The summer holidays are upon us and for most parents this means a lot of juggling of childcare if both parents work. Holiday clubs and activity days are expensive and not really a viable option to cover the whole six week holiday. So, for separated or single parents who have work commitments, the holidays can be really tough. Last year we wrote a blog illustrating a couple of examples of how some separated parents worked out the childcare cover between them, you can read it here.
One of the biggest strains for parents whether they are single or not, is finding things to do with the children that don’t cost too much on the days that they can spend with their children. So we thought we would put together some ideas of fun free things to do in Bristol this summer:
- St George’s Skate Park
If your kids are crazy about skateboarding, bikes or scooters, this is a big and well laid out Skate Park with a range of bowls and jumps to suit all abilities (including the Dads!). It is, of course, free to use and there is a children’s play area next to it which is suitable for under 7s. There is a café there, but take your own picnic if you want to keep your costs down.
2. St Andrews Park
A great park for younger children, there is a big sand pit with a pirate ship, plenty of climbing frames, swings and grassed areas. In the summer months, there is a large splash pool with surrounding grassed areas which are perfect to set up a base for yourself whilst the children have fun. Picnics or barbecues will make this a great day with no great expense. St Andrews Park is near to the Gloucester Road in St Andrews.
- Canford Park
This is a very large Victorian park in Canford Lane, Westbury-on-Trym with free entry. This is an ideal park for children of all ages with a great play area for younger children and free tennis courts for casual use for your older kids (no need to book). One of the other brilliant things about this park is that there is a huge circular track that is perfect for your kids to really get the hang of riding their bikes – it is completely flat!
- Blaise Castle Estate
A 650 acre Grade II registered parkland including children’s play area, museum and castle. This really is a fabulous free day out. There are two huge playgrounds, one designed for younger children and the other for your older kids with zip wires, very high slides and monkey bars. There is a very large grassed area for picnics and barbecues – so why not set up camp for the whole day? The museum in the old estate mansion is also free to enter and has some very interesting exhibits, including a large collection of toilets from the last two centuries! There is also a woodland walk which only takes about an hour so manageable for young children. It incorporates the castle, The Giant’s Footprint, Butcher’s Cave, Lover’s Leap, and Robber’s Cave.
- Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery
If the weather isn’t great, the Bristol City Museum is brilliant for children of all ages, filled with fascinating exhibits as well as a free under sevens play area. Entrance to the museum, play area and art galleries is completely free. Throughout the summer, the museum holds Holiday Family Fun days to explore the collections and exhibitions through creative and hands-on activities for the whole family. These are on a drop in basis and good for children aged between 3 and 10.
- M Shed Museum
Another great free museum if the weather is bad. You can see amazing film and photographs, listen to moving personal stories, and encounter rare and quirky objects with interactive displays. From prehistoric times to the present day, M Shed tells the story of the city and its unique place in the world. The museum is good for all ages as there is something there for everyone!
- Millennium Square Fountains
These fountains are in the centre of Bristol, which were built as part of the At Bristol development, they have become a very popular public splash pool for children. Be sure you pack a spare set of clothes and towels! There is also a massive screen in the square showing a variety of films, graphics and major sporting events. Take a look here to see what is showing.
8. The Bristol Balloon Fiesta
Four days of fabulous fun at Ashton Court Estate, in August every year, the sight of over 150 hot air balloons is extraordinary. Entrance to the balloon fiesta is free, and although there are many fairground rides and traders which will, of course, be tempting, it is possible to keep the day very cheap if you take a picnic hamper. Going along to one of these days is a visual treat for children of all ages.
- Bristol Blue Glass – Studio/Shop
This will probably be of more interest to older children but at the famous Bristol Blue Glass factory, their skilled glassmakers blow all their glass using only the simplest of techniques and basic hand tools. All their range of glass is free blown, therefore every piece is unique. The factory is open 6 days week and entrance to watch glass being made and to the Studio shop is completely free. A fascinating experience to see these age old techniques kept alive.
- Windmill Hill City Farm
A voluntary community project for local people providing a range of social, environmental and educational activities. Entrance is free to the farm and play areas and provides an excellent opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about farming and meet the animals. There are a range of workshops and activities available including bush craft, not all of which are free but you can see the full extent of the activities here.
I’m sure there are many other fun free things to do in Bristol this summer with your children, so from all of us at Progressive Mediation, we hope you have a great holiday!