Bristol: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Bristol.

  • Bristol is the largest city in south-west England, with a population of over 500,000. It is located on the River Severn, on the other side of which is Wales.
  • Bristol developed as a port and major shipbuilding centre during the 12th century.

  • In the 17th century the city became a centre for the slave trade, as well as tobacco, sugar, rum and cotton.
  • The Clifton Suspension Bridge crosses the River Avon and is Bristol’s best known landmark. The 1864 bridge is 412 metres long, and carries traffic 75 metres above the river.
  • Bristol’s Theatre Royal was built in 1766 and is the oldest continually operating theatre in the UK. Bristol has also been voted the most musical city in the UK.
  • Concorde was designed and built in Bristol and made its first test flight from the city.
  • The city’s international balloon fiesta is the largest hot air balloon event in Europe.
  • An estimated 100,000 buildings were damaged and 1,300 people killed during air raids on Bristol during World War II. Several bombed churches remain as part of the cityscape.
  • Bristol’s top tourist attraction is the SS Great Britain, launched in 1843. The ship carried thousands of people across the Atlantic Ocean and was the first to have both a steel hull and a propeller.
  • The actor, Cary Grant was born in Bristol in 1904. Other famous people from the city include the rock group Portishead and the controversial graffiti artist Banksy.
  • A popular day trip from Bristol is to Cheddar Gorge, the largest gorge in Britain. The gorge reaches a depth of almost 140 metres and has several caves, where cheese was made in prehistoric times.
  • There are over 30 other cities named Bristol around the world, mostly in America, but also in Peru, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Canada. Bristol is twinned with Porto, Bordeaux and Guangzhou.