I enjoyed a fabulous day out on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May, at The North Somerset Agricultural Show at Bathing Ponds Fields in Wraxall, Bristol. It was an early start as I wanted to watch the cattle showing and take lots of photos as this, for me, is the star of the whole show and my family were showing our Jersey and Hereford cattle. It was a very successful day (although tiring for the team) with great results – 4-second places, 3-first places and Reserve Champion, what a great way to start the year, at the first show of the season.
The Show is on the first Bank Holiday Monday in May and is run by The North Somerset Agricultural Society, formed out of the North Somerset Ploughing Society in 1840 by a small group of farmers. Its sole purpose was to further agricultural development by communicating agricultural issues and providing a showpiece to the general public.
This popular event attracts over 20,000 people and showcases local agriculture, food and farming as well as country crafts and pursuits. Show stoppers are tractor pulling, livestock showing and horse show jumping. This year was its 160th show.
North Somerset Show is massive, with so many sporting activities to partake in or to watch. I think my favourite (after the livestock) was the dog agility competitions, they had 3 rings for different levels of difficulty. It’s super competitive and the dogs absolutely love it, with some of them barking around the whole course.
You can easily spend a whole day here and be constantly entertained, there are displays and competitions going on all at the same time in different areas of the show. I wandered for hours and enjoyed every single minute of shopping at the trade stands. They have all your country needs, including clothing and gifts, crafts, art, photography, pet supplies etc. A vast array of food stalls inside and out. All of this is amongst the different arena displays showcasing, sheep shearing, falconry, motor bike displays, strongest man event, Vintage Tractor displays, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Archery, Air Rifle Shooting, Blacksmith Competitions, pony games, motorbike displays, the list just goes on and on.
A Great day out – put the date in your diary for next year!
Gates open to the public at 9.am and close at 5pm – Car parking is free. Dogs are welcome.
Tickets – Adults £18, Children (15 & under) £8, Children under 5 go free, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £45
Independent Review – May 2019
North Somerset Show Bristol, the first of the new season green field experiences this local family friendly show is the perfect size to get around in a day, see old faces, learn new ideas, inspire the next generation and generally appreciate how lucky we all are to live locally in the beautiful farmer-friendly county of Somerset … whether you like tractors, animals, games, sports, shopping, eating, drinking, chatting, bartering … watching or doing it you can pretty much do all of this with the whole family in tow !
If you’re a Mini enthusiast, you are going to be overwhelmed with hundreds of Mini’s invading Bristol for the world’s biggest meeting of the Mini club scene, in August 2019.
The International Mini Meeting is an annual event which originated in 1978 in Germany. It started out as a small 3-day camp event on the Whitsun weekend. After several years its popularity had grown, even over the German borders and this resulted in an International event which takes place every year in a different country, defying language barriers and creating a foundation of appreciation like no other. Every 5 years it celebrates the Mini in England where the IMM takes place around the Minis birthday in August.
International Mini Meeting Bristol 2019 is a 5 day festival style 1980s themed event for all ages, and welcomes both classic minis and new MINIs as well as their derivatives. The event opens at mid-day on Thursday 8th August, at Washingpool Farm, Easter Compton, Bristol, with a gentle build up to the official opening ceremony on Friday night, by which point most of the participants have arrived.
If you’ve booked for the weekend there will be plenty of things to do and see, including traders, mini displays, street food and drink vendors and meeting points. From Friday there will also be live music/acts throughout the day on the outdoor and indoor stages, plus rides and children’s entertainment. On Friday evening the event is officially opened, with a special opening ceremony. Different activities will be organised for Mini drivers and Mini Clubs during the rest of the weekend, including an open topped bus tour, rocker cover racing, club competitions including Sinclair C5 racing and a mini run.
Examples on show will span the entire mini family tree from pristine 1959 originals and Marcos coupes through to the second generation of John Cooper Works GPs, together with many wild and wacky restorations.
The Mini came into existence in England in 1959 and remained in production until 2000 in one form or another. BMW picked up the MINI name in 1994. While the German automaker wound down the British version of the car, it began designing the car that would become the new MINI in 2000. These days, the so-called MINI is a proper modern hatchback — big enough to swallow up the iconic 1960s version.
