Bristol is a Great City, loved for is Diverse Cultures, Art, Music, Festivals and more. Its’s a great City with lots of open spaces.
Here are some interesting less “well known” places to go, when you are planning your visit.
1. Things to do in Bristol
Concorde At Aerospace
Aerospace Museum opened at Filton in October 2017. The project is being run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and houses a varied collection of exhibits as well as Concorde 216, the final Concorde to be built and the last to fly. It made its final flight in November 2003 (flying over Clifton Suspension Bridge) – it is now housed in a specially constructed hangar at Filton, on the outskirts of Bristol, where the airframe and the engines of Concorde were largely developed and where the UK assembly line was located; all British planes also made their maiden flight from Filton’s runway.
Filton’s association dates to the First World War, with the creation of the Aircraft Acceptance Park in 1915 which was manned by The Royal Flying Corps. The building lies next door to a former First World War hangar which has been cleverly renovated to house the bulk of the museum’s exhibits. The hangar was built in 1917 by the War Office as part of the Filton Aircraft Acceptance Park. It has enjoyed 100 years of continuous service in RAF and private hands. Manufacturers of airframes for use in the First World War delivered their aircraft to an Aircraft Acceptance Park for the installation of engines and armament. Squadrons were also prepared here before they were sent to the front lines in France.
Although the Acceptance Park closed in late-1919, the large flying ground was taken over for test and development flying by the new Bristol Aeroplane Company. The aim of Bristol Aerospace is to recall the past and showcase the remarkable role played by the Bristol site in Britain’s aviation history, but also, according to the museum’s collections manager, “to inspire the next generation” about science and engineering. Numerous exhibits – such as flight simulators and interactive options – show the museum is most definitely not just aimed at “plane spotters”.
Aerospace Bristol will keep the whole family entertained for hours. There are plenty of hands-on-activities. Children will be entertained with the fun flight’s interactive exhibits, fact-finding trails and clocking-in stations and much more.
2. Free things to do with the kids in Bristol
Grimsbury Community Farm is open to the public every day 365 days a year from 9am – 6pm, there is a car park on site and entry is free.
Evidence of farming activities on this site have been found going back to medieval times, although ownership and detailed usage have changed many times over this period.
The farm is now owned and managed by South Gloucestershire Council, where its function is that of a community farm open to all as a place to relax and enjoy, or even to learn new skills.
Throughout the year there are lots of different activity days and as well as new births of lambs, calves, piglets, goat kids, ducklings etc so always plenty to do or see.
If you are visiting Bristol with your family, this is a great place to spend the day.
3. Free things to do in Bristol with kids
Willsbridge Valley Nature Reserve
Willsbridge Valley is part of the Avon Wildlife Trust and is a sanctuary of wildlife amongst modern housing estates. The Siston Brook stream runs through the site and there are 2 ponds. In the 19th century the site was used for milling, quarrying and a coal dramway. The woodlands are beautiful and best visited in the spring when it is filled with flowers and you are surrounded by birdsong. Frogs, toads and dragonflies find their home in the ponds whereas dippers and kingfishers can be seen by the stream. Even foxes, badgers and bats are known to be in the area. This valley is a great place for a family day out, dog walking or if you are interested in geology and history.
The best time to visit is in spring between April and July but it is open all year round. A number of public footpaths run throughout the reserve. Wheelchair users can gain entrance via Willsbridge Hill and can access most of the valley. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on lead. Parking spots are available on Long Beach Road, Longwell Green, Bristol BS30 9UA.
4. Free things to do Bristol
Frenchay Village Museum
The Museum building was built in the 19th century as the West Lodge for Frenchay Park estate. The building has had considerable modifications over the years. The latest changes were in 1999 when the Frenchay Tuckett Society obtained a lease on the building from the North Bristol NHS Trust and converted for use as a museum.
The Frenchay Tuckett Society was formed in 1996 to care for a collection of Quaker artefacts donated to the village of Frenchay by the descendents of the Tuckett family. The Tuckett Collection, which is the nucleus of the museum, contains a wide variety of artefacts, some dating back to the 1770s. These include paintings, mountaineering equipment, journals, Quaker wedding certificates, books, Egyptian remains, Bristol porcelain and much more.
FRY’S CHOCOLATE – INVENTED IN BRISTOL – There is a permanent display about the great chocolate manufacturers, J.S. Fry & Sons. Although they were a Bristol Company that relocated to Keynsham, Joseph Storrs Fry (and his sons) lived in Grove House, Frenchay, from 1800 until his death in 1835, and he is buried in the Quaker burial ground here. Later, his great-grandson Cecil Fry lived in the same house. He was the last of the family to head the firm, and he died here in 1952.
On display the mortar and pestle originally used to grind the cocoa beans. In 1847 Fry’s invented the chocolate bar, and chocolate changed from being a drink to being something you ate. Fry’s displayed their new invention at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and one of those original 160 year-old chocolate bars is on display in the museum.
