Solo in the City: The ultimate solo traveller guide to Bristol

Itching to explore England’s southwest? Bristol’s historic harbour, buzzing music scene and quirky street murals are calling! 🎨

Known as Britain’s first city to be named a European Green Capital, Bristol’s laid-back yet vibrant and welcoming identity makes it the perfect solo traveller choice. Whether you’re a culture vulture, a foodie fanatic, or just a curious soul seeking good vibes, our solo traveller guide to Bristol has your back (or should we say backpack?).

Let’s go!

1. Go on a Banksy Walking Tour

Girl with the Pierced Earring by BanksyDiscover the world-famous work of this legendary Bristolian street artist. Banksy’s iconic and thought-provoking street art can be found hidden throughout the city. With your trusty Banksy Bristol Trail map in hand, you can uncover the spectacular artworks yourself as you inject some art, culture and historical political activism into your Bristol solo trip.

Some of Banksy’s most famous Bristol pieces include ‘The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum’ and the ‘Grim Reaper’ in central Bristol, as well as Barton Hill’s ‘Valentine’s Day Mural’.

2. Discover Bristol’s flourishing vegan food scene

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Named one of the UK’s best cities for vegans, Bristol is home to plenty of vegan eateries from lively plant-based markets to outstanding fine dining restaurants. Whether you’re craving a cheeky bite or an exquisite dinner experience on your solo trip, Bristol has it all!

If you’re a pasta connoisseur, head to Pastan and discover delicious plant-based dishes. If Mediterranean cuisine is more your thing, check out Bambalan’s vibrant menu. Or if you’re simply looking for easy fast food made vegan, Oowee Vegan is your best bet.

3. Visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge at sunrise 

Clifton Suspension BridgeSpanning across the River Avon, the views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge at sunrise are well worth the early alarm! Opening in 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge connects Clifton in Bristol to the National Trust woodland in Leigh Woods in North Somerset. Taking over three decades to complete, the Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by the engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel – who also famously designed Paddington Station and the SS Great Britain.

Visitors can walk across the bridge free of charge. But if you’re looking for the best view of this marvel of Victorian engineering and the surrounding southwest countryside, head to the Clifton Observatory park.

4. Discover historical artefacts at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol City Museum & Art GalleryExplore a treasure trove of Egyptian relics, expertly preserved dinosaur bones and stunning art from across the globe at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. This free-entry museum and art gallery is an essential activity for any Bristol solo traveller.

Packed with fascinating artefacts from Earth’s past, prepare to lose yourself amongst art, culture and history at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Whether you’re a natural history buff or a fan of all things art, this museum is a go-to Bristol attraction for all ages.

5. Climb aboard the SS Great Britain

SS Great BritainHistory buffs ahoy! Fancy setting foot on an engineering phenomenon? Designed by the legendary engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain is a former passenger steamship. From 1845 to 1853, the SS Great Britain was the largest passenger ship in the world and an engineering marvel for her time.

Stepping aboard the SS Great Britain is truly like stepping back in time. Explore the decks, picture passengers setting sail for faraway lands, and even peek into the fancy first-class cabins. There’s also a fascinating museum spilling all the beans on Brunel’s genius and the ship’s incredible story.

6. Support Bristol’s lively music scene

DJ setBristol’s music scene is bursting with genres and vibes for every taste. Whether you’re a drum and bass raver, a chill jazz enthusiast or a casual foot-tapper, this city’s got your soundtrack.

Discover Bristol’s iconic venues like The Fleece or The Louisiana, where up-and-coming bands might just become your next music obsession. Or hit up open mic nights at some of the city’s cosiest pubs. The best part? Live music is Bristol’s lifeblood, so finding gigs is easy. Check out listings on websites like Headfirst Bristol and Resident Advisor, or simply wander down Stokes Croft or King Street – the sound of music will guide you! Plus, you might even make some new friends along the way.

7. Scale Cabot Tower for spectacular panoramic views

Cabot Tower BristolNestled in the scenic gardens of Brandon Hill, this grade II listed tower is an iconic feature of Bristol’s skyline. Opened in the 19th century, Cabot Tower’s 109-step spiral staircase leads to a truly gorgeous view of Bristol.

