How to Spend Half-Term in Bristol

Did you know, that Bristol was voted the best place to live in the UK in 2017? 

In the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide, Bristol rose to the top as it “has everything you’d want from a big city – vibrant nightlife, pretty sights and plenty to do – but all on your doorstep”.

Bristol’s success in this guide was also attributed to its individuality, constant supply of new ideas and great places to visit. This makes it as “exciting as London whilst providing a much higher quality of life”.

All of this is great news for anyone wondering what to do during half term in the Bristol area. Clearly, this small city offers a packed programme of choices.

Even better news, because this is an area with plenty of green spaces and a vibrant waterfront, some half term activities in Bristol don’t need to cost you a penny.

Open air half term fun – on your bike!

Let’s be optimistic and hope that the British weather does allow for some opportunities for fresh air and exercise in the coming days. But even if it doesn’t, Bristol’s half term treats may just tempt you outdoors anyway.

Bristol has a long association with all things “Green”. This culminated in its accolade as European Green Capital 2015.

It was also the first place in the UK to be awarded the title of Cycling City.

Biking in Bristol

That arose from the fact Bristol is one of Europe’s most bike-friendly locations. There are cycle routes across the whole area, from safe lanes on main roads to tracks that take you to more remote locations on two-wheeled expeditions.

There are also over 300 cycle parking spaces around Bristol. If you don’t have a bike – or you prefer an organised outing – Bristol offers both bike hire services and cycling city tours for half term exploration and exercise. There are even options to hire a tandem for double the fun.

Check out Better By Bike [], a website dedicated to providing news and helpful information for cycling in and around Bristol.

The great outdoors for half term

If you prefer to avoid pedal power, then why not brave one of the 400 gardens and parks that Bristol offers. For family fun among the most popular are Greville Smyth Park and Bowood House & Gardens, which has some of the best children’s adventure equipment in the UK. Though the latter doesn’t open until March.

Arnos Vale

For more structured outdoor fun at half term, there is a series of activities at Arnos Vale. Look out for their “Stomping stories”; kids get to hear a much-loved book while out in the grounds exploring and enjoying the fresh air. []

Free indoor fun for half term in Bristol

Another of the many reasons Bristol is such a wonderful place to live is that it offers great venues for interest and entertainment for all ages.

The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery is free to enter and packed with both traditional exhibitions and artefacts, as well as contemporary displays. It’s “buggy-friendly”, ideal for families with smaller children, and offers opportunities for refreshment. There’s a children’s activity area too.

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

For opening times and more information, click here [].

Associated with Bristol Museums is the M Shed. This also offers free entry and has displays especially chosen for Bristol school holidays. M Shed tells the story of the city with multimedia presentations and quirky items. For details visit the website [].

M Shed

Bristol half term activities worth paying for

There are other options for half term fun and exploration that involve a cost. However, they ensure you get maximum enjoyment from your hard-earned cash.

Topping the list must be the newly relaunched “We the Curious”, which used to be known as “At Bristol” [].

We The Curious

This harbourside attraction describes itself as an indoor festival, and it certainly provides many hours of colourful interaction and fun. It is also a great way to expand your mind, with its perfect blend of scientific discovery and hands-on experimentation.

For half term in Bristol, you can still enjoy the Winter Kitchen, Winter Treehouse and Frost Lab at We the Curious.

However, Spring is just around the corner, so you may also want to use one of your half term days to venture to the Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park. The 90-acre riverside park offers visitors to chance to see Lambing Live. []

Old Down Estate also offers a great range of options for half term, including an indoor Bouncy Castle, animal encounters and arts and crafts in a Yurt. Tickets cost just £5. []

Old Down Estate

If Bristol’s fascinating maritime history is of interest, then a half term visit to Brunel’s SS Great Britain is a must. Clutching your named boarding card, you can explore the mighty vessel in the company of a series of costumed characters, gaining insights on how your passenger or crew member lived.

This list would not be complete without reference to Bristol Zoo Gardens, which also offers plenty to attract you for a day of half term fun. Their Zoo Detective activity sessions look great, and children can enjoy free admission with a paying adult. For details visit the website

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