If you are a mum or dad of young children aged 0 – 4 years and the thought of the Summer holidays fills you with a sense of dread then do not despair!
In no particular order, I have drawn up a list of activities in and around Bishopston which babies and young children can enjoy over the Summer. I hope you find my list helpful!
1) Cairns Cafe
This wonderful, huge cafe is ideal for children aged 0-5 years and contains toys, climbing apparatus, a corner especially for crawlers and what’s more Cairns Cafe is absolutely free!
The cafe’s friendly volunteers will be offering hot and cold drinks and fabulous cakes so is well worth a visit. It runs on a drop-in basis Monday, Wednesday and Fridays 10am – 2pm (Note: it is closed on the last 2 weeks of August).
The Community Garden is open every Wednesday 10am – 4pm throughout the Summer holidays and anyone of any age is welcome. It is great place for children of all ages to explore and learn about nature and my children have enjoyed many a trip there.
It is free to come and go as you please and both grown-ups and children are welcomed to do a spot of gardening too if you wish! There is a pond with frogs, newts and other creatures, plus a digging bed purely for young children to have a good old dig around with buckets and spades in the mud and more!
(Note: children must be accompanied at all times).
3) Visit your local library
Libraries are free and fantastic places to take kids of any age and it is never too soon to introduce your child to the world of reading. There are three local libraries near Bishopston which include Cheltenham Road, Henleaze and Horfield Libraries. Breastfeeding is also welcomed at at all three libraries.
You can also sign up your child to take park in the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge which is a free activity designed to encourage children to read (and be read to) throughout the Summer. This year’s theme is Mythical Maze.
On several mornings throughout the Summer holidays, Bristol School of Gymnastics will be opening its doors for drop-in play sessions especially for pre-schoolers. Pre-schoolers can explore the apparatus which includes beams, trampolines and much more.
There is no need to book and you can drop-in at any time during the sessions. Please check out the Bishopston Mum Events Calendar for dates and details!
There are 2 free taster sessions at KudaCan on Monday 21st August. One session is for walkers and the other is for non-walkers. mmmBOPP sessions are run by Becky and are music and movement sessions using sensory and interactive approaches and props such as parachutes, bubbles, puppets and percussion instruments (please have a read about an mmmBOPP taster that I took my little girl to).
Here are the details of the 2 free tasters:
10am – Frogs – for children 15 months – 3 years
11am – Tadpoles – for babies 0 – 15 months
Places are limited so booking is essential by phoning 07810895609 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
6) The sights and sounds of Gloucester Road
Actually taking a walk down Gloucester Road is an activity in itself. Our children have some amazing sights, sounds and learning experiences literally on our doorstep.
Gloucester Road is always full of life and there is always something going on. Plus, it is guaranteed that during your stroll down Gloucester Road you will bump into at least one friend! A bus ride up or down Gloucester Road is also an activity in itself and always a hit with young children.
7) Take a walk
Aside from our local parks, there are actually a few lovely walks tucked away among our streets of Bishopston which offer a chance to get your baby or young child out in the fresh air and to see some nature.
There is one walk that I personally recommend which you can access from between 134 – 136 Longmead Avenue and which takes you either out onto Kings Drive or onto Bishop Road, depending on which fork you take.
This lane is named Gaston Lane and the middle part of it is several hundred years old. Either side of the lane for quite some way are allotments and it is wonderfully peaceful and with lots of birds and greenery to enjoy, plus puddles when it has been wet; always a favourite for young children!
Other local walks include the little lane around the Golden Hill Tesco’s and the walk down the cycle path to St Werburgh’s. One Bishopston Mum reader recommends the latter for train spotting, blackberry picking and scooting down the hill!
St Andrew’s Park is a great place to take young children, what with its fantastic play area, green and dog-free open space and the paddling pool, not to mention the little cafe in the middle of the park with its wonderful cakes! And did you know that St Andrew’s Park also includes it own small nature reserve?
9) Horfield Play Park
Not too far from Bishopston and within walking distance is yet another recently refurbished play park. Situated next To Horfield Leisure Centre, this play park is worth a visit.
Although in Henleaze, this play park is within walking distance from Kellaway Avenue (if you are coming from Bishopston). Another play park which has recently been updated, this park can be accessed from Falloden Way and contains basket swings, trampolines and multiplay apparatus.
