Wills Memorial Building
Wills Memorial Building
5
About
Take a tour of the Bristol University Wills Memorial building and meet the 7th largest bell in the UK, as well as being there when the famous Great George strikes. Whilst on the tour, you can climb to the top of the 68m tower and see the panoramic views of Bristol. You will also visit the Great Hall, the Library, the Old Council Chamber and the Reception Room. The tours are held on Saturdays , Prices Visitors: £5 Students and Senior Citizens: Group bookings and Evening tours are available upon request.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Peter C
    Bristol, United Kingdom8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing tour
    What a brilliant 90 minutes! Fantastic to see Bristol in a different way and to learn about the university. I have lived here for 50 years and this tour showed me that there is so much still to find out. Gary and his accomplice were knowledgeable and witty. The views from the top of the tower amazing. Best 5 quid I’ve spent in years.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Katie V
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fab Experience 👌
    The staff were engaging and informative. Great visit, the walk to the top of the tower included a couple of rest breaks. The view from the top is worth the climb. Gary was a great character full of fun. Highly recommended.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 16, 2023
  • Oldhasbeen
    Redhill, United Kingdom49 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very fine building, lots of interest
    Excellent tour of the building for a mere £5. You get a lot of history, some fine architecture and great views of Bristol from the top. And the guides were fun. Recommended whether you have any connection with Bristol university of not.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written November 18, 2023
  • Ged
    10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very entertaining climb !
    A must see if you come to Bristol. The best views over the city in every direction. Our guides were very entertaining and knowledgeable, telling us all about the history of the University, its founders and recent celebrity alumni and honorary graduates. Lots of climbing of spiral staircases, so you may not be able to do the whole tour if you struggle with heights or enclosed spaces. Otherwise, a thoroughly recommended use of an hour and a half.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 21, 2024
  • Debbie P
    Yeovil, United Kingdom196 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent value for money and worth the climb
    I have wanted to do the tower tour for a while now and had the opportunity to visit recently. We parked in Trenchard Street car park and is was a short walk. The £5 entry charge is excellent value for money. And the money goes to charity. It lasted about 90 minutes. It is only available at weekends I would advise booking as it was very popular when we went. The building is impressive as you approach it and is cathedral like inside with vaulted fan ceilings. Gary the tour guide and his colleagues, are very friendly and knowledgeable. You start the tour in the Great Hall with a talk about the history and past famous students at the university. You then make your way up to the top of the bell tower, this involves over 300 steps in enclosed spiral staircases. The climb is worth it for the view across Bristol. If you are on the 11 am tour you get the chance to see (and hear) the bell Great George, chime mid-day. The tour then visits the historic library and the council chambers where you get the chance to take a seat and recover from all the climbing and hear the history of the heraldry adorning the walls.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 30, 2024
  • Marta R
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great for families too!
    Great place to visit. Harry Potter alike feels. Our son was absolutely amazed. Nice and funny guides. Highly recommend Cost £5 pp and £3 per child Time 90-100 min
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written February 20, 2024
  • charliechunk
    Bristol, United Kingdom254 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommended!
    Brilliant tour! I went with my 13 year old daughter and even she enjoyed it. Gary our tour guides were very informative and funny too. We started in the Great Hall where the university has it’s graduation ceremonies and then we climbed the 345 steps to the top of the tower, stopping off to see Great george, the bell on the way. Some of the steps are up a very small spiral staircase, so if you don’t like confined spaces you might struggle. The views at the top are amazing! We got to stand next to George the bell when it rang at 2pm. On the way back down we stopped off at the library which was modelled on Oxford and Cambridge universities. We learnt a lot of interesting information about the university and the people behind it, as well as other some other facts about Bristol. Highly recommend! The ticket cost which is only £5 each goes towards the children’s hospital.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written May 4, 2024
  • Sarah W
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    10/10 Spot on
    Big thank you to Gary and Sarah for an unforgettable tour. We had a fantastic time, informative, funny and very well looked after, most appreciated. Keep up the great work guys you have this down to a T, what a warm welcome to Bristol if you're visiting. See you soon for the night tour!
    Really glad you enjoyed the tour A big thank you for the review
    Written June 6, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written May 28, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles542 reviews
Excellent
443
Very good
82
Average
15
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1
Terrible
1

