Free and Cheap Days Out in Bristol for Families (50+ ideas!)
With the current cost of living crisis, a lot of us are on a budget right now! I have put together this list to give you ideas for cheap or free days out in Bristol (and nearby) for your family. There are 50+ ideas here and this has taken me weeks to put together! Some of these are such gems! If you find this list helpful I would really appreciate if you could share with your friends. There is a shorter bullet point version post on our Instagram here (without images).
Free and Cheap Days Out
Wonderful city farm with animals, fairy garden, nature garden, great family friendly cafe, gravel digger play, small play area, picnic spots and a new theatre coming soon! They host a market on the first Saturday of the month showcasing local creatives, food producers and other independent businesses. Our latest post
📍 Philip St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4EA
⏰ Open 7 days a week, 9AM to 5PM
This city farm in Kingswood is one of our favourite free days out in Bristol. It is a big site with lots of animals. You can buy animal feed for sheep and goats for £1. The play area is great with a wooden tractor, slides, a swing and wooden climbing apparatus. There is a duck pond. The cafe is run by the Brandon Trust whom support people with learning difficulties in employment. Our latest post
📍 Grimsbury Road, Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, BS15 9SE
⏰ Open April – October: Tues to Sun 9AM-5PM (During Nov – March closes at 4PM). Mon term time access only to the café and playground, but bank holidays or school holidays the whole farm is open on a Monday.
Fairy garden, wildlife garden, pond, cafe, woodland river walk, forest school (pre-booking only £). Keep an eye out for free family events e.g. there is a duck race coming up on 8 April which is free to visit! Our latest post
📍 Willsbridge Hill, Willsbridge, Bristol, BS30 6EU
⏰ Cafe open Mon, Thurs & Fri 10.30AM-2.30PM and Sat & Sun 10.30AM-3.30PM. Toilets at cafe same opening times.
Bristol Harbourside and Millenium Square
Look for boats at Bristol Harbourside, and head to Millenium Square for water play splashing and paddling fun! Have an ice cream overlooking the water or take a picnic to have in Queen Square. Wapping Wharf also has amazing food options! A great free day out in Bristol! Also look at visiting MShed and Arnolfini in this list.
📍 Wapping Wharf Car Park, 29 Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RH
Stoke Park Sculpture Trail
Head to Stoke Park for a beautiful wooden sculpture trail. There are giant conkers, a dragon, owl, fox, deer and more animals! See our latest post
📍Park near the entrance by 270 Romney Ave BS7 9TD and follow the path east then north into the Long Wood. If you look on google maps you can see the locations of some of the sculptures in the woods. Here is the sculptures trail and map, but please note some of the newer ones are not included. There is also this activity sheet. The newer sculptures are not on google maps, but they are visible from the path across the open space to the south of Long Wood.
🚻 No facilities on site, but Boston Tea Party at Cheswick Village is really nice for coffee/food and a short drive or 10-15 min walk from the entrance.
On our last visit comprised of puddle jumping, pooh sticks, playing and babyccinos/coffee! Mrs G’s cafe serves coffees and mostly sweet treats, with a play kitchen and colouring. Toilets with baby change. There is a great little play area with a climbing frame and tubes and balls. There is a small duck pond and short river walk. This is quite a small site, so probably best for younger children and you would probably spend 1-2 hours here. See our latest post
📍 Trym Rd, Bristol, BS9 3ET. Park in the village.
⏰ Open Fri – Sun 10-4. Extra open days for school hols usually.
University of Bristol Botanic Gardens – Wednesdays
I have included as Wednesday entry is donate as it suits you (DAISY) – £1, £3, £5 or £7. Other days are usual entry fees.
