Find the nearest History & Heritage in Bristol
Our History and Heritage category brings all Coast Radar’s Bristol listings related to looking for something to do or a place to visit together where they offer some form of historic or heritage based activity.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Bristol day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the historic and heritage links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Bristol activity.
- The Cabot Tower was built in the 1890s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to land in which later became Canada. The tower is 32 m (105 feet) high and built from red sandstone with cream Bath stone for ornamentation and emphasis. The tower consists of a spiral staircase and two viewing platforms where balconies with wrought iron railings overlook the city, the higher of which is approximately 102 m (334 feet) above sea level.
- M Shed is a museum, telling the story of Bristol, exploring the city’s history from prehistoric times to the 21st century. There are working exhibits on the harbourside including steamboats, trains and cranes as well as a café that opens out onto a public square on the dockside.
- Historic corn windmill, circa 1766, with an observation tower offering picturesque views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the city of Bristol. The corn windmill was converted to grind tobacco and it was also known as ‘the Snuff Mill”. After a number of unoccupied years, in the late 1820’s the mill had a large telescope installed into the tower and thus creating the observatory. The Camera obscura is a convex lens and sloping mirror installed on the top of the tower; these project the panoramic view vertically downward into the darkened room below. Visitors can view the true image on a fixed circular table with a concave metal surface, and turn the mirror by hand to change the direction of view. There is also a tunnel 61 m (200 ft) long from the Observatory to St Vincent’s Cave (also known as Giant’s Cave), which opens onto St Vincent’s Rocks on the cliff face.
- Blaise Castle House Museum and Estate features a 19th century mansion, set in 400 acres of parkland. Discover everyday objects from centuries past, including Victorian toilets and baths, kitchen and laundry equipment, model trains, dolls, toys and period costume in the museum. You can also explore the parkland, children’s adventure playground, woodlands, as well as enjoying the cafe. The folly castle, as featured in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, is opened by volunteers on some summer Sundays. Just look out for the flag flying on top of the castle and enjoy panoramic views of the area from the castle roof. The magnificent Picture Room at Blaise Castle House Museum and Estate is hung with paintings from the museum’s collections and is licensed for civil ceremonies.
- Ashton Court has been the site of a manor house since the 11th century, and has been developed by a series of owners since then. The house stands within a large estate spanning the boundary between Bristol and North Somerset, approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from Bristol city centre. It is on the western side of the River Avon close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the suburb of Leigh Woods and the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve which are east of Ashton Court. To the north and west are open countryside. The estate covers 850 acres (340 ha) of woods and open grassland laid out by Humphry Repton.
- Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is an outstanding museum and well worth visiting. It houses collections from all over the world. Children love this museum as there are family friendly areas where they can listen to stories that come to live with puppets or a stage performance in a crystal cave or create their own dinosaur and listen to animal noises from all over the world. There are great sights for adults from the wildlife galleries full of rare and endangered species to modern art and archaeology. When you’re tired regroup in the cafe and enjoy a meal or a drink then head up to the second floor for some of the latest exhibitions on offer from French art to Bristol’s own 200-year-old silver collection or a stunning display of Eastern Art. Facilities include a cafe, toilets, loop system, events and shop.
- The Bristol Theatre Royal was built during 1764–66 and now the oldest continually operating theatre in England. The Coopers’ Hall, built 1743–44, was incorporated as the theatre’s foyer during 1970–72. Together, they are designated a Grade I listed building by English Heritage. Bristol Old Vic is the theatre company based at the Theatre Royal, established in 1946 as an offshoot of the Old Vic in London.
- Bristol Cathedral has been a place of peace and prayer since the 12th Century. In 1148 Robert Fitzhardinge founded the Abbey of St. Augustine. The Chapter House and Abbey Gatehouse remain clearly to be seen: other remains are within Bristol Cathedral Choir School. The eastern end of the Cathedral gives Bristol Cathedral a unique place in the development of British and European Architecture. The Nave, Choir and Aisles are all the same height, creating the appearance of a large hall. Bristol Cathedral is the major example of a ‘Hall Church’ in Great Britain and one of the finest anywhere in the world. In 1539 the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII’s commissioners and the nave, which was then being rebuilt, was destroyed. The rather battered building then became the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in 1542. In 1868 plans were drawn up to rebuild the Nave to its medieval design. The Architect, G.E.Street, found the original pillar bases, so the dimensions are much the same as those of the abbey church. J. L. Pearson added the two towers at the West End and further reordered the interior. From the Twelfth Century, it has been a place of daily prayer and a place where the city and diocese have marked great occasions.