Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s official, the holidays are over. You’ve spent most of your money on gifts, great food, and fun-filled night outs. Now, you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the January blues with limited funds and 4 weekends before the next payday.
Luckily, you live in Bristol. The city, although home to one of the priciest property markets in Europe, still has a whole host of excellent ways to spend your time, without spending any cash.
We’re firm believers that having fun doesn’t always have to have a premium, so have a look at our carefully curated list of the best things to in Bristol for free this January.
Learn About Potters
If you’re a clay enthusiast or dream of simpler times before mass production, you should check out the Radical Clay’s exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Showing that pottery isn’t just about brown pots, the 50 pieces curated from various collections display work from some of the most vibrant and unique pottery makers of the mid-20th century
Pottery techniques and interviews with potter makers can be seen in both archive and recent film footage. You can even experience hands-on clay work yourself with their exhibition’s program.
Check Out St. Mary Redcliffe Church
According to Queen Elizabeth I, this is England’s most famous and fairest parish church. And who are we to argue with royalty?
Even if you’re not a religious person, the craftsmanship of the stunning statues, stained glass windows and gothic high ceilings are reason enough to spend a little time in reflection.
As well as being a site of beauty, the working church is open daily for prayer and formal worship.
Visit The Bristol Museum And Art Gallery
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is a great way to learn more about the Earth’s history and the lives of the people and animals that have inhabited it over the ages. Highlights of the art-filled location include the Egyptian mummies, Alfred the Gorilla and preserved dinosaurs discovered in Britain.
The eclectic collections of art, archaeology, history, and industry, have been added to from across the globe. With some displays being under the Bristol Gallery’s ownership for over 200 years.
If you love looking at the sky, the best place to catch a glimpse of the stars in Bristol is Stoke Road on Durdham Down. Situated away from the bulk of Bristol’s light pollution. and without the distraction of trees and buildings, the Downs is one of best locations within the country to view the night sky. Why not pack a picnic for your loved ones and wait for the sun to go down.
Check Out The Millennium Square
On a sunny day, the Millennium Square is a place to go. Surrounded by bars, coffee shops and restaurants, the Square is an excellent place to set yourself up with some lunch and people watch. You can even check out some of Bristol’s most famous faces, on the statues of noteworthy citizens such as William Penn, Thomas Chatterton, and Archibald Leach.
Get a Birds Eye View
Whilst I wouldn’t be throwing your hair out of the window and expecting a prince to appear, the Cabot Tower in Bristol may as well have been built from the fairytale. Built in order to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey of John Cabot from Bristol to Canada, the red sandstone, Grade II listed building is a sight to see in itself.
If you can make the climb to the top on a clear day, the 32m tall tower offers some of the most gorgeous views over Bristol.
Walk Across the Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is the symbol of the city of Bristol. Spanning the Avon Gorge, the bridge has joined Bristol together with North Somerset for over 150 years. A Grade I listed building, the bridge has attracted thousands of visitors every year from around the world to take in its panoramic views and iconic architecture.
The bridge is open and manned 24 hours a day, every day of the week throughout the year.
Start at the visitor centre, located in Leigh Woods, open from 10am to 5pm every day, where you can grab a free guided tour at the weekends or take in an exhibition about the bridge’s history. Then, after you’ve walked along the bridge, why not climb the Observatory Hill for the a spectacular view from the top of the bridge.Instead of walking down to the Avon Trail to see the bridge from below, why not go down the Rock Slide? A rockface polished smooth over the years by the thousands of Bristolians that have slid down it.
Finally, at night, stay for the lights. Covering the bridge, these lights are turned on every night before dusk until midnight, illuminating the bridge and the river below.
Visit The Hollow
This permanent public artwork, located in the University of Bristol, is made up of over 10,000 unique species of tree, the samples collected and donated from around the world by various collectors, arboretums and botanic gardens.
Amassed over the course of three years, some of the tree samples are incredibly rare, including one a 4,847 year old Methuselah tree, thought to be one of the oldest in the world. An immersive experience, the structure only holds two at a time, allowing each to fully appreciate standing in a structure of such age, with the holes in the ceiling allowing the light to move through the interior as light would fall through a forest.
The Hollow will be open during daylight hours throughout the year. It’s located in Royal Fort Gardens and is best accessed from Tankard’s Close, BS8 1UH.
Have A Picnic At Stoke Park Estate
Located in Duchess Gate, in Stapleton, this Grade II Historic Park is a great place for picnics, walks, and bike rides. One of the best kept secrets of Bristol, the spectacular ancient-like woodland and a great landscape of open grassland is a great spot to take a break from the urban sprawl. It is bounded by the Dower House and the great Purdown BT Tower and is filled with historic features and amazing views.
Take a Graffiti Tour
Although there are companies that run tours of the Bristol’s graffiti hot spots, there are plenty of resources online to help you spot the original Banksy’s from the duplicates, and take in the rest of Bristol’s fantastic street art.
Not just the home of one of the world’s most successful street artists, Bristol hosts the annual street art festival, Upfest, in Southville and Bedminster, where the majority of the works remain on display all year round. The cultural hub of Bristol, Stokes Croft, is covered in art from some of the cities most talented graffiti artists, and Matchbox gallery on Stokes Croft road regularly hosts exhibitions.
Graffiti is woven into the very fabric of Bristol, so whether you’re heading up towards Whiteladies Road in Clifton, or through St. Paul’s, you’ll be able to view the artistic expression of the cities inhabitants. And no, we don’t just mean someone tagging “Joe waz ere.”