Beautiful gardens to explore and the children’s scavenger hunt kept Ada interested. There were so many bees! There is a nice cafe (Chandos Deli) with indoor and outdoor seating, and toilets with baby changing. Definitely worth a visit! See our latest post
📍 Stoke Park Rd, Stoke Bishop, Bristol, BS9 1JG
⏰ Open every day 10AM – 4:30PM until Nov
Chew Valley Lake
Lovely lakeside walk and fabulous fish & chips with a view! (Or take a picnic) Parking is £2.20 for the day 🚗 (Tip: If you spend over £7 in Salt and Malt you get £1 back – ask at the counter)
Great paths for scooters and bikes! When we last went there were so many blue dragonflies, other bugs, geese and ducks. There is also a great little play area with a fun adventure course. Dogs on leads. Toilets. See our latest post
📍 Walley Lane, Bristol, BS40 8XS
The Farm Park is free, has a fun play area with tractors to climb on, big wind chimes, sand pit, picnic benches, and lots of room to run around! Also free: farm animals to see, a straw pool and in the summer there is a slip and slide! Also at Farrington’s is the Farm Shop, Cafe and Soft Play (£). They do not allow your own picnics but you can purchase food/drink from the cafe – they have kids lunch boxes and a good variety of food.
📍 Main St, Farrington Gurney, Bristol BS39 6UB
⏰ Farm park open daily April – November except when it gets too wet (check their Facebook for updates before you go or call 01761 452266 option 3)
Arnos Cemetery has woodland walks and they periodically have low cost family events on e.g. themed stomping stories, crafts, pond dipping. Scavenger hunt available in the shop! There is a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating in a lovely setting. It is a nice place to explore. Just along is Arnos Court Park which has a decent play area also. There is some free parking on site. See our latest post
📍 Bath Rd, Arno’s Vale, Bristol, BS4 3EW
⏰ Open everyday 9-5PM. Cafe and toilets 10-4PM.
Kingsgate Park, Yate
Fantastic adventure play areas, pond with ducks and swans, steams to paddle and a stone throws away from the Vintage Birdcage Cakery which is a beautiful cafe! See our recent blog post for more information.
📍 Sundridge Park, Yate, Bristol BS37 4EP
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and Luke Jerram’s Palm Temple
Free entry to the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery with collections of art, nature and history on display. There is a dressing up area for kids!
A short walk away in front of the Chemistry department at the University of Bristol is Luke Jerram’s Palm Temple. This is a beautiful sensory art installation! It can be accessed from the stairs to the east of the Wills Memorial building and follow signs for the Chemistry Department.
📍 Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL
⏰ Museum Open Tues – Sun 10AM-5PM
Ashton Court Estate
Grand manor house and grounds makes for a lovely walk. If you are lucky you might see a hot air balloon taking off from here! Free to visit – just need to pay for parking. Great for scooting/bikes and dog friendly. Cafe and toilets!
📍 Kennel Lodge Rd, Bristol, BS3 2JT
⏰ Open everyday 8AM-9.15PM
Cadbury Garden Centre
Cadbury has a big area for pets, an aquarium area and you can pay a small fee to feed the fish. My two love running around here! However do bear in mind of course buying anything, the cafe and soft play all come at a price. We highly recommend visiting at Christmas as they go all out with singing reindeers and decorations which are free to see.
📍 Smallway, Congresbury, Bristol, BS49 5AA
⏰ Open Mon-Sat 9AM-6PM & Sun 10.30AM-4.30PM
Blaise Castle Estate
Big play areas, river and woodland walks, small castle, lots of open space for playing and picnics (popular meet up spot for families), cafe, toilets, dog friendly. Pay for parking.
📍 Kings Weston Rd, Bristol, BS10 7QS
Clifton Suspension Bridge
This iconic Bristol landmark is worth a visit! There is a play area just behind the toilets. There are some nice view points around the Clifton Observatory, as well as the well known rock slide!
📍 Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4BA
Free to visit art exhibitions (donations welcome) – check times on their website as they can vary. Baby Art Hour is hosted on Friday mornings (requires pre-booking and on a donation basis). It is also a short walk from the harbourside for a stroll along the water, and the girl with the pearl earring Banksy is nearby too.
