Great Britain played a key role in the development of the Industrial Revolution – it’s one reason why we were able to maintain such a vast global trading empire and project power all across the world. Plenty of cities played a part, but Bristol was one of the leading centres of 19th century industry, and its industrial roots continue to attract visitors from the United Kingdom and beyond. Bristol has plenty of other things to offer visitors as well- from boutique accommodation to a wealth of different bars and restaurants.
If you’re interested in exploring our country’s industrial past, you’ll need to visit these three attractions.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Shipbuilding broke new ground during the Industrial Revolution, with iron finally replacing wood as the material of choice. The SS Great Britain, which was designed by the legendary Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is one of the few surviving reminders of that profound change. Launched in 1843, she became the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, taking only 14 days to do so. Built of iron and equipped with a screw propeller, she was once the largest ocean-going ship in the world. Today, she’s one of the world’s most popular museum ships.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge remains an iconic symbol of Bristol. Also designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, though not completed until after his death, the Clifton Suspension Bridge majestically spans the picturesque Avon Gorge, and it’s still manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year. Visitors are welcome, and there’s a visitor centre detailing the history of this popular Bristol landmark.
The Kennet and Avon Canal
People tend to associate railways with the Industrial Revolution. However, before the railways there were the canals. Created to facilitate the speedy movement of heavy materials, canal boats could move at will without worrying about currents, and they carried their loads far faster than any horse-drawn coach. They helped supply materials to the country’s industrial centres, and the Kennet and Avon Canal remains a popular heritage tourism destination. There’s walking, cycling, canoeing, fishing, and boating – something for all the family.