Bristol is one of the top tourist destinations in the UK at the moment. It has practically everything a tourist could desire with modern facilities, a pulsating nightlife and highly sophisticated arts and media venues. The only reason why the city has not been awarded any European City of Culture accolades is that it’s culturally interesting venues may seem commonplace to the British locals like us and as a result, do not receive too much attention in local media. For example, when an independent cinema opens there are no reports or headlines in the local newspaper, the citizens merely continue with everyday life. This article will overstep this indifference and introduce you to the fascinating city that is Bristol.
When one considers an arts and media hub in the UK, one will immediately think of London. Bristol, however, can rival London in this area in terms of size and quality. One of the hallmark features of the local Bristol area arts scene is the Old Vic Theatre School which has produced a long line of talented actors, directors and behind-the-scenes professionals.
The city is also the home to the Watershed Media Centre which is the first media centre in the country. It is an impressive showcase of different digital art exhibitions with media installations. Furthermore, the Aardman Animation Workshop brought fame to the city through its innovative use of stop-motion animation in well-known features like Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit.
If you are a historian at heart, then this would be ideal to visit because of its role in the Industrial Revolution. Bristol’s Industrial Museum has interesting exhibitions on the changing modes of transportation over the years, as well as the part Bristol played in the slave trade.
The famous Clifton Suspension Bridge is an imposing example of the local cultural background. It was designed by Isambard Brunel and this pioneer piece of engineering has contributed to the architectural landscape of the city. Brunel was also responsible for several of the monuments located around Bristol including the Great Western Railway monument repressing the linking of Bristol and London in the 1800s. It is also possible to see two of the first steamships built in Bristol from the dry docks, the SS Great Britain and the SS Great Western. The SS Great Britain has a unique distinction as being the first iron ship driven by propellers in the world.
In addition to the powerful male figures, local females also have an influence on the city’s historical landscape. Despite being born in Exeter in 1807, Mary Carpenter was adopted by the city as one of the most celebrated females who shaped their current culture. She was greatly concerned with the suffering of the city’s school children during the 1880s and established a night school to help these children. Carpenter also published a book, ‘Juvenile Delinquency’, which acted as a reference to the deliberations contributing to the passage of the Juvenile Offenders Act of 1854.
This is a vibrant city with a strong historical background. Its history and culture make it a unique city in the UK and one that should be visited by tourists across the globe.