The Best Museums & Art Galleries in Bristol – Mus3ums

Search for Museums

Bristol / United Kingdom

Bristol ) is a major city and county in South West England with a population of 463,400. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city lies between Gloucestershire to the north and Somerset to the south. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary. Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, and around the beginning of the 11th century, the settlement was known as Brycgstow . Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities, after London, in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution. Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas. The Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock. Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture. The city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK; the Bristol pound, which is pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, and a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium. It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, and to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4 ; rail, via Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway mainline rail stations; and Bristol Airport. One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides. The Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and Bristol also won the EU's European Green Capital Award in 2015.

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Bristol / United Kingdom

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is a large museum and art gallery in Bristol, England. The museum is situated in Clifton, about 0.5 miles from the city centre. As part of Bristol Culture it is run by the Bristol City Council with no entrance fee. It holds designated museum status, granted by the national government to protect outstanding museums. The designated collections include: geology, Eastern art, and Bristol's history, including English delftware. In January 2012 it became one of sixteen Arts Council England Major Partner Museums.The museum includes sections on natural history as well as local, national and international archaeology. The art gallery contains works from all periods, including many by internationally famous artists, as well a collection of modern paintings of Bristol. In the summer of 2009 the museum hosted an exhibition by Banksy, featuring more than 70 works of art, including animatronics and installations; it is his largest exhibition yet. It was developed in secrecy and with no advance publicity, but soon gained worldwide notoriety. The building is of Edwardian Baroque architecture and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.The standard opening hours are: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am–5pm. The museum is also open 10am-5pm on Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays.

Royal West of England Academy

Bristol / United Kingdom

The Royal West of England Academy is Bristol's oldest art gallery, located in Clifton, Bristol, near the junction of Queens Road and Whiteladies Road. Situated in a Grade 2* listed building, it hosts five galleries and an exhibition programme that celebrates the best of historic and contemporary British art.

University of Bristol

Bristol / United Kingdom

The University of Bristol is a red brick research university in Bristol, England. It received its royal charter in 1909, although it can trace its roots to a Merchant Venturers' school founded in 1595 and University College, Bristol, which had been in existence since 1876.Many of the University of Bristol buildings and infrastructure pay outdated homage to the horrific transatlantic slave trade, it's original donors having made much of their fortunes from tobacco and slavery . This history does not appear in the University prospectus. Bristol is organised into six academic faculties composed of multiple schools and departments running over 200 undergraduate courses, largely in the Tyndalls Park area of the city. The university had a total income of £642.7 million in 2017-18, of which £164.0 million was from research grants and contracts. It is the largest independent employer in Bristol.Current academics include 21 fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, 13 fellows of the British Academy, 13 fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and 44 fellows of the Royal Society. The university has been associated with 13 Nobel laureates throughout its history, including Paul Dirac, Sir William Ramsay, Cecil Frank Powell, Sir Winston Churchill, Dorothy Hodgkin, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Max Delbrück, Gerhard Herzberg, Sir Nevill Francis Mott, Sir Paul Nurse, Harold Pinter, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio and most recently, 2015 Economics Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton. Bristol is a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities, the European-wide Coimbra Group and the Worldwide Universities Network, of which the university's previous vice-chancellor, Eric Thomas, was chairman from 2005 to 2007. In addition, the university holds an Erasmus Charter, sending more than 500 students per year to partner institutions in Europe. It has an average of 6.4 to 13.1 applicants for each undergraduate place.

University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Bristol / United Kingdom

The University of Bristol Theatre Collection was founded in 1951 to serve the University of Bristol Department of Drama. It is now one of the world’s largest archives of British Theatre History. It is a fully accredited Archive and Museum and home to the Live Art Archive.

Merchant Hall

Bristol / United Kingdom

The Merchant Hall is a historic building on The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol, England. It was built in 1868 by Richard Shackleton Pope, Thomas Pope and John Bindon and converted after World War II for the Society of Merchant Venturers, whose original hall in central Bristol was destroyed during the Bristol Blitz.It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.

Old Council House, Bristol

Bristol / United Kingdom

The Old Council House is a building on Corn Street, Bristol, England. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.

Bristol Central Library

Bristol / United Kingdom

Bristol Central Library is a historic building on the south side of College Green, Bristol, England. It contains the main collections of Bristol's public library. Built in 1906 by Charles Holden, its design was influential in the development of Edwardian Free Style architecture. Holden would later go on to build the Edward VII Memorial Wing of the Bristol Royal Infirmary, giving Bristol two of its most highly regarded Edwardian buildings. The Library has been designated by Historic England as a grade I listed building.

Society of Merchant Venturers

Bristol / United Kingdom

The Society of Merchant Venturers is a charitable organisation in the English city of Bristol. The society can be traced back to a 13th-century guild which funded the voyage of John Cabot to Canada. In 1552, it gained a monopoly on sea trading from Bristol from its first Royal Charter. The society began surreptitious trading in slaves from West Africa before 1689, and successfully lobbied Parliament to open up the slave trade in 1698. For centuries it had almost been synonymous with the government of Bristol, especially Bristol Harbour. In recent times, the society's activities have centred on charitable agendas.The Society played a part in the development of Bristol, including the building of Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Great Western Railway. It also influenced the development of educational institutions in Greater Bristol, including University of Bristol, University of the West of England, University of Bath, City of Bristol College, Colston's Girls' School and Merchants' Academy.