5. More things to do in Bristol
Dyrham Park, a National Trust property, has an historic herd of fallow deer who roam freely in the 270 acres (110 hectares) of ancient parkland which is full of magnificent trees and spectacular views. Visitors can get a flavour of the richly luxurious 17th-century life enjoyed by founder William Blathwayt by stepping into the impressive baroque mansion house and see the collections including artwork, furniture and a fine collection of blue and white Dutch Delftware.
Young explorers can run free in the Old Lodge picnic and play area, take part in a nature trail and tick off challenges on their 50 things to find list and investigate the splendid borders, idyllic ponds and the wildflower orchard which are all features of the stunning West garden and is being sensitively developed as a 21st-century garden with echoes of the past.
6. Fun things to do with the kids in Bristol
Pirate Adventure Golf
Bristol Golf Centre is home to Pirate Bay Adventure Golf at Bristol Golf Centre in Hambrook, is an unequalled 18-hole golf experience! Putt your way around this fun filled setting and watch out for alligators!
It is an excellent way to spend a morning or afternoon with family and friends as it has been specially designed to ensure that everyone has fun, whatever their age or ability level. The course is fully accessible for wheelchair users to play too.
It also has a Golf Range which has 24 Floodlit Bays, which are all fitted with Power Tees. Open 7 days a week from 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday. Last baskets are sold 15 minutes before closing.
7. Things to do Bristol
Badminton Horse Trials
Badminton was first held in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort in order to let British riders train for international events and was advertised as “the most important horse event in Britain”. It was the second three-day event held in Britain, with the first being its inspiration – the 1948 Olympics. The first Badminton had 22 horses from Britain and Ireland start, and was won by Golden Willow. Eight of the 22 starters failed to complete the cross-country course. Badminton was the home of the first European Championship in 1953, won by Major Laurence Rook on Starlight XV. In 1955, Badminton moved to Windsor Castle for a year, at the invitation of the Queen, in order to hold the second European Championships. Badminton was first televised in 1956.
In 1959, Badminton was held in two sections, called the Great and Little Badminton, due to the popularity of the event and the number of entries. The horses in the two sections jumped the same fences but were separated into the two divisions based on their money winnings. This graded approach was abandoned after the 1965 event. In 1989, the current director and course-designer Hugh Thomas, who rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, took over from Frank Weldon, a former winner, who is credited with bringing the event to the pinnacle it is at today.
Badminton is held in the 6 square kilometre (1500 acre) Badminton Park, where the car parks, trade stands, arena and cross-country courses are located.
The World’s Premier three-day event is held every year in early May and attracts over 160,000 visitors from all over the world.
8. Outdoor Activities in Bristol
Why not spend the day at Windmill Leisure an outdoor activity centre providing many activities for individual, groups and family fun out in the countryside.
Golf – A number of activities are provided, Floodlit, heated 300 yards long Driving Range, Floodlit G4 synthetic short game practice green suitable for putting, chipping and pitching. Lessons with golf professionals, fully stocked Golf retail shop and opening in 2021 an18 hole Par 3 Golf Course
Archery – Target Archery shooting at 20 metre distances is practiced. All the equipment is provided, coaching for individual and groups are catered for. Try their taster experience sessions to experience the sport and have some fun.
Football Golf – Getting the ball in the hole only using your feet is the object of the game. 12 holes of footgolf takes an average of 1.5 hours to complete, it’s open to everyone, perfect fun for groups and the family.
Disk Golf – Play much like traditional golf, but instead of balls and clubs players use frisbees or flying discs. Targets are used instead of holes. The game shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf. A great way to enjoy the county side and keep fit.
Fishing – Coarse fishing on four different lakes, suiting all levels of fishing, both social and weekly open match fishing. Fishing lessons / coaching available to book. Party and Group Packages available.
Some activities require advance bookings.
9. More Free things to do in Bristol
Winterbourne Duck Pond
The duck pond, also known as Flaxpits Pond, has been a beautiful peaceful oasis in the middle of Winterbourne for many generations. It has existed since the 16th century when it was used to soak flax before making linen, so is of considerable historic significance.
The area is used by local residents of all ages as a place for recreation and is very popular with local fishermen.
Winterbourne Parish Council own the pond and maintain the surrounding area. Frome Valley Angling Club manage the ‘water’ and fishing on behalf of the Parish Council.
10. More for things to do Bristol
Frome Valley Walkway
A pleasant and interesting 18-mile-long path which follows the River Frome between the River Avon in Bristol and the Cotswold Hills in South Gloucestershire.
The route links with the Cotswold Way National Trail at one end and the Avon Walkway at the other, as well as connecting with several other well-established recreational routes, notably, the Jubilee Way, the Monarch’s Way and the Community Forest Path.
