As half term fast approaches, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed planning a fun packed week for the kids. Bristol has so much to offer, so we asked some local parents to let us in on their hidden gems in and around the city (bonus, most of them are free!)

Willsbridge Mill

Allex (@wanderingmamastreets) recommends this magical woodland walk not far from Hanham. Featuring a fairy woodland, stream for paddling, wildlife pond and onsite cafe, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a hit with her boys. This not-for-profit organisation also has a plant market on the first Saturday of each month, so you can even take a little bit of nature home with you.

Photo Credit: @wanderingmamastreets

Street Goat Project

Street Goat Project, at Purdown green space in North Bristol, is another favourite of Allex’s. An urban goat farming co-operative, the Street Goat Project aims to connect communities and is a great place for kids to “be at one with the goats.” There’s no cafe onsite but it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a flask of hot chocolate.

Photo Credit: @wanderingmamastreets

Kings Weston House

Another of Allex’s hidden gems in Bristol is this lovely woodland walk which is perfect for getting in the autumn spirit. It has a water feature (great for a welly paddle), a “castle” for clambering and an onsite dog-friendly cafe. It’s the perfect day trip for a sunny day.

Photo Credit: @wanderingmamastreets

Severn Beach

Just a 20 minute train journey from Montpeiler station, the Severn sea front is a great scooting or cycling destination for little ones. Allex recommends grabbing a tasty toastie and homemade cake from nearby Shirley’s cafe.

Photo Credit: @wanderingmamastreets

Pensford Viaduct trail

Antonella (@eating_with_ella_) loves to take her family to the Pensford Viaduct trail in the south of the city. This 2 mile walk takes you through the historic Pensford village and lush green fields that border the River Chew; ideal for a leisurely stroll with kids with the backdrop of the viaduct making for the most incredible views. It’s the perfect picnic location but you can also visit The Rising Sun, a riverside pub with a garden that overlooks the viaduct and is well known for its delicious food and family friendly atmosphere.

Photo Credit: @eating_with_ella_

Windmill Hill City Farm

Charlotte (@doingthemumthing) recommends Windmill Hill city farm in Bedminster as a great place not only for the kids to meet the animals, but also to enjoy the beautiful gardens. The enchanting fairy garden is a particular favourite of her daughters’. There is also a cafe and shop selling handicrafts made on site.

Westonbirt The National Arboretum

For the ultimate leaf-peeping extravaganza, Angharad (@thisbristolbrood) recommends Westonbirt Arboretum. A kaleidoscopic spectacle in autumn and well-worth the 30-minute car journey from Bristol, the best time to go is around October half term. The leafy stars of the show are the blazing Japanese Maples and Black Walnuts, but the entire place is a riot of beautiful autumnal colour. Kids will also love the treetop walkway with its birds-eye view of the colourful canopy, the Gruffalo sculptures hidden deep in the woods and the childrens’ play areas.

You can read more of Angharad and her kids’ Bristol adventures on her blog.

Feed the ducks at Old Sneed Park nature reserve  

This peaceful field walk just off the road Glenavon Park, is a firm favourite of Beth (@foodbetheats). Featuring a stunning lake at the reserve with lots of wildlife, it’s a great spot to bring the kids if you’re after a more tranquil outing. 

High Kingsdown Play Park

Beth regards this playground as “the quietest park in Bristol”. So, a great spot to bring the kids if you’d like the place to yourselves this half term.

The Palm Temple Sculpture

Another of Beth’s hidden gems in Bristol, you can find this stunning multicoloured glass sculpture outside the University of Bristol’s Chemistry building.

Blaise Castle Estate

This 650 acre Grade II registered parkland includes children’s play area, museum and castle and is free to visit. Beth recommends taking the kids here to watch the dogs swim in the pond.

Ashton Court Estate

A country park and mansion with 850 acres of woodland, grassland and deers onsite! Beth loves taking the kids to the cafe to enjoy one of their “ultimate brownies”.

Natural rock slide at Clifton Suspension Bridge

Located near the Clifton Observatory at Clifton Suspension Bridge, this natural rock slide has become shiny due to the generations of Bristolians who have slid down it.

Spot the suspension bridge at the top of Perret Park

One of Bristol’s most picturesque parks, Perret park is a firm favourite with dog walkers. You get great views of the suspension bridge at the top. It is also an ideal place for watching the hot air balloons go up in the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Say hello to the elephant in St Andrew’s Park

This landscaped Victorian park features a large paddling pool, children’s play area and pop-up cafe, plus an elephant carved from a tree trunk!

Explore the mirror maze at Royal Fort Gardens

Located at the Royal Fort Gardens at University of Bristol, this beautiful mirror maze is a great place for kids to explore.