We used to live in Bristol and absolutely loved it there so it’s a real pleasure to welcome Maria Newman of Mummy on a Break to the blog to share her 10 things to do in Bristol with kids, below. We have to make a visit this summer now.
Over to Maria!
First, let me introduce myself, my name is Maria and I live in Bristol with my husband and two children, Lea and Louka. I’ve lived in Bristol for more than 20 years and I think that it’s a fabulous city with lots to do with a family.
Since becoming a mum, I’m regularly in search for things to do with the children that are both fun and different. Below are my top 10 things. I hope they inspire you to make a trip to Bristol!
Visit a National Trust property
I never thought I’d say it but I’m a fan of the National Trust. When I was young, I remember my parents dragging me around these grand houses and not being remotely interested, mainly because then, kids weren’t actively encouraged to get involved with the sites they were visiting... How things have changed now though!
We regularly visit properties which are on the outskirts of Bristol with in Wraxhall and near Bath being firm favourites. Both are set in achingly beautiful grounds with lots of outdoor space for the kids can run wild in. Plus, as a parent I have peace of mind knowing my kids can’t get themselves into too much trouble there. Once inside the historic houses, the children are then encouraged to touch things with fun activities from trying on historic hats and having a go at playing a mini harp to counting the number of Easter eggs hidden around the house.
They’re never bored!
For the occasions where you just want to explore the outdoors, head to . The main attraction is definitely being able to build your own tepee!
Go to an animal attraction
Like many children, my kiddies love animals and there are a few options to choose from in Bristol.
If we’re in the mood for the more traditional zoo experience then we go to …Set in over 100 acres, there’s an impressive variety of animals to see there from lions and elephants to chickens and rabbits. Plus there’s plenty of open space for the children to explore and keep busy.
If it’s more attractions and rides you’re after, then is ideal. My two especially like the mini train that takes you on a gentle ride around a some of the park. They find it hilarious pointing out the plastic animals and in particular the crocodile, which my son is adamant, is real.
There’s also if we’re in the mood for bird spotting. They have all five species of flamingo and the most rare goose in the world there. I love watching the kids try and feed every bird they see. It’s surprising how far a bag of bird food can go. My children’s favourite activity however has to be Welly Boot Land (on site) as they get to splash around in a large enclosed area following the stream as it takes them from obstacle to obstacle. Fun!
We The Curious
My kids are curious creatures who yearn to understand how things work. This usually means testing things to the limit and then potentially getting upset when things can’t be fixed. That’s why is always worth a visit. A safe environment for children to explore everything from how the eco system works to understanding what it means to be an astronaut, it’s a one-stop day of wonder for curious little minds.
Chew Valley Lakes
If we want to take advantage of the great British weather, when the sun is shining, we head to the lakes, . First on the agenda, is a long walk around the lakes to build up an appetite, (in the summer we spot electric blue damsel flies), followed by a spot of lunch at Salt and Malt , which serves delicious fish and chips. After a big lunch, we either like to feed the ducks or let the children work off lunch in the park, whilst we adults take five minutes to rest and admire the scenery.
Portishead Lake Grounds
A great place to spend some time is . We also like to take a football with us and bat and ball for outdoor fun. Failing that, the kids like to play in the park and we like to drag them along the esplanade for a walk! The reward being an ice cream from the onsite quirky café.
Just a short drive outside of Bristol is the seaside town of (https://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/explore-somerset/clevedon-p500413) with its iconic Grade 1 listed , which has some breathtaking views, so much so, on a clear day you can see across to Wales. We then usually take a stroll to the Marine Lake to see if the crabs are biting and then jump on the light railway before heading back home for tea.
A place we pop into now and then is the . Located in the centre of Bristol, not only does it have huge exhibits spanning archeology, geology and artwork from local phenomenon Banksy, but it also holds regular family events, like celebrating Chinese New Year.
Soft Play Centres
One thing that my kiddies love is soft play and Bristol has lots of those on offer. My children are at an age where they want to be challenged so we go veer between local garden centre, where we enjoy home made cake whilst the kids go wild! If we’re feeling particularly brave, then I agree to go to , which my children go bouncing mad for!
As a family, we want to be able to treat ourselves to lunch and afternoon tea here and there and thank fully Bristol is bursting with family-friendly restaurants and cafes. After the school run, you’ll find me in with two floors and a fabulous garden. On the weekend, it’s often a spot of lunch at
Bristol is known for being a green city, not just for being environmentally-friendly but also due to its vast green spaces. is a stunning, protected parkland area families love to walk, play games and picnic in
So those are my city’s top ten.
What are yours?