at Steam bar work hard to keep those bubbles flowing for you. You’ll be given a lovely bottle of Prosecco and a jug of orange juice to kick things off.
You can then choose between two fully loaded tapas plates, one is for the meat-eaters and the other is for veggies.
These completely instagrammable plates are piled high with delicious Spanish tapas treats courtesy of Steam’s all-new Spanish-inspired pop-up “La Yaya”.
Spanish brunch Bristol
The Meaty platter contains Patatas bravas, tortilla, mixed croquetas, chorizo, hummus, pita bread and olives.
The Veggie platter contains Patatas bravas, tortilla, roasted squash with goat cheese, mini veggie skewer, hummus and pita bread.
You will then be treated to cinnamon churros smothered in tasty chocolate sauce.
Best brunch in Bristol
Throughout your brunch experience, you can keep your glasses topped up with prosecco for a full 90 minutes.
Make sure to tip the lovely staff who are working hard to keep you in bubbles and remember to take it easy. You don’t want to be carried home at lunchtime right?
Steam Bristol is also a great place for locally produced pints, Sunday roasts and a cheeky mid-week lunch.
Drink Cocktails in an old bank
Sip on expertly crafted cocktails in the exquisitely decorated Gold Bar in Bristol. This wonderful luxe and uber-cool bar is located inside a historic former bank.
The olf bank was renovated and became the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa, which houses the gold bar.
This little known Bristol bar is where the locals come to unwind and drink incredible cocktails.
Stay in a Bristol boutique hotel
Make the most of your stay in the city by staying the night in a beautiful boutique hotel in Bristol.
I stayed at the charming Hotel du Vin, a Grade II listed former sugar warehouse.
The contemporary design also celebrates it’s industrial heritage, with exposed brick, high ceilings, gorgeous lighting and spacious loft-style rooms. It’s a very Instagrammable hotel in Bristol with its stylish design.
Hotel du Vin Bristol
Their chic rooms have all the amenities you might expect from a boutique hotel of this standard.
There is a huge plasma TV, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, fine Egyptian linen, magazines and a lovely selection of exquisite toiletries.
Hotel du Vin rooms
One of the best features of my luxury room was the fantastic freestanding bathtub that was situated on the upper level of my loft-style room.
Surely there’s nothing better than soaking in the tub with a glass of prosecco, with a smooth jazz playlist in the background? Utter bliss.
Where to stay in Bristol
If a boutique hotel isn’t for you, there are a range of places to stay in Bristol. From cheap hotel rooms to luxury hotel suites to cosy Airbnb spaces.
Some of the best hotels in Bristol include:
- The Bristol
- Radisson Blu Hotel
- Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
- Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
- Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel
A weekend in Bristol is a really good amount of time to tick off some quirky activities and places.
You could spend a week in Bristol and still not see everything. It’s such a vibrant and exciting UK city to explore.
What do you think of my article on How to have a quirky weekend in Bristol?
What else should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Planning your trip to Bristol
Ready to book your trip to Bristol? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
- Search for the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Search for the best hotel deals on HotelsCombined
- Get the best travel tips with a travel guidebook
- Book an Airbnb and have £25 towards your first booking
- Get the best destination recommendations from TripAdvisor
Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!
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