Come Rain or Shine: Weatherproof Fun in Bristol

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Known to be one of the wettest cities in Britain, if you're planning a day out in Bristol, you need to come prepared. Fortunately, we've compiled a list of weatherproof activities that can be enjoyed come rain or shine!

With the weather around the country its always good to have some weatherproof activities for those rainy days

River Avon Trail; Tyntesfield

On a sunny, clear, or even just bright day, exploring the pathway beside the Avon Gorge is a delightful way to pass the time and take in some fresh air. Hugging the western edge of the River Avon, passing beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge and extending all the way up to Pill in the west, the trail is a good length and terrain for a wide range of walkers. It also connects (via a fairly steep climb called ‘Paradise Bottom’) with Leigh Woods and all its associated paths on the hill above.

If however, you arrive to find a muddy track and drenching rain, head instead to Tyntesfield House, a National Trust property just a twenty-minute drive out of the city. This striking Gothic Revival house was built in the 1830s and expanded in the 1860s and 70s. There are plenty of unique furnishings and rooms to explore, and if the weather clears up later on have a stroll around some of the 150-acres of gardens and grasslands surrounding the house.

Find out more about the River Avon Trail as well as walking routes at:

Tyntesfield House is in Wraxall, BS48 1NX.

The Downs; Botanic Gardens

Clifton & Durdham Downs are an essential stop on any visit to Bristol - this 400-acre piece of common land hosts a happy spectacle of sports, games, picnics, barbeques and walkers by summer, and is transformed into an atmospheric, foggy vista come winter time. Whilst the sun’s out, take a picnic and a Frisbee or a kite, and take in this remarkable feature in the heart of the city.

When the rain comes, it’s time to visit one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets: its Botanic Gardens. You can find this Bristol University-operated attraction not far from the Downs in Stoke Bishop, and with its 4,500 species taking you through the story of plant evolution, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on. It’s open throughout the year, including seven days a week from April until October, so there’s no excuse not to check it out.

The Downs are just north of the city centre.

Bristol Botanic Gardens are at The Holmes, Stoke Park Road, Stoke Bishop, BS9 1JG.

A trip on the ferry vs. M Shed

Bristol Ferry Boats operate a regular service around Bristol’s iconic harbourside, providing a unique view of this once bustling waterway. Many use it as a regular transport service, so it’s a great option for a family trip that’s still affordable. If you fancy something more substantial, they also run a number of tours up the Avon, and even do private hires, so get in touch with them to find something to suit your needs.

For an equally enjoyable indoor experience, make the short journey to M Shed, the latest addition to Bristol’s museum scene. Telling the history of the city and the people who live in it, the large permanent galleries incorporate a generous array of images, objects, memorabilia, and even vehicles to effectively bring to life Bristol’s complex, and somewhat-troubled past. The museum also regularly hosts temporary displays, from exhibitions of wildlife photography to… so check out what’s on before you go.

Bristol Ferry Boats run trips throughout the year except Christmas Day.

M Shed is at Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, BS1 4RN.

Street art tour vs. a play

For many, Bristol is primarily known as the home of street art, with the form having taken off here in the 1980s. The most famous of this is of course the notorious Banksy, whose work has now appeared in locations all over the world. Many of his pieces, and those of the myriad other local artists still working in the city are easy to find and open to the public, so why not seek them out and take in the city as you go.

Alternatively, head to one of Bristol’s top theatre producing houses and catch a show. For the largest scale local work head to the historic Bristol Old Vic, or else check out the excellent Tobacco Factory which also stage a wide range of productions. For a more fringy, experimental experience, take a look at what The Wardrobe Theatre have to offer. With such a bustling theatre scene in Bristol, there’s plenty to catch.

For more details on where to find Street Art in Bristol, check out our article on Bristol’s Street Art and Graffiti Hotspots.

Bristol Old Vic is on King Street, BS1 4ED.

Tobacco Factory Theatres are on Raleigh Road, Southville, BS3 1TF.

The Wardrobe Theatre is at The Old Market Assembly, 25 West Street, Old Market, BS2 0DF.