Bristol may not be a sprawling metropolis, but it packs a punch for its size. With a thriving food, drink and music scene to rival any large city, you’ll find somewhere to indulge your hedonism any day of the week. However, as much as Bristolians love the high life, what makes the city unique is the relaxed, casual vibe its residents seem to exude. Nobody’s in too much of a rush to do anything. It’s this laid-back culture that makes the city so appealing.

Regularly featuring on ‘best places to live in the UK’ lists, Bristolians are keen to keep the city’s secrets to themselves. But it’s rude not to share. So here we reveal some of the best bits of Bristol, and why you should come to see what all the hype is about for yourself.

Indulge Your Creative Side

You don’t have to walk far in Bristol to get a feel for the city’s progressive arts scene. After all, Banksy, the godfather of graffiti, is a Bristolian native. Take a walk down Stokes Croft and into town to see his works in real life, but don’t forget to check some other big names too – Hazard One’s dedication to Bristol’s own DJ Derek and Jody Thomas’ 15 metre-high mural of Greta Thunberg are equally impressive. Explore some of the city’s best street art on a Blackbeard to Banksy Ultimate Bristol Walking Tour. Or better still, make your very own stencil art during a Where the Wall’s spray sessions.

Eat Your Way Through The Day

It’s impossible to list all the food highlights of Bristol; there are too many to name. But you have to start the day somewhere. For brekkie, head to Pinkmans Bakery on Park Street. They do great cooked breakfasts and their doughnuts are disgustingly delicious. Further north on Whiteladies Road you’ll find lots of independent retailers and restaurants. Bakesmiths serves good strong coffee and artisan breads. Treat yourself to lunch at Bravas on Cotham Hill, a local favourite, as is Bento Boss. In the evening, head over to Wapping Wharf where you can indulge in amazing reasonably-priced Michelin Guide-recommended food – Gambas, Box-E and Paco Tapas are all within a few feet of each other.

Save Room For Street Food

If you’re looking for street food, Bristol has it in spades – or rather, stalls. St Nicholas Market, established in 1743, holds a special place in many Bristolian’s hearts. Try Japanese dumplings at Eatchu, authentic Szechuan food from Chilly Daddy or arguably the best falafel in Bristol at Eat a Pitta. Hang around the market to have a look at some of the other stalls, too. Local, independent artisans sell their goods and crafts here.

Drink It In

Bristol is an outdoor drinking city, even if the sun is hiding. But when it shines, it’s glorious and you’ll struggle to find a drinking spot along the Harbourside. Mud Dock, Riverstation and Harbour House are all great central riverside pubs. The Llandoger Trow on cobbled King Street offers the chance to take in a bit of history while imbibing in one of the oldest pubs in the city, and the Kings Arms Brewhouse opposite is a local favourite, serving up craft brews from the area.

If you’d prefer to veer off the beaten track, Bristol’s speakeasy-style bars may appeal. Milk Thistle, Hyde and Co and Scarlet Lantern ooze prohibition charm. And for the showstopper of a bar that even the locals love to frequent, the White Lion at Avon Gorge Hotel du Vin offers the best views of Clifton Suspension Bridge from the terrace.

Just Chill Out

To wind down in this big little city, do as the locals do and catch a movie at the much-cherished Everyman Cinema. This is not any old cinema. Housed in the former 1920’s Whiteladies Picture House, The Everyman offers movie-goers pre-movie cocktails, mid-movie meals along with feature length-sized wines, all in the comfort of plush velveteen sofas. What’s not to love?

Have a great break, and whether it’s checking out these spots, or beating your own path, make it all the more rewarding with your American Express® Gold Card with points on all your purchases.*

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