Bristol is one of Britain’s quirkiest and hippest cities with something for every taste as Iwan Gabe Davies found out after using the Holiday Inn Bristol Filton as his HQ to discover its many charms.

VOTED the happiest city in the UK, Bristol is a gem, a great Staycation location that’s just on your doorstep.

Steeped in history, it’s home to world class tourist attractions, top pubs and one of the jewels in the UK food scene.

I spent a fantastic 48 hours at the impressive four-star Holiday Inn Bristol Filton ( just a couple of miles outside the city, as my base.

It’s easy to get to if you’re driving as it’s just 10 minutes from the M4 and 15 minutes off the M5.

Set in scenic landscaped grounds, it boasts comfortable rooms, a fully equipped gym, heated swimming pool and sauna.

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Relax in the lounge at the Holiday Inn Bristol Filton

The hotel has recently undergone a £1 million refurbishment and has a brand new open lobby concept.

The lovely staff here are excellent and deliver first class service.

Two further highlights are the outstanding full English breakfast and the free parking for overnight guests.

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Bristol is a vibrant city. Picture: Visit Bristol (

Modern British fare at night.

You can also sip on a Starbucks coffee in the hotel lounge.

The hotel offers great value for families and children stay and eat for free.

To get into the city, taxis cost about £15 each way and there’s a regular express bus service which leaves a short walk away and costs £2.25 for a single.

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The majestic SS Great Britain. Picture: Visit Bristol (

When you venture into town you can choose from cool Clifton, wonderful Wapping Wharf, the historic Harbourside or bohemian Bedminster.

I headed to the Wapping Wharf quarter in the historical and cultural heart of the city for lunch at Box-E ( a terrific little restaurant in two shipping containers overlooking the waterfront.

Expect exceptional modern British cuisine from a small but exciting menu.

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Feel supersonic aboard Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

Wapping Wharf is a delightful place to visit with its collection shops and restaurants all housed in former shipping containers.

Just a short walk away is the awesome SS Great Britain ( at the Great Western Dockyard, an attraction that’s all shipshape and Bristol fashion.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ground-breaking 19th Century iron steamer is a museum ship after being lovingly restored and the attraction boasts two further museums.

You could easily spend all day here.

Another top and highly rated attraction nearby is science museum We The Curious ( which has its own stellar planetarium.

A highly recommended place for a pint and a meal is the classy The Kensington Arms ( in residential Redland, a short cab ride from the city.

It’s a gastropub serving top-notch, unpretentious food that doesn't break the bank,

A short car journey away from the hotel is the sky-high Aerospace Bristol ( in Filton itself.

Enjoy a supersonic day out where you can step aboard the last Concorde to fly and get to see a Sea Harrier up close as well as a replica of a Bristol F2.B Fighter, a two-seat biplane from the First World War.

Bravo Bristol! I loved every minute of your brilliant city.

Holiday Inn Bristol – Filton, Filton Road, Hambrook, Bristol, BS16 1QX. Book online at ( or call 00800 80 80 0800. Rooms start at from around £82 a night.

For more information on Bristol, see Visit Bristol (