Finding affordable but fun things to do, even in a city as exciting as Bristol, can be a difficult task.
When you know where to look, however, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great day out this bank holiday weekend.
From relaxing walks with stunning views, to climbing towers and going on exhilarating bike rides, Bristol really is a city with plenty to do.
The following list features nine outings that are free to enjoy, but we’ve included a few recommendations for refreshments as well if you happen to have your wallet handy:
Stroll around Blaise Castle
Location: Kings Weston Road, Lawrence Weston, Bristol, BS10 7QS
A 650-acre estate with a children’s play area, free museum, and castle – what’s not to like?
The scenic parkland is perfect for a bike ride or a relaxing stroll. It also has a buggy-friendly walking route for families with young children.
Did you know? The area around Blaise Castle has probably been inhabited since Neolithic times. There’s evidence of settlements from the Bronze Age onwards.
Location: Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, BS1 4RN
Opening times: 10am-5pm
The M-Shed is a museum all about Bristol. It tells the story of the city from prehistoric times to the present day through unique film, personal stories and memories, and quirky objects.
Kids will love getting hands on with interactive displays, meeting Bristol’s very own dinosaur and boarding the green Lodekka bus.
There is also currently a temporary display on the statue of Edward Colston, which aims to spark a city-wide conversation about Bristol’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and a street art exhibition called Vanguard.
Did you know? Entry is completely free.
Take in the view of Cabot Tower
Location: Brandon Hill Park, Park St, Bristol, BS1 5RR
Cabot Tower is a 105ft tower built in 1897 to commemorate John Cabot’s famous voyage from Bristol and the continent of North America four hundred years earlier.
Usually you can climb the tight spiral staircase to the top of the tower, situated on Bristol’s charming Brandon Hill. When you’ve reached the summit, you’ll be treated to amazing panoramic views of Bristol and its Harbourside, but the tower is currently closed due to the pandemic.
There are still incredible views to be seen and there is often a coffee kiosk as a reward after the uphill walk – you could even head to nearby Pinkman’s beforehand for a delicious doughnut to enjoy at the top.
Did you know? The tower is built from red sandstone with cream Bath stone for decoration.
Head to Clifton Suspension Bridge
Location: Bridge Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol, BS8 3PA
Arguably the most iconic sight in Bristol – the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Spanning the picturesque Avon Gorge, this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world for almost 150 years.
Take a stroll over the bridge and take in amazing panoramic views of Bristol.
Afterwards, take a short walk up to Observatory Hill for a fabulous view of the bridge. On your walk up the footpaths to the top of the hill, you’ll find the 360 Café which boasts a newly renovated rooftop terrace. They sell a range of delicious focaccia toasties, locally baked cakes, and hot and cold drinks.
Did you know? The initial funding for the bridge was generated by Bristol wine merchant William Vick in 1754. He left £1000 in his will to go towards a stone bridge across the Avon Gorge.
Have a picnic at Ashton Court Estate
Location: Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN
The 850-acre estate is the perfect spot for a relaxing picnic. You’ll be surrounded by woodland and meadows with a large mansion, a deer keeper’s cottage, a pond, and two small golf courses.
The car park opens at 8am and costs £1.20 per vehicle for a whole day, although people are encouraged to walk, cycle or get public transport there if possible.
Did you know? During the First World War, the estate was used as a military hospital.
Stoke Park Estate
Location: Stoke Park Estate, Duchess Gate, Park Road, Stapleton, Bristol
This Grade II listed park and garden is one of Bristol’s hidden gems, located beside the M32. The fine landscape of open grassland is the perfect place for a walk or bike ride in the sun. It offers shaded groves, a wealth of historic features and stunning views.
Did you know: The site was first established in 1939 to hold anti-aircraft guns before being turned into a concrete reinforced battery in 1940.
Go for a dip at Weston-Super-Mare beach
Location: Marine Parade, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
The golden sands of Weston-Super-Mare are a great place to relax, play or walk. You can build sandcastles or take a dip – but just watch out for the sinking mud.
After spending some time on the beach, walk along the Grand Pier where you’ll find a selection of arcade machines, rides and soft play areas.
Maybe even grab some chips from one of the many local fish and chip shops – we tried the best-rated one earlier this summer.
Did you know: Weston-Super-Mare is one of the longest naturally occurring beaches in the UK.
Ride along the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path
The popular Bristol and Bath Railway Path provides a peaceful walking and cycling path between the two cities.
Along the way you’ll see wonderful views of the River Avon, a working steam engine at the old train station at Bitton, and the forgotten railway line that nature has reclaimed.
If you make it to Saltford near Bath, the Riverside Inn has lovely views of the marina and a large play area for children.
Did you know? The path is 13.9 miles long- that’s more than half a marathon!
Location: Floating Harbour, we suggest starting at Welsh Back, Bristol, BS1 4SP
Embark on a self-guided tour of Bristol’s historic Floating Harbour. Look out for a replica of John Cabot’s ship The Matthew and the mighty SS Great Britain along the way, and you can even take in Banksy’s Girl with a Pierced Eardrum.
There are plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to keep refreshed en route, such as the Cottage Inn with its iconic view of the colourful houses at Cliftonwood.
Did you know? Bristol’s harbour is otherwise known as the ‘Floating Harbour’ as the water level remains at a constant level and is not affected by the tides of the River Avon which flows into it.
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