This event is only open to Day Visitors on Sunday 11th August, tickets will be available to purchase on the gate. If you want to attend any other day you will need to purchase a weekend Ticket.
Location – Washingpool Farm, the home of IMM 2019 and Easter Compton Farm Shop. Located just 5 minutes from junction 17 of the M5 motorway in the midst of beautiful south west England countryside.
Want more information about this great event – Visit their Website
Fancy a Boat Trip with Bristol Ferry Boats? – Bristol Ferry Boats offer a number of different trips, a great way to see the City from a different viewpoint. Bristol Ferry Boats has been running since 1977. The iconic blue and yellow Ferry Boats can be seen travelling around the harbour almost every day of the year. They provide a community focused, friendly ferry service and pride themselves on their unrivalled reliability. Visitors are safe in the knowledge that they run their service every day except Christmas day, come rain or shine. You will always receive a warm Bristol welcome their staff.
Wednesday Sundown Sailings – A lovely cruise around the Harbour, listening to music, watching the sun go down. The trip includes tapas and cheese to complement two drinks of either Gin, Sherry or Rum (drinks depend on dates booked). There are two departure times from the City Centre at 7pm and 9pm the trip lasts for 2 hours. Tickets are £20 per person.
Brunel’s Bristol Boat Tour – A comprehensive tour of Brunel’s famous Bristol Landmarks. Departing from Bristol Temple Meads, sailing past the SS Great Britain and on toward the historic lock gates, where Brunel’s other Bridge is laid. Traveling away from the harbour along the Avon Gorge underneath the famous Clifton Suspension Bristol and then returning back to the Bristol Floating Harbour. A great way to see some of Bristol’s Landmarks. This trip lasts for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Tickets – Adults £15, Children £12, Concessions £12 or Family of 5 £45.
Avon Gorge Trip – An exciting cruise along the Avon Gorge, with commentary throughout. Departing from SS Great Britain leaving the floating harbour, along the Avon Gorge, underneath the amazing Clifton Suspension Bridge, Passing the ancient port of Sea Mills and the Village of Pill and onto Avonmouth (if the tide allows) and then returning back to the floating harbour. This trip lasts for 3.5 hours. Tickets – Adults £18.50, Children £16.50, Concessions £16.50 or Family of 5 £55.
Booze Cruises and Boat Parties – Private Hire – There is a variety of packages on offer – Vintage Tea Party, Bubbly Breakfast, Booze Cruises and Party Packages offering trips to dockside pubs and bars. Catering for parties ranging from 25 to 45 people, with fully licensed CASH ONLY bars and music. You have the opportunity to hop on and off of the boat and visit a wide range of Bars and Pubs. These are fantastic trips, perfect for any celebration and for Hen Parties, a great way to start your weekend visit to Bristol. There are many options available to create a bespoke party. Find out more HERE.
Sunday Riverside Roast – A lazy cruise along the River Avon, departing from Welsh Back. This is a very relaxed river cruise, after sailing through the City, see Bristol’s countryside from the water as it travels along the feeder canal and through Netham Lock along the riverbanks of St Anne’s and Conham River Park. Enjoy the wildlife, you may see Otters, Swans, Deer, Foxes, Squirrels, Kingsfishers, Ducks etc. Gently cruising onto the very popular Beese’s Riverside Tea Rooms to enjoy a delicious roast dinner and then have time to enjoy the beautiful grounds of the Tea Rooms until it’s time to make the journey back to Bristol. This trip lasts (including your meal) for 3 hours. Ticketprices include your food – Adults £25.00, Concessions £19.00. Advance Bookings are essential as these trips are very popular.
Friday trip to Beese’s with live music – A Great way to start the weekend, departing from Welshback, a super river cruise sailing from Bristol, through the countryside to the very popular Beese’s Riverside Tea Rooms, where you can enjoy a meal and watch a live band most Fridays. Some Fridays the tide doesn’t allow for these trips, but that’s only a few. Drinks are available to buy (cash only) onboard during your trip. This is a one-way trip, so that you can enjoy the whole evening dancing, you will need to book a taxi for the return journey. Ticket prices include entry and food at Beese’s – Adults £21.00. Advance bookings are essential.
