Bristol's Best Free Activities: 12 Picks Listed!
Bristol's Best Free Activities: 12 Picks Listed!
Bristol is a city in southwest England with a long and rich history. The city was founded during the Saxon era in the 11th century but has a history stretching beyond this time period, with the area serving as an important trading port all the way back to the Roman period of occupation. Bristol evolved into one of the largest and most prosperous cities in England. The city was heavily involved in the slave trade, and many of its grand houses were built with money from this trade. Today, Bristol is a thriving cultural center with a lively music scene and a diverse population. The city is also home to several world-famous museums, including the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the SS Great Britain. So if you're looking for a city with culture, history, and character, be sure to add Bristol to your list.
In this blog post we:
- List the best places to visit for no charge at all
- Show all places on an interactive map to help you locate each place easily.
Updated anc correct as of 06/11/23.
Quick Heading Links
Museums and Galleries
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, and it is easy to see why. The museum houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts from around the world, and the gallery showcases the work of local artists. Visitors can also learn about the city's history and the region's natural wonders at the museum. With a location in the heart of the city, it is easy to reach by public transport so a must to add to your list for your trip.
Georgian House Museum
The Georgian House Museum is one of the most important historical sites in the city of Bristol. Located in the heart of the city, the museum tells the story of Bristol's rich history from the Georgian period and shows what a sugar plantation and slave owner's home may have looked like around the end of the 18th Century. The museum's collection is spread over 11 rooms across 4 floors and includes a wealth of artifacts from Bristol's past, including the paintings and furnishings of this time period.
The M-Shed Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the city's rich history. The museum is located in a former warehouse on the Bristol docks, and it houses a variety of exhibitions that tell the story of the city from its beginnings in prehistoric times to its present-day role as a thriving metropolis. In addition to its exhibitions, the M-Shed Museum also offers a number of interactive displays celebrating the city's engineering history and its experience through the war. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, the M-Shed Museum is sure to provide an enjoyable and educational experience.
The Red Lodge Museum
Bristol is a city with a rich history, and the Red Lodge Museum is one of the best places to learn about it. The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts stretching over 400 years. Best of all, the Red Lodge Museum is located in the heart of the city, meaning that it is easily accessible for both residents and visitors alike. So whether you're topping up your local history knowledge or simply looking for a fun day out, be sure to add the Red Lodge Museum to your Bristol itinerary.
Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bristol. For over 155 years, it has been an integral part of the city's landscape, and its graceful curves have been captured in countless paintings and photographs. Today, the bridge is more popular than ever, with over 4 million people crossing it each year. If you're looking for a unique way to experience the bridge, you should pay a visit to the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre. The centre offers a variety of interactive exhibits that tell the story of the bridge's construction and history. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre is worth a visit.
History and Culture
Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Nature Park
Nestled in the heart of Bristol, Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Nature Park offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With sweeping views of the Avon Gorge and historic monuments dotting the landscape, the park is a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. And for those seeking a bit of adventure, the tower's stairway (built-in 1897 and standing at 105ft) provides access to an aerial viewpoint that is one to experience like no other. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll or an exhilarating bird's-eye view, Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Nature Park are sure to delight.
Harbourside and Bristol City Docks
Bristol is a historic port city with a rich maritime heritage. The Harbourside and Bristol City Docks are key features of the city, and there are many reasons why you should visit them. Firstly, the Harbourside is a great place to take a walk or relax by the water. Secondly, the area is home to a variety of businesses and attractions, including the SS Great Britain, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. With the docks being well-connected to the rest of the city, you can easily explore everything that Bristol has to offer.
St Mary Redcliffe Church
St. Mary Redcliffe is one of the most impressive churches in Bristol. The church dates back to the 12th century, and it's built in the Gothic style usually found in churches from the same time period. The exterior of the church is adorned with intricate carvings and stained glass windows, and the interior is just as stunning. Whether you're a religious person or not, St. Mary Redcliffe is a welcoming place that's worth a visit.
Arnos Vale Cemetery
Arnos Vale Cemetery is one of the most beautiful and serene places in Bristol. Situated on 45 acres of land, the cemetery is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. With its sweeping lawns and mature trees, Arnos Vale is a perfect place to spend an afternoon stroll. But beyond its physical beauty, the cemetery is also rich in history. Opened in 1839, the cemetery was designed as a green space for all members of society, regardless of their social status. Today, the cemetery is home to over 300,000 graves, making it one of the largest cemeteries in England. The cemetery is also home to numerous notable figures, including Gronow Davis (VC) and Sir Frank William Wills. So whether you're looking for a place to enjoy nature or to learn about Bristol's history, Arnos Vale Cemetery is a place where you can do both!
Walks and Nature Trails
Ashton Court Estate
The Ashton Court estate is one of the most beautiful places in Bristol. Nestled in 850 acres of stunning parkland, the estate features a magnificent manor house, exquisite gardens, a picnic area, and two deer parks. Visitors can explore the grounds at their leisure, or take part in one of the many exciting events that are held on the estate throughout the year. Whether you're looking for a peaceful place to relax or an exciting day out, Ashton Court has something to offer everyone.
The National Trust's Leigh Woods is one of Bristol's most popular tourist destinations. And it's no wonder why! The woods are home to a variety of plant and animal life, and the views of the Avon Gorge are simply stunning. If you're looking for a day out that's both enjoyable and educational, Leigh Woods is the perfect place to go.
Oldbury Court Estate (Vassals Park)
Nestled in the north of the city, the Oldbury Court Estate is a park that is well worth a visit. The estate comprises over 57 acres of parkland, including a variety of woodland walks, riverside paths, and a children's play park. The estate provides the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some time in nature.
Use the map below to locate all the places mentioned to create your itinerary for your trip. We've also added some places to eat at an affordable price!
Open Google Maps to see distance information between locations and directions on how to get to each place.
All outdoor activities including walking involve a degree of risk. The walks are recommended due to the features of each forest but this may change over time and further research is required before undertaking any activity. The weather can also impact the surface and general conditions of each path so please keep yourself updated with the weather forecast before setting off to enjoy your walk!