Fourteen Fun Facts about Bristol: your perfect staycation city
There are more fun facts about Bristol than you can shake a stick at. Bristol is creative, quirky and always marching to the rhythm of its own beat. It’s a unique and individual city, steeped in history and home of icons of culture and the arts including Roni Size, Massive Attack, Damien Hirst, Banksy, John Cleese, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis and Noel Edmonds.
It’s therefore perhaps unsurprising that it has many points of interest and fascinating features to explore, not to mention loads of unique independent shops, bars and restaurants – it’s even got beaches (kind of) – all in all we think it is your perfect staycation city. And as luck would have it, we also have some lovely, hand-picked places to stay in Bristol, perfect for a short break to the city.
Fun facts about Bristol
- What do Concorde, the Easter Egg, Butlins and Ribena have in common? They all originated in Bristol.
- Another chocolatey fun fact about Bristol: you have Joseph Fry to thank for the solid chocolate bar as we know it today; up until 1866 it could only be enjoyed as a drink.
- There are 29 towns or cities in the USA called Bristol. Bristol (the English one) was a maritime powerhouse and the centre for much exploration and emigration from the UK to North America, which explains why the name has been so widely re-used. Apparently, despite their trailblazing, early transatlantic pioneers didn’t have much creativity when it came to naming cities; London, Richmond, Manchester and Oxford also have over 30 multiple namesakes each across the USA.
- Stalin’s daughter lived in Bristol for some years during the 1990s going by the name of Lana Peters.
- Much Bristolian iconography features hot air balloons, but you may not know this fun fact about Bristol: it is also the largest manufacturer of hot air balloons. Each August you can enjoy the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, when the city skyline is filled with an awe-inspiring spectacle of colour delighting the millions of visitors who flock there each year.
- Fun Fact about getting to Bristol – if you are lucky enough to drive down the M5, a pleasure in itself due to being wonderfully quiet with hardly any speed cameras, you can also pay a visit to Gloucester Services – in our opinion (un) officially the best motorway service station in the UK.
- Bristol is often thought of as a rural city in the heart of the West Country. In fact, there are a large number of beautiful beaches within an hour or so drive of Bristol – Burnham on Sea is particularly lovely, and Weston-Super-Mare and Barry Island are the quintessential British seaside towns, perfect for those seeking donkey rides, Tuppenny Nudgers and cream teas.
- Another fun fact about Bristol is that it is the largest city in the West Country of England. Even funner to note is that this part of the country is renowned for its weird, wonderful and frankly insane traditions and events. See: Cheese Rolling, Knob Throwing, Pudding Chasing and Worm Charming.
- Bristol is officially the centre of Veganism for the World, surpassing all other worldwide cities in its vegan-friendliness, in fact you can’t throw a knob in Bristol without hitting either a vegan, a vegan café or a vegan restaurant, check out our favourite top six Vegan Cafes are right here.
- Of course we all know that Banksy is a Bristolian, but a fun fact about Banksy is that he built a secret shredder into his ‘Love is in the bin’ painting. Moments after it was auctioned and the gavel went down for £860,000 at Sotheby’s, the painting shredded itself before stunned onlookers’ eyes. Was it a publicity stunt or a cheeky political statement against the art world he supposedly detests? We will never know…
- The Italian explorer John Cabot is an adopted son of the city. Cabot went to Bristol, a major maritime centre, in search of financial backing to explore the North Atlantic. Cabot crossed the Atlantic in 1497 and claimed land in Canada for Britain. He gives his name to the shopping centre Cabot Circus – where we also have some very nice apartments. It’s what he would have wanted.
- Bristol has three listed Victorian public urinals. In fact public conveniences of this kind are listed more often than one would imagine. Often featuring highly decorative cast iron, classical mosaic flooring and marble fittings, the structures are, according to English Heritage “increasingly rare [and] important to the streetscene of our cities”.
- Bristol Temple Meads Station gets its name from the fun fact that the land on which it stands was formerly meadow gardens belonging to the 12th Century church of the Knights’ Templar.
- Bristol is extremely hilly, and so perhaps unsurprisingly is home to the steepest residential street in England. Vale Street has in fact got an average incline of 22 degrees and cars have to be parked diagonally so they don’t roll down!
We hoped you enjoyed our fun facts about Bristol, maybe it has inspired you to take a trip there? For lovers of the edgy, the creative or the counterculture, Bristol should definitely be on your must-visit list. Still not convinced? Here are 16 more reasons you should visit. Or maybe see how our very own citybreakers got on visiting the city in our Bristol Tried and Tested .