10 of the best locations to take your parents to impress them when they visit you in Bristol

No, your parents don’t want to mooch around Cabot Circus for five hours

After a spontaneous Friday night at La Rocca, your alarm goes off bright and early on Saturday morning. The parents are already on their way. Mum has texted and they’re about to get off the M4. Time to pull yourself together and quickly neck a Berocca, it’s show time!   

When your parents visit, you suddenly have to become Bristol’s number-one tour guide for the day. Students get stuck in their ratty ways and forget to appreciate how beautiful the city actually is (when you look beyond the ASS’s architecture). So here is a guide to convince your parents that Bristol isn’t just smelly student clubs and steep hills.

1. Cabot Tower

Just off Park Street, Cabot Tower is an essential spot to show the parents. It’s free to climb and has beautiful 360 views of the city from the top. The viewpoint helps put Bristol’s size into perspective, so you can point out your favourite spots to impress Mum and Dad with your geographic knowledge. The tower is surrounded by Brandon Hill which is a lovely spot for a picnic too, dependent on the weather of course – this is Bristol after all.

2. Bristol Museum

Next to the Wills Memorial Building, the Bristol Museum is a great spot for some sophisticated cultural enrichment. It’s free to look around and has many interesting exhibits, with many being specific to Bristol. There is a real mix of displays from taxidermy, artwork, and some super interesting fossils – something for everyone. A great place to visit if it’s raining and provides some great information on the city.

3. Left Handed Giant

Across the river from Castle Park, Left Handed Giant is a brewpub which offers a vast number of craft beers and delicious pizzas. If your dad is a beer lover like mine, it’s the perfect place to go. Its bustling atmosphere and industrial interior make it super appealing, and it’s not full of students so your parents won’t feel like intruding oldies. It’s fun to try a couple of their beers, which are served as ¾ of a pint, as they are stronger than the usual drink – so watch out, don’t get too tipsy in front of Mum and Dad!

4. Clifton Village and The Suspension Bridge

Clifton is the obvious choice as the ultimate tourist destination. It has many independent coffee, clothing, plant, and homeware shops. There are vast options for restaurants – two personal favourites being MilkBun and Nutmeg. For an evening drink, The Bristol Fringe is a super cosy, traditional pub which I can guarantee your parents will enjoy. If you don’t take your parents to the Suspension Bridge and 360 Observatory, you are a terrible tour guide. Don’t be a lazy son or daughter – hike up the hill and explore the aesthetically pleasing Clifton.

5. White Lion Pub in Bristol Avon Gorge

When in Clifton, make sure to visit the White Lion Pub in Bristol’s Avon Gorge Hotel; some argue it’s the best pub view in all of Bristol. It’s perfect for a pre-dinner drink and has plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy the view. Your parents will love it and will be sending plenty of pictures to the family group chat.

6. King Street

An entire street dedicated to classy pubs – your parents will be delighted! King Street is a vibrant spot with many options for food and drink. Three Brothers Burgers is a popular choice to grab some food and King Street Brewhouse is a popular pub with its own micro-brewery. The Historic Bristol Old Vic Theatre is on the street too, so if your parents enjoy some drama, definitely have a look at what’s on there.

7. St Nicholas Market

Situated in Bristol’s Old City, St Nicholas Market is home to many independent shops, stalls, and places for food. You can find yourself some amazing deals on vintage and second-hand pieces and is very popular with thrifting lovers. It’s a fantastic spot to visit if your parents are foodies with dishes from across the globe available. It’s open from 9.30am and closes at 5pm every day apart from Sunday when it’s closed– don’t embarrass yourself by walking all there for nothing!

8. Cotham Hill

Just off Whiteladies Road and very near campus, Cotham Hill is a lovely street with plenty of coffee shops, charity shops, and restaurants. Bravas is a popular choice for food here, serving delicious Spanish tapas. It’s a great little area to walk through during the day with your parents or for dinner in the evening. Lots of second and third-year housing is nearby, so is extra convenient if you don’t want to venture far out.

9. Boston Tea Party

If your parents are staying the night, Boston Tea Party is the perfect option for brunch. There are two locations in Bristol – the older Park Street branch and one on Whiteladies Road. Both have lovely staff, a varied menu and the best hash browns you will ever taste, it’s definitely the best breakfast bet. The original Park Street location has beautiful outside seating, which is great in the sunnier months.

10. Bosco Pizzeria

On Whiteladies Road, Bosco Pizzeria is an amazing option for dinner if your parents are fans of Italian food. The pizzas are exceptional, and the restaurant has a lovely atmosphere with an open wood-fired oven and gorgeous seating. Your parents will not be disappointed with this one! It’s perfect for celebrations and the staff are more than happy for you to bring a cake if you’re celebrating a birthday.

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