A tourist guide for Bristol visitors

So you're visiting
Studio Cotton...

We want you to make a day of it. Whether you’re visiting our wonderful city for a few hours or a couple of days, we’ve popped together some of our local Bristol favourites.

From Studio Cotton

A good guide, but not the only guide...

Bristol is ruddy chocka with amazing indie businesses, and we couldn’t possibly include all of them (even though we totally want to).

Our picks are based on team favourites, usefulness to our small business visitors, and proximity.

We’ve included a rough walking estimate from each location to our Old City studio at 63 Broad Street, Bristol BS1 2EJ.

The Studio Cotton team having a small business meeting and laughing a lot

Fancy coffee shops

We’re a team of self-confessed coffee snobs, so had to pop our favourite caffeine stops at the top of the list.

Full Court Press

Just two doors down from Studio Cotton, Full Court Press (aka FCP) prepares about 16 lattes a day for the Studio Cotton team.


Owned by one of Bristol’s friendliest folks, Ka:Fei is the perfect spot for sipping and sitting on a sunny day, as they have outdoor seating only.

Small Street Espresso

The closest cosy coffee shop, Small Street Espresso is a great little hideout, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch a barrister in a fancy wig visiting from the Court opposite. 

Little Victories

A bright and airy coffee shop at Wapping Wharf, Little Victories is sister-café to Small Street and is a great place to watch the world go by. 

New Cut Coffee

Also at Wapping Wharf, but a lil closer to the river, New Cut provides a tasty slice of vegan fruit pie and a damn fine cup of coffee.

Greytone Coffee

The newest coffee kid on the block, with the most unique interior. If you’re a fan of clean lines, exceptional specialist coffee and fancy bakes, Greytone is for you.

Cafés for meetings & working

Need a spot to kill time, get some work done, or squeeze in a second Bristolian meeting? We got you.

The Bristol Loaf (Beacon)

Our pick for meetings, The Bristol Loaf inside Bristol Beacon – a city performance space – is a bright and comfy spot with great coffee, pastries and lunch options.


Creative centre Dareshack is a favourite remote working spot for freelancers and small business owners. They have wicked cheese toasties, and put on loads of interesting events.

Society Café

With plenty of seating, big windows for people watching, and magazines to flick through, this is a great spot for a meeting or finding inspiration for your next big idea.

Lunches to take away

Bristol is a streetfood haven, with something for every craving and dietary requirement imaginable. So much so that we’re often a lil overwhelmed by choice when it comes to lunchtime.

St Nick's Market

You can’t go wrong with a trip to St Nick’s Market – our picks are Matina under the glass arcade, Eatchu on Exchange Avenue, and Tia Julia often found on the Wine Street market on Tuesday & Friday.

The Harbourside Market

An ever-changing line-up of incredible local street food vendors, including decadent macaroni cheesers Alp Mac, irresistible chicken friers Peckers, and delicious burger-slingers Boigers

Finzels Reach Market

You’re spoiled for choice at this food market just across Bristol Bridge. From She Sells Sushi to Los Hermanos, Big Nath’s BBQ to Hummusapiens – you’re in for a delicious lunch. 

Dinners & eating in

There’s an incredible indie restaurant scene in Bristol, and we all really love supporting it by filling our bellies with tasty delights. Here are some favs. 

Wapping Wharf

Another place with lots of choice, Wapping Wharf is an iconic riverside destination made of shipping containers. With Gambas, Salt & Malt, Root, Box-E, Cargo Cantina and Squeezed to name a few.

Quay Street Diner

Casual easy eating in the city centre, with a menu stuffed with American diner classics, including tasty hotdogs, chicken & waffles, burgers, tacos and more.

Cow & Sow

A great restaurant for those times that you’re proper hungry and fancy something that’ll fill you to the brim. The clue is in the name – this one is a very meat-heavy eatery.


A beautiful space in central Bristol, serving up a small, but perfectly-formed menu influenced by seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The window seats are perfect for a solo dinner. 

Pasta Ripiena

If you’re looking for impeccable Italian food, we’d recommend heading to Pasta Ripiena – the more central sister restaurant to the award-winning Pasta Loco.

Tuk Tuck

Do you like Asian street food in a casual environment? I thought so. Head down the road for gyoza, bibimbap, kimchi fries, or content producer Lyzi‘s favourite Thai red curry.

Beers and cocktails

Apparently there are more than 20 breweries in Bristol, which means there are heckin’ loads of amazing taprooms, and tons of other watering holes.

Small Bar

This pub may be small by name, but boasts a big variety of beers (on 31 taps to be precise) as well as wines and spirits. It’s also home to Wings Diner, who make incredible fried chicken.

The Strawberry Thief

An award winning bar and kitchen a mere hop, skip and a jump from the office, The Strawberry Thief stocks over 50 Belgian beers and serves amazing food too.

Milk Thistle

One of Bristol’s original prohibition bars, in a gorgeously dark and cosy historic building, full of quirky vintage artefacts. They have a menu of classic cocktails and unique concoctions. 

Left Handed Giant Brewpub

Half brewery, half pub, and totally cool, LHG overlooks the river and provides Bristolians with some of the best beer around, with iconic designs by James Yeo. Plus, incredible food by Pizza is Lovely.