The path passes through a variety of landscapes including open countryside and meadows in South Gloucestershire, the mediaeval town of Chipping Sodbury, wooded valleys south of Winterbourne Down, the pretty village of Frenchay and historic, landscaped parks in Bristol including Oldbury Court estate, originally an old hunting lodge within the Royal Forest of Kingswood. In Bristol the route runs through city parks and along pavements. Some sections of the River Frome are culverted near to the City Centre, including the point where it enters the River Avon near Castle Park.
11. Fun things to do in Bristol
Lots of Fun at Cleve Archers
Wholly run by volunteers Cleve Archers is one of the largest clubs in the county. It was founded in 1960 to practice and promote the sport of archery in accordance with Grand National Archery Society Rules. It is a well established and recognised leading archery organisation in the South West of England. The club is registered as a Community Amateur Sports Club. The majority of the members live in or around South Gloucestershire and Bristol areas.
As well as hosting tournaments throughout the year Cleve Archers have daily clubs running for Juniors, seniors and disability group. All courses are fully supervised by their coaches and all the equipment is provided. Have a go taster session are a great way to have an introduction to the sport.
If you are looking for a new challenge, this is definately one to try.
12. More Great Places to Visit
Bristol Activity Centre
Bristol Activity Centre is an experienced provider of great outdoor activities for adults and children in the South West of England, catering for groups of all ages 8+ and over, and groups of all shapes and sizes – from small groups of just two people, right up to large groups of 200+. They offer over 10 top activities all at the same outdoor venue in Bristol, Cribbs Causeway, including Paintball, Low Impact Paintball, Airsoft, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Crossbow, Quad Biking, Archery, Battle zone Archery and Axe, Tomahawk & Knife Throwing, and coming soon they will be adding Air Rifle shooting.
The original paintball venue established 2000 (and still one of the UK’s best!) is their dedicated woodland paintball venue which is located in Portishead. They also have a dedicated airsoft club for those with their own Airsoft equipment, called “Black Ops Airsoft” where they run “Airsoft walk-on day” every single Sunday. This place has something for everyone.
13. Fun thing to do with the kids in Bristol
Wild Place Project
Wild Place Project is a wildlife conservation park, run by Bristol Zoological Society and located close to the M5 in Bristol. It’s a fun, family attraction that provides outdoor adventure, play and learning, with a vision to create a sustainable future for wildlife and people through their conservation and education work. It has a natural and open feel, making it easy to explore. You really can get up close and personal with some of the animals.
It aims to inspire families to enjoy nature with a number of outdoor adventures from discovering wildlife from the UK and around the world with seasonal themed trails, exploring the woods and climbing in the undercover Fun Fort. There are some hidden gems liked the barefoot challenge exploring senses, a mud kitchen and musical play area and you can enjoy a great range of hot food and drinks in the quaint guest village, but there are also some great places to have a picinic.
Visitors to Wild Place Project can meet amazing animals from across the world from the mischievous lemurs of Madagascar, Leopards, Giraffes, Zebras, to the striking grey wolves of Europe and many more. You can also feed the animals. This place is like being on a small-scale on foot Safari.
14. Places to go in Bristol
The Dower House at Stoke Park
The Dower House, Stoke Park is a building in Bristol, England. It is one Bristol’s more prominent landmarks, set on Purdown, a hill above the M32 motorway on the main approach into the city, and painted yellow.
The house was built in 1553 by Sir Richard Berkeley. Rebuilt by Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt circa 1760, it eventually became used as a Dower House by the Dukes of Beaufort at nearby Badminton House. This included Charles Somerset, 4th Duke of Beaufort (The son of Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort) and wife Elizabeth Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort whose daughter’s obelisk can be found on the hill she died on from falling off a horse to this date.
Legend has it that Stoke Park, is haunted by the ghost of 17-year-old Elizabeth Somerset, who died in 1760 there after falling off her horse and breaking her neck. In recent years numerous visitors claim to have heard galloping hooves as they walk through – despite the fact horses haven’t been on the grounds for years.
Lots of people walk the grounds of Stoke Park, it’s the perfect place to walk the dog, enjoy a walk, have a picnic or in the winter tobogganing down the very steep hill in front of the house.
15. Places to go in Bristol
Glenside Museum is located on Blackberry Hill in the suburb of Fishponds. Its clocktower is a prominent landmark, visible from the M32 motorway. Several of the buildings on the site are Grade II listed.
The museum was founded by Dr Donal Early, a consultant psychiatrist at Glenside Hospital. Objects and documents were saved and collected from all corners of the building and beyond. The collection consists of a wide range of paraphernalia and images from the life of Glenside and of the local Learning Disability Hospitals of the Stoke Park Group and the Burden Neurological Institution.
The museum was successful in gaining a Heritage Lottery Grant in 2011 to collect memories of Glenside Hospital from those who lived and worked there. This has enabled the Museum to collect over 60 interviews giving many perspectives. These are available for those researching or wanting a better understanding of the history of mental health care. The museum continues to collect memories from anyone that worked or visited the hospital.
The museum charges no entrance fee but depends on donations from the public.