Bristol (Avonmouth) (Photo:stocker1970/Shutterstock)
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Roxanne Wells
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Bristol (Avonmouth)

Bristol is a natural choice for a cruise port in the South West of England thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic and strong maritime history. With the relatively new Bristol Cruise Terminal, built in 2013, at Avonmouth Docks, and located just six miles outside Bristol city centre, it's the perfect place to plan a day out before or after a cruise.

Whether it's Banksy, Blackbeard or the distinctive West Country accent that comes to mind when you think of Bristol, this city is surprisingly cosmopolitan, with exciting art, media and music scenes. Bristol (or 'Brizzle', as it's known locally) also boasts some beautiful architecture, with hundreds of listed and landmark buildings in a hotchpotch of styles from medieval to modern. Many of the city's old buildings have been given new identities-- the city centre harbour, for example, has become a buzzing modern development since the relocation of the docks to the larger, deeper water sites at Avonmouth and neighbouring Portbury.

The largest concentration of sights and landmarks is clustered within the city centre and medieval Old City areas. In the charming Old City you can wander back in time to tick off historic landmarks like St Stephen's Church, the Old Council House, Queen Square and St Nicholas Market. You then have gorgeous architecture on Park Street, where the independent shops and boutiques contrast with the big brand names of the Shopping Quarter.

Other areas worth exploring include the lively Harbourside development and charming Old Market and Redcliffe areas around the Temple Meads Railway Station -- look out for the rainbow of colourful houses that make up Redcliffe Parade and the gothic stunner that is St Mary Redcliffe Church.

For history lovers who want to venture further afield, beautiful Bath -- Britain's only UNESCO World Heritage City -- is just 30 minutes away, while the home of Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, takes just over an hour to reach. Shakespeare's home town Stratford-upon-Avon, the historic university town of Oxford and the mysterious, prehistoric site of Stonehenge are all 90 minutes away by road.

The new cruise terminal at Avonmouth Docks made cruising directly to and from the city possible. Cruise & Maritime Voyages is the main provider of cruises from Bristol, and made the docks its homeport in 2015. On CMV ships Astoria and Marco Polo, passengers can sail on varied itineraries ranging from two-night taster cruises and trips around the British Isles, to the beautiful Norwegian Fjords, the sunny Canary Islands and even as far away as the Amazon.

About Bristol (Avonmouth)


Pro

A vibrant city with its own distinct vibe and culture, good restaurants, long history and a revitalized waterfront

Con

Some areas are run down; architecturally blighted city center

Bottom Line

Worth exploring the waterfront, Clifton Downs and taking a day trip to historic Bath


Find a Cruise to the British Isles & Western Europe

Where You're Docked

The Bristol Cruise Terminal sits within Avonmouth Docks at the Port of Bristol.

Baggage handlers (identifiable by high-vis waistcoats) greet arriving passengers and collect their cases from their cars. The port has secure car parking, which must be booked through a cruise line or travel agent and a drop-off point. These are a short walk from the terminal entrance.

Bristol Cruise Terminal also has a team of 'Guest Experience Crew' who are on hand to guide passengers through the terminal. They can also offer advice on tourist attractions in the area.

Good to Know

Banksy's street art is a massive boost to Bristol's cool, cultured credentials, and you shouldn't miss the chance to see his graffiti art up close if you're in what is widely thought to be his home city. There's information on the Visit Bristol website so you can easily do a self-guided walking tour.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency is pound sterling. Visit www.xe.com for current rates. There is no ATM in the terminal. The nearest ATM is outside a Premier shop at 186b Avonmouth Road. There's also a small branch of Barclays bank on Gloucester Road, just down from Avonmouth railway station.

Language

English -- with a distinctive Bristolian twang!

Shopping

Brunel's ss Great Britain, is dry-docked at Bristol's historic Harbourside complex, and is one of the city's most popular attractions, so souvenirs relating to this famous ship and Bristol's maritime roots, are easy to find. Banksy-themed items are also popular souvenirs, including prints, photo cards, postcards, mugs, canvas bags, T-shirts, keyrings -- pretty much everything you can think of.