6 ways to explore Bristol by boat

Date Posted: 06/03/2014

The Matthew of Bristol

Pictured: The Matthew of Bristol. (Photo credit: Destination Bristol).

Later this year, Bristol will be marking the 150th anniversary of the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. We find out more about the boat trips you can take through Bristol’s harbour and along the river which pass directly beneath this famous suspension bridge.

Bristol Packet

Bristol Packet has a selection of boats that can be chartered by groups of up to 95 people, allowing passengers to get a view of Bristol from the water.

The Avon Gorge Cruise takes passengers onto the tidal river for views of the suspension bridge.

Bristol Packet also offers river cruises by day or evening, a tour of dockside pubs and a five-hour day cruise to Bristol’s neighbouring city Bath. On-board catering or stops at waterside eateries can be arranged.

Replica of the ship that discovered North America

The Matthew of Bristol is a replica of the English ship that discovered North America in 1497.

The vessel is moored alongside the M Shed museum on Princes Wharf and can take groups of up to 40 people out on tours around Bristol Harbour and along the river Avon.

Cream tea sailings, fish and chip trips or a four-hour trip along the Avon Gorge to Pill and back are among the experiences that can be arranged.

Guided wildlife cruises with Bristol Ferry Boats

Bristol Ferry Boats offers group cruises around Bristol’s historic harbour, river trips to Beeses tea gardens and trips under the mighty Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Special cruises for this summer include a series of guided wildlife cruises with local naturalist Ed Drewitt. The four-hour cruises take passengers from Bristol to Pill and Avonmouth focussing on the wildlife along the way, including the nesting peregrine falcons in the Avon Gorge, oystercatchers, lapwings and redshanks.

Bristol Ferry Boats also offers an alternative way of transporting a group between Bristol Temple Meads railway station and harbourside attractions such as Brunel’s ss Great Britain, or the waterside restaurants and pubs.

On-board the Silver Salmon

Pictured: On-board the Silver Salmon. (Photo credit: Avon River Cruises).

On-board the Silver Salmon

Avon River Cruises welcomes groups on-board the Silver Salmon for tours of Bristol’s historic harbour lasting up to two hours, or a river cruise for a longer experience.

Commentary from the crew, refreshments, lunch or cream teas can also be arranged, and group discounts are available.

Number Seven Boat Trips

Number Seven Boat Trips operate a fleet of four boats that are painted with animal designs.

Operating for 15 years, it can take up to 50 people on its largest boat. Covered, partially-covered and open boats are available with the option of drinks on-board.

Special wildlife cruises, tearoom trips and longer trips to Avonmouth are available too.

Brunel’s 19th century steamship

Brunel’s ss Great Britain, a museum ship and former passenger steamship, is moored at the Great Western Dockyard, in the dock where it was originally built, and allows visitors to experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of life on-board one of the world’s first ocean liners.  

Special rates for pre-booked groups of 20 or more are available and there are coach parking facilities next to the ship.

For further group travel information contact:


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