Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill, Bristol
Cabot Tower was built in 1897-8 to commemorate John Cabot's Bristol-financed voyage to the New World in 1497. Whatever it's architectural merits, (eclectic Late Victorian to put it kindly, the work of the delightfully named local architect William Venn Gough, who also had a hand in the Granary and was responsible for Colston Girl's School) it makes a picturesque enough landmark from a distance and obviously affords a fantastic view.
Directions: Behind the Council House. Can't miss it, it's a tall building on top of a hill. Everything possible has been done to make it obvious.
John Cabot was born in Italy in 1450,By 1495 he moved to Bristol with his family. Cabot tower is a fab place just to chill out on a warm Saturday or Sunday afternoon,with just a short walk from all the bars on Park street,(Bristol's best hang out place)
Cabot tower is 32 metres tall,you enter the tower (free entry) and then climb up a small spiral stair way (79 steps to the 1st look out platform,have a breather then another 29 steps to the second viewing platform) with great views over looking Bristol,Bristol harbour,and the fabulous SS great Britain.
Cabot tower was built in 1897 and officially opened to the public in 1898 to commemorate John Cabot's famous voyage from Bristol and the continent of north America on his ship the Matthew 400 years earlier.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30 am to 5.30 pm Friday: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
Tower opening times only.
Park open all hours
Although you are most likely to visit Brandon Hill Nature Park for a look at the impressive Cabot Tower (see seperate tip), the Park itself has much to offer including some stunning views over the City. for example, if you look closely at the landscape image, you can see the masts of the S.S, Great Britain morred in the harbour (see seperate tip and travelogues). It also has a considerable history and lays claim to being the oldest municipal open space in England, having come into possession of Bristol Corporation as far back as 1174 although it did not become used for recreational purposes until 1625. Continuing this theme of "firsts", part of the Park was set aside as a nature park, and again was the first in England.
There are numerous events held in the Park during the year, and apparently it is popular with picnickers in fine weather. On a practical note, the Park is always open and there are toilets near the top. Other access is available from Jacob Wells Road and Berkely Square.
I visited on a fairly chilly and not very bright October weekday and had the place more or less to myself. However, the leaves were on the turn, I was well-wrapped up and the fresh air and solitude so close to the bustling City centre combined to provide a very pleasant morning. simple pleasures I suppose you could say. I was on a bit of a photography mission although the results were mixed due to my technical ineptitude in low light. I will let you judge for yourself.
I like, when I can, to include advice which may be of use to disabled travellers and so it is with some regret that I have to report that, because of the very nature of the place, Brandon Hill park is not really suitable for persons of limited mobility or in wheelchairs.
Address: Great George Street, Bristol, BS1 5RR.
Directions: Walk up the aptly named Park Street, from the harbour, turn left into Great George Street and you will find the Park.
I have mentioned in other tips the strong association the city of Bristol has with Giovanni Caboto, better known as John Cabot the famous navigator. It was from here that he set sail, with backing from King Henry VII to sail to Asia although he ended up "discovering" Newfoundland in modern Canada instead. I put the word discovering in inverted commas as it is generally accepted now that the Vikings were the first Europeans to land in the Americas.
On the four hundredth anniversary of the voyage the worthies of the City, with a typical Victorian love of grand monuments, erected the Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill where it commands a fine view over the surrounding area. It stands an impressive 105 feet high and was built to the design of a man called Willaim Venn Gough who designed quite a number of important buildings in Bristol. There is a sister Tower standing in Newfoundland to mark the "other end" of the momentous journey.
Unfortunately, when I visited the Tower, it was closed to the public although there is a campaign underway to re-open it and repair work has begun including the removal of some of the hideous graffiti you can see in the photos.
Address: Brandon Hill, Bristol, BS1 5RR.
Directions: Go up Park Street, turn left into Great Geroge Street and you will enter the Park. You really will not miss it from there!