11) Horfield Common
I plan to making full use of Horfield Common over the Summer and to have many picnic lunches there to break up our day! With a new play area, the park is a great place to take children of all ages.
And have you ever ventured to Horfield Lodge Bistro on Horfield Common? This is a cafe situated within Horfield Lodge, the large newish residential home, however, it is open to the public so that the people who live there are able to have contact with the world outside.
12) Playful Cafe
Myself and my kids will be making full use of Playful Cafe throughout the Summer. Playful Cafe is situated on Fenton Court, Fenton Road and is great perfect for babies and children 0 – 5 years, with even a parents kitchen with baby food and bottle warming facilities. Fantastic food too!
There is a kitchen area for parents to prepare bottles for babies. It is a favourite of my kids and includes a baby lounge, train set, dressing-up costumes, toys, bricks and more – please read about Playful Cafe here. It operates on a small entry fee of £1 per head.
There are also free activities every day, such as storytime, bubbletime and craftytime!
Note: Playful Cafe is closed the last week of August.
13) Rimando’s Soft Play Coffee Lounge
Whether you have energetic kids or simply want to tire them out, Rimando’s is a great way for children of the 0 – 4 bracket to work off excess energy! There is plenty of space for kids to move around, including a soft play room and a disco room too. The owners of Rimando’s are lovely too. You can find Rimando’s on 395 Gloucester Road. There is an entry charge per child.
KudaCan is on 7 Dongola Road, Bishopston and its play cafe is ideal for babies and toddlers. It includes an enclosed play area for your kids to play and you can sit and have a cup of coffee while watching them with a snack or lunch too if you fancy. There are play facilities and age appropriate toys, books, a dressing-up area and sometimes even a bouncy castle! KudaCan has an entry charge which operates per child.
15) Portico Play
Situated on 64 – 65 North Road, St Andrew’s, this play cafe is huge! There are lots of things to do for the 0- 4 age range with a big kids kitchen and lots of toys and dens which my daughter enjoys. There are drinks, snacks and lunches available. Again, there is an entry charge per child, however, you can quite easily spend a good part of your day there.
Obviously, there is a myriad of cafes in the local area to visit with young children, but I wanted to give the World Peace Cafe a special mention. This is actually a Buddhist cafe, run by the buddhist monks who reside there.
It is among the top of the list of favourite cafes of my own children and includes a beautiful, very peaceful (not surprisingly given its location) garden which is fantastic to explore. It contains coloured stones, little Buddhist figures, tiles and many interesting objects to discover hidden in its garden. The food served is all organic and fair trade and delicious.
And don’t get me started on the cakes!
There will be Active Camps for children 3-4 years of age (plus older kids too) at Horfield Leisure Centre from 23rd July to the 29th August. ‘Bouncing Bananas’ are the camps specifically for this age range and aim to provide sports and activities in a safe environment and are available for full or half-days. Click on the link for more information.
If you fancy venturing outside of Bishopston, Old Quarry Park in nearby Henleaze can be reached by foot. It is a great play park, especially since being recently refurbished. Despite being just off the main Henleaze Road, it is quite quiet and tree-lined and great for your kids, whether young or old. After your kids have enjoyed Old Quarry Park, you could take them to Baddocks Woods too (see below)!
Watch out for a post coming soon on my other website Bristol Mum about a recent trip that I took to Old Quarry Park with my own kids!
Badocks Wood is a local nature reserve, very near to Old Quarry Park (see above). Badocks Wood includes streams, meadow and woodland and is completely free to enter and enjoy some fresh air and nature. While there is an access point on Lakewood Road which is closer if you have come from the direction of Bishopston, if you have a pushchair or pram, the Doncaster Road entrance is advised.
20) Family Friendly Cafes on Gloucester Road
We are lucky to have several family friendly cafes on our doorstep. Lashings, Boston Tea Party, Relax Cafe and Grounded all have small play areas for young children and offer child-friendly snacks and drinks too.
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I hope you find this list helpful. If you have any ideas that could be added to this list please do contact me by emailing email@example.com.
I will also be drawing up ideas of things to do with older children in and around Bishopston, plus writing about many other activities and events for kids of all ages on my other website, Bristol Mum. Please do like the Bishopston Mum facebook page and the Bristol Mum facebook page for more activities and events for children and families throughout the Summer.
Enjoy your Summer!