We have just got back from 4 days, 3 nights exploring the beautifully vibrant and eclectic city of Bristol to see what family fun is available this summer 🙂
Aside from a lazy Sunday afternoon, (where I ‘may’ have enjoyed too much red wine with Sunday lunch) we had a jam packed few days, and it still wasn’t long enough to see and do everything that Bristol has on offer.
It wasn’t tiring or hectic. The weather didn’t put us off. It was just great fun. So much to do & so much to see – below are 20 great reasons to visit Bristol this summer
1) The Shaun in the City official Trail…70 giant sheep to be found at different city locations certainly sparked the imagination of our 4 year old… as soon as Bella saw the first one she was hooked! The trail runs from the 6th July 2015 – 31st August 2015. All money raised from the trail supports The Bristol Children’s hospital charity, The Grand Appeal.
2) Bristol Zoo. This zoo is lovely. It’s not as big as some others locally but it is beautifully maintained and very clean. Featured around the zoo are great 3d animal models that will inspire your little ones as you walk as much as the animals themselves. There were highropes and a bouncy castle slide also.
Pack a picnic, and enjoy your lunch in the lovely landscaped gardens.
3) Open Top Bus tour. Little ones love a bus ride, and the hop on hop off means you can reach all the different parts of the city with ease. Passes are valid for 2 days, and there are 20 different stops. Children 5 and under are free. Adults tickets are £14.00. Child tickets are £7.00.
4) Arnolfini. Arnolfini offers a range of events designed for all members of the family. There is a good children’s menu in Café Bar where little ones can enjoy a free babychino, a wide selection of children’s books in Arnolfini Shop and baby changing facilities. Entrance to the building and the galleries is free, making Arnolfini a good choice to add to the hit list.
5) MShed. Entry to M-Shed is free. When you visit you will be able to explore Bristol’s history with a great range of interactive displays. There are working exhibits on the harbourisde including steamboats, trains and cranes as well as a great café and a public square on the dockside.
6) St Nicholas Market – we loved our few hours exploring these market stalls. The atmosphere was great…it was busy, loud and brilliant. We enjoyed a lunch of falafels, halloumi and hummus and found a bar serving prosecco for £3.00 a glass 🙂 (The Bristologist).
Bella was given a couple of pounds pocket money and went about choosing a little treasure to take home. Much to Daddy’s dismay, she is just like her mother and wanted to look at everything before she made a decision. She settled on some marbles and a retro tin to keep them safe in 🙂
7) Bristol Aquarium – This Bristol harbourside attraction is a must see. There are over 4000 aquatic creatures including sharks, stingrays, piranhas, seahorses and clownfish. Once you have paid for entry you can come and go throughout the day meaning that if the weather is kind you can go and enjoy a picnic lunch harbourside.
8) Bristol Museum & Art Gallery –This is free to enter, and at the Bristol Museum you will find 19 galleries over 3 floors with thousands of amazing objects on display and the chance to lean about fascinating cultures and ancient civilisations. There is a great under 7’s play area and a brilliant ‘hands-on area also’.
9) Street Art – Bristol is the home city of street artist Banksy and the city is adorned with creative graffiti decorating the streets. Through the eyes of a 4 year old, Bella’s opinion was that ‘Banksy is going to be in lots of trouble with his Mummy for painting on all these houses’. Stokes Croft has a great selection…as does Southville and Bedminster.
10) Bristol Boat Trip – Explore the harbourside by boat. There is a scheduled waterbus service where you can hop on and off at any of the 17 stops.
We arrived at Brunel’s ss Great Britain on the boat, and when we visit Bristol next time we will have a trip up the Avon Gorge and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
11) Bristol Cathedral – this beautiful cathedral is located on College Green in the West End of the City. It is free to visit and open to the public 365 days a year
12) @Bristol. We could have easily spent the whole day here… it really is fantastic. There are over 300 hands on exhibits and it is a hub of imaginative activity. Spread out over 2 floors, it never felt crowded, and you could easily access all of the displays.