Walking up to Brandon Hill was one of the best moments in Bristol and it was free! This small park is situated in the centre of the city, 100 meters above the harbourside. I guess it gets crowded in the summer but it was almost empty in winter and we only met with some small birds. We loved looking down the city (you have the chance to take some great pics with excellent views over the city). Brandon hill is the oldest park in Bristol. It came into Bristol’s possession in 1174 and became public in 1625.
In the park you can visit the Cabot Tower, named after the explorer John Cabot. It was built in 1897 to celebrate Cabot’s discovery of North America in 1497 (he started his trip from Bristol). The tower is 32m high and it was designed by William Venn Gough. There is a spiral staircase inside but it was locked on our visit. It seems they try to repair some kind of damage in masonry around the viewing platforms. After walking in beautiful paths, on our way back we choosed a different way out so we walked down a path that took us down to the harbor.
The park is open daily 09:30 till dusk.
Address: City center
Directions: Go up on Park Street and turn left on Great George Street
This is an excellent starting point for touring Bristol, affording a great view of the city. Built in honor of the legendary explorer John Cabot, this tower stands 100 feet tall, atop Brandon Hill. Designed by Bristol architect William Venn Gough, it was completed in 1898.
Directions: In the city centre, overlooking the River Avon. It's west of Bristol University.
The Cabot Tower was completed in 1897 to mark the 400th anniversary of local seafarer John Cabot 'discovering' North America. The tower rises to over 300 feet above sea-level, with panoramic 360 degree views of Bristol, Avon and Somerset. At the top level of the tower there are plaques on each side, telling you what you can see (and many things you can't ...like Cardiff, Madrid, Canada etc.).
The tower is FREE to enter and open from morning till dusk. However, the stone stairs are very steep and narrow. You need to listen very carefully for footsteps of people coming in the opposite direction!!
The Tower is set in the middle of Bristol, in the very pretty Brandon Nature Park. It is close to Bristol Museum and within view of Clifton Suspension Bridge.
As you can see from my other travel pages, I like climbing up things to see the view. This is the best place in Bristol to do it!!
Address: Brandon Park, Bristol
Directions: Between Bristol city centre and Clifton. Lots of access points to the park from all directions.
This is a great oasis in the middle of the city! Lots of squirrels to feed, often an ice cream van and it's the best place to watch balloons taking off from Ashton Court when it's the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in August!
(But watch out around the public toilets as they are reputed to be popular with some men looking for a 'meaningful' relationship!!)
Address: Brandon Hill
Directions: halfway up Park Street on the left going upwards, then right to the end of that road.Add to your Trip Planner
For the best view of Bristol you must visit 'Cabot Tower'. Built over a hundred years ago to commerate John Cabot's voyage to America in 1497 (when he arguably discovered Newfoundland).
Situated on Brandon Hill, the tower is 100ft high with 108 small spiral steps to crawl up. The view is DEFINATELY WORTHWHILE, and you can always feed the friendly squirrells with nuts on your way back.
OPEN: Everyday (other than Christmas Day and Boxing Day). 09:30am - Dusk.
Address: Brandon Hill behind Park Street
Directions: Go halfway up Park Street and turn left (past the Georgian House) - you will find the Park - keep going right the way to the top!
Phone: 0117 926 0767
That's a sign just up on Brandon Hill..
Try to read it and when you understand the actual meaning of the sign please e-mail me!!
And something else...
It's not a stolen picture!!! It just happen to be the same as the one that "pollon" has in her Bristol page!!!
Funny how some times we are impressed by the same things!!
If you notice carefully there is a small difference on the sign
Mine has a question mark added by someone...
I believe that we took the picture just after "pollon" did. (that picture was the reason that I met with "pollon"- Chiara)
Well this is a place that I haven't visit yet...though I plan to. The picture was taken by my boyfriend in one of his "photo-taking" days out. It looks like a great place and is very popular during spring and summer, where people go there to enjoy the green and the sun.
Take a walk through Brandon Hill, a small park situated right in the centre of the city. From Cabot Tower there are great views of the city and out across to the Mendip Hills.