25 things to do this summer in Bristol (& beyond)

Jul 23, 2021 | MAIN FEED

Now that school’s out for summer, I thought you might like some ideas of things to do with the kids

that won’t break the bank in Bristol and beyond. Many of them are free, others affordable and some

a bit pricier but worth splashing out that little bit more for!

This Sunday July 25 you can take little ones on a miniature steam train ride at Ashton Court from

just £1.30 per ride. This is an option on selected Sundays all summer ‘til October 31 – see their

website for what days it’s running.

Not everything is back on IRL and this free online Soap Making is Just Like Cooking workshop can be enjoyed from the comfort of your laptop, so no need to leave the house! And on the same day, Cube Cinema will open its doors to young people for drawing workshops and artist and Nanoplex founder Kari Nygaard will be around to talk to attendees.

If you’re stuck for something to do on Tuesday July 27, the Royal West of England Academy is

running a free Family Workshop where kids can create their own medals and meet artist

Victoria Willmott IRL!. If they’re arty, then they’ll also like Paint Like Van Gogh which is online on Sat

July 31- you can pick a family ticket up for just over a fiver, which is a bit of a bargain if

you’ve got a brood of artistic children.

From July 31, you can combine an afternoon of shopping with a detective trail at the New Room

Courtyard in Bristol and then take a stroll along to Castle Park and relax with a book and a bite to


Things to do in Bristol in August

First things first, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is back – but not quite as we know it. There

will be two weeks of flypasts from August 1 to 14, so lots of colourful balloons will be brightening up

our skies, but there won’t be an event at Ashton Court. I’ve always preferred to enjoy this event

from afar anyway, you can make an evening of it at one of Bristol’s green spaces – Perretts Park or

Brandon Hill are great spots.

Meanwhile, the Bristol Shakespeare festival was scaled back to online last time but this year, it’s

back both IRL with indoor and outdoor performances during August, as well as online with events

and workshops. See their website for more details as well as dates, times and prices.

Never mind a trip to the beach, have you checked out the Beach Bar at Millennium Square yet?

Relax on the loungers with a cool cocktail while kids have a go on the swings or play in the fountains.

The wheel is also back and there are a few fairground stalls – it’s really quite easy to spend a sunny

afternoon here and forget where you are!

Once dusk draws in, you can check out the new street signs dotted around the centre and towards

King St while you’re there. Lit up in the evening to a backdrop of love songs, it’s a great selfie

opportunity for families and teenagers.

Ideas for things to do with the family further afield

Planning a trip to London this summer? Jurassic Encounter is touring in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and

Birmingham this summer. Me and Little Miss Diva are off to the London one and she’s roaring with

excitement – so one for teens maybe? Prices start from £11.50 and if you travel by train make the

most of the half-price attractions you get with your ticket too.

Or, if you want to get away from it all and don’t mind driving to Hampshire, Carfest is back on this August Bank Holiday weekend. You don’t have to be a petrolhead – there’s loads to do for families including live music from bands parents would have heard of like Texas. It ‘aint cheap but at least the proceeds go towards children’s charities!

Cheap things you can do anytime

Visit a National Trust site – popular ones near Bristol include Tyntesfield or Blaise Hamlet where

there’s always lots of activities for families – some free, some you have to pay for – see their

websites for more details.

Pack a picnic and to keep it cheap go round your local supermarket around 8pm the night before to

check out their reduced section. If you need ideas of where to go, then read this post for some inspo

for picnic spots, or walks in and around Bristol.

It’s not summer without a day on the beach! You can have a day at the seaside on a shoestring – try

Weston-super-mare, Brean or Burnham and plan meals and activities before you go to keep costs

down, check out Groupon and LivingSocial. If you need to cool down, but don’t fancy getting sand in your sandwich, then take a short train ride to Bradford-on-Avon or check out these top 10 places to go for an outdoor swim in Bristol and beyond.

Cheer little ones up by going to see the animals at one of our city farms – there’s Windmill Hill and the one in St Werburghs. Check their websites for special events and offers – it’s likely to be booking in advance this year.

Bristol Museum Art Gallery is a lovely place to visit if you’re shopping in town or in Clifton this

summer as is the M shed and the Arnolfini. There’s bound to be a few rainy days, so I’ve put

together a whole separate blog on things you can do when it’s raining including having a karaoke

party at home.

On a rainy day during the holidays me and Little Miss Diva love to look around the charity shops

either in Totterdown, the centre or Gloucester Rd. We’ll usually make a day of it by combining it with

a spot of lunch – depending on where there’s a deal on. I tend to look for a bargain online

beforehand or Clifton’s usually good for a lunch deal because it’s home to the city’s student area.

Where to go for a family treat

Even though I love saving money, I don’t mind spending a bit more on a special day out. There’s

Bristol Zoo or the aquarium, which sometimes have special offers on during the holidays.

Have you been to the Wave yet in Easter Compton? It’s not cheap at around £50 a lesson, but could

be good for celebrations like birthdays or a special day during the holidays. You can relax by the lake

for £2 while an expert teaches them to ride the waves, so you might also get a bit of peace and


One of my all-time favourite things to do is to take a trip to Cotswold Country Park and Beach,

prices start from just £3 with lots to do for all the family. You’ll pay more for extra activities and it

goes without saying that this year it’s essential to book in advance.

That’s it from me – have a great summer everyone! Let me know great things you have planned by leaving a comment on the Broke in Bristol Facebook page and don’t forget to like the page for all the latest deals, discounts and days out.

About me

Jackie Annett

Welcome to my website. My name is Jackie Annett and I've lived in this wonderful city for many years. I'm a single mum to fourteen-year-old Little Miss Diva and for the last 20 years, I've been working as a journalist, magazine editor and blogger.

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