📍 Spike Island, 133 Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6UX
St George Park
Lovely park in East Bristol with a duck pond, play areas, skate park and coffee kiosk. See our latest post
📍 Church Rd, Whitehall, Bristol, BS5 7AA
Ice cream parlour, some farm animals, and a toddler play area in a field with lots of space to run around. Free to visit but as you would expect ice cream has a cost.
📍Graylands Farm, Upton Ln, Dundry, Chew Magna, Bristol, BS41 8NR
⏰ Opening times can vary so check their Facebook or call to check 07917 322736 but usually Fri & Sat 10AM-5PM
Beautiful city farm with stunning views! Fab play area next to a new cafe with benches outside overlooking the play area. Great selection of animals. They regularly have family events worth a look. See our latest post
📍 Kelston View, Whiteway, Bath, BA2 1NW
⏰ Opening hours Tues-Sat 9-4
☕️ Cafe open Tues-Fri 9AM-4PM, Sat 9.30AM-4PM
Rainbow Wood, Bath
Fairy woodland trail and magical adventure play area with pirate ship. Take some gold coins with you and dig for buried treasure! Read more about it in our recent blog post.
Ty Sculpture Trail
Woodland walk, sculpture trail, and great trees for climbing! Free parking is available at Jacklands Fishing Lakes which has a cafe and shop that you are encouraged to support (open 9am – 4pm Weds-Sun). They had coffee, cakes and cheese toasties and sunny outdoor seating. See our last post
📍 Jacklands Fishing Lakes, Jacklands Bridge, Bristol, BS21 6SG
The biggest play area in Bristol! It is huge and has lots for all ages. There is water play and sand. The skate park is suitable for skateboarders and BMX riders. Cafe and toilets. Unfortunately the dome play area is currently closed. Check for updates.
📍 Hengrove Park, Hengrove Way, Hengrove, Bristol, BS14 0HR
⏰ Skate park always open. Play park has varying hours check here. Usually closed Mondays unless school holidays or bank holiday.
A beach day in under an hour at Brean beach. You can either drive and park on the beach or park at the National Trust Brean Down car park. There is a National Trust cafe and toilets. Dog friendly! For more information see the Council’s pages on beach access and car parking charges.
📍 235 Warren Rd, Brean, Burnham-on-Sea, TA8 2RR
Royal Victoria Park Playground, Bath
Bath’s biggest play area which is bigger than any in Bristol! There is so much to do and has a carousel and bouncy castles seasonally. Cafe and there are toilets for 20p but they aren’t the nicest! There are Botanical Gardens. It is approx 6 minutes walk to the Royal Crescent which is a lovely setting for a picnic. We tend to park on street north of the play area or park at Charlotte Street Car Park.
📍 Bath, BA1 2LZ
More compact than some of the other city farms mentioned, but packs plenty in and definitely worth a visit. Farm animals, a cafe and a small wooden adventure play area. It is also close to some colourful eco houses which are nice to wander around. See our reel of our visit on Instagram.
📍 Watercress Rd, Bristol, BS2 9YJ
⏰ Open 7 days a week 9AM-5PM
Lavender fields to walk around, shop and cafe with lavender cream tea. Dog friendly – on leads. The fields are usually at their best June – August. Free entry but asks for a donation for the upkeep of the farm. Pre-booking not required.
📍 Horsepond Farm Faulkland Nr, Radstock, BA3 5WA
⏰ Open seasonally 1 May – end of September on Weds – Sun 10AM-5PM. Also open bank holiday Monday 2 May.
Farm shop, pigs to see (and usually lots of piglets!), and the cafe has an area with tractor ride ons and a play house. You would need to buy something from the cafe to use this area but I have just been in for a coffee and babyccinos. Check the menu here.
📍 Newton St Loe, Bath, BA2 9BT
⏰ Cafe open Monday to Saturday 9AM – 5PM and Sunday 9AM – 4.PM
A beautiful park in East Bristol. Lots of scooting opportunities, a couple of play areas and The Bean Tree Cafe – which sometimes hosts shows and other family events. There is a monthly market and picnic in the park for the coronation. See the Bean Tree Cafe page for the latest events.
