Bristol Tourist Information
Tourism in Bristol! Find out about the five greatest historical sights in Bristol and how its varied and colourful past is a major part of tourism.
There are several historical sights in the city of Bristol, England worth visiting. The city has a rich and varied past, and although these sights have seen slight alterations to allow for the necessities of tourism, they still hold much of their ancient charm and intrigue.
Bristol Cathedral stands out as one of the oldest of its historical sights. It was founded in 1140 by Robert Fitzhardinge, originally as Augustinian abbey. It was only in 1542 that it was converted to a cathedral. It is obvious from the wall paintings, carvings, mosaic floors and even gardens that the Saxons heavily influenced the design of the cathedral. It is an excellent place to go and visit, especially for those wishing to experience peaceful and spiritual surroundings. If you arrive at the right time you might even get to listen to their outstanding choir, accompanied by an ancient organ.
‘The Matthew’ was a small sailing ship given to John Cabot of Spain by Henry VII, so that he could fulfil his dream of setting off on a voyage of discovery. With a crew of only eighteen men he set off west from Bristol in spring, and via Ireland, it is thought he reached the coast of Newfoundland. He returned in late summer of the same year with proof of his accomplishment, and was pronounced a hero. In 1994, a replica of the ship was produced using traditional methods, and as a near perfect match stands as one of the truly great historical sights of Bristol.
The Clifton suspension bridge is an example of superlative British architectural design and engineering combined. The money for the bridge was put up by a William Vick, who died before the undertaking of the building of the bridge occurred. In 1829 there was a competition in which the winning design would be the one used for the bridge. Telford was the winner, but due to the tremendous lack of popularity for his design, the job fell to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The bridge, of his Egyptian style design, was completed in 1869, some time after his death. It stands 240ft above the river, and in modern times is lit at night by over 30,000 light bulbs.
Harvey’s wine cellar can still be found in the same place as it was more than 800 years ago. The cellar had previously been storage rooms for a monastery. Many of the original artifacts and books used for wine making are still there, and act like a magnet for tourism. It is also possible to sample Harvey’s Bristol cream, an excellent sherry first produced over 200 years ago.
If you were to tour Harvey’s cellar, you would undoubtedly see various blue bottles. These bottles are made out of Bristol blue glass. The colour of the glass comes from cobalt, which was originally mined in Saxon times. It acquired the name of Bristol blue glass because Bristol was the main import centre for cobalt. It remains a popular souvenir for people to take away from Bristol, to remind them of all the historical sights that they witnessed.