If, like me, you’ve overspent this summer don’t despair because it’s Bristol Doors Open Days this weekend (Sep 7 – 10), which means you can visit many of Bristol’s attractions for free. Admittedly, some of the most popular venues were booked up within minutes, but there are still places where you can just drop in. Check out my top 10 suggestions and don’t forget to like the Facebook page for free & cheap ideas for things to do in Bristol.
1 REDCLIFFE CAVES. PHOENIX WHARF, REDCLIFFE, BS1 6SW
Sat 10am – 4pm
Pack a torch and sturdy shoes and embark on a self-guided tour of 15th to 18th century tunnels. Drop in
2 BRISTOL CATHEDRAL. COLLEGE GREEN, BS1 5TJ
Fri 5 – 7pm, Sat 10 – 6pm
Little Miss Diva and I will be hoping to catch a glimpse of the Cathedral’s treasures and will be taking part in the family-friendly picture trail. You can also enjoy the Cathedral Choir at Friday’s Evensong and see Sound & Silence Talk details for more about the history of choral music. Drop in
3 COLSTON HALL COLSTON STREET, BS1 5AR
Sat & Sun 10am – 4pm
Not only will you be able to check out the main hall, but you’ll also be able to tour backstage with its historic features before redevelopment begins next summer. Book a free tour at www.colstonhall.org or call the box office on 0117 2034040.
4 OBSERVATORY AT ARCHFIELD HOUSE NURSERY. ARCHFIELD ROAD, COTHAM, BRISTOL. BS6 6BE
Sun 10am – 4pm
Enjoy a breathtaking view of Bristol at the 360-degree observatory. Families can spot local landmarks at the largest window, which is the perfect height for children.
5 CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE. BRIDGE ROAD, BS8 3PA
Sat 11am – 4pm
If you don’t suffer from vertigo take the family to find out about Brunel’s world famous bridge. Visitors can peek down the shafts of the Anchorage Pits to see the land saddles beneath the road surface and you can learn how the bridge has been protected from ice and snow throughout the years.
6 PUPPET PLACE. UNIT 18 ALBION DOCKSIDE ESTATE, HANOVER PLACE, BS1 6UT
Sat & Sun 10am – 4pm
Get animated at the UK’s hub for puppetry and animation in this converted dockside building. View work by resident artists and explore the main fabrication studio – described as an Aladdin’s Cave of puppets in the making for stage and screen. Watch out for the weird scuttling robots!
7 BLAISE COMMUNITY GARDEN. HENBURY ROAD, BRISTOL, BS10 7Q
Sat & Sun 10am – 6pm
On the Saturday, you can join family craft activities, browse the plant sale and take a break at the pop-up cafe. Join in the fun at Goram Fair, celebrating Bristol’s legendary giant! Explore the Blaise Castle House Museum and enjoy crafts and games in the grounds. Discover the 18th century gothic style castle in the heart of Blaise’s woodland where you can climb the spiral staircase for stunning views across Bristol and beyond.
8 BRISTOL BLUE GLASS (THE ORIGINAL BRISTOL BLUE GLASS). 357-359 BATH ROAD, ARNOS VALE, BS4 3EW
Sat 10am – 4pm
Watch glass blowers at work in the studio, ask them questions and browse the shop for some hand made jewellery or a local souvenir. You might also choose to blow your own Bristol Blue Glass Bauble (£15.00).
9 VINTAGE BUS TOUR. CANONS ROAD (NR MILLENNIUM SQUARE) BS1 5LL
Sat 10am – 4pm & Sun 10am – 4pm
Enjoy a nostalgic free ride on a vintage bus! Travel in style to some of the Doors Open Day venues open on the Saturday and Sunday. Services will operate from Canons Way (by the entrance to the @Bristol Underground Car Park, Millennium Square) between 10am and 4pm both days. See www.bristolbusevents.co.uk for details.
10 THE NEW ROOM (JOHN WESLEY’S CHAPEL). 36 THE HORSEFAIR, BS1 3JE
Thurs, Fri & Sat 11am – 4pm, Sun 1pm – 4pm
Retrace the steps of 18th century Bristolians in the oldest Methodist Chapel in the world. Discover John Wesley’s social justice movement in the new museum and visitors’ centre. Free activities available in the chapel will include making traditional 18th century lavender bags. Drop in
You can see the full list of events at http://www.bristoldoorsopenday.org.uk and don’t forget to check event details before heading on out.