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A beautiful, historic English city situated on the River Avon

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Bristol is a beautiful, historic English city that can be found in the South-West of the country, 105 miles from London. The settlement has an estimated 416,000 residents and is the eighth most populous city in the United Kingdom.
Bristol is situated on the River Avon and the River Frome. The Avon flows out into the River Severn which in turn flows into the Bristol Channel and out to the Atlantic Ocean. This advantageous coastal location is the key behind the city's past growth. The Roman army had a port here 2000 years ago and records of trade with Ireland date back to 1051.
Bristol has long been a prosperous centre of culture, employment and education, inextricably linked to the sea. The commercial port of Bristol was originally located in the centre of the city before moving to its current location on the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth. The port business of Bristol has had a varied and sometimes dark past. Famous for being a central port in the transatlantic slave trade, the first slave ship the 'Beginning' left Bristol in 1698 for Africa. In the following 109 years a known 2108 ships left Bristol for Africa; trading goods such as wool for enslaved Africans and transporting them to the Caribbean. Piracy was also a common form of income for many Bristonian sailors. The infamous Blackbeard was reportedly born in Bristol and is famous for terrorizing many merchant ships throughout the Caribbean waters. Even the most successful pirate of all time came from Bristol - Bartholomew Roberts, who sailed the seas in the 1700's reportedly capturing 456 vessels in only four years!
The maritime legacy of the city also gave rise to a number of literacy classics including Robinson's Crusoe and Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island'. Both reportedly based on the adventures of Alexander Selkirk, a marooned sailor rescued by Bristonian Governor Woodes Rogers during his circumnavigation of the globe from 1708 to 1711.
The home of one of Victorian Britain's most respected sons, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Bristol has also long been at the forefront of engineering. Brunel helped design the impressive floating Harbour. He was also responsible for the SS Great Britain: the world's first iron-hulled, propeller driven ship to successfully cross the Atlantic. After being abandoned at the Falklands Islands for over 40 years this spectacular Bristol built ship is now restored and can now be visited as one of the city's leading attractions. Bristol is also famous for the stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge that spans the Avon Gorge at a dizzy height! This beautiful landmark of the city is one of Britain's most iconic images and you may walk across it, as long as you are Ok with heights! Once again the engineer behind it was Brunel though unfortunately he didn't live to see his magnificent work in its finished state.
With the industrial revolution resulting in the economic rise of cities such as Manchester and Birmingham, Bristol's economy was forced to change to survive. In the last hundred years it has grown as a cultural and educational centre with the University of Bristol. Engineering still features strongly in Bristol with its successful aerospace industry and its impressive scientific developments.
Other attractions of Bristol continue to reflect its varied history: there is the Bristol Blue Glass Factory, Berkley Castle, and the world famous Bristol Zoo. There is also the City Museum and Art Gallery, both of which exhibit in style the history of this great settlement. And of course, there are no shortage of great restaurants and pubs here to refresh any vistor to Bristol.
Visitor Information
Bristol Visitor Information Centre, E Shed, 1 Canons Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX. Tel: 0333 321 0101
SS Great Britain is open daily, 10am to 5pm. Entry costs around £12 for adults, £6 children. Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6TY. Tel: 0117 926 0680
Bristol Zoo is open daily, 9am to 5pm. Entry costs around £12 for adults, £7 children. Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA. Tel: 0117 974 7399
Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery is open daily, 10.30am to 5pm. Entry is FREE. Queen's Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL . Tel: 0117 922 3571

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