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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Bristol

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Why the city of Bristol rocks

Clifton Suspension Bridge by Claudio Divizia (via Shutterstock).

A Bristol Icon: the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Image by Claudio Divizia (via Shutterstock).

If you are a fellow Bristolian, you may wish to read our previous article instead. Failing that, you could read on and – if you feel the need to do so – propose any corrections in the comments section.

Our city is the hub of the West Country. Some people from Exeter or Plymouth might think differently but strictly speaking, they come under the South West of England. Still, that didn’t stop ITV from using our city for Exeter’s and Plymouth’s news bulletins (who remembers TSW – Television South West – and Gus Honeybun?). That’s another argument for another day.

If you are new to Bristol and its surrounding area, you will find yourself in a warm yet often traffic-clogged city. A vibrant city with a high student population. Not least the fact a quick train underneath, or a drive across the Severn Estuary, gets you to Wales in no time at all. You also have the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare a short distance away (and you can get a First Bristol bus to the resort). In the other direction, there’s Bath and Cheddar Gorge. Then you’ve got the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

In this post, we look at the ten things which distinguish Bristol from many parts of the United Kingdom. Here they are.

1. It is the birthplace of Wallace and Gromit and Morph: Aardman Animations were founded – and still produce award-winning animations in the same city.

2. The BBC Natural History Unit has been based in Broadcasting House, Bristol since 1957. It is known for David Attenborough’s documentaries including The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

3. Parts of Bedminster doubled as Peckham in the later episodes of Only Fools and Horses from 1988 to 2003.

4. The runway at BAE Systems’ former works in Filton was extended to accommodate the prototype Bristol Brabazon aeroplane, whose wingspan was wider than a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet.

5. Bristol City are the only Bristol football club to have had a spell in the top flight. They played in the old First Division from 1906 to 1910, and 1976 to 1980.

6. The city’s IKEA store stands on the site of the Eastville Stadium, formerly the home of Bristol Rovers. They now play at The Memorial Stadium, shared with the Rugby Union side.

7. In the BBC’s 2002 public poll of 100 Greatest Britons, engineer of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Isambard Kingdom Brunel came second.

8. Only one Bristol based popular music group has had a UK Number One chart single. It was The Wurzels with The Combine Harvester, their 1976 take on Melanie’s Brand New Key.

9. Bristol Board, often used for envelopes and paperback covers is named after our city itself.

10. In 2014, The Sunday Times named our city as The Best City in Britain to Live in. That we do agree with being Bristolians, but we would lovingly challenge them to sit on a gridlocked A38 for two hours.