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.