City Sightseeing and Life Aboard the SS Great Britain Experience
- The Downs: This 400-acre expanse of grasslands stretching from Avon Gorge all the way to the edge of the city has earned this sanctum the nickname of "Bristol's Green Lung."
- Clifton Suspension Bridge: Get your camera ready. You're in position for a picture-perfect photo shoot with this world-famous 1,352-foot-long architectural masterpiece.
- City sights: See top landmarks on the scenic drive through the center of Bristol, including the old dock areas and historic structures, including a Norman cathedral, Georgian terraces, and Victorian public buildings.
- SS Great Britain: Travel back to the Victorian era to experience the sights, smells, sounds, and life aboard this storied vessel, the world's first oceangoing, propeller-driven ship.
About this Bristol tour
Do the Bristol Stomp on this panoramic sightseeing drive through the heart of the city, highlighting its top landmarks. You'll discover how water has, and always will be, a defining character trait for this urban center. Get your fill, admiring the old docks and period architecture that set the backdrop for today's residents, a lively mix of artists and activists.
But before hitting the city, take time to enjoy the journey. Join the throng of ever-present joggers, kite-flyers, footballers, and nature lovers at The Downs. This is where you can snap a selfie with the Clifton Suspension Bridge as your photobomber. It's a true historical icon inscribed with the Latin phrase "SUSPENSA VIX VIA FIT" which translates to "A suspended way made with difficulty." And that's no joke! It took 33 long years to actually build the bridge, known as designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel's first love.
If his bridge wasn't impressive enough, you'll check out yet another Brunel masterpiece when you climb aboard his SS Great Britain. When this vessel was launched in 1843, folks touted her as "the greatest experiment since creation." Pretty big shoes to fill, but it wasn't empty hype. The SS Great Britain was the first seafaring ship of her size made of iron, powered by a 1,000 horsepower steam engine, and designed with a screw propeller. (A true engineering innovation over the day's commonplace paddle wheels.)
So, are you ready to go full steam ahead on the SS Great Britain? Because every cabin, nook, and cranny has been carefully restored and brought to life. Parents in first-class play with their kids. An onboard doctor conducts a minor surgery. A cook shoos vermin out of his galley. And there you are, right in the middle of the action, just another passenger aboard a Victorian ship enjoying your voyage across the ocean.
The ship's graytest mystery
John Gray took the helm of the SS Great Britain in 1854. Respected by crew and beloved by passengers, he was described as "the most popular captain afloat." But it all ended November 25, 1872. That night, Gray retired to his cabin with indigestion. By morning, he was missing, with an unscrewed port in the ship's lower saloon as the only clue. Theories abound, including suicide and escape to a secret life in Australia, but Captain Gray's disappearance remains unsolved.
Please make your way to Main Entrance of the Bristol Temple Meads Railway to meet our tour representative.
There are some great views seen along your drive. If taking pictures from the bus, turn your flash off, set your camera on manual focus, use the fastest shutter speed possible, and zoom as far as you can.
This tour is suitable for travelers with limited mobility, able to get in and out of the van without assistance. Most venues are wheelchair accessible but you may encounter steps. Folding wheelchairs only, please.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Scenic
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Travelers must be 5 years of age or older and accompanied by an adult to participate in this tour.
Special Medical Restriction
Folding wheelchairs can be accommodated. Please bring a companion to offer any assistance.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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