If you take a ride by hot air balloon over Bristol, there are many famous landmarks to spot, from the structural genius of the Clifton Suspension Bridge to the venerable rigging of the Brunel’s SS Great Britain, which was the first ocean liner in the world. The next time you take a trip across the city’s skies, why not see if you can identify some of Bristol’s tallest buildings? In the following passages, we’ll explore these mighty masterpieces that are waiting to be pointed out from your lofty perch in the passenger basket.
Castle Park View Tower
Although full construction won’t be completed until 2022, this mighty building has already broken a Bristol record that has stood in place for 148 years. When finished, the building’s top will be 98.37 metres from the ground level, making it the tallest structure in the city. Castle Park View Tower will provide 375 new homes for residents and will offer spectacular views across Bristol.
St Mary Redcliffe
For the years between 442-1446, this Anglican parish church in Bristol’s Redcliffe district held the title of the tallest building in the city. When its tower collapsed in the year 1446 after being struck by lightning, St Nicholas Church took the title until the year 1872, when St Mary Redcliffe regained its claim to fame and its spire was fully restored, giving it a height of 89 metres.
Constructed in 1981, this Bristol skyscraper is 80 metres tall and has 18 individual floors. Offices inhabit 17 of these storeys and are operated by multiple companies using the building as a Bristol base. These include Marsh Commercial, IBEX Global UK and Beaufort Securities Stockbrokers. The City of Bristol College also uses the building to hold examinations.
Wills Memorial Building
Completed in 1925, this neo-Gothic structure is 65.5 metres tall and was built as a memorial to the Bristol philanthropist and tobacco tycoon Henry Overton Wills III by his sons. The structure is one of the University of Bristol’s landmark buildings.
Once known as Colston Tower, this renowned building in Bristol received its new title in 2020. It has 15 levels and is 63 metres in height. In 1996, a clock was added to the top of the high-rise tower block.
Christ Church, Clifton Down
Built in 1885, this 65-metre-tall church has only a single floor, but its five-stage tower and steeple comprise much of its height. Its steeple was designed by the well-known English architect John Norton.
From record-breaking towers to astonishing churches with stately spires, the Bristol skyline has a wide array of structures of stature. In 2018, Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees commented that he wanted the city’ skyline to grow, so in the future, you may well be adding new buildings to your list of towers to look out for. When you book a balloon ride above the city, try to track down as many as you can with your bird’s eye view over this beautiful southwest metropolis.