The Top 10 Museums in Bristol

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Discover Bristol and more, with our list of its top 10 museums; theres loads to learn about everything from local history to art and culture across the world!

Note: Some of the museums close for Winter and will be open as of April 1st.

M Shed

Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN | Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm 

M Shed tells the unique story of Bristol, from prehistoric times to the present day, through amazing film and photographs, moving personal stories, rare and quirky objects and interactive displays. The museum also hosts special talks and exhibitions, such as the Disability Activism in Bristol display, which will run until March 31st 2024. 

This is the perfect museum to dig into the heritage of the city - staff actually worked with local secondary school History teachers to produce a new textbook on the history of the transatlantic slave trade in Bristol and the UK. Many Bristol schools visit for the excellent local history curriculum, including information and exhibits on Ships & Sailors, the Saxons, Bristol at War and Bristol Chocolate!

Entry is free

Click here for the website

The Red Lodge Museum

Park Row, Bristol BS1 5LJ |  Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm

The Red Lodge Museum is a well-maintained (and not-so-well-known) piece of Bristol’s history, all set within the compounds of a grand mansion built on the site of a former Carmelite monastery dating back to 1538. Around 1570, The Red Lodge was built as the great house of a wealthy Bristolian merchant called Sir John Younge. Since then it passed through the hands and the lives of other wealthy Bristolian families and into those of Lady Byron, who bequeathed the site to Mary Carpenter, when it became the site of the UK’s first ever Girls Reformatory school.

The museum is a fascination monument to Bristol’s domestic and educational history in a beautiful setting. The “Great Oak Room”, with its ornate Tudor/Elizabethan oak panelling, double-decker fireplace, and moulded ceiling, is easily the most beautiful of Bristol’s three oldest rooms still open to the public, and there is plenty more to explore across the building and its gardens.

Entry is free

Click here for the website

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RL | Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm 

A great family day out, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has something for everyone:

Look up from the Ground Floor and you’ll see the magnificent Bristolian Boxkite plane suspended above you; look around and you’ll find archeological discoveries from across the world, an original Banksy, plus information and pictures on South West Widlife - there’s even an under-5s Play Area to keep the littlest ones entertained.

The First Floor is all about natural history, with exhibits on the last billion years of the planet - marvel at the geological discoveries from the area and wave hello to dinosaurs and other wildlife, including the museum’s very own gorilla Alfred!

The Second Floor features art galleries for paintings spanning Europe and Asia from the last 500 years, plus permanent exhibits of pottery, ceramics and silver. Exhibition Gallery 3 houses temporary exhibits like The Art of Japanese Porcelain, which is now running until September 2024. You can even explore three of the art galleries online via an interactive 360 photo.

Entry is free

Click here for the website

The Georgian House Museum

7 Great George St, Bristol BS1 5RR | Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm

Right in the heart of Bristol city centre, the Georgian House Museum shows what life was like both above and below the stairs of the grand house built in 1790 for John Pinney, a wealthy slave plantation owner and sugar merchant. His enslaved valet, Pero Jones, also lived there, and the museum bears witness to how both men would have lived at the time.

Above stairs you’ll see the extravagant Dining Room where the master of the house would entertain guests, ringing servants’ bells to summon staff from the basement. Imagine famous faces of the day (such as Lady Nelson, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor-Coleridge) being entertained as you tour the Drawing Room, Pinney’s Bedroom, Study, Library and a ‘Ladies’ Withdrawing Room’. 

Below the stairs, visitors discover what life was like for servants in the kitchen, laundry and housekeeper’s rooms. Look out for the hidden staircase used by servants, ‘dumb waiter’ and servants’ bells (to signal orders from the wealthy guests upstairs), plus the plunge pool used by the master of the house.

Entry is free, with donations welcomed

Click here for the website

Aerospace Bristol

Hayes Way, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5BZ | Open every day, 10am-4.30pm

Aerospace Bristol pays homage to Bristol’s pioneering place in hostory as a cradle of the UK’s aviation and aerospace industry which continues to this day. There’s plenty to do for fans of aviation, engineering and science no matter their age, with over 50 galleries exhibiting different planes and machines, including interactive exhibits and free talks by volunteers and experts exploring different aircraft stretching back over more than 100 years; the Concorde Hangar houses the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last ever concorde to take to the skies!

