My home city of Bristol has changed so much since I was brought up there in the 80s and 90s. I guess most cities have but Bristol is one place that has become so much more child-friendly! I often go back to visit and would highly recommend a day trip or stay.
Here’s our pick of the best things to do:
1) Visit ‘We The Curious’ Science Centre
This used to be called @Bristol and is one of the UKs biggest interactive science centres. It has hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a 3D planetarium. The aim of We The Curious is ‘to create a culture of curiosity.’ It displays interactive hands-on exhibits, produces shows and workshops for visitors from schools and for members of the public.
2) Visit Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Housed in a beautiful Edwardian building, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is a treasure house of Egyptian mummies, art, dinosaurs and nature. There are old and new exhibits to explore and interesting things for both children and adults to find. It has a great café and play space for younger children. It’s also free!
3) Visit the M-Shed
This is a great museum next to the harbourside where you can get involved with interactive displays and find out about the history of Bristol through amazing film and photographs. You will encounter rare and quirky objects and can add your own memories of Bristol. From prehistoric times to the present day, M Shed tells the story of the city and its unique place in the world. Also, free entry! The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit is currently showing until 24th Feb 2019. This is charged.
4) Climb Cabot Tower
Cabot Tower is on Brandon Hill which is park land at the top of Park Street. The tower was built in the 1890s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to land which later became Canada. It’s great fun to climb the tower and see the whole of the city and beyond from the top. The park is also lovely to explore/sit in with a picnic and there are lots of tame squirrels to play with!
5) Visit the SS Great Britain
The SS Great Britain is a museum ship and former passenger steamship, which was advanced for her time. She was the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854. She was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. It has been extensively refurbished and you can now explore it and find out more about its fascinating history. Along with talks, they also run a number of children’s workshops including Rat Mask Making!
6) Go on Board The Matthew
It’s free to go and explore the replica of the 15th century ship that John Cabot sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497. You can also book tickets for public trips or hire it for parties. In 1997 she sailed across the Atlantic to mark the 500th anniversary of the historic voyage.
7) Visit Ashton Court Estate
This is 850 acres of woods and grasslands where you can picnic, walk, mountain bike and just enjoy the open space with great views of the city. It’s where the Bristol Balloon Festival takes place in August. You can explore the grounds where there are cafes and there is also miniature railway which is open at selected weekends throughout the year.
8) Walk around Bristol Harbour
There has been so much development over the past few years that it’s great to explore the harbourside. There are loads of places to eat and drink, boats and ships to look at and you can imagine you’re a sailor or a pirate getting ready for a voyage of adventure! You can imagine how it was once a busy dock where goods were traded next to ships. Now there are family-attractions galore!
9) Visit the Blaise Castle Estate
Acres of parkland and woodland to explore and play in. There is a café and also an adventure playground. The ‘Castle’ itself is a folly built in 1766 and the Blaise Castle House Museum is home to the social history collection. You can see everyday objects from centuries past, including Victorian toilets and baths, kitchen and laundry equipment, model trains, dolls, toys and period costume.
10) Visit Stuff Mills
It’s actually ‘Oldbury Court Estate’ but known locally as Stuff Mills. It’s another great place to walk and explore in woodland with riverside paths and children’s play area.