The Best Time to Visit Bristol 2023: The Ultimate Guide
Bristol is a multicultural university city situated on the River Avon, just an hour and forty minutes from London. It boasts numerous attractions, from world-class street art and art galleries to various iconic landmarks you can trace back to its centuries-old heritage. Because there’s always something going on and things to do throughout the year, it’s pretty tricky to pick the ideal month or a specific season to visit Bristol.
But if you plan to spend your holidays and attend the Baloon fiesta and other festivals, it’s probably safe to say that summer is the best time to visit Bristol. Generally, from May to September offers comfortable temperatures for boat tours and exploring its more than 400 gardens and parks. Just leave your well-packed bags at a reliable Bristol luggage storage facility to make the most of your outdoor adventures without worry.
This independent city in England enjoys an oceanic climate, with relatively rainy summers and cold, rainy winters. The average monthly temperatures vary and may play a part in when you want to visit. Annual rainfall in Bristol is about 578mm, which may increase from north to south, and an average of 1542 to 1885 sunshine hours. Although it’s one of the sunniest cities in the UK, rain falls throughout the year. That’s why you’ll want to check the report from weather stations if you want to enjoy pleasant Bristol weather when you arrive.
Summer in Bristol: June – August
The warmer temperatures in summer in Bristol remain comfortable, making it one of the most preferred traveling times by many tourists. July is the hottest month of the year, with an average high of 68.7°F (20.4°C) and an average low of 54°F (12.2°C). It’s also the sunniest, with approximately 219 sunshine hours. Throughout the season, the average temperature ranges from 58.8°F (14.9°C) to 59.7°F (15.4°C), and an average monthly rainfall of 8 mm (0.31 inches).
Summer in Bristol is a special time as you can enjoy longer days and different family-friendly attractions during the school holidays. Pack light clothing, like button-down shirts, dresses, and light-colored clothes, which reflect more than absorb the sun’s rays. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking during your visit, so bring a pair of comfortable shoes to travel in comfort and style.
Like most cities in England, Bristol weather can be unpredictable. Include a durable raincoat or a small umbrella in your suitcase to prepare for the wet summer days. You don’t want to be inadequately prepared, as the wrong clothing can quickly put a downer on your trip. Additionally, it isn’t always warm, even at the peak of the season, so consider packing layers for additional warmth, especially for the summer evening.
Besides the pleasant weather in Bristol, one of the best things about summer in this England city is the opportunity to be outside, discovering open-air festivities and thrilling outdoor activities. From massive free events like the Bristol Harbour Festival and Bristol International Baloon Fiesta to small exhibitions and concerts, there’s something going on in and around the city during summer to keep you amused.
If you’re traveling with your little ones for a long weekend, there are more than enough family-friendly attractions to keep them busy. Visit Bristol Aquarium and Bristol Zoo Gardens or take them to Aerospace Bristol. Escape the city and head to Ashton Court, a spectacular mansion and estate with wildlife, meadows, woodland, and more. Those looking for an extra adrenaline rush, cool off and surf at The Wave. It’s an inland-surfing spot located in North Bristol.
Since summer in Bristol is the peak tourism season, expect to find tons of visitors in many of its events and world-class attractions. In addition, rates on hotels and flights tend to increase as tourists flock, especially in June, which is the most expensive month for hotels. So book your flights and accommodations in advance when planning to spend your summer in the city. You can also pick from reliable travel agents to help you get the best price.
Fall in Bristol: September – November
You’ll experience changes in weather conditions during fall in Bristol. As the polar's cold breeze meets the tropics' warm air, it creates climatic changes and an unsettled season in the region. The nights are naturally cooler than the daytime, but it remains significantly warmer at the beginning of the season, with an average temperature of 64.4°F (18°C) in September.
November is one of the wettest months after December, with an average rainfall of 13mm (0.51 inches). It’s also the coldest month during fall, with day temperatures of 50°F (10°C) and night temperatures dropping to 42.8°F (6°C). There are fewer rainy days in the fall than in the previous season, but the length of the day becomes shorter.
Layering is the key to keeping yourself comfortable as the temperatures transition from warm in early September to cold in October. Throw on a leather jacket, a pair of well-fitted dark jeans, a shirt or a nice top, and comfortable sneakers for cooler days. Leather ankle boots are also a versatile alternative as they go well with any outfit and are ideal for lots of walking and wet days. Add a coat and layer with a scarf for cooler evenings and transition to heavier ones as it gets closer to the winter season in November.
September brings the official day of fall in Bristol. It is a fantastic time to head out for glorious walks and watch the leaves changing from green to shades of amber, gold, orange, and red. Whether you’re with friends or going solo, there’s nothing more satisfying than the sensation of walking on those crunchy leaves and filling your lungs with the refreshing, crisp fall air.
Experience this magical time in Leigh Woods, featuring a woodland play area for your kids and spectacular views over the Avon Gorge. You also don’t want to miss the favorite fall spot among locals and visitors, Westonbirt The National Arboretum. It’s one of the world’s finest collections of temperate trees and shrubs and is known for its breathtaking fall color display.
