As the gateway to the Southwest of England, the world is your oyster when it comes to things to do in Bristol with toddlers.
Finding active things to do outdoors here is particularly easy, thanks to the number of country estates, farms and zoos, but there’s plenty of indoor activities for rainy days too, including museums and indoor play centres.
We’ve rounded up our favourite toddler-friendly activities in Bristol below — indoors and outdoors, paid tickets and free entry, an hour’s jaunt or a whole day out.
Let us know if we’ve missed your top Bristol toddler day out!
- Fun Things To Do in Bristol with Toddlers
Fun Things To Do in Bristol with Toddlers
We The Curious
Located on Bristol Harbourside, We The Curious is an interactive science and arts museum that toddlers, older children and even adults will love. They describe themselves as ‘an indoor festival’ that plays host to lots of different experiences and exhibits.
Spread out over two floors, some of the things you can explore here include the Open City Lab where you can meet scientists and join them in their experiments, The Box art gallery, a hands-on kitchen and greenhouse focusing on the science of food, filming and drawing your own animations, the UK’s first 3D planetarium, storytelling in the Studio, and plenty of talks, activities and workshops held throughout the day.
Children under 2 can enter for free while tickets are otherwise fairly reasonably priced. You will need to buy an additional planetarium ticket if you wish although these are cheap. If you live nearby, it’s worth taking advantage of their membership for big ticket savings.
Bristol Aquarium is a family favourite day out that’s situated right in the centre of the city, next door to We The Curious.
It’s the only aquarium in the UK that’s also home to a giant botanical house so not only can you experience all the delights of under the sea, you can also explore the hundreds of plants and tree species that have been brought in from around the world. There are plenty of other displays to enjoy too, including Sunken Ship, Bay of Rays, Urban Jungle, Mighty Amazon, Coral Seas and the much loved Underwater Tunnel.
Children under 3 can enter for free and there are various family deals and concessions available too. Keep an eye out for their regular events and daily talks to really make the most of your visit.
SS Great Britain
The SS Great Britain is also located on Bristol’s harbourside, and is a fantastic museum ship that’s very engaging and interactive for younger children and adults alike.
This ship, once the longest passenger ship in the world, was designed for the Bristol – New York City route by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Perfectly preserved, you can now explore it and learn what it was like to travel and work on this once luxury liner. You can also explore the dry dock and a museum dedicated to Kingdom Brunel and his work.
Tickets are a little pricey although there is plenty to see here and under 4s can go for free. The museum closes slightly earlier in the Autumn/Winter season so be sure to book a good timeslot before you arrive.
Keynsham Leisure Centre
Located just outside of central Bristol in Keynsham is this fantastic leisure centre that offers an active day out for toddlers and their families.
Younger kids especially will enjoy the swimming either in the brand new 25-metre pool or the lower-key learner pool. They also host fun inflatable sessions in the pool during the school holidays that aren’t to be missed.
The indoor soft play area is also really popular with toddlers. It has a separate area for the under 3s that has a range of sensory equipment even suitable for young babies. And then, of course, there’s a multi-level padded frame to play in and slide to your heart’s content.
Leigh Woods is a great place to take the kids for some outdoors fun, located in the woodland on the outskirts of Bristol near the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
It’s a National Nature Reserve and there are plenty of animals and plants to spot while you’re walking here. There’s even a family trail, hosted by Franklin the Fox, that you can download beforehand that takes you around the hill fort and will help you understand the history of the area. There’s plenty of space for picnicking and older kids will love biking or scooting around this beautiful patch of nature.
One thing to note is that there is no car park on the National Trust side of Leigh Woods so you will either need to walk from Clifton or take the bus to get here.
AirHop is a trampoline park that’s sure to be a big hit with the kids (and big kids!) in your family.
Wall-to-wall trampolines line this indoor park and there’s a separate area for the under 5s that will keep everyone safe while having fun together. AirHop also host regular MiniHoppers sessions for kids aged between 6 months and 6 years that also include ride-ons and bubble time. Children are allowed to play on whatever activity they desire regardless of their jumping ability.
Prices for MiniHoppers are very reasonable and sessions last for one hour. The centre is located near Cribbs Causeway, to the north of central Bristol.
The Arnolfini is an international arts centre based on Bristol Harbourside that actually has plenty of family-focused events and activities to help engage and excite young children about the arts.
There are lots of workshops held for children throughout the year, especially during the school holidays, on all things arts and crafts, including book making techniques, postal art and much more. Kids are also able to use the Arnold Art Cart for free while they’re here to make whatever they like using the creative materials on the cart. Many kids love the Eye Spy Challenge taking you around the art galleries — it gets them to take a closer look at art in a fun and educational way.
The Arnolfini is open from Tuesday to Sunday every week and has a bookshop, café (serving a kids’ menu) and bar onsite, as well as toilets. There are lots of places to sit if you’re breastfeeding and level access and lifts for pushchairs.
