Bristol is my home city and I love it . The area around Bristol harbour is particularly popular with tourists and I think it is a lovely place for families to spend a couple of days. If you are planning to visit Bristol with children I have a few suggestions of activities you might enjoy. The Bristol tourist office is located on the harbourside and they have a good selection of leaflets, maps and souvenirs. They are also happy to answer any questions.
Bristol used to be an important port but the river Avon is too narrow and tidal for large modern boats to navigate. The old harbour has been transformed into a popular area for leisure with museums, art galleries, cafes and bars.
Although you can walk around the harbour children might prefer to catch a yellow ferry boat. There are sixteen stops including Millenium Square and the SS. Great Britain.
John Cabot left from Bristol in 1497 when he discovered Newfoundland in America. A replica of his ship can often be found in the harbour and if you are lucky you may be able to book a trip round the harbour.
The SS Great Britain
The SS Great Britain which was the largest ship built in Bristol and designed by Brunel was brought back from the Falkland Islands and restored. Older children would enjoy climbing over the decks and there is also a museum. Younger children can dress up in Victorian costumes and walk down the dock yard from which thousand of people emigrated to America or Australia.
We the Curious
A short distance away is we the curious a hands on science centre where children can experiment while learning about science. They have two floors of interactive exhibits, a planetarium, a café and a gift shop. Children can have fun with robots, giant bubbles, building bricks and optical illusions. Outside there are two large paddling pools which are very popular on sunny summer days. I think it is a good choice if you have children of different ages or genders.
The suspension bridge
Clifton suspension bridge has become the symbol of Bristol. It is a short walk from the harbourside and you can walk across free of charge. There is a small toll for cars.
If you want a free activity, Castle Park is a large green area by the river Avon. As its name suggests it was the site of a medieval castle but very little remains. On fine days you will see office workers eating their sandwiches and sunbathing. It does not have any play equipment at present but there is a footbridge to the nearby Galleries shopping centre which has a large toy shop on the third floor if you want to buy a ball.
Brandon Hill and the Cabot tower
If you go up Park street and turn right you will reach Brandon Hill. A large park with a good play area overlooking the harbour and a wildlife area. There are always hungry squirrels waiting to be fed. The Cabot tower which was erected to celebrate the voyage of John Cabot can be climbed and there are wonderful views from the top.
Bristol Museum and Art gallery.
Bristol museum is a short walk further up Park Street. It is free but they welcome donations. They have activities for children of all ages including toddlers and you have a chance to see art ranging from Banksy to Dutch masters.
Other activities on the harbourside which did not make my top seven include Bristol aquarium. Fish mad children will enjoy it but be warned it is very expensive and M shed which has been turned into an industrial museum. It is free but does not have many child friendly activities.
I hope you enjoy your time in Bristol. If you want to venture further, Weston Super Mare is a popular seaside resort though the tide goes out a long way. If your children like animals Bristol Zoo has a lot of small animals. Elephants and Lions can be seen at Noah’s ark zoo farm and wolves and giraffes at Wildplace.
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