The Best Free Things to do in Bristol

The Best Free Things to do in Bristol

Posted on: 10 Oct 2017

You don’t have to spend to see Bristol, there are many wonderful places to visit on a budget. When the pockets are tight fear not- we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our list of free attractions to check out:


The Matthew

The Matthew

Visit Bristol’s beloved ship when it’s docked outside the M Shed. You can hop on-board for free and explore the inner workings that replicate the 15th century Matthew that John Cabot voyaged across the Atlantic in to discover Newfoundland.

There is also a selection of rare books to buy on the ship, perfect for those wanting to find out about Bristol’s naval history.

To find out more, visit their website here. 



 Free Museums and Historic Houses:

M Shed

  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
  • M Shed
  • The Georgian House Museum
  • The Red Lodge Museum
  • Blaise Castle House Museum
  • Bristol Archives


There are always interesting exhibitions and events on at the free Bristol Museums.

Some events to look out for are; Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, running from October- April. Mexican Day of the Dead 29th October. Natural History Treasures 4th November.


To find out more about what’s on at the many wonderful museums, visit the website here. 



Cabot Tower in Brandon Hill Park

Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower is a must for those seeking a lovely autumnal walk. It is located in Brandon Hill Park, just off Park Street. The stairs inside the tower take you all the way up to a view of Bristol and beyond.  


Clifton Suspension bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is another great attraction to visit for those that aren’t afraid of heights!

 Take a picnic, sit on the surrounding grass and behold the sight that is one of the World’s most epic bridges, spanning the vast Avon Gorge.

A true symbol of Bristol, it is a spectacular view to witness.

To find out more, visit their website here.



St Nicholas Market

St Nicks Market

St Nicks Market is located in the centre on Corn Street. Every Monday- Saturday it is open between 9:30am to 5pm. The Market is host to a number of local independent retailers, selling their handcrafted jewellery, artwork and vintage clothing. On Wednesday’s the Bristol Farmers Market takes place between 9:30am to 2:30pm offering the opportunity to buy an array of delicious local produce and home-grown delights. The Friday Food Market is also a weekly event that occurs from 10am to 4pm offering a selection of the best street food in the city.

St Nicks Market puts on lots of events including the Bristol Record Fair, and their famous Night Market.

To find out more, visit their website here. 


Bristol German Christmas Market

Bristol German Christmas MArket

The Bristol German Christmas Market is on from the 6th November through till the 22nd December every year.

Many sparkly, tinsel-filled, decorative stalls line the Broadmead shopping area, displaying all things Christmas- from handmade ornaments to chocolate figurines. There is also a bar serving monster-size German beer mugs and Bratwurst hot-dogs.

To find out more, visit their website here.


St Werburghs City Farm

St Werburghs

A mini escape from the City. St Werburghs City Farm is open every day from 9am to 4pm where you can visit for free and stroll around the community gardens, feed the animals and enjoy a treat from the award -winning farm café.

Their annual winter fair is coming up on the 3rd December, where fantastic family workshops will happen and local retailers will be selling wonderful gifts and food.

To find out more, visit their website here.


Arnolfini & Architecture Centre


The Arnolfini is staple to Bristol’s creative community. There’s a cinema, archives events, talks and exhibitions a plenty, and the best thing- most are free to visit. Some exhibitions coming up are the Grayson Perry on till the 24th December- one of the most popular Art exhibitions by one of the world’s most charismatic artists. The Bristol Family Arts Festival is on till the 1st November and is a celebration of family creativity with events for all ages.

The neighbouring Architecture Centre is also free and well worth a look.

To find out more, visit their website here. 


Bristol Blue Glass

Bristol Blue Glass

Visit the factory where the original Bristol blue glass is made. Group visits are available on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s where you can turn up for free!

Learn about the history of glassmaking and see it being made right in front of you.

To find out more, visit their website here. 


Rent a YoBike


 Walking around Bristol can get tiring… the cheapest, most environmentally friendly alternative to explore the city is by bike!

Okay they’re not free to rent but they only cost £1 per hour.

Simply download the app, locate and find your closest YoBike which can be found all over the city.

The best part is you don’t have to return the bike to the destination that you got it from, the app will point you to the nearest allocated parking space once your hour is up.

To find out more about YoBike, visit their website here.


Banksy Walking Tour


Go on a self-guided tour to find the work of city’s most famous graffiti artist. The locations vary from the centre to the harbour to Stokes Croft, offering an insight into Bristol’s cultural and street-art history.

You can find the locations on Google.


 Gloucester Road

Gloucester Rd

Gloucester Road is known for being one of the largest roads of independent shops in the UK.

Have a wonder up it and check out the many charity shops that inhabit it. The perfect place to bag a bargain.

Every Saturday the road is thriving, local retailers, butchers and bakers have stalls outside their shops, selling their produce.


 Spike Island

Spike Island

Spike Island is a hub for contemporary art and design. Home to creative spaces and galleries for artists, it offers audiences opportunities to engage directly with production participation, creative practices and discussions.

Many of the exhibitions are free to visit and you can check out what’s on here. 



Harbourside Market

Harbourside Market

The Harbourside Market takes place at, you guessed it, the Harbourside. It is on every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. The ethos behind it is all about supporting local creatives, traders, musicians and artists. There are a range of stalls from second hand book sellers, to belt makers, vintage clothing and lots of yummy food!

Thursday’s are also a good day for foodies to visit the Harbourside as their Street Food Thursday’s takes place there every week.

To find out more about the Harbourside Market, click here.



Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale

This might seem like a macabre activity but it can actually be quite the opposite. Arnos Vale Cemetery is a unique heritage site that is located right in the heart of Bristol.


It’s a gorgeous place to go for an autumn walk, with 45 acres spanning a beautiful landscape. They also host many different events at the site including; film screenings, literature readings and yoga, to name only a few.


To check out what’s on at Arnos Vale Cemetery, click here.



Troopers Hill, Eastville Park and the Frome Valley


These areas of Bristol are the quieter corners of the city and are perfect for a mini adventure.


Troopers Hill

Troopers Hill

Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve is a hillside that overlooks the River Avon. The Hill is home to various wild plants and animals and has breath-taking views that span Bristol and beyond.


Insightful activities take place regularly, such as the Fungi Foray on Sunday 5th November, which is free to attend but places must be booked. A fun opportunity to discover different species of fungi and wild mushrooms.


There are also Conservation Work Parties that are organised for the third Thursday of every month. They involve working in green spaces across St George- a great way to get involved with the conservation community that are dedicated to keeping the parks and recreational areas lovely for all to enjoy!


To find out more, head to their official website. 



Eastville Park

Eastville Park

Eastville Park is one of Bristol’s largest. It is home to a stunning lake, football pitches, a bowling green and tennis courts making it the ideal place for outdoor activities. The lake is next to the River Frome which runs alongside the parkland and connects the Frome Valley via the Forest of Avon trail.


The Frome Valley

The Frome Valley

There are many trails to walk along starting from the Harbourside and leading all the way to the South Gloucestershire countryside or visa versa. Perhaps you are new to Bristol and are looking to discover its beautiful surrounding wildlife, or maybe you are a long-term resident seeking a refreshing escape from the city. Whatever your reason may be, there are so many delightful walks to be had around Bristol’s green spaces, that will surely satisfy your need for a spot of nature!


To check out all the trails and walks, head to the Fishponds people website here.


Article by:

Hannah Moll

Hannah recently graduated with a degree in English with Writing. She is an avid writer, freelancer and creative. She is currently writing her first full-length novel and a collection of poetry. Always out and about in Bristol's music scene, she attends music events on a weekly basis.