Bristol On A Budget: Free Things To Do In The City

Bristol city view from a hill

Whether you’re planning a trip to Bristol or you’ve just moved to the city, and you’re keen to explore your new home, the great news is that there are so many incredible things that you can do in Bristol for free.

Explore the M Shed Museum and the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Located on Bristol’s Harbourside, the M Shed Museum is situated within a large 1950s industrial transit shed and provides visitors with the chance to explore more than 2,000 years of the city’s history.

The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has 19 gallery spaces positioned across three floors and houses an array of national history, archaeology, geology and art collections. There are also a number of learning and play spaces for children to deepen their understanding of art, history and culture in a fun and engaging way.

See the Iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge

Not only is Clifton Suspension Bridge an iconic feat of engineering and one of Bristol’s most enduring views, it’s also free to visit. While it does cost £1 to cross on a motorbike or in a car, it’s completely free for pedestrians and cyclists. It is also possible to enjoy spectacular views of the bridge from the Clifton Observatory and Leigh Woods.

Soak in Views from the Top of Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower in Brandon Hill Park offers incredible views across the city if you don’t mind getting in a bit of a leg workout first! The 109 steps that lead to the top of the tower are pretty steep and narrow but the promise of being rewarded with an unparalleled view of Bristol should be enough to keep you motivated on your climb.

Meet Some Animals at Windmill City Farm and St Werburghs City Farm

Both Windmill City Farm and St Werberghs City Farm in Bristol are completely free to visit and provide fun for all ages. As well as being home to some absolutely adorable pigs, goats, chickens and sheep, both farms also have on-site farm shops which sell a range of gifts, fresh eggs, and homemade preserves.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Ashton Court Estate

If you want to venture outside the heart of the city, the 850-acre Ashton Court Estate is home to some incredible oak trees, grasslands and mountain bike trails. As well as soaking in the fresh air, you can also watch the deer grazing as the estate has been a deer park for more than 500 years. Better still, if you’re planning a visit in August, you’ll also have the chance to attend the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, which is also completely free.

Embark on a Self-Guided Banksy Walking Tour

Walking tours are excellent ways to explore large parts of the city and the self-guided Banksy tour allows you to take in the sights at your own pace. Bristol is renowned the world over as the home of legendary street artist Banksy, so there are plenty of iconic artworks to see around the city.

But don’t forget that Bristol is also home to countless other accomplished street artists, so it’s fair to say that the city’s walls are an ever-changing canvas of amazing artwork just waiting to be discovered.

Admire the Architecture of Bristol Cathedral

Open every day of the week and offering free entry, Bristol Cathedral allows visitors to soak in more than one thousand years of history and admire some of the finest architecture in the UK. It’s also worth taking a look at the cathedral’s upcoming exhibitions, as the calendar is always filled with interesting events. The cathedral is also surrounded by manicured green spaces, which provide excellent picnic spots on warm, dry days.

Join in on Bristol Walk Fest Activities

Walk Fest takes place over the course of a month every year, during which time it is possible to join in on a range of free walking activities. Whether you want to join a route that will take you to key historical sites, important street art locations, or help you to get in touch with nature, there’s something for everyone.

Climb on Board The Matthew

The Matthew is a faithful reconstruction of the original 1497 ship that took John Cabot to Newfoundland and is moored outside the M Shed museum at Prince’s Wharf. While the ship doesn’t leave the quayside, it is possible to climb on board to soak in a sailor’s perspective of the city’s iconic harbour.