Culture and Leisure
Infamous for its affiliation with the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is a must see for any visitor to Bristol. This feat of engineering was Brunel’s first major commission, spanning the Avon Gorge, even if it was only completed after his death in 1864. Brunel was also responsible for engineering the Great Western Railway between Bristol and London Paddington, as well as designing two pioneering Bristol-built oceangoing steamships; the SS Great Western and SS Great Britain, which are now displayed in the award-winning visitor attraction and museum in Bristol Harbour.
Despite its impressive maritime past, Bristol is much more than a historical port, with experiences to suit everyone and many family friendly attractions throughout the city. Key points of interest include: the Bristol Zoo, the world's oldest provincial zoo; The Bristol Science Centre, one of the UK’s leading science and discovery centers; as well as local attractions such as Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset.
The city is also famous for its music and film industries, and was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture. Home to the infamous Banksy and the creators of the UK’s beloved Wallace & Gromit animation, Bristol is famed for its theatres and art galleries as well as a collection of celebrity residents, past and present.
Said to be built upon seven hills (in the ilk of Rome) the beautiful countryside surrounding this cosmopolitan city is perfect for walking and cycling and boasts an impressive route for any keen cyclist to try, taking you through to the city of Bath and back.
As a Bristol resident you couldn’t be better connected nationally; London is less than two hours away and the wonderful scenery of the Cotswolds, Wales, Devon, and Cornwall is right on your doorstep.
Bristol itself possesses two main railway stations, Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. Both stations are served primarily by First Great Western railways and offer direct routes through to major UK cities, including London, Birmingham, and Cardiff.
In addition the city hosts its own airport (BRS) with airlines such as Ryan Air, EasyJet, and BMI Regional operating out of it, and was the ninth busiest UK airport for passenger flights and flying tuition in 2013.
The city itself has close transport links across the country via its network of motorways, with direct access to the M4 at the northeast of the city, connecting Bristol with London, and the M5 connecting commuters to Birmingham and Exeter.
The inner city itself suffers from congestion, although it is motorcycle friendly and as aforementioned has an impressive infrastructure for cyclists to utilize. Home to the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, it has a number of cycle routes as well as links to the National Cycle Network.
Commuting across the city, it is recommended that cycle routes, public transport, and ferry services are the transport of choice, with regular services in and out of the city center.
Bristol county is home to more than a hundred infant, junior, or primary schools and 17 secondary schools. The city currently has the country's second highest concentration of independent school places, boasting Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (all-boys) and Red Maids' School, which claims to be the oldest girls' school in England, amongst them.
Bristol is the home to two major universities – the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England – with several other further education facilities including the City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, as well as three theological colleges, Trinity College, Wesley College, and Bristol Baptist College.
Bristol has been recognized by the UK government as one of six “science cities” in the country, with a history of scientific alumni including 2 Nobel Prize winners. The local government and aerospace industry therefore encourage initiatives to increase the uptake of sciences in the local schools and universities.