Wiper & True

Beloved Bristol brewery Wiper & True opened their super classy new taproom in summer 2022. It’s a beautiful, big space, with delicious beers and lots of outdoor seating too.

The Apple

Yes, Bristol has an impressive number of breweries, but we can’t not mention cider. The Apple is a famous boat bar serving up that delicious golden apple nectar. 

Fresh air

Bristol has an abundance of beautiful green and airy spaces scattered across the city, perfect for relaxing or stretching your legs.

Castle Park

Our nearest park, and a perfect place to eat the lunch you bought from St Nick’s Market. Castle Park has views overlooking the river, the ruins of an old church and lots of lovely trees.

Queen Square

A stunning Georgian square, lined with trees and surrounded by cobbled streets, it feels like you’re stepping back into 1817. Fun fact: it was a dual carriageway for 69 years before being restored in 1999.

Bristol Harbourside Walk

Whether you choose to walk the full 4.3km loop, or just enjoy a small section, the harbourside walk is really accessible and a very lovely way to while away the hours. 

Brandon Hill

Head up Park Street and take one of the left-hand side roads to discover Brandon Hill – a park with breathtaking views of Bristol, especially if you go up Cabot Tower. 

College Green

A small green at the bottom of Park Street, perfect for enjoying a cone from Swoon Gelato. Step inside Bristol Cathedral while you’re there, and take a peep at their beautiful garden too. 

Royal Fort Gardens

These gardens on one of the University of Bristol campuses is home to beguiling art installations by Jeppe Hein and Katie Paterson.


If you fancy making a couple of days out of your visit, Bristol has some lovely, comfy and cool places to stay.

Hort's Townhouse

A literal stone’s-throw from our office, Hort’s is a Bristol institution. This Grade II listed building has been lovingly restored with boutique rooms, and serves up a bangin’ scotch egg in their dining room.

Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

With views of the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and luxurious rooms, this is a very special place to stay. The hotel had a full makeover a couple of years back, and she’s looking smashing.

Artist Residence

Easily the coolest place to stay, Artist Residence opened their Bristol branch in an old boot factory. It also has a gorgeous space downstairs, which is open to the public and makes a perfect meeting place. 

Sweet treats

After all that you’re gonna need some pud, right? Luckily for you, Bristol has plenty of spots to sweeten the deal.

Ahh Toots

They started out with a small space in St Nick’s, and now they have a glorious cakery at the bottom of Christmas Steps. Their array of bakes really is amazing, with lots of vegan choices too. 

Swoon Gelato

The best gelato, including vegan options. Founder Aime‘s favourites are the Nocciola and Pistachio. They’ve won blimmin’ loads of awards now, and they deserve them all. 

Hart's Bakery

If you’re getting the train into or out of Bristol, you simply must pop into Hart’s Bakery while you’re at Temple Meads. Everything tastes incredible, so whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Farro Bakery

Do you like decadent pastry treats and excellent coffee? Well, my friend, you’re going to love Farro. Over the summer they also have soft serve ice cream in waffle cones, both made in-house. 

Mrs. Potts Chocolate House

Chocaholics prilgrimage to Mrs. Potts and it’s obvious why – the indulgent desserts are too delicious to resist. They have vegan, gluten-free and nut-free treats too. 

Small Goods

Another one for those getting the train in or out of Temple Meads. Bristol has a lot of donut shops now, but Small Goods is by far the best, with ever-changing seasonal flavours. Also the focaccia is also incred. 


If you fancy taking a piece of Bristol home with you, we have indie shops aplenty, even in the centre of the shopping quarter. 

Prior Shop & Fig 1

A couple of very lovely shops on the same street, these two are proving that independent shops can stand strong next to highstreet stores. Selling a range of homewares, clothing and art.

Arnolfini Bookshop

It’s difficult to pass Arnolfini Bookshop without going in – their shelves are jam-packed with interesting and inspiring books, for kids and grown-ups alike. 

Stokes Croft & Gloucester Road

Cited as the longest road of independent shops in the UK, Gloucester Road has lots of quirky small businesses to peruse. Give yourself a whole day to meander if you can.


Bristol has a rich (and somewhat problematic) history, why not learn all about the toppling of the Colston statue or peruse some art while you’re here? 

M Shed

Situated in an old cargo shed on the harbour, the M Shed tells the story of Bristol from prehistoric times to the 21st century. We love the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

Bristol Museum

A more general museum in a beautiful Edwardian building at the top of Park Street, Bristol Museum has collections of art, nature and history. 

Brunel's SS Great Britain

This iconic steamship was transformed into a museum back in 2005, allowing you to step onboard and back in time to learn about the ship’s history.


If you’re an art lover, we’d highly recommend a trip to Arnolfini by the river. Most exhibitions are free, and as with all good galleries, it has a great café too. 


The Royal West of England Academy is an art gallery, just up the road from Bristol Museum. Entry is £8, or free for under 21s, and there’s a Spicer+Cole café on site with bangin’ toasties. 

Spike Island

Another wonderful Bristol art gallery with free exhibitions, and a wonderful café – Emmeline. Spike Island also throws open the doors to the artists’ studios for one weekend in April – it’s worth a visit if you’re nosy like us. 

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