Windmill Hill City Farm
Windmill Hill City Farm is located in Bedminster and is a great place to take toddlers and children to experience some nature without leaving the city.
It’s spread over a 4.5 acre site and is home to pigs, sheep, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, geese and many more animals. You can also explore the gardens and see how food is made from the earth, and discover some of the brilliant trails, like the Stick Man Trail, Garden Friends Trail and Play Trail. There’s a farm shop and café onsite so you can taste some of their homegrown food for yourself.
Windmill Hill doesn’t charge for entry but is a registered charity and is very grateful for any donations.
Tyntesfield is a National Trust property, to the west of Bristol towards the coast. It’s home to a beautiful Victorian manor house as well as gardens and parkland which are perfect for exploring with toddlers and young kids.
There’s plenty to see and do in the gardens, including ancient woodland, wildflower meadows, plenty of wildlife, an orchard, and a couple of buggy and kid-friendly walking routes, and a lovely Home Farm Café to recharge after your time outdoors. There are also four different play areas spread across the estate.
Tyntesfield is open 7 days a week although the house is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Under 5s can enter for free and look into National Trust (NT) membership if you go to many of their properties as you’ll make significant savings on adult ticket prices.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
If you’re looking for an indoor attraction in Bristol that’s suitable for the kids then the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery near the university is a great shout. It’s free entry for everyone so a great low-cost option too.
There are plenty of displays to enjoy over the three floors, including Egyptian mummies, South West wildlife, dinosaurs (including the Bristol Dinosaur!) and local artist Banksy’s work. Much of the museum is interactive to really engage kids and toddlers, including the World Wildlife exhibition, dinosaur activity area, and Curiosity — an activity area especially for the under 5s.
The museum is breastfeeding friendly and there are baby changing facilities for use as well. There’s a pushchair park, lift access, a café and picnic room as well.
Ashton Court Estate
Ashton Court Estate can be found nearby the Clifton Suspension Bridge and not far from Leigh Woods. It’s a country park and mansion sprawling over a massive 850 acres of woodland and grassland.
Entry is free and the estate is open almost every day although closing times change with the seasons. There’s plenty to see including the beautiful deer park, a number of heritage ponds, a miniature railway, lots of walking routes, and the mansion itself. There’s lots of room for toddlers to stretch their legs and blow off some steam! Two cafés and a picnic area mean that you can easily rest and recharge too.
Events are held throughout the year at Ashton Court, including the brilliant Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a really impressive zoo featuring over 100 different animal species in their countryside location in Clevedon, just down the road from Tyntesfield.
Some of the animals at home here include lions, rhinos, tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras, bears, buffalo and crocodiles, as well as a number of lovely farm animals. Aside from the animals, kids and toddlers can also entertain themselves in the three indoor play areas: the Rainbow Slide Area, ArkiVentures and under 5s soft play centre. There’s also a maze, outdoor adventure play areas, trampolines, sand pit, splash pool and more.
Under 2s are free and other tickets are reasonably priced. Late entry tickets — for those arriving after 3pm — are only £10.
Blaise Castle Estate
The Blaise Castle Estate can be found to the west of Bristol towards Avonmouth. The estate is spread over 650 acres of parkland so this is a great outdoor option with toddlers, children and really the whole family.
The castle itself is an 18th Century folly in the parkland which will be opened by volunteers on most Sundays — just check if the flag is flying. Also on the estate is a mansion, the Blaise Castle House museum, a dairy and gardens, cricket pitch, buggy-friendly walks, and children’s play area with separate areas for toddlers and older children.
Admission to the estate is free and it’s open daily although closing times change with the seasons.
Wild Place Project
The Wild Place Project is the sister site to Bristol Zoo Gardens and will eventually take over as the main site for the zoo (see below). It’s located just off the M5, near Cribbs Causeway.
It’s actually a conservation park that’s home to a number of wild zoo animals from Madagascar, the Congo and East Africa — some of the areas to explore include Bear Wood, the Barefoot Trail, Discover Madagascar, Secret Congo, Camp Baboon and various gardens and walks.
Kids will love the outdoor play areas and exploring the life-sized wooden aeroplane mode. There are various food outlets including a café, pizzeria and ice cream parlour on site. Tickets are very reasonably priced given the amount to see and do here, and under 2s are free.
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Right in the heart of beautiful Clifton is Bristol Zoo Gardens, a lovely smaller zoo which has plenty of animals and attractions to explore. Ticket prices are reasonable and children under 2 can enter for free.
Some of those animals include gorillas, lions, the Red Panda, penguins, meerkats, lemurs, seals, pythons, gibbons, flamingos, kangaroos, sloths, mongoose and many more. Toddlers and younger kids typically love the aquarium exhibit, outdoor adventure playground, Bug World, Butterly Forest and Monkey Jungle.
It’s worth noting that Bristol Zoo Gardens will be closing in its current location in 2022 before reopening in a new format in 2024. In the meantime, the Wild Place Project will remain open throughout.
Looking for another location? Check out our Days Out section for more ideas.