10 free things to do in Bristol

If you’re looking to visit a vibrant city that’s bursting with creativity and energy, Bristol is the perfect choice. With so many free museums, unique attractions and beautiful parks to explore, there are plenty of ways to make your trip to Bristol Travelodgical. Here are some of the best free activities the city has to offer.

1. The annual international balloon fiesta

If you’re planning a visit to Bristol in the summer, then Bristol’s international balloon fiesta is an event not to be missed. This annual event is Europe’s largest meeting of over 130 hot air balloons and takes place over four fun filled and action packed days in August.

The fiesta  includes something for everyone from model hot air balloon competitions, to family friendly exhibitions, fairground rides and trade stands.

After an action packed day, stick around for the fantastic spectacle of the mass balloon lift- a scene you’ll never forget.

The event takes place at the picturesque Ashton Court Estate but once the balloons are up in the air, the fiesta can be seen right across Bristol.

Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN.

Bristol balloon fiesta

2. Take in the views from Cabot Tower

If you’re looking to explore Bristol on foot, make sure you’re ready to climb a few hills. Bristol is full of them, and they’re part of the city’s unique personality.

Head to Brandon Park, where you’ll be able to climb the spiral staircase to the top of Cabot Tower to view the entire city from up high.

Brandon Hill Park, Great George St, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5RR. Open 8.15am – 3.45pm Monday – Thursday, 8.15am – 12.45pm Friday and 8.15am – 4.30pm Saturday – Sunday.

3. Learn about Bristol’s history at M Shed

You can find out all about Bristol’s fascinating history at M Shed – a museum dedicate to telling the story of the city.

A former 1950s transit shed, the museum explores the city’s history, from prehistoric times to the 21st century, showing a rich collection of objects, art and archives to bring the stories of the city and its people to life.

Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN. Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday.

4. Meet the animals at St Werburgh’s City Farm

You’ll find a slice of nature in the heart of the city at St Werburgh’s City Farm. A great day out for the kids, they’ll have the chance to meet friendly animals including sheep, goats, chickens and pigs at this working farm. You can also enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the gardens that are cared for by members of the community and why not have a peep at what’s growing in the 13 acres of community allotments that surround the farm.

What’s more, there’s even an award-winning cafe that serves fairtrade, organic and locally grown food wherever possible.

Watercress Rd, Bristol BS2 9YJ. Open 10am – 5pm every day.

5. Discover a world of street art

Bristol is known for its street art. It’s even the birthplace of one of graffiti’s most famous names – Banksy. Enjoy his works by simply having a wander around the city. If discovering his work puts you in an arty mood then take a trip to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

The whole city is full of amazing, intricate and impressive art waiting to be discovered, but if you want to see some of the best, head over to Stokes Croft and Nelson Street.

Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QD.

copyright: Thembi Hall

6. Relax by the river at Harbourside

Once a busy dock where sailors and merchants would trade goods and set sail for voyages of discovery, Bristol’s Harbourside is now an attractive area filled with restaurants, bars and shops.

Stroll alongside the waterside and you’ll be able to marvel at the passing boats – as well as the world-famous Brunel’s SS Great Britain – and soak up the buzzing atmosphere of the area.

Bristol, BS1.

Bristol Waterfront

7. Get creative at The Arnolfini

Visit a real conversation-starter. Housed in one of the old warehouses on Bristol’s Quayside, The Arnolfini is an art gallery that celebrates everything contemporary and thought-provoking.

Be prepared for fascinating installations, forward-thinking exhibitions and bold experimental art. It’s Bristol’s best destination for something to stretch your mind as well as your legs.

16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA. Open 11am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday.

8. Admire some Gothic architecture at St Mary Redcliffe Church

Dating back over 800 years, St Mary Redcliffe Church is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and one of Bristol’s most iconic buildings.

The church is certainly impressive when viewed from outside, and once you venture indoors you’ll find a superb collection of carved bosses, elegant 18th century ironwork, beautiful stained glass and a world-famous organ.

12 Colston Parade, Bristol BS1 6RA. Open 8.30am – 5pm Monday – Saturday and 1pm – 5 pm on Sunday.

9. Go green at the Create Centre

Find out how Bristol is working to become as eco-friendly as possible at the Create Centre. This unique and vibrant attraction gives you the chance to explore environmental issues and discover ways you can make greener life choices.

The centre is also home to the Ecohome – a demonstration of a sustainable house that highlights changes that can be made in our homes and showcases ideas for greener living in the future.

Smeaton Rd, Bristol BS1 6XN. Open 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday.

10. Step back in time at The Georgian House Museum

Take a step back in time to the 18th Century and discover how the Bristolians of the past lived day-to-day with a visit to The Georgian House Museum.

This 6-storey townhouse that was originally built for plantation owner and sugar merchant John Pinney has been restored and decorated to its original glory and offers a fascinating insight into what life was like in the city hundreds of years ago.

7 Great George St, Bristol BS1 5RR. Open 11am – 4pm Saturday – Tuesday.

Want to visit Bristol? Book one of our Bristol hotels now