This February Half Term, we hope you’re lucky enough to have some time off from running your business to spend with your children. The week can just fly by so we wanted to help you make the most of it. Here’s a few suggestions of places to visit, which our children love and cherish, if you want to get out and about in Bristol this week.
This (fairly) new addition to Bristol’s museums, is a family favourite in our household at any time of year. Although on a rainy, miserable day, it is a welcome visit! Housed in the original Bristol Industrial Museum space, this was reinvented as the MShed, opened in 2011 to wide review. If you haven’t yet visited, it is a must for Bristolians and tourists. The exhibits and displays have been designed to be as interactive and user friendly as possible for all ages.Your children will love going on the old parked Bristol Omnibus bus in the centre of the museum and may particularly enjoy finding their home with the large magnifying glass, on the huge floor map in the middle of the ground floor. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic and proud of our City’s natural and historic past whilst walking around the MShed. If you’re visiting, do check out the Bristol Harbour Railway a heritage railway, which runs short railway journeys (usually during seasonal holidays) up and down the docks. For a small fee, it’s fantastic fun to ride on the real steam train, from then deafening noise of the engine to the smell of the steam, it’s an exciting ride for all ages. It goes without saying that whilst you’re dockside, there are many stunning boats moored in the water to enjoy during your visit.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Bristol’s original museum, since 1823, housed in a stunning Edwardian Baroque building in the heart of Clifton, surrounding by plenty independent shops and cafes. Find me a Bristolian who doesn’t have fond memories of meeting Alfred the (stuffed) Gorilla, whose first home was Bristol Zoo. And the perfectly preserved and beautifully decorated, Gypsy caravan lets the imagination wonder what it would be like living in this mini home, with cosy bed and kitchen paraphernalia. In recent years, the Egyptian section has benefited from a complete refit and is worth a peak. There’s always plenty of free additional activates for children to do at the museum, as well as enjoying the many exhibits. Another free day out and ideal for a rainy and cold day.
Blaise Castle Estate
Tucked away in Henbury, in the North West of the City. Blaise Castle Estate is a real natural gem and a great site for young explorers. Originally owned by a number of local Merchants, it was sold to Bristol City Council in 1926. Within the 650 acres of land, it includes Blaise House, which is now a museum holding exhibits relating to the history of the estate as well as capturing life in the Victorian Bristol. An instant favourite with children are the two playgrounds, for preschool and older children, which are very popular all year round.
There are vast stretches of grassland for a kick about, but we’d recommend taking a walk or bike ride down into the woods, which can be accessed close to Blaise House, although there are many pathways on the edge of the woods. There is a peaceful walk through woodland, down past the winding River Trym, to various ponds. A firm favourite with dog owners and if you stick to the paths, it’s also buggy-friendly. Alternatively, you can go off the beaten track and explore the vast woodland as the path takes you further into the natural wonders of the Avon Gorge. A not so buggy-friendly pathway can take you higher up to the Folly, passing accessible caves on the way. Not only are the views spectacular at the top, you can also put your foot in the Giant’s Footprint, which is definitely recommended! Take a flask and a picnic for a great day out, although there is a café on site.
Clifton Suspension Bridge and Visitors Centre
We couldn’t write a blog about exploring Bristol without mentioning our most famous city icon, Clifton Suspension Bridge. Our children have been well informed from an early age as to ‘who built the bridge’ so it was wonderful when the Visitor Information Centre opened in 2015. We can now show them just how Brunel built this extraordinary feat of Victorian engineering. The Visitor Information Centre is worth a visit but unlike Bristol’s other museums it’s on the smaller side so will leave you with plenty of time to enjoy walking across the bridge taking in the view. This is breath taking on a sunny day and a great place for some family photos.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy this February Half Term exploring our magnificent city, whatever you decide to do!