Floating Harbour, Bristol

Image representing this journey

The Floating Harbour, or City Docks, is the heart of Bristol. Now you can walk or take a wheelchair around a complete circuit of a substantial part the old docks – a fine Local Journey with plenty of things to see on the way.

The broad stretch of tranquil water is the old course of the River Avon. For centuries the water in the docks went up and down with the tide. In 1809 the Floating Harbour was opened – 'Floating' because the ships now remained afloat rather than spending time sitting on the muddy bottom of the dock. The flow of the tidal river was diverted along a new channel, the New Cut. The water was kept a constant level in the Floating Harbour with the construction of locks.

This is much better explained on the Floating Harbour 200 website www.bristolfloatingharbour.org.uk and there is an excellent walking guide 'Bristol Harbour Heritage Trail' available from the Bristol Tourist Information Centre.

During 2009/2010 the bicenternary of the opening of the Floating Harbour  was celebrated under the banner of Floating Harbour 200. As part of this celebration Local Journeys organised three projects with three local schools, each one an exploration of a different aspect and part of the harbour.

Find out more by visiting the project pages. There are also an epic poem, an illustrated story and a very fine set of photograps for you to listen to, read and look at. Please see the links in the left hand column.

Javascript is required to view this map.

How to get here

The 'Centre' Bristol is at the end of St.Augustine's Reach, a part of the the Floating Harbour. The Centre is a major bus route hub and many if not most of Bristol's will stop at the Centre.

Easy walkingGood for kidsWheelchair accessibleAccess by bikeAccess by public transport