Ancient maritime history is everywhere you look in South West England's largest city; from the docks area to many of the museums and exhibits. Bristol sits by the Bristol Channel and the River Avon, so it's a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire if you choose to hire a car in Bristol. The city itself is exciting and vibrant with many different “villagey” areas, each with its own unique character and atmosphere. These range from the buzzing harbourside developments to the more historically-preserved region of Redcliffe.