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Top Rated Attractions in Bristol

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Bristol Old Vic

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre is the oldest working theater in the country (it opened in 1766) and remains the home of some of the best theater you're likely to see, ranging from contemporary shows, comedy, dance, experimental and good old classical productions. There are three areas - The Theatre Royal (for big shows and pantomime), The New Vic Studio (contemporary shows, dance routines etc.), and The Basement (small-scale theater). Whatever you're into, your taste is bound to be catered for in one of the three. There is a cafe for pre-theater meals, lunches and coffee and backstage tours can also be arranged - they start in the foyer every Friday and Saturday from noon (except Saturdays in July and August). Watch out for the legendary ghost!

SS Great Britain

Built by Brunel and launched from this Great Western Dock site in 1843, the SS Great Britain was one of the largest ships to be built of iron and powered by steam. You can tour the meticulously restored ship and visit attractions such as the Dockyard Museum and Brunel Institute among others.

Ashton Court Estate

A short hop across the Clifton Suspension Bridge transports one to this beautiful estate, with its 850 magnificent acres (343.983 hectares) of park, woodland, and superb views across Bristol. The centerpiece of the estate is a rambling mansion that once belonged to the Smyth family. Over the years, as the pages of history turned, so did the roles of the mansion. It transformed from a residence, to a military hospital during the Great War, before finally falling under the protection of the Bristol City Council. While the main building has undergone a few alterations over the years, its sweeping surrounds reflect the original designs planned by Humphrey Repton, an acclaimed landscape designer. Amid these verdant landscapes, one can find excellent nature trails, deer grazing close by, a pitch and putt golf course, and a miniature railway, among others. The estate also hosts various events throughout the summer, including the annual Bristol Community Festival and the Balloon Fiesta. Hot air balloons launch from near the grounds that surround the Baronial Mansion House every Sunday afternoon when the weather at its finest.

Thekla

The infamous Thekla is one of Bristol's oldest clubs located inside an iron ship moored in the harbor. Do not expect super-club glam, do not bother dressing up and definitely do not look for any frills. However, what you can expect is top music; downstairs the live acts and DJs get the dance floor moving and upstairs is often more lively. Hosting various nights, from jungle to break beats to garage and funk, the crowd attracted is a good mix. This is the only club in the city where you can gaze out of portholes at swans asleep on the water below!

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery is a popular museum and a great place to visit. It houses fine arts, outlines natural and human history, features a freshwater aquarium as well as Eastern art and temporary exhibitions. In fact, there are numerous objects on display, making this a great place to discover the exciting world of arts and sciences. Particularly popular with kids are the large glass cases containing stuffed animals. The Museum Shop contains Egyptian reproductions, books, cards and Bristol Blue Glass. There's also a cafe serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. Disabled access is through the entrance on University Road, just after Browns bistro.

The Fleece

If you are serious about your live music head down to The Fleece which showcases big-name bands and a lot of up-and-coming bands that you've maybe never heard of. There are bands on almost every night of the week. You can get tickets in advance from Bristol Ticket Shop in town or buy them on the door. If you want to find out who's playing when check the website. Expect familiar frill-free pub surroundings including a bare wooden floor doubling as a dance floor, a long bar at one side, large stage and annoyingly few seats (well, at least it gets people moving).

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