The Bristol Floating Harbour changed Bristol’s life forever when it once further vitalized one of the greatest commercial harbours of England. When it became obsolete, it was reincarnated as the cultural and tourism center of the city.
Bristol is one of my favorite places. In the inner city, almost every street is filled with the past. After all, this is the place where Treasure Island started. Its old temples, twisted streets and the city’s colorful and unique atmosphere really define the city. Within Bristol, I can spend days along the Floating Harbour.
The old harbour’s life in Bristol was very much defined by the tide. The tidal effect on the river Avon is huge. Since it was one of the major commercial ports in England, the necessity came up to keep the water on an even level. So, the Floating Harbor, a massive engineering complex was created — a network of locks, canals and wharfs where the cargo could have been and the ships could have been safely anchored. Most of these installments can still be seen. If you are into industrial beauties, it definitely worth the trouble. Of course, an iron-and-wood lock has only a functional beauty, but as such, it’s a marvelous piece of work.
While you are at it, you can also climb up to the Suspension Bridge. It is far above the river level, but is also a nice piece of work.
The Harbour became obsolete a few decades ago. It was eventually reintroduced as a major cultural and tourism center. It is also a memento of Bristol’s old life — one can go on memorial walks, watching the remains of the old harbour, sometimes along with contemporary photographs. More information of these heritage tales can be found at here.
It is hard not to be touched about how much the city has changed. What once a busy, dirty place of hard work and cargo shipping is now a nice and clean place where one can take a walk or have some ale or beer (or tea) in one of the pubs transformed from previous industrial buildings. The houses are among the nicest ones in the city, and you can also find the local museum, the M shed here — also the Arnolfini gallery, which gives home to exhibitions of contemporary art.
Having lunch/dinner sitting on the old stones of the Floating Harbour, I cannot imagine any other way of celebrating my return to Bristol.