Fun Things to Do in Bristol With Kids
Looking for things to do in Bristol that are fun for the whole family? We've got you.
The city of Bristol, in southwest England, seems as though it was designed for children. Filled with colourful houses, steep hills that resemble marble runs, entertaining street art and a laid-back atmosphere, it almost resembles a giant game for kids to enjoy. Whether you’re holidaying with your little rascals or simply looking for something new to entertain them in the city you already frequent, we at Plum Guide have put together a list of things to do in Bristol with kids that even the most discerning child will love (and let’s face it - if they’re your children, they’re going to be discerning. Like parent, like child).
Open since 1836, Bristol Zoo is almost as old as you are (we kid. And no, we promise that you don’t have wrinkles yet). A lovely, well-thought-out place to spend a day, you and your family can get to know the many, many animals that call this place home. You can find and learn about okapis, aye ayes and even lowland gorillas. There’s an area called the Twilight Zone which is an indoors experience that recreates the natural habitat of nocturnal creatures, giving you a rare chance to see them at play.
Once you’ve admired the red pandas, seals and lions and spent an extravagant amount in the gift shop, head home to your exceptionally comfortable Plum Guide pad. Luxuriate in the enormous bed and drift off to sleep imagining an alternative existence as a zookeeper. Talk about entertaining things to do in Bristol with kids. Maybe the zoo will even inspire you and your family to travel the world seeing animals in their natural habitats.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Ideal for rainy days, bored days or days when you need some visual stimulation that goes beyond the colourful blur that are children’s television shows, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has a lot to offer. There’s so much to see here that your family’s eyes will be popping. A giant stuffed gorilla, an Egyptian mummy, a Romany caravan and more art than you can shake a paintbrush at, you’ll have a hard time picking your favourite.
The attached art gallery has both permanent and temporary exhibitions, so you can return again and again and know that there’ll always be something fresh and new here. Smaller visitors will love the enclosed mini art gallery play area called Curiosity, complete with interactive exhibits and activities to enthrall and delight. Roaming around the huge museum and exploring the treasures within will tire out your little darlings, giving you more time in the evening to drink wine and watch that film you’ve been meaning to get to.
Do you ever feel as though you want to watch the world go by from a distance, where everything - your annoying colleague, your grey hairs, your vague midlife crisis - feels far away? Head to Brandon Hill, one of the most peaceful places to visit in Bristol. Your kids won’t know you’ve staving off a mild anxiety attack - they just want to play in the playground.
Brandon Hill is a beautiful park on a hill in the centre of Bristol. A nature conservation area, it’s home to Cabot Tower, a Grade II listed 105 foot high tower which is free to climb and gives you the absolute best view of the city - you can’t quite see the coast, but on a clear day you could almost believe that you can. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, it was built to mark the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage from Bristol, and his discovery of the US on The Matthew in 1497. Plus, climbing it counts as cardio, so you can get an ice cream afterwards. This definitely should be on your list of top things to do in Bristol with kids.
At the base of the park are two play areas, one for young children, equipped with a toddler swing and sand pit and one for older children with a brand new climbing frame.
This free museum will make your teenagers pull out their phones to get that perfect shot for their Instagram grid, because M Shed is super cool. A converted 1950s dockside transit shed on the harbourside, it shows Bristol’s history from prehistoric times to right now. Your kids will get a history lesson without even realising it.
Many of the displays are interactive, and there’s some fantastically quirky items to see so you can be sure that no-one will get bored. A double decker bus, life-size model of a horse and even a hot air balloon suspended from the ceiling will make for great backgrounds for your holiday snaps. During school holidays, visitors can partake in train rides along the harbour and even trips out onto the water. Upstairs, you get an unbeatable view of the water and the rest of the harbourside.