Side Street Style: 6 things to do with kids in Bristol Harbour

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

01/12/2019

6 things to do with kids in Bristol Harbour


Bristol Harbour

*We were provided tickets to SS Great Britan & Bristol Aquarium in exchange for an honest review, everything else including travel, food & additional activities were covered by ourselves. 


We are really lucky to be based just outside of Cardiff, it means we are in the Brecon Beacons in around 35mins and on the other hand can be in the vibrant city of Bristol in around 50mins, both worlds apart but with plenty to offer all ages. What is even better is now that the toll bridge has gone, visiting Bristol is costing even less.

I recently headed over to Bristol with my two boys and while it's a rather large city offering so much I wanted to focus on what there is to do in Bristol Harbour as you can easily spend a whole day (and more) just in this area soaking up the creative atmosphere. If you only have a very short time to explore Bristol than I certainly recommend Bristol Harbour especially if you have children as it's the perfect place for an action-packed day out.


1. SS Great Britain

This was our second visit to the SS Great Britain, last time my youngest was still in a baby-carrier so it was really nice to see him be able to explore and enjoy what was once the longest passenger ship in the world (1845-1854) and was used for transatlantic trips from Bristol to New York.

We started the visit with going "down under" to the dry dock to see the hull of the ship which is fascinating then up to the Dockyard museum which tell the story and different lives this ship has lead from being a luxury liner to being used in both the world wars. There is also plenty of interactive elements with space for children to dress up as one of the passengers and pick a boarding card.

The ship itself is a lot of fun to explore and gives you a real sense of what life was like onboard from the 1st class lounges at the front and extravagant dining saloon to the cramped steerage (3rd class). I still cannot get over how narrow the beds were! Besides taking the helm on the deck or playing traditional games, older children and adults can also do something a bit more daring and Go Aloft by climbing the ships rigging 25 meters above ground level. There is a gift shop and Harbourside Kitchen which we stopped off at during our trip there and the reasonably priced parking only a few meters away from the SS Great Britain makes for a good base to start from when exploring the Harbourside.

Bristol Harbour


2. The Matthew of Bristol

Well if you have visited the SS Great Britain you might as well walk down the harbourside past all the houseboats and head towards The Matthew, a free of charge to visit and explore while it's moored in the harbourside. You can have a look around and climb the steps to the upper decks and there are plenty of knowledgable guides on hand to share the history of the boat with you.

During the summer they put on some special events and family-friendly cream teas and sails around the harbour, which we are hoping to do next year. I would also like to point out that The Matthew is wheelchair accessible which is fantastic for those with mobility issues that would still like to get on the water.



Bristol Museum


3. M-Shed

The M-Shed is another fantastic free museum and tells the story of Bristol and the people who live and make up this vibrant city. It's always a hit with the kids as they can climb aboard a full-sized double-decker bus or see what it's like sitting in a bomb shelter. Depending on the time of the year you can also catch the steam train run from the M-Shed to underneath Clifton bridge and back which we did one year, they also occasionally do crane rides as well. There are plenty of interactive exhibitions set across the three galleries, plus a relaxing and family-friendly cafe.


Aquarium round window


4. Bristol Aquarium

Firstly as with anywhere like this, I always like to do my research first and I can say that Bristol Aquarium is dedicated to supporting marine conservation which can be seen throughout the aquarium and serves as being very educational for all ages. Besides the fantastic variety of fish and habitats including a beautiful coral seas display, there is also a large glasshouse which is home to many different living plants and trees including bananas. You can easily spend a few hours here and it's perfect for a rainy day, there is also a large gift shop and cafe on site.


Bristol Harbourside


5. We The Curious Science Museum

We have something similar to this in Cardiff, called Techniquest and it's a big hit with my kids. We The Curious is an interactive and hands-on science and art attraction and is perfect for the whole family. With over 300 exhibits there will be something to spark curiosity in everyone who visits from the space gallery and animation exhibition to the hands-on kitchen and greenhouse. There is also a Planetarium which is located outside in the Millenium square - a lovely open space popular with families especially during the summer as there are fountains for children to wade through.


The Athenian


6. Stopping for a bite at an independent eatery in Cargo

Cargo which is apart of Whapping Warf is home to a variety of shops and eateries and is a new concept made completely from converted shipping containers. Located right behind M Shed you will definitely find something to tantalise your tastebuds here. The boys and I personally love The Athenian which dishes up authentic Greek street food (including Greek Beer). It's so unique and fun and from our experience also family-friendly and has quickly become our favourite place to eat in Bristol Harbour.


SS Great Britain

19 comments:

  1. Some great ideas here. My sister is forever taking her kids down to mShed ;)

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    1. The M-Shed is great, we visit whenever we are in the area

      Laura x

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  2. Aww there's lots to see and do in Bristol and its fantastic that so many of those attractions appeal to children! I used to visit my family in Bristol a lot, but haven't really been since having children - this needs to change :)

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    1. Ohh yes do, lots of changes have happened around the Harbour area - it's great for kids and families

      Laura x

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  3. Looks like there's plenty to keep the kids entertain. Will keep this in mind for if we're ever over Bristol way!

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    Replies
    1. There is so much there, we love Bristol as it's so family friendly

      Laura x

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  4. I love Bristol but I’ve not taken the kids with me before.

    Now I think it might have to go on the bucket list for next year. Thank you for sharing such lovely activities x

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    Replies
    1. It's a great city to explore, very creative and tons for families to do

      Laura x

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  5. It’s been years since I visited Bristol. My kids would love the aquarium

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    1. Ohh why not try visit next spring/summer? It's a fantastic city to explore with kids

      Laura x

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  6. I haven't been to Bristol for ages but these all look like great things to do if we ever visit!

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  7. I have actually never stopped off in Bristol! I will have to change that as it looks like such a lovely place. My kids would love it!

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  8. I would love to go to Bristol - it's a place I have never really visited. Looks like there is plenty to do as well.

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  9. The kids would love the museum. Need to take them to Bristol.

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  10. I've never been to Bristol before but it looks like there is loads to do. Thanks for the post!

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  11. We've yet to visit Bristol and heard its great for shopping! The M-Shed looks like a great place for families to hang out!

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  12. Oh wow, those are all the kinds of things we love to do! Maybe we should plan a trip to Bristol.

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  13. I've only ever been shopping in Bristol. Its looks like there is lots to do!

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  14. I've been to Bristol once and it was just for few hours. Would love to go back for weekend trip as it looks like loads to do there.

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Lovely comments

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