Bristol Theatre News

Free things to do with babies and toddlers in Bristol on a day out: Central area

For parents working on a tight budget, finding fun things to do for free or at low cost is always a challenge.

Chopsy Baby is bored witless of the constant tips doing the rounds proffering free things for parents to entertain their children.

1. Feed the ducks it’s fun and free – Does bread come for free? Is this fun in freezing February? No

2. Have a picnic – Seriously, shall we sit around in a jolly circle singing shanties and passing around the ginger beer? No it’s still winter and if you don’t get bitten by Cujo you end up in broken glass, dog poo and being mugged by equally bored 12 year olds.

3. Go to the park – But even the kids are bored of the park.

4. Go to the library – They’ve read the entire contents five times.

5. Go for a walk – In inner city Bristol?

Chopsy Baby took to the chilly streets of central Bristol on Monday 21 February 2011 – first day of half term – to see what fun, free things we could do with babies, toddlers and children.


Welcome to central Bristol. Yes it is this grey. If you look straight ahead you can see the water fountains, Neptune and in the distance, the docks. The docks are better in the summer months when you can enjoy looking at the boats. The new M Shed is schedule to open soon. In this area there is also the free Arnolfini, pay for ferry service, pay for ss Great Britain and the Matthew. On occasions the Harbourside Railway operates a steam train for a small fee.  

This Banksy is well placed on the back of the Brook Clinic and visible from lower Park Street.

Bottom of Park Street, the Lord Mayor’s Chapel is the only church municipally-owned in the country. Open to the public from Wednesdays to Saturdays between 10am and 4pm.

Don’t be fooled by this image, the rather steep Park Street can be a chore to push prams up.

Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery huddles next to the imposing Wills Memorial Building dominating the top of Park Street. An hour in the museum is usually plenty for parents with babies or young children.

When your child becomes bored of stuffed animals and old stuff in cases, the park at Brandon Hill caters for little ones and older children. The Cabot Tower in the park is currently under going maintenance, but there is plenty of garden, grass and hidden corners of the park for children to explore.

If you still haven’t had your fill of old buildings, Bristol Cathedral is well worth a visit on route.

Next to the Cathedral is the Central Library. If your kids aren’t that into books there is a big play area with toys and mats for children aged 0 – 6 years. Contact the library for details of their singing sessions and story times.

This is an exhausting programme of events to fit into one day. If your children are small but active, they may get bored quickly and want to move onto something else before you have had a chance to catch your breath.

For the price of a return bus ticket, the central area offers more than plenty for a family with children of all ages. Be prepared for a hard slog, but there is plenty of free stuff to do that doesn’t require ducks, picnics or reading books.