Bristol is a world-renowned city known for its Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas in addition to its modern attractions and love for the arts. Being so famous, however, much of what you can see in Bristol will be surrounded by other travellers looking to spot the same attractions and landmarks.

    If you're looking for a holiday adventure that's a bit more unique, it's time to head off the beaten track. Discover Bristol's obscure corners with these great things to do that'll take you away from the most popular attractions.


    Clifton Rocks Railway

    Tour an old railway tunnel

    • Photo
    • Adventure
    • Unusual

    The Clifton Rocks Railway is an old funicular tunnel dating back to the Victorian era. The secret hideaway awaits among the rocky cliffs, which you can find along the road parallel to River Avon. While this tunnel was used as a sanctuary during World War II, it can now be explored with a guided tour. 

    These tours occur about every 10 minutes throughout the day and are free. On this tour, you can learn about the exciting history of the tunnel including its short-lived function as an actual railway tunnel that ended with the popularization of automobiles.

    Location: 1 Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DQ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)117 962 0223


    photo by (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Cube Cinema

    Explore the experimental art space

    • Budget
    • Couples

    You'll find the Cube Cinema among the hidden corners of Bristol, within the Cube Microplex. This small venue features an auditorium and 108 seats from which you can watch a variety of performances. Their public programme includes about 350 events every year on average showcasing films, cabaret performances, musical concerts, and even educational seminars. 

    The films that are shown are particularly interesting as they often include cult classics, art-house, and more obscure works. Numerous local artists often come here to showcase their work, so it's one of the best ways to see the best that Bristol has to offer.

    Location: Dove St S, Avon, Bristol BS2 8JD, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)117 907 4190


    photo by Heather Cowper (CC BY 2.0) modified


    The Crypt

    Check out a spooky subterranean annexe

    • Photo
    • Unusual
    • History

    Bristol's Church of St John the Baptist has been a historic landmark in town since the 14th century. The church itself is built right into Old Bristol's medieval walls, so it offers a unique look back in time. Seeing the impressive architecture, however, is just the beginning of what this destination can offer. 

    If you venture down into the vaulted crypt, you'll find a spooky subterranean annexe. It offers an eerie yet exciting feeling when you visit, but that can change when there are events being held. The Crypt is often home to shows and musical performances that can turn this centuries-old crypt into a thriving event venue.

    Location: Bristol BS1 2EZ, UK

    Open: Daily 11 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)117 929 1766


    photo by Rob Brewer (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Chance & Counters

    Play a massive selection of board games

    • Food
    • Unusual

    Chance & Counters is located at the bottom of the Christmas steps in Bristol and is home to a charming cafe that offers a special gimmick to visitors. You'll find more than 850 board games to choose from that you can play while enjoying a pint and treats from their seasonal food menu. 

    The board games can vary quite a bit with plenty of old favourites and contemporary options available in equal measure. As for the drink selection, you'll find the best draughts from Bristol with a few options from beyond. The menu was designed by a Bib Gourmand-acclaimed chef, and it features vegan and gluten-free options for those on speciality diets.

    Location: 20 Christmas Steps, Bristol BS1 5BS, UK

    Open: Sunday–Wednesday 10 am to 11 pm, Thursday–Saturday 10 am to midnight

    Phone: +44 (0)117 329 1700


    Valentine Bridge

    Enjoy peace and tranquillity in nature

    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Couples

    Stop by Valentine Bridge if you're looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Bristol. This bridge was named on the day of its namesake and has been acting as a convenient footpath for decades. While you're still surrounded by the city, walking across the snaked pathway over Floating Harbour offers an aura of relaxation to your experience that you can't find in many other places. 

    It's a pedestrian bridge, so you don't have to worry about cars passing through the area. Cyclists are welcome on the steel cable bridge as well, so you can bike across its length if you like.

    Location: Bristol, UK


    Blaise Hamlet

    Venture into the past

    • Photo
    • Unusual

    In 1811, a group of cottages called Blaise Hamlet were built for the employees of a local banker from Blaise Castle. In the centuries since, Blaise Hamlet has been remarkably well preserved to the point where visiting makes you feel as if you're stepping back into the 19th century. 

    Every building in the hamlet is a Grade I listed building with dormer windows and brick chimneys. The cottages encircle a village green, which features its own sundial. You'll even find Victorian cottage gardens that are notably well-maintained. Just keep in mind that these cottages are owned by the National Trust, so you can only view them from the green.

    Location: Hallen Rd, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7QY, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1275 461900


    photo by C P Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Christmas Steps

    Take in historic views

    • Shoppers
    • Photo
    • Couples

    Christmas Steps near the city centre is a historic street in Bristol, dating back centuries to when the steps were constructed in 1669. This small side street is quaint, yet the street is lined on both sides with numerous historical buildings including 14 listed buildings. The buildings house shops selling a variety of items, in addition to a few accommodation options and a tattoo parlour. 

    The wine and spirit shop is particularly popular and fitting since the street was originally built by funds from a wine merchant. Visit during the Christmas season, and you can see a vibrant array of lights along the street as well.

    Location: Christmas Steps, Bristol BS1 5BS, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)117 925 3077


    Redcliffe Caves

    Experience unusual events and spaces

    • Adventure
    • Unusual

    Redcliffe Caves is a labyrinth of tunnels underneath the streets of Bristol that encompass an area of over an acre. This labyrinth was dug centuries ago, and no one knows their full extent with certainty. Some estimates put the size of the entire tunnel complex at 12 acres, though most of it is still accessible. 

    What is known is that they're home to numerous activities including film showings and theatre productions. Even apart from the events, however, there's something notably interesting about exploring the cave network. You can feel the history through the cave walls as you venture through the network that was used for glassmaking and storage for trade goods.

    Location: Phoenix Wharf, Redcliffe Way, Bristol BS1 6SR, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)117 922 2200


    Vale Street

    Trek to the top of a steep street

    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Unusual

    Vale Street is known throughout Bristol and beyond as England's steepest street. All cars have to be parked sideways to prevent them from rolling away, and in icy conditions, locals will even tie their cars to the lampposts to keep them from sliding. The incline measures roughly 22°, so if you're up for the challenge, you can test your leg strength and make the trek up its length. Cyclists often challenge themselves by trying to pedal to the top. 

    If you head to Vale Street around Easter, you may even see some locals rolling eggs down the hills to see whose will reach the bottom first. Just remember to check your brakes before visiting by car or bike.

    Location: Vale St, Totterdown, Bristol BS4 3BT, UK


    photo by Sam Saunders (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Bag O' Nails

    Visit a cat cafe

    • Families
    • Food
    • Unusual
    • Couples

    Visiting a cafe can be relaxing in its own right, but when you add cats to the trip, it gets that much better. Bag of Nails is a cat cafe that's home to quite a few friendly cats who will lazily lie around or come up to you to be petted. Additionally, you'll find games available for entertainment along with some of the best draft beer in the area, including local draught and several Belgian bottles. 

    The place is well kept for a pub packed full of cats, so you get to enjoy all the benefits of a normal pub except the football fans are replaced with cuddly felines.

    Location: 141 St George's Rd, Bristol BS1 5UW, UK

    Open: Daily from noon to 11 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)7941 521777


    Start planning your trip

    Keep exploring


    United Kingdom

    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

    Back to top