Sitting on the southwest coast of England, Bristol’s thriving industrial heritage lives on in its forward-thinking technology sector. The city is home to outstanding centres of excellence in robotics and aerospace research, while the National Composites Centre leads collaborative aeronautical innovation. It’s also the base of Triodos Bank, an ethical banking organisation with a clear and transparent investment programme that takes cultural and social impact into account.
The city’s historic architecture has earned it UNESCO recognition. Among the best examples are Cabot Tower, built in 1890 to celebrate explorer John Cabot’s discovery of North America; and the SS Great Britain, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (also responsible for Clifton Suspension Bridge). The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has an excellent collection of works from medieval times to modern day.
During the Age of Discovery, the city played a key role in the shuttling of manufactured goods, spices and, most notoriously, enslaved people between Europe, Africa and the Americas. The Harbourside area – once the city’s port - now hosts restaurants, shops and cultural institutions like contemporary art gallery the Arnolfini. The M Shed museum explores the city’s industrial and maritime history.
Many of the city’s surviving Victorian and Georgian buildings have been transformed into restaurants, cafés and bars. They’ve also served as filming locations for TV shows and movies, including Only Fools and Horses, The Young Ones, Sherlock and Skins. And graffiti artist Banksy has left his mark on the city’s walls with anti-authoritarian messages that often mock the establishment.