Cabot Tower’s steep climb rewards climbers with outstanding 360-degree views of the city. Entry to Cabot Tower is free – just don’t forget to pack a water bottle!

Stay nearby

8. Explore St Nicholas Markets for a one-of-a-kind gift

St Nicholas Markets BristolHome to Bristol’s largest collection of indie retailers, St. Nicholas Markets is known for its wonderfully unique finds. From original fashion and hand-crafted gifts to awesome vintage records selections – this local market has so much on offer!

With their indoor market open Monday to Saturday, street food market open every Tuesday and Friday and Bristol Indies’ Market taking place every Friday and Saturday, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore! You might even find a quirky memento to remember your Bristol solo trip.

9. Discover Bristol’s film and arts scene at Watershed

Watershed BristolWatershed is the ultimate harbourside hangout for Bristolians, where alternative films, arty events, and yummy food collide. From indie flicks by up-and-coming directors to workshops that get your creative juices flowing and maybe even some live music, Watershed is more than just a local arts cinema.

This vibrant cultural hub is also home homely café bar serving delicious local food (organic, no less!), and free Wi-Fi to share all your artsy finds.

10. The Harbourside Street Food Market 

Bristol Harbourside Street Food MarketSituated in one of Bristol’s most picturesque locations, the Harbourside Street Food Market is the perfect local spot to grab a tasty bite. Taking place every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the Harbourside Street Food Market samples the very best of Bristol’s food scene.

From freshly baked sweet treats to comfort food essentials and local beers and spirits, discover Bristol through taste on your solo travels as you explore this community’s passion for locally sourced grub.

11. Say hello to underwater beings at Bristol Aquarium

Bristol Aquarium Discover the extraordinary depths of Earth’s oceans at Bristol Aquarium. Teeming with out-of-this-world marine life, the Bristol Aquarium is home to six species of shark, four species of rays and plenty of native and freshwater fish.

And that’s not all! Bristol Aquarium is also the only aquarium in the UK with its very own indoor botanical garden. The ‘Urban Jungle’ is a gorgeous exhibit filled with lush, exotic greenery and unique plants including the rare tropical orchid displays.

12. Uncover Bristol’s iconic aviation past at Aerospace Bristol

Aerospace BristolExplore the extraordinary story and achievements of Bristol’s rich aviation history at Aerospace Bristol. From exciting aerospace galleries featuring ground-breaking aeroplanes, helicopters and missiles to engaging projection shows, there’s so much to uncover at Aerospace Bristol.

Discover immersive exhibits and incredible pieces of aviation history. Plus you can even step aboard the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last supersonic jet to ever fly!

13. See the city from a different perspective at Bristol Camera Obscura

Clifton ObservatoryPerched atop Clifton Tower, the Camera Obscura & Museum is a revolutionary optical instrument reflecting the city of Bristol. Simply crank the handle and whoosh! Buildings shrink, ships sail across the Avon Gorge, and you get a mind-blowing 360° citywide view.

Designed by William West in 1826, this Camera Obscura is one of just three working Camera Obscuras in the UK. This eye-opening feat of Victorian engineering is an unmissable Bristol attraction and the perfect addition to your solo traveller itinerary.

14. Discover magnificent Georgian architecture on Queen Square

Queen Square BristolQueen Square is one of Bristol’s prettiest parks. This exquisite Georgian green space nestled in the heart of Bristol is one of the city’s most popular spots to relax. Enclosed by lush greenery, charming cobbled streets and splendid Georgian townhouses, this leafy gem isn’t just known for its picturesque views.

Throughout the summer, Queen Square comes alive with outdoor concerts, theatre shows, and even the occasional art fair. Pretty cool, right? So, if you’re looking for a quiet spot to unwind and soak up the good vibes during your solo travels, head to Queen Square.

15. Catch a movie at Everyman Bristol

Everyman cinemaCraving a cosy evening activity? A luxury cinema experience at Everyman Bristol offers a truly unique experience for every film buff.

Opening as a ballroom and billiard room in the 1920s, Everyman Bristol is packed with gorgeous Art Deco features, three cinema screens, and a stunning bar. From comfy sofa seating and the latest movie releases to a delightful hot food menu delivered straight to your seat, Everyman Bristol truly redefines the cinema experience!