Come in October and catch the haunting Halloween Candlelight concert in Bristol and witness a talented string quartet playing modern Halloween tunes like Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This month also brings the favorite Bristol Film Festival, featuring scary films in some of the city’s spookiest venues.
September is still a busy month in Bristol, so prices for accommodations and flights are also the highest during this time. However, tourists are unlikely to visit in November. So those willing to travel to the city at this time might have the place to themselves.
Winter in Bristol: December – February
Winters in Bristol are long, cold, wet, and windy. Rain is frequent, and snow is rare, but it can occasionally occur. The city receives 24 rainfall days and total precipitation of 32 mm (1.26 inches). During the coldest nights, the average temperature in Bristol can drop to 37.4°F (3°C) and reach a maximum temperature of 46.4°F (8°C) during the day, which isn’t so bad. Even if you’re not a fan of the chilly season, the cold snap in the air, the festive twinkling lights, and the live music make winter a fantastic time to visit Bristol.
Although snow is a rare occurrence in Bristol, you’ll still need a good quality winter coat to keep yourself warm. Bring your scarves, hat, and gloves for additional layers on cooler days and nights, and wear a pair of waterproof boots for when it rains. It is worth investing in hiking boots when visiting places like the Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill to witness astounding views over the Harbourside area and the city. Good comfortable boots will allow you to go on long walks regardless of the Bristol weather.
You can’t miss a carol concert in Bristol Cathedral in winter to get into the spirit of the festive season. It is generally free and open to all, plus you’ll get to see the gorgeous cathedral building dating back from the 12th century. And when the colder temperature sets in, art galleries and museums are the best places to go, including the Georgian Museum, the M Shed, the SS Great Britain, and more.
If you’re looking for something festive to do in Bristol in winter, go to the Christmas Market and buy the cider or Somerset cheese. You can also do Christmas shopping to purchase gifts and souvenirs at St Nicholas Market. Although it is open throughout the year, it offers something exciting for the holiday season. You’ll find different stalls selling everything from handmade bags and jewelry to vintage items and budget street food.
Sure, Bristol’s summer is great with lots of outdoor dining areas and festivals, but winter also has charm. It’s the best time to visit Bristol if you want to avoid the huge crowds and save on flights and accommodations. Perhaps, the only downsides are the shorter days, so you’ve got less time to enjoy the bright outdoors.
Spring in Bristol: March – May
March, April, and May are refreshing spring months in Bristol. The weather is pretty dry and warm, with an average temperature ranging from 50°F (10°C) to 59°F (15°C). April is the least humid month in Bristol, with 66.5 percent relative humidity.
At night, temperatures can drop to 37.4°F (3°C) in March and rise gradually to 44.6°F (7°C) in May. While the daily sunshine hours increase per month during the season, rainfall may still occur nine to ten days each month, with total precipitation of 26mm (1.02 inches). That’s why it’s always wise to pack an umbrella even if it’s sunny and bright when you leave your hotel room.
Daytime officially becomes longer in spring, and you start experiencing an increase in temperature. It’s a great time to revel in nature, have a picnic, and see vibrant flowers bloom in one of Bristol's over 400 gardens and parks. Check out The Downs, a 440-acre green area that comprises Clifton Down and Durdham Down. It’s located on the edge of the city within a short walking distance from other prominent attractions, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s home to numerous events, funfairs, and charity runs while delivering a relaxing environment for everyone to stroll and play.
As summer draws closer, the city celebrates the Easter and May Bank holidays, providing an excellent chance for travelers to plan a family holiday or a short break in Bristol. Discover family-friendly activities and events, such as boat trips, easter egg hunting, and taking the Superworm Trail for an exciting adventure at Westonbirt National Arboretum.
Be sure to bring lots of your energy when planning to spend the spring season in Bristol. You’ll be motivated to be outside and explore the city on foot with a nice temperature and pleasant Bristol weather that’s neither too hot nor too cold. You might want to come around March and April, as tourists start flocking in May or at the end of the season for summer festivals and events.
When is the best time to visit Bristol for you?
With so many things to love about the city and thrilling adventures to experience year-round, it’s definitely not easy to pick the best time to visit Bristol. Every season has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you and the activity you’re interested in to know when to book your ticket and spend your vacation.
Plan your visit around summer if you love being out in the sun, exploring the great outdoors, and attending mind-blowing concerts and events. Those who prefer quiet time away from the crowd and being one with nature, you’ll want to visit in spring and fall. You can also save if you organize your trip around these times with accommodation rates declining.
While winter may seem the least attractive time to visit, you’ll save more on your vacation, as it’s one of the cheapest times of the year to travel. The cold temperatures also provide a reason for you to discover indoor attractions and spend time in museums and galleries.
Know what you want to do during your trip to Bristol? Check out these guides for inspiration!
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