In 1809 Bristol was transformed by the opening of the Floating Harbour. 80 acres of tidal river was impounded to allow visiting ships to remain afloat all the time. Over the next two centuries the Harbour grew as a busy commercial port until it closed in 1975. Since then, it has been regenerated for leisure, commerce and residence.
There are so many enjoyable aspects to the Harbourisde today, not least an interesting and varied 2.5 mile circular walk between Pero’s bridge by the Arnolfini and Merchant’s Road by the Pump House, passing a range of coffee shops, SS Great Britain and The Matthew, M-Shed en route. You will also see the iconic multi coloured painted town houses in Clifton Wood as well as the Clifton Suspension bridge.
You will see many water based activities – from paddle boarding to canoeing to rowing, or you may prefer to stay dry. If so, there are numerous boat trips, either making a simple crossing midway between these two locations, or for a leisurely tour of the city’s docks. Behind the M-Shed is Wapping Wharf, by Gaol Ferry steps, a vibrant centre with various bars, coffee and independent shops, and eateries. Also We The Curious is a science learning centre for children, just off Millennium Square. Park St is located just to the north and Broadmead and Cabot Circus handy. Clifton village is just 1 mile to the North of the Harbourside with a range of boutique shops and cafes, and Southville is just 1 mile to the south, with a range of café bars, restaurants and boutique shops. Ashton Gate is within 2 miles to the south.
In addition to the water, there are several green spaces in central Bristol, Brandon Hill is just to the west of Park St (and north of the Harbourside), with Ashton Court within 2 miles to the west.
The housing stock has taken hold in recent years, with a huge volume of purpose built flats (with some townhouses) one after another replacing the declining dockside industry, though the Underfall yard (to the western end) provides a fascinating historical insight to engineering works which have stood the test of time, and is open to the public. You can see first hand how the hydraulic pumps keeps the water levels right for the floating harbour.
Today the Harbourside is a thriving vibrant area which appeals to young and old who like to live in a cosmopolitan environment. The Watershed is a much loved independent cinema centre, and only one of a range of potential nights out too numerous to mention!