Interesting indoor activities in Bristol
As a city with so much to offer, we wanted to find out the best things Bristol has to offer for free! So we’ve compiled a list of indoor activities to enjoy during your visit, which wont break the bank...
A trip down History Lane
Having been a city since 1542, Bristol has a lot of history and historic landmarks to visit. These are our top picks for free museums/historical sites in Bristol.
Glenside Hospital Museum
Located in Fishponds, on UWE’s Glenside Campus; Glenside Hospital and now Museum houses history dating back to 1861. Originally Bristol Lunatic Asylum, the hospital was renamed after WW2 but carried on treatment of the mentally ill. Records of Glenside Hospital and the original Bristol Lunatic Asylum are held at Bristol Archives. Take a tour around the old hospital and learn the history of Glenside! Head to the Glenside Museum’s website for more info.
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Bristol’s Museum and Art Gallery is located in Clifton and spread across three floors. This natural history museum holds exhibits in 19 galleries spanning from culture, geology and art. It’s a great place to go and get lost in, with enough exhibitions to keep you busy for hours and free submission means you can keep going back for more! Plan your visit to the gallery here.
Ashton Court Estate
Referred to in the Doomsday Book as ‘A wealthy estate’, the Ashton Court Estate is a country house and parkland. Home to 850 acres of grassland and woodlands, including a deer park, which has been there for over 600 years. Now host to many events throughout the year, daily activities include touring the grounds, using their sports facilities and enjoy their indoor café. Take a look here for more on the Ashton Court Estate.
Bristol’s sightseeing spots
With great history comes great architecture! And Bristol has a lot of beautiful buildings to admire. Here’s where we recommend visiting.
Cabot Tower, situated in the beautiful Brandon Hill, was built in the 1890's to commemorate Italian navigator and explorer John Cabot’s expedition to Canada, 400 years earlier. The tower overlooks Bristol and its Harbourside which can be seen from its viewing platform, over 100ft high. Climb the spiral staircase to see the unique perspective of Bristol the tower has to offer. Keep up to date with their opening times here.
Bristol Cathedral dates back to the 12th Century. With architectural changes being make throughout its lifetime, there are a range of period features to be admired both internally and externally. Along with being a stunning building, the Cathedral also hosts events and pop-up markets. A great place to visit, take a look at their open times and events, on the Bristol Cathedral’s website.
Built in 1906, Bristol’s Central Library boasts beautiful Edwardian Free Style architecture and is home to the main collections of Bristol's public library. Inside on the ground floor is the Libraries own Café, which is a great place to stop and enjoy a coffee with friends. Or why not pop along to one of their reading groups and enjoy a trained facilitator read aloud great stories and poems, followed up by a group discussion on the reading? For more of the Central Libraries events take a look at their website.
Let’s get creative
Bristol isn’t only known for its History, but also for its creative and artistic culture. Here are a few places we recommend checking out during your stay in the diverse city.
Royal Photographic Society
With a multitude of exhibitions, workshops and activities, the Royal Photographic Societies is an education charity, who’s aim is to bring inspiration, creativity and connection, through photography, to everyone. With free entry, this is a great place to go to experience modern art and there are no bookings required for their latest exhibition ‘Pink Lady – Food Photographer of the Year’. Plan your trip to the RPS here.
Bristol Blue Glass company is dated back to 1988 and is known for keeping its traditional glassmaking techniques, which are now enjoyed by visitors all year round. Pop in and peruse their gift shop, where you can purchase items made on the premises, or take part in their glassblowing events. The Blue Glass Company is now offering a Blow Your Own Blue Glass Bauble Experience, which is perfect for December.
Located just on Bristol’s Harbourside, the Arnolfini is a contemporary public space for art and all things creative. With a plethora of activities and events to attend year round, we’re sure you’ll find something to grab your attention during your stay with us this winter. Take a look here to see what the Arnolfini has to offer in December.
Book a room in one of our Clifton Hotels and party the night away or get lost in our range of diverse events, knowing that there is a bed close by waiting for your arrival. Clifton Hotels have a variety of rooms to suit a range of budgets. Follow us on Instagram or check out our Facebook page for more info!