Culture, History and Music in Bristol

Bristol, nestled snugly between Gloucestershire and Somerset is a truly unique West Country city. Bristolians are well known for their thick rhotic accent and charm. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the culture and bustle of this busy city. A weekend break is well worth it to sample some of the delights of this wonderful city and you can book Bristol hotels through Travelodge for a comfortable and relaxing trip.

Clifton Suspension bridge

Bristol used to be split into its two neighbouring counties until 1373 where it was made into its own county of Bristol. The city is built on the River Avon and is deeply rooted in seafaring, back from the days of legendary pirates such as Blackbeard up to the busy Port of Bristol. The Bristol Bridge is thought to date all the way back to Saxon times too, and the name Bristol comes from the Saxon word “Brycgstow” meaning “place of the bridge”. Bristol has many historical features, including the enormous Bristol Temple Meads railway station which dates back to 1840 and the Bristol Cathedral which was completed initially in 1148 (known then as St. Augustine’s Abbey). There’s also the Clifton Suspension bridge, designed by Brunel in 1864. There really is a multitude of rich heritage to explore in the city so it’s well worth a visit to take all this in.

The city has kept up with the times though – the redbrick University of Bristol has seen many modern celebrities pass through including illusionist Derren Brown, actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams. The University is still popular today, and as such the pubs and clubs in the city have also benefited from the booming student life. Some popular pubs include Joe Publics in Clifton and Revolution near Castle Park which is home to thirty flavours of homemade vodka and many vodka based cocktails – ideal for students looking for a fantastic night out.

It would be a sin to talk about pubs in Bristol without mentioning The Old Duke, a pub dating back to about 1780 that has made a significant contribution to UK jazz music. The pub has hosted a free annual jazz festival for a number of years started which has brought hundreds of people to King Street for fantastic music-centric knees up. However, recently due to costs and other organisations in the area not helping to support the festival, they have had to scale back the festivities and it is now an indoor event. The pub puts on free music almost every day of the year for the punters to enjoy, and the atmosphere is incredible. The jazz festival is on again this year for the August bank holiday, featuring The Blue Notes, the longest running jazz band in the South West formed in 1956. Definitely worth  checking out for some fantastic music, friendly company and great drinks at The Old Duke.

Whatever you’re into, Bristol has it – not to mention the gigantic Cabot Circus shopping centre and the nearby Galleries shopping centre with more stores. History, jazz music, art, sports culture and spirit – the city of Bristol has it all.