Family: Things to do in Bristol this summer

Bristol24/7, July 10, 2017

Church tours
July 1 & 22
St Mary Redcliffe
Take in the magnificent St Mary Redcliffe and learn about the history of Bristol’s tallest building with a free tour. For the artistically-minded there is a stained-glass trail on July 1, while for the more musical there is a tour of the church’s many music-themed images. Tours are free but should be booked in advance.

Bands at Beeses
July 7, 14, 21 & 28
Bristol Ferry Boats
Take a special trip on the ferry this summer, with several different routes running throughout July. Beese’s Riverside Bar and Garden will be hosting live bands, encouraging you to arrive in style on the ferry, let your hair down and let the kids run around the beautiful waterside location. Trips out to the Avon Gorge are also running throughout the month.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
July 16
Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare
Enjoy disco dancing, party games, food and a search for a hidden gift with the kids at this Alice In Wonderland-themed event. The little ones can also explore the Adventure Cove soft play area, and all the other seaside treats that Weston offers.

Kitchen Chaos
To July 21
Check out the tasty flavours coming out of At-Bristol‘s kitchen with the whole family. Activities include Acquired Taste, where you and the kids can try out new and exciting flavours, and The Missing Ingredient, which explores the science of cooking and what happens when you leave vital ingredients out. Access to the kitchen is included in general admission.

Bristol Harbour Festival
July 21-23
Various venues
One of Bristol’s biggest free festivals returns, with circus, dance, music, good food and hundreds of boats, which will line the harbour around Prince Street. Don’t miss the chance to step aboard The Kaskelot, one of the largest remaining wooden ships in commission, and be sure to visit the family area in Castle Park, where there will be baby races, storytelling and much more.

Festival of What If
July 22 – September 3
The Festival of What is an interactive exhibition running throughout the summer holidays, and tackling some big questions about life, science and philosophy. Each fortnight, a new question will be asked to spark the curiosity of young and old minds alike: what if we had to live on another planet? What if nature took over? What if I could see inside myself? Entry is included in ticket price.

Photo by Dougie Allward/JMP

Victorian Summer Circus
July 22 – September 3
Brunel’s ss Great Britain
Bristol-based performers Cirque Bijou will host circus skills workshops and also perform a daily Victorian circus spectacular, inspired by the history of the ss Great Britain’s voyages. You’ll also be able to meet characters like Brunel, and explore one of Bristol’s most famous ships.

Giggle comedy night
July 30
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Matt Forde, Ed Gamble and friends will perform at this night of side-splitting comedy, which takes place after hours. You’ll have the chance to explore the zoo at night before settling in on the main lawn for some laughs. Children also go free from July 23 to September 4.

Freedog Urban Activity Centre
Throughout July
2a Templegate Park, BS3 4RP
Freedog are extending their opening hours this summer, giving you more time to bounce, practice your parkour skills, play dodgeball and summersault into the foam pit. Activities are suitable for all ages and fitness levels – so get adventurous and challenge everyone to try something new.

Monkey World
Throughout July
Wareham, Dorset BH20 6HH
If you want to travel a little further afield this summer, escape to Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre for the day. It’s home to more than 250 rescued and endangered species, and by visiting, your family will help sponsor the conservation of primates at risk. Highlights include guided walking tours of the 65-acre park, the Orang-Utan crèche and the cheeky chimps.

Holiday family fun
August 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
Blaise Castle
A wide range of activities for 3-10 year-olds. Dress up in Victorian-style clothing, take part in arts and crafts, or write your own animal story with local children’s author Rachel Carter.

Creative Creatures
August 3
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Get up close to all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures in this workshop. Ask museum experts about different animals, go on a behind-the-scenes tour of natural science and handle these historical specimens. Suitable for ages 8-13. Book early as places are limited.

Wild Outdoors club
August 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31
Windmill City Farm
Enjoy nature crafts, take part in feeding the animals, and play outdoors games every Thursday throughout the school holidays. Suitable for ages 6-9. Places are limited, so booking is essential.

Friday Twilights
August 4 & 18; September 1
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Watch the sun go down over the Zoo and take part in some of the many activities offered during the zoo’s evening opening hours. Meet the dinosaurs at Dinomania, hear more about your favourite animals with exclusive talks, and listen to live music throughout the evening.

Valley Fest 2017
August 4–6
Denny Lane, Chew Magna BS40 8SZ
A small and friendly festival on a beautiful site in Chew Valley. Musical acts include Jose Gonzalez and DJ Yoda, and there are arts and crafts workshops and junior discos for the little ones. Under-fives go free.

Gloucester Road Summer Street Party
August 5
Bishopston BS7 8BN
Enjoy live music, food and drink stalls and a fully licensed bar at this family-friendly street party. Mr Whompy, the UK’s only DJ ice cream van, will also be making an appearance.

Captain Underpants
To August 10
Various cinemas
If a traditional British summer soaking ruins your outdoor plans, a trip to the cinema is a great rainy day activity. Based on the bestselling kids’ novels, Captain Underpants is spectacularly silly and will have everyone rolling in the aisles.

Kayaking and raft-building in Bristol
August 10
Young Bristol
A water-based extravaganza by the harbour side. Have fun paddling kayaks around obstacles and improve your technique by completing challenges. Work with a team to build a raft and test it out on the water. Can you keep your raft afloat?

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2017
August 10–13
Ashton Court Estate
The annual fiesta returns to Ashton Court Estate, with trade stands, fairground rides, and entertainment at Europe’s largest meeting of hot air balloons. More than 150 balloons will participate in the mass ascents, weather-depending.

Bristol & Bath Food Festival
August 12–13
Bath Racecourse
A chance to sample some of the best quality food and drink in the country. There’s something for everyone – for adults, more than 40 stalls offering everything from local beer to Lebanese street food, and for younger visitors, games, activities and a chance to meet Pudsey Bear.

Dig it!
August 17
Uncover skeletons at a mock burial site in the M-shed. Investigate the site, discover what rots and handle real archaeological finds, while exploring the skeletons that are on display in the M-shed.

Mummy trouble
August 24
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Discover ancient Egypt. Explore pyramids, pharaohs and mummification. Practice your hieroglyphics and create your own canopic jar or mini-mummy.

Grandparents’ weekend
August 26 – 28
Avon Valley Railway
Grandparents travel for half price along the iconic Avon Valley Railway, when accompanied by at least one paying child. Take a step back in time and visit the restored Victorian station at Bitton, then enjoy a ride along the railway in a restored heritage carriage.

Natural play trail
Throughout August
Leigh Woods
Explore a new natural play trail at the National Trust’s Leigh Woods site, which forms part of the Avon Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest. The trail includes balance boards between the trees, hollow logs, a woodland fort and a giant basket swing.

Jurassic Shark!
To September 3
Bristol Aquarium
Watch the sharks being fed, sit in on a fish dissection, or take part in a crafting session at Bristol Aquarium during the summer holiday. Younger children can take part in a special dino dig and hunt for their own prehistoric specimens, and there’s even a chance to hold a real shark tooth. Children under 3 go free.