Band line ups for these trips for 2019 :-
26th April Belle Rose
3rd May Fiesta Latina
10th May Dysfunktional
24th May The Mayfair Players
31st May Funk Husky
7th June Soul Reason
14th June The Bad Losers
21st June The Jumps
28th June Dukes of Mumbai
12th July Finger Buffet
19th July Dappa Don & The Playaz
26th July Fromage en Feu
9th August Stiff Upper Lips
16th August JJ Gatsby
23rd August The Jumps
6th September Natty Daps
More about Beese’s Riverside Tea Rooms
Beese’s Riverside Tea Rooms is a hidden treasure, set beside a pleasantly wooded stretch of the river Avon. For some, a haven of tranquillity, where generations of city dwellers would put their cares of the city behind them for a time. Visitors range from families, ramblers, cyclists, dog walkers and, of course, river-users swimming or rowing leisurely by.
In more recent years, Beese’s can be a lively place, whether it’s a friends’ get-together, a birthday or wedding celebration, or one of Beese’s music nights.
Beese’s is open each year for the spring and summer. They have live music most Friday evenings, including a mix of known Bristol bands and visitors from afar. There has been an annual beer festival since 2009. Visit their Website for more information.
Back to Bristol Ferry Boats – There are 5 Ferry Boats all painted in iconic yellow and blue colours.
Margaret was built in 1952 and acquired in 1977 she has capacity for 28 passengers. She has a wooden hulled open launch and was Built in Appledore for service in Lynmouth to replace a vessel wrecked in the flood of 1952 and later used as a ferry across the Avon between Shirehampton and Pill.
Independence was built in 1927 and acquired in 1980 she has capacity for 46 passengers. With a wooden hulled open launch and was previously used on the Severn and Wye, and on the Erewash Canal.
Emily was built in 1927 and acquired in 1992 she has capacity for 48 passengers. With a wooden hulled enclosed launch. Built in Bideford and was previously used at Scarborough and in Gloucester Docks.
Matilda was built and acquired in 1997 and has a capacity for 50 passengers. With a Steel hulled enclosed launch, with a length of 14.02 m (46.0 ft) and a beam of 4.61 m (15.1 ft). Purpose built for Bristol Ferry Boats.
Brigantia was built and acquired in 2006 and has a capacity for 50 passengers. With a Steel hulled enclosed launch. Purpose built for Bristol Ferry and based on the design for Matilda but equipped with a retractable wheelhouse and a wheelchair lift.
Both Matilda and Brigantia are licensed to operate on the tidal Avon downstream from Bristol through the Avon Gorge to Avonmouth, as well as throughout Bristol Harbour and on the Avon upstream to the city of Bath. The other vessels are restricted to Bristol Harbour and the upstream Avon. Margret is the original yellow and blue ferry boat and is a true west country survivor.
Visit their Website for more information or check out their Timetable for Ferry’s.
Bristol Ferry Boats – A great way to tour the historic harbour. Friendly staff, great value.
Having had a less than successful trip to We the Curious, we saw the yellow boat arrive and jumped on board. The full tour takes you from the City Centre to Hotwells and back, and then goes off in the other direction to Temple Meads and back. You can choose the full 80 minute tour, a 40 minute (half tour) or simply use the craft as a taxi or bus in the harbour area.
We chose the 40 minute trip to Hotwells and back and saw Bristol from a viewpoint I had never experienced before. You travel past The Matthew and The Great Britain, have a good view of the cathedral, the harbour-side industries and the old pubs, with a great view of the multi-coloured buildings of Hotwells.
A very friendly crewman was there to help people on and off and call out the stops and sell the tickets.
We will definitely go back and do the full tour (ticket lasts a day and lets you hop on and off) when the weather is a bit warmer. Great fun and great value.
Beese’s Riverside Bar and Tea Rooms
This is a great little quirky place next to the river. If you are used to eating in chain establishments it may not be for you as it is quite ‘characterful’. We only had a cream tea but the Sunday lunches that people were tucking in to looked good too. The walk along the river and ferry across added to the charm.
