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Things to do in Bristol when it’s too hot!

In the same way as rain can spoil play, too much sunshine is also something that’s hard to manage, especially with pre-schoolers. I won’t got into the annoyances of the constant sun creaming and the hat situation, there are plenty of other blog posts (here’s the ever funny Mother’s Always Right on going to the beach).

Here’s some suggestions for things to do in and around Bristol with pre-schoolers when it’s as hot as it promises to be this week.

Places to go splash:

There are more splash pools and water play areas than you might think!

Obviously, you could go to Millennium Square and duke it out with everybody else for a space in the gently rippling water fountains there. It’s tremendous fun.


There is also a very decent paddling/splash pool at St Andrews Park. However, the website tells me it is currently closed for health and safety reasons. It usually re-opens in the last weekend of May – if anyone has any details, please leave a comment!

I spoke to the brilliant Emily Smithson, who’s blog on Bristol Playgrounds is a must read. She gave some other fabulous ideas for water play:

The Mundy Playing Fields in Thornbury has a splash area, which looks like this:

The incredible Hengrove Play Park has free water play in the form of ace rock fountains and pools, and a lot of sand play too.

Oldbury Court Play Park also has free water play too, and is a huge space to explore.

St Pauls Adventure Playground has sand and water play too (it’s free, but check opening hours)

Shady playground areas to shelter in:

I racked my brains on this one, and found it really hard to think of any playgrounds I’ve visited where the trees actually provide shade on the apparatus. Can anyone think of any?

Redcatch Park has a fenced area around the playground, half of which is dedicated to shady trees and logs where you can base yourselves for a picnic, and there are a couple of swings there.

Both Victoria Park in Bristol and Victoria Park in Bath have trees to sit under close by, but the playgrounds themselves are in full sun.


Brandon Hill Park has a small playground at the bottom with a few trees in the immediate vicinity.

Windmill Hill City Farm’s playground has some lovely shady spots, and a fun sand pit.


Dame Emily Park in Bedminster also has some lovely tree-lined areas inside the fenced play park, and some equipment in full shade


For a complete list of Bristol’s playgrounds, always check this out, it’s really useful.

Shady running about places:

I don’t think you can beat Leigh Woods for this, because you can walk a long way, or toddle a short and annoyingly winding way, in complete shade and find dens to build, stone to carry and leaves to collect with no sunshine on you.

Blaise Castle is probably good for this too.

For total calm and cool, especially with a cruiser or new walker, Bristol Cathedral is a good choice, with its lovely cafe. You could also pop into Bristol’s Central Library next door, which might provide enough indoors entertainment on a hot afternoon to keep kids busy.

Hengrove Gymnastics Centre also has a huge hangar of soft play most mornings, which is a little warm, but nevertheless is inside. Axis Trampoline club is brilliant, too.








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  1. Jacquetta Jacquetta

    Yep the pool at St. Andrews park is sadly closed webt there 2 weeks ago my children were gutted and I was!! Not sure if there going to re open it at all I hope they do its really nice there!!!

    • Folks have confirmed on FB now that it’s open again…hooray!

  2. Claire Claire

    There is some shade on the equipment at Quarry Park, Henleaze and there is also a splash area at the zoo – worth popping in if you’re already members.

  3. Claire Claire

    Oh, and there was some talk on Facebook yesterday that St Andrews pool is now open!

  4. Bethan Bethan

    Thanks for this. I think the play area in Page Park, Downend is in the shade

  5. Kate Kate

    Montpelier Park playground on St Andrews Road and the playground near the suspension bridge both have lots of shady trees.

  6. Helen Helen

    There is water and sand play at Noah’s Ark.
    They do a special toddler event Monday’s and Thursday’s (term time only) £10 for first adult, £5 for second and you get entry to the zoo all day.

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