What's new for groups in Bristol?

Date Posted: 15/09/2016

Bristol Suspension Bridge Photo Credit Gary Newman

Inspiration for your next group trip to sixth biggest city in England.

With its links to Banksy and Brunel, Bristol is a firm favourite with groups. We look at what you can expect from a trip there in the coming year.

What's new?

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Bristol Old Vic, the UK’s oldest working theatre. In addition to special performances to commemorate the milestone, the theatre always has a wide range of productions and offers groups backstage tours and discounts on theatre bookings for ten or more.

Underfall Yard is one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets. The 19th century boatyard has links with Brunel and fellow engineer William Jessop, famous for his work on canals and harbours. The site recently unveiled newly renovated buildings, including the power house and chimney, and a brand new visitor centre.
The new £45 million Ashton Gate Stadium, home to Bristol City Football and Bristol Rugby clubs, is scheduled for completion in September. In addition to sports fixtures, it will be used as a 32,000 capacity concert venue.

The last remaining part of the city wall, St John on the Wall, is the perfect starting point for a tour of Medieval Bristol. A new interactive interpretation tells the stories of people who passed through the historic city gates.

The group page on Visit Bristol’s website provides a wealth of ideas for GTOs and a personalised itinerary planning service.

Pictured: Tyntesfield.

Best for groups

Brunel’s ground-breaking creation, Clifton Suspension Bridge, spans the Avon Gorge and is the symbol of Bristol. The visitor centre is open from 10am to 5pm daily and tells the story of the bridge and the people who worked on it. GTOs can book private bridge tours.

The first new university botanic garden to be created in the UK in 40 years, Bristol Botanic Garden is home to more than 4,500 species of plants arranged in four collections; evolution,  Mediterranean, local flora and rare natives, and useful plants. Guided tours are available for groups of ten or more, and
these are available throughout the year and outside normal opening hours.

Tyntesfield is a splendid Victorian Gothic mansion house that’s six miles from the city centre. Visitors might recognise it as the filming location for the 2015 Sherlock Christmas special, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Since this year the house opens daily and groups can also tour the gardens. Benefits include reduced admission and reserved seating in the restaurant.

Take a tour

New Where the Wall street art tours provide insights into the life and work of Bristol’s famous graffiti artist Banksy and others, revealing the stories behind the ever-changing paintings that adorn Bristol’s streets.

Set out on a swashbuckling walk around the quays with Pirate Walks to uncover Bristol’s turbulent history and the harbourside haunts of the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries. One-hour tours for groups of ten or more are by appointment and can be tailored if required.

Take to the water with a boat trip around the harbour, or sail through the Avon Gorge and enjoy spectacular views of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. The Bristol Packet company offers a variety of cruises, including afternoon tea, lunch and evening trips with a bar, and boats are available for individual group charter.

Essential sights

ss Great Britain: When Brunel’s great ocean liner launched in 1843 it was described as “the greatest experiment since the creation.” There are discounted rates for groups of 20 or more, plus exclusive guided tours of this remarkable ship.

Bristol Zoo: The zoo made history this year when a baby gorilla was born by caesarean. The gorilla house is one of the many attractions at the zoo, which is set in 12 acres of beautiful gardens and home to 400 species of exotic and endangered animals from around the globe.

Bristol Cathedral: A church has been on the site for over 1,000 years and the present building dates back to an abbey founded in 1140. Guided tours of the magnificent building are available for groups and refreshments can be provided.

Where stay

Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa: Opening this autumn, the impressive 42-room Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa will occupy two former bank buildings in the old city.

Mercure Holland House: This four-star hotel is opposite historic St Mary Redcliffe Church and a ten-minute walk from the harbourside.

YHA Bristol: For budget accommodation take a look at this recently refurbished hostel. It occupies a former waterfront grain house and accommodation includes ensuite private rooms.

For more information visit www.visitbristol.co.uk.

facebook twitter