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28 October 2014
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Story last updated: 03 Apr 2004 1213 BST Printable version of this page
Brandon Hill
View of the trees at Brandon Hill  

One of the best loved parks in Bristol is at Brandon Hill - and excellent views of the city can also be found here.

A steep outcrop is crowned by Cabot Tower, a real landmark and a popular place for those romantic types.

The best views in Bristol from Cabot Tower?

Brandon Hill, 260 feet above the harbourside, is considered to be Bristol's oldest park and was given to the city council in 1174.

Part of the hill is set aside as a nature park and was the first of its kind to be established in Britain.

It became a site of nature study in 1981 and a butterfly garden and two ponds were established, with a meadow of grass allowed to grow long to encourage wildlife.

From ancient times, local people used the area in their leisure time and there is even an old noticeboard on the site, which points out that carpet beating is allowed - but only at specific times!

Grass and trees
Office workers take time for a lunchtime stroll through the park

The hill, high above the harbour, was an important point in the defense of the city during the Civil War sieges.

Explorer John Cabot is also honored here by a 105 feet tower which was built at the end of the 19th Century to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his discovery of North America after sailing from Bristol.

Inside is a spiral staircase and although the tower was originally designed to take an eventual lift, Bristol's footsore visitors are still waiting for it.

The views from the top are magnificent and you can share the experience that is a favourite with the Bristolians.

Although Brandon hill is popular with the locals, it is a great place to start your tour of Bristol if you are planning to discover the city for the first time, as it gives a great vista of Bristol.

Cabot Tower and a tree
Cabot Tower's red and cream bricks overlook the city

Children

Youngsters will enjoy a walk through the parkland, climbing the tower and make sure you bring some unsalted nuts for the squirrels.

How to get there

Brandon Hill is just up from the city centre.

Access is from Great George Street, off Park Street, Jacob Wells Road and Berkeley Square.

Most of the city's buses stop at the top of Park Street and it's a few minutes walk from there to Brandon Hill.

There is limited parking in the roads off Park Street.


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