The show at the 3D planetarium was excellent and by far Bella’s favourite part. Closely followed by our attempt at presenting the weather forecast 🙂
13) Enjoy a picnic in the Downs – a huge area of parkland right on the edge of the city and still within walking distance of some great Bristol attractions including the Clifton Suspension bridge.
This is a great spot where families can relax, run around and enjoy a picnic lunch.
14) Take in a show at the Hippodrome. At the end of the summer holidays Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom is coming to the Hippodrome on Wednesday 26th August 2015 and Thursday 27th August 2015. Showing Monday 31st – Saturday 5th September, is Annie and from Thursday 28th October until Saturday 28th November is Mary Poppins.
15) ss Great Britain – we spent a great couple of hours exploring this Brunel masterpiece – I wondered whether Bella might have been a bit young to really enjoy it, but, as it turns out, she was fascinated by the interior of the ship and was inquisitive the whole way around. ‘Mummy why are the toilets like that?’ Mummy why are the beds so small? ‘Mummy what is that horrible smell? (!)’
16) Cross the Clifton Suspension bridge – the visitor information centre is situated at the Leigh Woods end of the Bridge. Entrance is free and you can watch a 10 minute DVD about the bridge before you cross the 75 metres across the Avon Gorge.
17) Avon valley adventure park – with an indoor play barn, outdoor play areas, paddle boarding, battle archery, Segway 4×4, pets corner, falconry displays, maize maze, crazy gold, pedal go karts, crazy golf and more there is plenty to keep kids entertained of all ages here.
18) Tyntesfield – before we headed home on Monday evening we visited the stunning National Trust property Tyntesfield. With a rose garden, aviary, stableyard, orangery, pavilion café, orchard play area and boating lake it is a beautiful estate to while away a couple of hours.
19) Queen Square – This gorgeous Georgian park is in the heart of Bristol surrounded by trees and cobbled streets.
Whilst we were in Bristol the Thai Festival was on, and this square will often host outdoor theatre, concerts and other events. We enjoyed a drink in the park, listening to some Thai music, watching some Thai dancing and enjoying a taste of the Thai culture.
20) Windmill Hill City Farm – This voluntary community project located on Philip Street in Bedminster welcomes visitors to enjoy their working farm, community gardens, outdoor play areas, environment trails and café. It is free to enter but donations are gratefully received.
Where we stayed….
We stayed in the Premier Inn apartments, Redcliffe. I wanted to stay in an apartment so that we had all the comforts of a little home from home.
We were just a 10 minute walk to the harbourside. Parking, wifi, breakfast boxes & night in boxes (including wine and pizza) are all available.
The apartments were comfortable, clean and in a fab location. As there is so much to see and do in the city, if you wanted to make a mini break of it, I would recommend these apartments.
It’s almost always about the food…
We overindulged, and we were spoilt for choice.
We had a lovely champagne afternoon tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, where we felt nice and cosy watching the rain hammer down on the windows outside, whilst we enjoyed our scones.
We loved the amazing falafels, halloumi cheese and hummus wraps by St Nicholas Market
We had a delicious Indian at harbourisde favourite Tikka Flame where Bella was delighted with her Cinderella mocktail 🙂
We enjoyed a yummy brunch at the Arnolfini café where the Eggs Benedict offered a deliciously creamy sauce alongside a rich, perfectly runny egg AND the babychino for Bella that came with whipped cream and mini marshmallows was free 🙂
But our favourite has to be the most divine 3 course Sunday lunch at Bordeaux Quay. Not only did this restaurant have fantastic views of the harbour, it was spacious, offered excellent customer service, and the food and wine was so yummy I was forced to cut our afternoon sightseeing plans short in order to return to our apartment for an afternoon snooze 🙂
Roy had the wild rabbit & pork terrine to start, I enjoyed a mouth wateringly yummy panzanella.
This was followed by the 28 day aged Glouctershire beef topside, horseradish crème fraiche & yorkshire pudding served with big bowls of roasted potatoes and vegetables.
Bella and I still managed to somehow squeeze in the Chocolate and raspberry custard cup. The children’s menu was £8.50, 3 course adult menu was £23.00. We spent a lovely couple of hours overindulging, and marking on our map which Shaun the Sheep we still had to find. Perfect 🙂