You don’t have to spend loads of money on tickets, entries and art materials to get you and your family involved in the arts. In Bristol we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to getting stuck in without forking out…
1. Free afternoon gig at Rise Records
This proudly independent shop on The Triangle puts on all manner of free gigs, including some at family friendly times. Previous afternoon artists have included Ash, Mystery Jets and Lamb – where the oldest BAM cut his gigging teeth at 8 months old, so thanks Rise! Obviously do your research though – not all gigs are suitable for younger children.
2. Scrapstore Super Saturdays
The Scrapstore really is a warehouse of wonders. The Super Saturday sessions let kids mess around with a room full of junk and turn it into something new. The events are free (donations are suggested) and aimed at ages 5 and up, though in our experience smaller kids can get a lot out of them too.
3. Sculpture hunting
There are all sorts of public art works scattered around Bristol from the giant lollypops outside the BRI to Pero’s Bridge on the harbour (or Giant Shrek Ears as it’s more commonly known in our house). Our favourite though has to be Jeppe Hein’s Follow Me, located in the Royal Fort Gardens of Bristol Uni. You don’t have to be a kid to find this mirror maze pretty magical and while you’re there don’t miss The Hollow which is just around the corner.
4. Visit a museum
We are so lucky to have as many free entry museums as we do in Bristol. And quite a few of them do a mean cake too (hello Spike Island Cafe!). If you’re not sure about letting your kids run around a museum space then most of them also put on a brilliant array of free family events to encourage families into their space. This can be a great way to dip your toe in the water! Follow us on Twitter where we’re always giving you a heads up about what’s coming up.
5. Go on a Trail
If you’re looking for a way to get the kids involved in the arts whilst burning off some energy at the same time, you’re in luck because Bristol is abundant in trails. Little film fans will love finding Bristol locations with one of the Bristol Movie Maps. Or if they’re more into design, then the Brunel trails are a good shout with questions for kids to find the answer to. And if your little pirates are still in need of some exercise, give the Treasure Island Trail a go. This app will guide you around 8 spots that relate to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale. Follow this up with Muppet Treasure Island and you’ve got what sounds like a perfect afternoon!
6. Street Art trail
This wouldn’t be much of a Bristol list if it didn’t mention the street art. And it’s not just about Banksy, though going on a hunt for the more obscure ones is lots of fun. Montpelier is covered in the particularly child pleasing work of Lucas Antics and don’t forget to head down to Upfest in July to see actual artists in action!
7. BAM art challenge
We’re going to have family friendly tutorials and challenges a plenty to help you give your family a #MassiveARTtack. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see them all. We promise you, it’s going to be fun!
PLUS a cheeky bonus activity!
It’s not free but it’s cheap and we love it so much we had to include it. If you’ve never been to the camera obscura at the Clifton Observatory, you’re in for a treat. Pick a clear day and you’ll all be amazed at what you can see. Watching first timers faces as they try to process what’s going on is wonderful!