10 Places to Visit In and Around Bristol with Young Children Over the Summer

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always look forward to the Summer holidays.  Pre-school and playgroups all stop and I am left with two little people with plenty of energy but limited ideas of places to take them.  I prefer term time when we have some structure and routine in our week!
Last week I posted ’10 Places to Go with Young Children In and Around Bishopston Over the Summer’.  This week, I have put my thinking cap on and come up with a list of 10 places to visit with babies and young children in Bristol, over the Summer holidays.  I hope you find some of my ideas helpful.

1) At-Bristol

There are several suitable activities for young children at At-Bristol over the Summer holidays!
‘Story telling’: At 11.30 every day throughout the Summer, including weekends, there is storytelling for children under 5 years of age.
‘In the Jungle’: An exhibition suitable for young children in which they can go in and explore, look for creepy crawlies, discover animal trails, dress up as a monkey or catch bugs in a giant spider web!
‘Fossils and Funnybones’: Another interactive exhibition in which children can rummage around to discover fossils and bones of dinosaurs!
‘Little Stars’: One of the Planetarium shows at At-Bristol especially for the under 5s, Little Stars runs from 21st July – 2nd September.
‘Robo World Cup 2012’: This exhibition is only on between 22nd – 25th August but sounds well worth taking young children to.  It features robots playing football, basketball, running and climbing!
For more information, visit At-Bristol’s website: http://www.at-bristol.org.uk/

2) Bristol Zoo Gardens
Visiting Bristol Zoo Gardens is a great way to get young children out and about and learning about animals.

There are lots of other things happening at Bristol Zoo over the Summer holidays, too!  For example…

Dinozoo: Open every day throughout the Summer holidays until Sunday 2nd September, Dinozoo features 12 gigantic, animatronic dinosaurs.  The dinosaurs include a T-Rex, Allosaurus and a Triceratops.  If you fancy reading about our recent trip to Dinozoo, please click on ‘Our Fearsome Visit to Dinozoo’.

For more information, visit Bristol Zoo’s website: www.bristolzoo.org.uk
3) SS Great Britain

Free for the under-4s, the SS Great Britain is a fantastic place to take young children and provides a great learning experience.  Children can step back in time and explore both above and below deck to find out what life was like in the 19th century.  They can even venture into the ship’s re-created cabins!  There is also a good cafe next to the SS Great Britain for meals or snacks with baby changing facilities.  The SS Great Britain is open every day throughout the Summer from 10.00 – 17.30.

For more information, visit the SS Great Britain’s website: www.ssgreatbritain.org

4) Dyrham Park
A personal favourite of mine, The National Trust’s Dyrham Park offers 272 acres of beautiful rolling gardens and parkland which surround a 17th-century mansion.  Whether you enjoy a picnic and admire the view, spy the Fallow Deer that reside there, explore the fascinating gardens, roam the house and/or sip tea and cake in the tea rooms, you will be sure to have a lovely day at Dyrham Park.

On Tuesdays from now until 23rd October, there are also ‘Tuesday Toddler Trails’ which are designed to help your little ones learn about numbers, shapes and colours while exploring the gardens.

For more information, visit the National Trust’s website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park/

5) Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

There are lots to things to do for young children to see and do at Bristol Museum.  For example, there is the ‘Curiosity Gallery’, a mini museum especially for the under 7s where they can play with puppets, make pots and  tell stories in a crystal cave. 

If your child likes Dinosaurs, then Bristol Museum is the place to take them!  There is a Dinosaur Resource Area where children can create and draw their own Dinosaurs.  There are interactive activities where children can ‘make a Dinosaur bite’, touch Dinosaur skin and even bring one to to life!

Children can listen to animal noises in the World Wildlife Resource Area or play in the small play area. There is a cafe with a children’s menu, high chairs and baby changing facilities.  Entrance is free but a £2 donation is gratefully received.

For more information, visit Bristol City Council’s website: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery
6) Bristol Aquarium
Even babies will enjoy the vast colours and movement from the Aquarium’s tropical rain forest, fish, seahorses, reefs, sharks and many, many other sea creatures.  There is also a cafe to lunch/snack in, too.  The entire Aquarium is pushchair friendly.
For more information, visit the Aquarium’s website: www.bristolaquarium.com
7) Avon Valley Railway
Free for the under 5s, Avon Valley Railway allows you to enjoy a round trip of nearly 6 miles from Bitton Station through Oldland Common and Avon Riverside Station on both steam and diesel trains!
For more information, visit the Railway’s website: www.avonvalleyrailway.org 

8) Ashton Court Estate

Ashton Court Estate’s 850 acres of woodland, deer park and mini railway gives children a chance to explore nature’s delights and enjoy the great outdoors.  We have taken our children here for several long, happy walks.  It is only 2 miles from the centre of Bristol and it is FREE entry.  Parking is £1.

For more information, visit the Estate’s website: www.ashtoncourtestate.co.uk
9) Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park
There are a fantastic range of animals for young children to enjoy, including goats, Shetland ponies, llamas and Vietnamese potbellied pigs!  Many animals can actually be petted by children and there is a ‘Pets Corner’, too.  There is a 7,000 square foot  Undercover Adventure Playground’, with soft play areas especially for young children.  There is a mini steam train, rowing boats and butterfly garden, too.
For more information, visit the Park’s website: www.avonvalleycountrypark.co.uk
10) Blaise Castle Estate
If you haven’t yet visited the beautiful, 650 acre Blaise castle Estate, then you should try to this Summer.  Situated in Lawrence Weston, it is free entry and free car parking.  There are picnic areas, woods to explore and a very good play area especially for young children.  It would be an ideal place to visit on a sunny day.
For more information, visit Bristol City Council’s website: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/node/2515  
Have you been to any of these places?  If so, what did you think about them?  Can you recommend any other places to visit with young children over the Summer?  
Please do comment below!

For activities and things to do with children over the Summer holidays in and around Bishopston, Bristol, please take a look at my Events Calendar.

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