RockyHH25
Manningtree, UK133 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
We visited Wills Memorial Building in September 2019 and went on the guided tour. It was fascinating to learn about the history of the building and how it is used by the University of Bristol. We enjoyed listening to the bell (earplugs are provided); definitely worth a visit!
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Howard D
North Finchley, UK1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
We were given a tour by Gary who was an outstanding guide - friendly, really enthusiastic and well informed about the Wills tower and related Bristol University buildings. We could not have asked for a better experience. The buildings have a great history and Gary was very good at bringing out distinct areas of interest like the chair Sir Winston Churchill sat in during his many visits as Vice Chancellor of Bristol University including a notable visit just after Bristol had been bombed in the Second World War. The architecture is of the highest quality. And then the views of Bristol from the top of the tower are simply superb ( we visited at the start of June and the weather was k8nd).
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Debbie P
Yeovil, UK196 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
I have wanted to do the tower tour for a while now and had the opportunity to visit recently. We parked in Trenchard Street car park and is was a short walk.
The £5 entry charge is excellent value for money. And the money goes to charity. It lasted about 90 minutes. It is only available at weekends I would advise booking as it was very popular when we went.
The building is impressive as you approach it and is cathedral like inside with vaulted fan ceilings.
Gary the tour guide and his colleagues, are very friendly and knowledgeable. You start the tour in the Great Hall with a talk about the history and past famous students at the university. You then make your way up to the top of the bell tower, this involves over 300 steps in enclosed spiral staircases. The climb is worth it for the view across Bristol. If you are on the 11 am tour you get the chance to see (and hear) the bell Great George, chime mid-day.
The tour then visits the historic library and the council chambers where you get the chance to take a seat and recover from all the climbing and hear the history of the heraldry adorning the walls.
Written January 30, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

macedonboy
Glasgow, UK185,732 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
Visited the Wills Memorial Building as part of the regular tours of the building. This incredible Neo-Gothic building is a memorial to Henry Overton Wills III, a major benefactor of Bristol University.

Immediately upon entering, you’ll see one of the most intricate fan vaults you're likely see in Gothic architecture. The tour lasts 1 to 1.5 hours and takes you all the way to the top of the tower where you’ll get incredible views of Bristol and as far away as Wales. You’ll also get to see the libraries, which were designed with old school charm.

The tour guide we got was Gary and he gave us all a fantastic talk about the history of the university and took us through some amazing rooms including the Great Hall, the Council Chamber and the aforementioned library. The tours are also timed so that it ends with when the Great George bell rings, which is a fun experience in itself. Well worth the tour fee.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris and Terri Moreau
Bristol, UK67 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
Wills Memorial Building is an incredible and beautiful building located on the edge of the Bristol University campus very close to the center of Bristol. Wills Memorial is a gorgeous building in the Gothic revival style. It can be hard to tell from the outside when surrounded by many tall buildings and hills but Wills Memorial is massive inside and out. You can see in pictures that, I'm not sure how tall the ceiling in the entry hall is but, it's TALL.

The building is filled with history of those involved in its construction, in the founding of the University of Bristol, and more. Did you know that Blackbeard the pirate was a Bristolian? The building is also still in use by a number of disciplines and classes at Bristol Uni, especially the law school.

After some equivalent of 18-20 flights of stairs and 215 feet up an incredibly tight and steep tower, you come out to 360 degree views of the city of Bristol. You can see for miles and miles, all the way to Wales on a clear day according to our guide Gary.

After that the tour includes the historic library in all its silence, the old Bristol University council chambers adorned in heraldry including that of Lord Sainsbury (for whom the grocery store is named) and when not recovering from a massive storm it would also include a lengthier look at the massive 9 ton bell.

It's welcoming that the tour didn't shy away from the complicated history of those involved in the founding of the university. It's important to hear about the good and the bad in history because in that truth is a clear understanding of where we've been and where we're going.

The only downside? Because of its listed status, historicity, of Wills the building is not accessible to those who can climb many floors of sometimes very tight steep stairs.

While the steep climb early in the day wasn't something I'd planned for, I was glad to have visited Wills. I learned a lot and got to see an astonishing view of Bristol.
Written March 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ellen
London, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021 • Couples
Fantastic tour of the Wills Memorial Building. Tour guides were really friendly and knowledgeable. The tour takes you all around the building - we are students at Bristol and we hadn’t seen half the things they showed us! We had a really great time and learnt lots.
Written November 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David
Madrid, Spain4,092 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
Possibly the most significant building at the University of Bristol, the Wills Memorial Tower, was built in the first quarter of the 20th century. It is an icon of the Gothic revival style in England. The entrance for tourists is not always allowed, but it is worth taking a photo of the facade. It is adjacent to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
Written September 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rachel L
Rome, Italy3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
We really enjoyed the tour of the building. It was far more interesting than I envisaged and the view from the top is well worth the climb up the steps. The guides who are volunteers were great and explain the history really well. Our 8 year old loved it too. An added benefit is that the very reasonable entrance fee goes to charity..the childrens hospital in Bristol. I'd thoroughly recommend this.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marta R
14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Great place to visit. Harry Potter alike feels. Our son was absolutely amazed. Nice and funny guides. Highly recommend

Cost £5 pp and £3 per child
Time 90-100 min
Written February 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CXX1
Weston super Mare, UK76 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
This is a gem of a tour. Well organised, very informative with a bit of fun thrown in by the tour guide Gary. A fantastic building to look inside and the views from the top of the tower are superb. Great value for money at £5 - which goes to charity, Do this tour, you will not be disappointed.
Written September 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Wills Memorial Building, Bristol

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