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Things To Do

Explore Bristol From Your Sofa With These Virtual Tours Of The City

Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd - Staff Writer

christmas steps bristol

Missing the city?

Now, my bedroom window currently features scenic vistas of some bins, a rusty bike, and some scaffolding, so I don’t know about you, but I’m desperate for a different kind of view. Thankfully, help is at hand with many museums, galleries, gardens and more in Bristol offering virtual tours during the global pandemic. With tours currently postponed due to social distancing measures and all tourist venues closed, here is a brilliant way to see the sights of Bristol. So, pop the kettle on, sit down with a brew and discover the wonders this city has to offer from home!

Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Take a virtual wander around Brunel’s iconic Victorian luxury ship, the SS Great Britain. You can explore the Ticket Office of the world’s first great ocean liner and give the gift shop a quick browse before virtually exploring the rest of the ship. Hover over the blue flags for additional sensory information, including sound clips and 360° views of the Dockyard Museum and surroundings, and learn about the ship’s pioneering past. There are only two things you may or may not miss about seeing the real deal are the odours that waft around the ship – think fish in the kitchen, horse droppings in the livestock cargo area and a sniff of vomit. The other thing you may or may not miss is seeing the resident ship’s cat, Izzy.

We The Curious

We The Curious science centre is renowned for its interactive exhibits, but if you can’t get fully hands-on, the next best thing is to check out this brilliant virtual tour of the ground floor. The centre is certainly not just for children as adults like to get involved with their interactive and informative content. Listen to the general ambience on different floors on the virtual tour, find out about current and upcoming exhibits – including entering a womb (which includes a sound clip) and visiting a collection of edible plants – to get you excited about a future visit.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

If you’re missing your fix of art and culture then don’t worry as you can venture inside Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s event spaces in this 3D virtual tour. A couple of key exhibits are marked, like Banksy’s ‘Angel with a paint pot’ and the Egypt and Assyria Galleries. While it’s mainly aimed at people wanting to hold an event there, you can still get a sense of the building’s beautiful interior. Plus, you can also explore some of their exhibitions online including British Tattoo Art Revealed: Bristol’s Tattoo Stories, Masters of Japanese Prints and 21 Century Kids.

Bristol Cathedral

Before the lockdown, Bristol Cathedral was streaming their services live, but as this is no longer possible, you can still see The Cathedral‘s spectacular stained-glass windows and find out about its history via their 360° virtual tour. Whilst exploring the cathedral, why not see if you can work out which parts were used in the filming of Wolf Hall? The mini-series starred the likes of Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Tom Holland.

Bristol balloon rides

Ever wanted to experience a Hot Air Balloon ride over Bristol? Well lockdown is the perfect time for a taster! You can take a virtual balloon ride with Bailey Balloons and if those incredible views inspire you, then you can buy their flight vouchers now, which will be valid for 12 months from when they resume flying. Up, up and away!

The New Room

You can enter the world’s oldest Methodist building, but from afar this lockdown. The virtual tours of The New Room in Bristol gives online viewers a glimpse of the impressive Horsefair entrance, as well as the Broadmead entrance, inside the chapel (which was used as a filming location in the BBC’s Poldark) and a peek at the light, bright café, where you can imagine yourself tucking into a tasty homemade cake.

St George’s

St George’s Hall is a stunning Georgian building and one of the country’s finest music halls, offering all kinds of music, including the best in classical, chamber, world, folk, blues and jazz, and spoken word. Why not recreate a concert at home by finding out what upcoming events the venue had planned, check out the virtual tour to look inside the main hall at St George’s, pour yourself a glass of wine or make a brew and download the artists on iTunes or Spotify?

Banksy walking tour

Bristol is well-known for the vibrant street art that adorns its walls, including many of born-and-bred Bristolian Banksy’s earliest and most famous pieces. To see some of the anonymous street artist’s marvellous murals from your phone, including his latest 2020 Aachoo piece, download the Banksy Bristol Trail app. It gives you  all the information on the early history of Banksy as well as articles with photos about the Banksy vs Bristol Museum show and his Dismaland exhibit.

6 O’Clock Gin

If you’re not doing Dry January this month then why not join on a virtual tour and tasting to see how Bristol distillery, 6 O’clock Gin, create their artisan gins? They’ll take you behind the scenes, showing you around the distillery and then guiding you through a live gin tasting. You will receive three different gins to try (London Dry, Brunel and Sloe) as well as tonic waters to pair them with.

Bristol hotels

Looking for somewhere to rest your head in Bristol? Or just plain nosey? See which Bristol hotels take your fancy for future visits by going on one of their virtual tours. Sneak a peek at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, with décor inspired by the local art scene; the atmospheric Hotel du Vin & Bistro, based in a converted sugar factory and with epic views of Clifton Suspension Bridge; the 4 star luxury Mercure hotel Holland House, and the modern Cleyro Serviced Apartments in the Finzels Reach quarter.

Fancy branching out of Bristol and going global? This interactive map will show you the best cheeses from around the world.