Bristol is a wonderful city which dances to its own, slightly eclectic tune. That’s one of the reasons it’s so popular with visitors and regularly features in ‘Top 10 Places to Visit in the UK’ (like this recent poll by The Planet).
Much of its appeal is that there’s something for everyone in Bristol. From luxury couples’ getaways to family fun, visitors are guaranteed a great time.
We’ve put together some of our favourite family-friendly things to do to help visitors have the perfect family holiday in Bristol. As sustainability is so important, we’ve picked places that are easily accessible from the centre by foot or public transport.
Explore Bristol’s History (Family Friendly)
Probably Bristol’s most popular attraction, the SS Great Britain is a museum ship and former passenger steamship – once the largest in the world! Designed by Bristolian Isambard Kingdom Brunel, she offers visitors a fascinating insight into life on the world’s first great luxury liner. With many interactive activities, it’s perfect for keeping kids entertained. Why not extend the maritime experience by arriving via the Cross-Harbour Ferry? Find out more about tickets, opening times and exhibitions on the SS Great Britain website.
SS Great Britain Bristol - keep the whole family entertained
For a more traditional museum experience, there’s the free-to-enter Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on Park Street. Housed in an impressive building, the kids can explore archaeology, geology and art including fossils, a Romany caravan and artwork by local boy Banksy. There’s also an extensive animal taxidermy selection which always proves popular with children. Find out more about opening times and travelling exhibitions on the Bristol Museum website.
Travel by Steam Train in Bristol
Free to enter, M Shed is a museum that tells the story of Bristol. Situated on the harbourside, this repurposed 1950s transit shed details the city’s history through a range of colourful exhibits. On summer weekends, it’s easily spotted – just look for the plumes of steam from the Bristol Harbour Railway! Why not step back in time and experience a steam train ride along the quayside. Find out more about tickets on the M Shed website.
Painting Pottery in Clifton
If you’re looking for something a little crafty, there are a whole range of different child-friendly options in Bristol. One of our favourites is Flying Saucers, a painting pottery café on the Clifton Triangle where the whole family can spend a few hours painting an item of choice – and have a beautiful memento of their trip to Bristol! Find out more about prices and how to book on the Flying Saucers website.
Entertaining Teenagers in Bristol
If your family is a little older, there are plenty of activities to keep even the most reluctant of teenagers happy.
For something a little different, why not try Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf? An indoor, themed mini-golf experience with two 18 hole courses taking visitors through lost villages and an angry volcano. Situated in Cabot Circus, guests can also enjoy arcades and a fully stocked café bar. Find out more about offers, tickets and prices on the Jungle Rumble Bristol website.
Looking for something with a bit more variety? In nearby Broadmead, there’s Roxy Lanes. More than just a bowling alley, Roxy Lanes also has American pool, shuffleboard, beer pong, batting cage, duck pin bowling plus loads more games. There’s also food and drink available. Find out more on the Roxy Lanes website.
Soft Play in Bristol City Centre
If you’re visiting with young children, you’re probably on the lookout for a soft play centre. Bristol’s Jungle Mania is situated in the Galleries shopping centre, right in the middle of the city. It’s a two tier soft play structure with LED spiders web, ninja course, ball pit, large slides and separate baby and toddler area with a musical roundabout. Find out more about what’s on offer on the Jungle Mania Bristol website.
Get into Nature in Bristol
Just two miles from the centre of Bristol, the Ashton Court Estate boasts 850 acres of woodland and meadows, a large mansion, ponds and a café to take a rest and refuel. It’s the perfect family day out, with lots of wildlife for the little ones to spot and woodland for them to explore.
Not a long walk, but the autumnal views from Brandon Hill are epic. It’s a haven for wildlife, particularly squirrels so keep an eye out! From Cabot Tower, you can see the autumnal colours spread across the city, all the way out to the Mendip hills. Added bonus of a children’s playground at the bottom of the hill to entertain them whilst parents have a well-deserved rest.
Our Favourite Family Friendly Restaurants in Bristol
Situated right in the centre in the Beacon Tower, Bambalan is a lively North African/Mediterranean restaurant with stunning views across menu. The all-day menu brings together flavours from the Med and Middle East and dishes are perfect for sharing. Even better, there are often offers for kids to eat free. Check out more on their offers on the Bambalan website.
Racks is buried in the cellars of Bristol’s old wine merchants. Full of historic charm and warmth, Racks is the perfect place to pop in for a drink or sit down to enjoy a meal. There’s usually some form of great discount available, such as their £6 lunch offer. Visitors can choose from an exciting menu of wraps, nachos and classic bangers and mash. Find out more on the Racks website.
The Coconut Tree
Enjoy the warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality & cuisine, served fresh from the kitchen in the Clifton branch of The Coconut Tree. Made up of smaller tapas-style dishes, the food is rich in Ceylon spices with recipes going back generations. Kids (aged 10 and under) can eat for FREE at The Coconut Tree. Kids can choose from a child-friendly menu full of lovingly prepared dishes that cater for all, which take authentic Sri Lankan classics and gives them a child's spin, encouraging children to try new food, whilst ensuring that the food gets eaten. For further details, terms and conditions and to book visit the The Coconut Tree website.
Pizza on the Park
This Clifton restaurant offers excitingly authentic Italian fare, with everything made freshly on site. Pizzas are Neapolitan in style with puffy crusts and a super thin centre. Not a pizza fan? There’s also a range of Mediterranean-inspired salads and mains.
All pizzas are available as gluten free on request, and their vegan pizzas come without cheese as standard but have the option to add vegan cheese.
It’s a great stop for lunch, especially if you time your visit with one of their great offers. Find out more about offers and how to book on the Pizza on the Park website.
This vibrant, buffet eatery provides all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ, a salad bar, desserts & cocktails. The concept at Casa Brasil in Cabot Circus is known as rodizio, which means rotating and refers to the style of service where experienced passadors (meat carvers) pass from table to table slicing different cuts of meat from metre-long skewers with their equally long machetes. They have some family friendly prices too. Find out more on the Casa Brasil website.
Images thanks to: SS Great Britain, Bristol City Council, Roxy Lanes, Racks and Pizza on the Park