Bristol audio tour:  The Boat and the Bridge: A Riverside Tour of Brunel's Bristol

The Boat and the Bridge: A Riverside Tour of Brunel's Bristol

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

Learn about Bristol through the life and work of master engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel on a walking tour that takes in two of his most iconic constructions. We’ll start out from the city centre docks at the world's first transatlantic steam ship, the SS Great Britain, and make our way along the mostly pedestrianised riverside to the Clifton Suspension Bridge Viewpoint, where you’ll have magnificent views of the bridge and the impressive Avon Gorge below it.

Highlights include:

The story of Brunel’s near-death experience, which brought him to Bristol in the first place
Views of the SS Great Britain, the boat that bridged the gap between the UK and America
The Brunel Swivel Bridge, which Brunel abandoned
Views of the River Avon, the Avon Gorge and the magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was only completed after Brunel’s death in 1859

The abandoned Clifton Rocks Railway

By the end of this tour, you’ll have a better appreciation for both Brunel’s rapidly industrialising world and what he did to give shape to the world we live in today.

Tour Producer


Ste Russell

An experienced walking tour guide, passionate about storytelling and local history.

Major Landmarks

  • Brunel's SS Great Britain

  • The Clifton Suspension Bridge

  • Old Clifton Rocks Railway

Directions to Starting Point

Hanover Quay is in the centre of Bristol, a short walk from the tourist information centre at the Watershed. Buses 8 or 9 run from Bristol Temple Meads station; at the College Green stop, walk down the left side of Bristol Cathedral and through the tunnel at the side of the At-Bristol Science Centre.

Millennium Square car park is a safe and secure 24 hour car park adjacent to At-Bristol Science Centre, open 24 hours a day with on-site security.

At the end of the tour, follow the hill up & turn right on Gloucester Row to Clifton Down Road for the 8 or 9 bus back to the city centre and Temple Meads station.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Restaurants; Spitfire Barbecue (burgers and ribs), Spoke & Stringer (brunch, sandwiches, tapas), Siam Harbourside (Thai).
Cafes; Cafe Gusto (coffee and sandwiches), The Galley (cafe with tapas).
Pub; The Pump House, The White Lion, The Portcullis (all with food menus).

Best time of day

Midday hours are best, with the sun overhead (so you can see things properly), either right before or right after lunch!


There are few roads to cross but do be aware that some parts later in the route as working dock areas, so be wary of the heavy industrial machinery. Please be wary of the water's edge throughout, for adults and children alike.


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The Boat and the Bridge: A Riverside Tour of Brunel's Bristol