More things to do in Bristol, near the harbourside.
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.
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.
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. Through marriages (involving the Stone and Tilly families in the mid-1700s) this site became part of the much larger Tilly estate which was in excess of 1000 acres. Following more changes in ownership, it was sold off in lots by the then owner, Rev. Edward Batchelor in 1862. The last private ownership was that of the Warner family who finally moved out in the 1970’s, whereupon Kingswood District Council took ownership.
Today, the farm is 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 events including new births – lambs, calves, piglets, goat kids, ducklings etc so always plenty to do or see.
A Typical year on the of farming activities include:
Spring – Lambing, Vaccinations and worming. Scanning cows to see if they are pregnant. Putting the animals out into the field to eat grass. Planting sprint crops.
Summer – The sheep are sheared to keep them cool in the heat. This wool is sent to the market. Lambs are weighed. Harvesting of spring and winter planted crops. Bailing straw from left over crops to us as animals bedding at the farm.
Autumn – Calving of Cows, sending lambs to market, moving some of the cows and sheep into the barns for the winter. Cultivating the land and sowing winter crops.
Winter – Female sheep are scanned to see if they are pregnant and also wormed and vaccinated. Cows are mated for Autumn calving. Maintenance is carried out on all the buildings, machinery, hedges and fences.
There is a lovely Café “The Barn Café” providing children’s meals, a range of light bites, sandwiches & rolls, pasties, a selection of homemade cakes and also has daily specials – all very reasonably priced and freshly prepared. The Café is open daily hours do vary but usually 10am – 3.30pm. Besides providing food for humans you can also purchase small packs of feed for the chickens & ducks, sheep & goats or pigs who you can feed on you way around the farm.
A rather damp Sunday afternoon didn’t seem like the best of times to visit Grimsbury Community Farm but we had a pleasant surprise when we arrived, the Farm has plenty to see even on a rainy day there are fairly dry pathways around the farm from where you can see an array of animals including : Pygmy Goats, Sheep, Dexter Cattle, several different breeds of Pigs, chickens, ducks, Donkeys & ponies to name but a few. As you wander around the Farm there are lots of signage & information boards telling everything from the history of the farm to details of the breeds of animals and details of individual animals, which are both very interesting and educational.
Upon arrival we decided to pop into the Barn Café (which is situated by the car park) for a nice cup of tea and a slice of lovely homemade Fruit Cake, we then had a wander along the pathway behind the café where you can see some of the ducks & chickens and then up to one of the barns which houses most of the Farm’s “babies”. In the barn was a Large Black Sow called Diana with her 11 piglets and 12 Gloucester Old Spot piglets – we read that the mother of these unfortunately died shortly after giving birth and it’s a testament to the care given by the staff at Grimsbury that all 12 piglets had survived hand reared !
Also in the barn were a Muscovy Duck and her ducklings, some lambs and a pen of rabbits.
On the way out of the barn we stopped to pat a sheep that was hand reared & bottle fed and roams freely around the farm happily accepting pats & attention from visitors, we then walked on around a path between the fields, past the outdoor paddocks housing some of the pigs onto the Pigmy Goat’s paddock and there met a very inquisitive little Billy Goat who just loved attention & posing for photos.
In the fields opposite were the Farm’s herd of Dexter Cattle (the UK’s smallest breed of cattle) some with calves too and some of the Farm’s sheep, some of these had red or blue markings on their behinds – which shows they have been served by the Ram and will be due to have lambs in the spring.
Further along there is the “Tree Life Centre” and Picnic Area and we then passed another field of sheep where some children were feeding some of the sheep who were very happy to nibble the food from the children’s hands.
On our way back to the car park we also passed the large Children’s play area which has plenty to keep the kids entertained including, seesaws, sliders, swings, climbing frames & mini adventure playground etc and plenty of benches around for weary parents to sit too.
So although it would be obviously more appealing to visit in the spring or summer there is still plenty to do & see even on a dull winters day at Grimsbury Farm !