Bristol has a number of museums that are perfect for a day out, the majority of which are free.
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery - holds collections of not just regional, but national and international importance. It has been awarded 'designated status' by the government - the classification of being regarded an outstanding museum. It is set in a beautiful building and really has something for everyone throughout its seven art galleries. Find out about dinosaurs, fossils, minerals, archaeology, geology and wildlife and even the Ancient Egyptians! And, if you have little ones with you, make sure you visit the Curiosity – discovery area for the under-fives on the ground floor (it closes 30 minutes before the rest of the museum).
Address - Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queen's Road, Bristol, BS8 1R
M Shed is fantastic and relatively new on the list of Bristol tourist attractions as it opened in 2011 and incorporated many of the exhibits of the old Bristol Industrial Museum. It’s free and a fun place to visit, and in a great location, so you really can’t miss it if you are in central Bristol. The building is an old transit shed called the ‘M Shed’ which is where it gets its name. It has a range of exhibits showing the working life of the docks and what it has been like to live in the city over the years, through the recollections of the people who shaped the city. One of the favourite exhibits is the old bus where you can visit the upper deck, and also listen to stories of the drivers and passengers.
M Shed is a great space to visit for all ages, and once you are in the area we recommend lunch or a drink afterwards at one of the pop up bars and restaurants next door. Also look out for the Matthew of Bristol, a replica ship which is normally moored outside the museum, and is free to visit, so climb on board and have a look around.
Address - Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN
Blaise Castle House Museum
Blaise Castle House Museum - located in picturesque grounds of the Blaise Estate in Henbury this historic house is free to visit. The museum itself is a late 18th century mansion, housing collections showing the social history of Bristol. If you have the time make sure you take a stroll around the gardens, and visit the Blaise Castle folly in the middle of the grounds. If you have children that still need to burn off some energy the Blaise Castle Play Area is well worth a visit. Admission to the Blaise Castle House Museum is free, and there is no charge for parking either.
Address - Blaise Castle House Museum, Henbury Road, Bristol, BS10 7QS
The Georgian House Museum
The Georgian House Museum - Built in 1790 for John Pinney, a wealthy sugar merchant and owner of a slave plantation. The house is set to look at it would have when it was first built, where you can explore how the upper classed lived in the 18th century in Bristol and its connections with slavery. Make sure you visit ‘below stairs’ as well as the upper floors, and look out for the cold water plunge pool used by the master of the house, and the row of bells used to summon the servants! This museum is free to visit.
Address - The Georgian House Museum, Great George Street, Bristol, BS1 5RR
Kings Weston Roman Villa
Kings Weston Roman Villa - In this villa built by the Romans you can discover exactly how the Romans used to live, just outside Bristol. You will be amazed with the intricate mosaic floors and even under floor heating. One of the ‘must see’ Bristol tourist attractions if you are interested in the Romans.
Address - Long Cross, Kings Weston Roman Villa, Lawrence Weston, Bristol, BS11 0LP
The Red Lodge Museum
The Red Lodge Museum - The house, with a distinctive red door was originally a garden lodge and is a great example of Elizabethan, Stuart and Georgian styles. Built in 1580 for Sir John Young, the property has a number of impressive rooms, such as the Great Oak Room - with original Elizabethan features, including plasterwork on the ceiling and oak panelling. It also has a beautifully constructed brick well which was only discovered in 2010 and is believed to have been built at the same time as the original part of the house around 1580. The well had been covered over, perhaps since the middle of the 19th century when the Bristol Waterworks Company bought piped water to Bristol - you can now walk over the well on a glass panel.
Address - The Red Lodge Museum, Park Row, Bristol, BS1 5LJ
Bristol Archives collect all kind of records relating to Bristol and are a great resource if you are doing any kind of research such as researching your family history, or researching the history of Bristol and the surrounding areas. Their collection starts from the 12th century and covers many aspects of Bristol’s history. If you are looking for something in particular, please ask a member of staff and make sure you follow their procedures as they are there to protect the archive.
Address - Bristol Archives, 'B' Bond Warehouse (via Create Centre), Smeaton Road, Bristol BS1 6XN
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