Bristol (Bath), England, United Kingdom
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Recently dubbed Britain’s coolest city, Bristol has a bubbling and diverse music scene and excellent nightlife, as well as a wealth of creative industries (from old-fashioned typographers to hip travel magazines) that have sprung up around its docks and colorful city neighborhoods. Wapping Wharf has become a new foodie destination, and its Cargo district is made up of converted shipping containers that house stores, bars and galleries. Bristol’s energetic atmosphere is helped by the students at the world-class university who help fuel its youthful vibe and countercultural outlook. By contrast, Bath is the more genteel cousin, an alluring visual combination of Georgian and Roman history, full of elegant and photogenic architecture. A stroll up the main thoroughfare of Stall Street leads past historic bathing houses to popular fashion shops, delicatessens and independent boutiques, all sitting cheek by jowl in a quaint combination of ancient and modern. Between them, the two cities have some of the best food and shopping in the West Country and, as a double act, provide an enticingly varied metropolitan experience.