Five reasons why Bristol is the perfect city break for families with teens

Satisfy your teens’ appetite for the unusual in Bristol with retro shopping and immersive art.

Experience art in new ways at Bristol's immersive experience Wake The Tiger.

Photograph by Andre Pattenden
By Maria Pieri
Published 12 Mar 2023, 07:00 GMT

1. Walking tours and workshops

While it can be tricky to persuade some teens to embrace art, you’ll find it easier in Bristol. You won’t have to look too hard to encounter the handiwork of the city’s prodigal son, Banksy — who was born here — on a walking tour, and there are some 200-odd other street artists in the city. Where The Wall offers a two-hour tour of the must-see works and Bristol’s 30 years of graffiti history. There are spray-painting workshops too, if your teens want to give stencil art a whirl themselves.

2. Immersive art experience

If all that graffiti leads to a new-found interest in art, then the next step is Wake The Tiger, a new immersive art experience. Through a maze of creative works, installations, hidden forests and secret passageways, you and your family will enter the fictional realm of Meridia and follow a mermerising storyline involving the secrets of the world’s four great guilds. It’s perfect for teen fantasy fans.

3. Famous filming locations

Remember Skins? The 00s drama was a hit with teens for its down-to-earth storylines, and now a new generation is discovering it on Netflix. Much of the show was filmed in Bristol and the Bristol Film Office has put together a map of all of the key locations, including Cabot Circus and College Green. Visit Bristol and the Bristol Film Office have also mapped other hit shows, including Sherlock and Doctor Who.

4. Vintage shops

If your teen is keen to develop their grunge, emo or fairycore style, take them to Park Street to discover the thrift and vintage shops, including Uncle Sam’s Vintage, perfect for everything from American varsity jackets to Levi’s jeans, as well as The Vintage Thrift Store, Loot Vintage and Sobeys. Cabot Circus is where you’ll find the more mainstream shopping centre.

5. Market finds

With gyoza to Caribbean-inspired wraps, St Nicholas Market, or St Nick’s to the locals, has delicious lunch options. It’s Bristol’s oldest market, trading since 1743. When you’re finished, don’t miss the shopping: it’s also home to Bristol’s largest collection of independent retailers. Highlights include Japonicat, a treasure trove of Japanese quirk, and Lunartique, full of Indian textiles.

How to do it

The new 214-room Moxy Bristol, a short walk from Temple Meads, will appeal to the younger crowd thanks to installations from local street artists. The rooms, Scandi-cool with warm woods, come with ChromeCast TVs, and there’s a cafe and pool table. Doubles from £87, B&B. 

Published in the April 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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