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The great escape


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This creative, colourful city in the southwest has produced a host of artists and musicians, from Banksy to Massive Attack. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, the UK’s first Green Capital and a foodie hotspot, with three Michelin-starred restaurants. Just an hour and 40 minutes from London by train, it’s perfect for a weekend break, says SheerLuxe.

Places of note Follow the harbourside to find weekend farmers’ markets, breweries and boutiques. Check out the gothic cathedral and join a two-hour walking tour (£10.50) to see Banksy’s artworks dotted around the city. Head to bohemian Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft for independent shops such as Fox and Feather (fashion and Scandi homeware). Brunel’s majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge is best seen at night as well or on a weekend hard-hat tour that explores its hidden chambers. Soak up Clifton Village’s greenery, grand architecture and upscale boutiques, then relax at Bristol Lido, a heated outdoor pool with a sauna, a steam room and a hot tub – non-members can book two-hour slots (from £20). For the best views, head to the 18th-century Clifton Observatory, where ancient ruins run beneath the building into the Avon Gorge.

Famous faces Bristol has been the birthplace of countless celebrities, including Cary Grant, Tom Hollander, Banksy, Damien Hirst, James May, JK Rowling and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams.

To eat Spoke & Stringer, near the harbour, serves burrito bowls and breakfast buns, or head to Brace & Browns, in Clifton, for a boozy Saturday brunch on the patio. For cocktails, cross the Clifton suspension Bridge to the Lost & Found or settle in for live jazz at the Milk Thistle, a Prohibition-style joint in the city centre. Wapping Wharf is a new foodie quarter where you can tuck into sushi at Seven Lucky Gods, burgers at Squeezed or modern vegetarian dishes at Root. Pasta Loco, a short walk from Clifton, serves fresh pasta inspired by the flavours of Florence.

1 To stay

The cool Artist Residence boutique chain has just opened a Bristol outpost in a former boot factory on a leafy square near the city centre. Rooms vary from Broom Cupboard and Shoebox size to the roomier Factory and Loft (with rolltop baths), as well as a pair of suites. The Library serves breakfast and drinks all day. Doubles from £155 a night.

2 To bunk up

Another recent opening, Mollie’s is a cool motel from the Soho House stable. Rooms sleep up to four – great for sleepover vibes on a girls’ trip – and there’s an all-day diner. It’s a 20-minute drive to the city centre and the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre is on the doorstep. Bunk rooms for four from £120 a night.

3 To Airbnb

Clifton Village is one of the most picturesque areas of the city, with Georgian townhouses and a buzzy restaurant scene. This flat near the heart of the action has two double bedrooms and a private garden. From £367 for two nights.

4 To buy

This Grade II listed townhouse is on sought-after Canynge Square, perfectly placed between Clifton Village and the peaceful Downs. It has five bedrooms, three receptions, a terrace and a walled garden. The owners get a key to the square’s communal gardens. £1.995m.