Bristol is in South West England, and is situated on the River Avon. The city has a rich shipping history, evident with the Floating Harbour which runs along the southern part of the center of the city.

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Clifton Bridge

The Clifton Bridge is one of the signature sights of Bristol. This suspension bridge spans about 250 feet over the River Avon, and carries both motor and pedestrian traffic.

Instead of spun cable, the bridge is suspended from chains, like Budapest’s Chain Bridge. The chains were originally used for a bridge crossing the Thames in London, but when that bridge was demloished, the chains were purchased for use at Clifton.

Above the Clifton side of the bridge is Observatory Hill, which offers great views of both the bridge and the Avon Gorge. At the top is an observatory which has a camera obscura at the top. After closing the doors, you can rotate the camera to face any direction. Naturally you can get a good view of the bridge. Below the observatory is a set of stone steps leading to a tunnel which ends in an outlook built into the cliff.

SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain steamship (which also used sails) carried passengers between Bristol and New York, starting in the mid-19th century. In the late 19th century it took immigrants to Austraila. It was returned to Bristol in 1970 and is now a top attraction.

The ship sits in dry dock, but because of extensive rust in the hull, the ship is sealed at the waterline with glass that has a couple inches of water on top, so from the ground it looks like the ship is in the water. The neighboring museum has many artifacts from both the Great Britain (including the iron-clad wooden ruder) and other ships from the era. Once on the ship, you can roam the weather deck as well as a couple decks below.

Blue Reef Aquarium

The Blue Reef Aquarium Bristol is one of several around England. Once you get inside, you fllow a path through the various exhibits. Unlike other aquariums I’ve been to, if you want to see something again, you have to either backtrack or go out and through from the beginning. They also have a 3D IMAX theatre, which is free with admission.

Around town

One of the more enjoyable places in Bristol is the Floating Harbour. You can walk the full length of each side, taking in the sights of the ferries going back and forth, as well as looking at the houseboats. At one point you can even walk through a working shipyard.

The River Avon floats to the south of the harbour and is much less busy. Just off the river is Greville Smyth Park, which is a huge expanse of immaculate lawn. There are gardens at the top of a hill, and several playgrounds at the bottom of the hill.

Castle Park contains the remains of a church which was bombed during the German Blitzkrieg, and is dedicated to those who died.