Photo by Paul Box

Take to the Water

An aquatic journey from springs to streams, along the river and out to sea

Day 1

A city built on water

A journey to unlock Bath’s very existence - the city's name stems from the natural thermal springs that bubble up from deep below the city centre.

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Courtesy of the Roman Baths

The Roman Baths

No trip to Bath is complete without a visit to the Roman Baths. Begun in 70AD, these remarkably well preserved buildings made the city a renowned centre for bathing and socializing, and little has changed in 2,000 years. Visit the Pump Rooms for an opportunity to ‘take the waters’, though be warned - being warm and mineral rich, they are not to everybody’s taste!

Venue information
  • Walk 10 mins
Courtesy of Visit Bath

En route

Turn right to meet the River Avon with its roaring weir overlooked by the Palladian splendour of Pulteney Bridge. Cross the bridge to walk down Great Pulteney Street.

Photo by Freia Turland

Sydney Gardens

Situated to the rear of the Holburne Museum lies a wonderful example of a Georgian pleasure garden. The Kennet & Avon Canal cuts through Sydney Gardens and these waterways can be crossed on an elegant 18th century iron-work bridge.

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Day 2

Connected to the Sea

Like Bath, Bristol’s history and character has been shaped by water. A trading port with access to the sea, the city has always looked out to the world beyond the horizon.

Photo by Quintin Lake

M Shed

M Shed started life as a dockside warehouse to be transformed into a modern museum, telling the story of Bristol and its people. Its permanent collection explores over 2,000 years of all aspects of the city’s life in a thought-provoking and fun way. Don't miss the chance to see the old docks working once again with steamboats, trains and cranes - check the website for details.

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Photo by Shawn Spencer Smith

The Matthew

Just five years after Columbus, John Cabot sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497 in the caravel The Matthew. The ship which you can often see sailing up and down Bristol's harbour is a modern reconstruction which made the same journey 500 years later. Trips along the Avon Gorge are made in the summer months - check the website for details.

Venue information
  • Walk 10 mins
Photo by Jon Craig

En route

Just next to The Matthew there’s a wide variety of culinary delights on offer from the best of Bristol’s indie restaurants and cafes at Cargo, the buzzing harbourside development.

Photo by Adam Gasson

Brunel's SS Great Britain

Arguably Bristol’s must-see attraction, the SS Great Britain is a fitting symbol of the city’s rich maritime history. Launched in 1843 and now remarkably restored to its original condition, the ship rests in the very same dry dock in which it was built.

Don’t miss the new Being Brunel museum - which sits alongside the SS Great Britain and is set inside Brunel’s original Dock Office - it provides a remarkable insight into the creative genius who designed and built what was called 'the greatest experiment since the Creation'.

Venue information
  • Walk 10 mins
  • Cycle 5 mins
Courtesy of Underfall Yard

Underfall Yard

Underfall Yard is a functioning boatyard which also houses a brilliant visitor centre, explaining the story of Bristol's Floating Harbour which enabled ships to use the city’s docks whether the tide was in or out. With a giant interactive map and hands-on displays, learn how the massive hydraulic system made Bristol one of Britain’s busiest and wealthiest ports. The cafe here serves great food and has a beautiful vista of the harbour.

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Courtesy of Destination Bristol

En route

Take a ferry boat through the floating harbour from Nova Scotia Place to the city centre, and see the city with a duck's-eye-view from the water.

Photo by Toby Farrow, courtesy Watershed

Watershed

Round off your exploration of Bristol's Harbourside with a visit to the Watershed. Once a dockside warehouse, it is now Bristol’s thriving centre for cinema and digital creativity, with a lively cafe and bar overlooking the water.

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Day 3

By the Seaside

Enjoy a day at the beach in two seaside towns - Clevedon and Weston super Mare.

Weston Museum

Hidden in the town’s backstreets, it’s well worth the effort to visit this excellent gem of a museum. Imaginatively refurbished, the museum tells the story of the town as a seaside resort in an original and engaging way, from encounters with Punch and Judy, to Clara’s Cottage, a recreation of a typical house in early 1900s Weston.

Venue information
  • Bus 45 mins
  • Car 25 mins
Courtesy of North Somerset Council

En route

Before heading to Clevedon, take a detour to the beach - no day at the seaside is complete without a walk along the promenade, with the golden sands stretching out towards Wales in the distance.

Courtesy of Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier

Described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘the most beautiful pier in England’ it seems entirely fitting that Clevedon Pier was constructed with surplus rails from one of Brunel’s railway ventures. With no natural harbour, this beautiful example of Victorian engineering was built to accommodate the steamers that brought holiday-makers across the water from Wales.

Venue information
  • Walk 15 mins
  • Car 5 mins
Courtesy of Curzon Clevedon

Curzon Clevedon

Round off the day with a visit to the Curzon Cinema. Opened in 1912, this is one of the world’s oldest continuously working cinemas. Showing all the latest blockbusters and art house favourites, the Curzon has a cosy atmosphere and red velvet seats, it is like a lovely trip back in time.

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