You can also visit the Conservation in Action workshop, where efforts are underway to restore aircraft from every era, or spend your time in the Little Pilots Outdoor play and seating area, with a cafe for tots and tired parents.

Tickets range from £12 for children aged 5+ to £19.50 for adults. Click here to book.

Click here for the website

We the Curious

1 Millennium Square, Anchor Rd, Bristol BS1 5DB | Wednesday - Sunday, 10am-5pm

With hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a Planetarium, this is one of the UK’s most exciting and interactive science museums. Describing itself as an ‘indoor festival’, We The Curious is all about breaking down the boundaries between art, science, people and ideas by asking questions - some obvious, and some not so much - like ‘What are the 12 days after Christmas for?’ and ‘How can you do science in your sleep?’ 

The approachable team are always on-hand to answer your questions, giving talks and leading tours through Discovery Levels 0 and 1. Project What If incorporates the Open City Lab, The Theatre of Curiosity and The Box art gallery, all inspired by questions asked by real-life Bristol residents. 

Tickets range from £7 for children to £17.60 for adults, with various concessions available. Although the site is not open until Summer 2024 following refurbishments, the website is still a great resource for curious kids and adults alike. 

Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol BS1 6TY | Tuesday - Sunday, 10am-5pm

Voted Bristol’s Number 1 Attraction last year on TripAdvisor, this is your chance to step onboard the ship that changed the world; there’s plenty for families, history buffs and engineering enthusiasts alike, with hundreds of sights, sounds and smells to explore which will take you back in time and teach you about Brunel’s SS Great Britain, designed by the great engineer for luxury travel between England and America.

The site is set inside the very dry dock where the ship was built and comprises two museums and the ship itself. The museum also hosts special events, such as specially-curated calmer visits for those with special needs, dedicated experts talks, and even opportunities to eat a Sunday roast onboard!

Tickets cost £13.50 for Child Passengers and £22 for adults. Click here to book.

Blaise Museum


Henbury Rd, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7QS | Open from April 1

The Blaise Museum is another deep dive into how people lived in the past, bringing to life a range of interesting household items like kitchen utensils and toys such as dolls’ houses and furniture, early puzzles and games, soldiers and fine toy train sets. There is also a Picture Room filled with magnificent paintings, an extensive Costume Collection, plus exhibits relating to Bristol’s social history, domestic interiors and hobbies stretching back 300 years.

From there you can pick up a key to visit Kings Weston Roman Villa just across the way; it is the only remaining example of a Roman bath suite in Bristol, complete with original mosaic floors and central heating as used 2000 years ago! What’s more, beyond the main house you can explore extensive parkland and gardens, featuring a working dairy that dates back to 1803 and an ampitheatre built in 1999. Further still, about a 20-minute uphill walk from the main estate, is Blaise Castle, which is also well worth a visit. 

Entry is free

Click here for the website

The Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre

27 Broad Street, Bristol BS1 2HG | Saturday & Sunday, 11am-6pm

Founded in 2013 as 'the Embassy and the Nakba Museum' (and officially opened by Palestine’s Ambassador to the UK alongside the Lord Mayor of Bristol), the Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre is run entirely by volunteers to give an historical account of Palestine through its displays of artefacts, photographs, and paintings.

There is also a Reference Library where visitors can access books, journals and DVDs on a range of topics relating to Palestine’s history and culture, and a Gift Shop with fair-trade Palestinian products for sale.

Entry is free, with donations welcomed. 

Weekdays visits can be arranged via the museum’s website

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre

Bridge Rd, Leigh Woods, Bristol BS8 3PA | Every day, 10am - 5pm

Located on the Leigh Woods (North Somerset) side of Bristol’s iconic bridge, the Visitor Centre is the best place to learn all about Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s design for the bridge, the bridge’s construction, completion and how it is maintained today. There you can watch videos related to the bridge and the Centre itself, and guided tours can also be arranged of the bridge and the vaults beneath it.

Entry is free

Click here for the website