📍 Bristol, BS16 5LU
Beach day at Weston-super-Mare. It is a popular tourist spot so can get busy. Good selection of ice cream. Only dog friendly out of season. Entry to the pier incurs a cost, as will parking.
📍 Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1AL
This is a lovely cafe and farm shop. Check the cafe menu here for what to expect. Best to pre-book a table as it gets busy. There are farm animals, an outdoor wooden play area, you can watch cows being milked and cheese being made a specific times, and a number of walks start from here. See our post with more information.
📍 Park Farm, Bath, BA1 9AQ
⏰ Cafe spring/summer opening hours Monday to Saturday 9AM – 5PM, Sunday & Bank Holidays 10AM – 4.30PM but check for updates
It is free to walk around the alpaca field. There is a £1 information trail for children. The cafe menu can be found here. Alpaca experiences are available to book at a cost. They host toddler and baby craft workshops weekly for a small fee details here.
📍 Alpaca Barn, Wolfridge, Forty Acre Ln, Alveston, Bristol, BS35 3QU
⏰ The cafe is open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30AM – 5PM, Sundays 10AM – 4PM. Closed on Mondays (except some Bank Holidays)
Vassells Park (Oldbury Court Estate) and Snuff Mills
Great play area, cafe kiosk and toilets in Vassals Park. Lovely river walk in Snuff Mills. These directly link into each other. Walk down the hill at the park to find the river. There is a good paddling area – usually full of dogs!
📍 Bristol, BS16 2JN
Free to visit for under 6s or £2 spectator fee. Watch surfers, play areas, on-site games and a cafe. Paid activities include water sports and play in the bay sessions. Street food at certain times.
📍 Washingpool Farm Main Road, Easter Compton, Bristol, BS35 5RE
⏰ Open 7 days a week 6AM – 10PM
Ice cream parlour free to visit with tractor ride ons and gravel digger play. There are a few animals to see. There are often seasonal trails that come at a cost. In good weather there are inflatables which are £5 for 30 minutes play.
📍 Trudoxhill, Frome, BA11 5DL
⏰ Check website or Facebook for opening times
Free Festivals in Bristol
- Bristol Walk Fest 1-31 May 2023 – Lots of walks and events including family friendly puzzle walks at Hengrove Park and Netham Park
- Weekends of Wonder 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28 May and 3 & 4 June 2023 12-5PM – Free day out in Bristol with street theatre and circus festival in Broadmead
- Bristol Harbour Festival 14-16 July 2023 – Our highlights from last year were the activities in Queen Square: baby race, the sand and water play, face painting and meeting a mermaid! We enjoyed a stroll around the harbour first thing seeing all the boats and going on the wheel in millennium square. It is an action packed weekend with lots of music too! See our reel from last year.
- Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 10-13 August 2023 – Amazing free hot air balloon festival filled with mass ascents and night glows! See our post from last year
- Unicornfest Summer 2023! – Trail of unicorns around Bristol raising money for Leukemia Care charity, I am very excited for this!
- Festival of Nature 9-18 June 2023 – Lots of events, family nature parties, wildlife workshops, walks and talks, and more!
- St Pauls Carnival 1 July 2023 – “The day will be a fusion of Carnival culture and heritage, complete with all the favourites you know and love: a procession, sound systems, costumes, food, musicians, dancers and much, much more.” I haven’t been with children, but I will review the line up closer to the time and if it looks child friendly I would be tempted to go for a bit early in the day with my two. However, from my previous experience is it very busy and quite boozy!
Fun Activities to do on your Free Days Out in Bristol
- Nature Scavenger Hunt – find a free print out from Pinterest
- Egg Carton Treasure Box Hunt – colour the inside bottoms of empty egg carton compartments different colours. Get your little ones to find something of the same colour in nature to put in each compartment.
- Fly a kite
- Have a picnic or take your teddies and have a teddy bear’s picnic!
- Bug hunting – buy an insect viewer or take a jar with you to collect bugs/plants (don’t forget to release after!)
- Puddle splashing