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Top nap time car parking hotspots for Bristol parents

Yeah, I know, this is Bristol, we’re all supposed to walk or get a bus fuelled by poo, or share a bike. But, if you’ve got a car and a child under three, the chances are you’ve done your share of engine-idling, climate controlled, driver’s seat reclining, phone browsing, with your kid hanging in the balance between sleep and screaming in the back.

And here’s some thoughts you’ve probably had whilst you were there:

  • Why, why do I not keep a book in the car?
  • Why, why do we not have drive-thru’s everywhere like in America?
  • Why, why do I not keep a charger in the car
  • I’ve got to turn the engine off, I’m going to run out of petrol. But omg, it’ll wake them up. No. I’d rather run out
  • OMG, that couple over there are totally having an affair, I always see them in this car park
  • FFS that guy just dropped his sandwich wrapper out the window. If I didn’t have a baby in the car…

Anyway. I have extensive car napping knowledge, having raised a child who loves a bit of a car sleep in the city from 7 months till 2.5, and still going strong. Here’s my top tips for a better quality of car-based nap-time location:

There are drive thrus…

Even if you cannot bear the thought of limboing under the Golden Arches for food, ever, accept their cheap and ok coffee and don’t look back. If you live anywhere near the Bath Rd, there’s the Krispy Kreme drive thru. You’re welcome. There’s also a drive in Starbucks at Membury Services on the M4, if you’re literally in for the long haul nap.


Not a National Trust member? No problem. Car park and cafe and baby changing are before you pay to get in. Park up, take a camping chair, enjoy the view, get awesome cake when the baby wakes up.

Riverside Garden Centre, Southville

Not idyllic to look at, but again, out of the traffic, not a supermarket car park, and has a nice cafe for when you can escape the car.

Leigh Woods

Pretty, shaded, always people around so you don’t feel like a freak. Again, take a chair!

Outside your mate’s house

Bonuses include coffee brought to your car, company if they are good at whispering, and if you’re right outside…WiFi!

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Quite limited parking, only about six spaces, but very quiet and delicious coffee and snacks at wake-up time.

Chew Valley Lake

Best view a nap time can give. Plus, Salt and Malt for the coffee and cake, right there in the car park

Blaise Castle

The playground of dreams for wake up time, decent loos near the car park, lots of space, with some shaded spots

Bishops Knoll, Nr Avon Gorge

Look here for the map and the free car parking. A very tranquil spot with lovely walks.

The seafront, Clevedon

I’ve rocked down there occasionally and parked in one of the sea-facing spaces for an hour or so. Have never paid, but then again I never looked to see if I had to!

May your nap times never include another Asda car park again. Unless you need to go to Asda, of course.

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  1. Best post idea ever. Why don’t we have all the drive thrus?! x

    • it’s kind of amazing we don’t, I think. I’ve even considered giving strangers money to buy coffee for me, desperate times!

  2. ah great post – now I just need a car 😉

  3. I don’t drive so this means nothing to me 🙂 BRILLIANT idea for a post though, so original! x

  4. Haha I always have the ‘should I turn the engine off’ dilemma, it will usually wake Cherry up but not Tiger which isn’t good when I want to check my phone in peace for ten mins. I quite like nap times apart from I always seem to need a wee or my phone runs out of battery! These are some great places to stop though, I love Chew Valley Lake! x

  5. Rachel Rachel

    Love this post. For those London-based Dulwich Park is a great baby-sleeping car park spot. Beautiful surroundings, no need to pay. Regularly just me and all the workmen on their lunch break.

    • I just wish there was somewhere we could meet for our car naps! Maybe Swindon?

      • Rachel Rachel

        I have far too many work reasons to go to Swindon with Intel and National Trust both based there. That said the NT HQ has a lovely cafe. And I hear Slough is pretty nice this time of year too. ?

  6. Great post! Mine have always chosen inconvenient times to nap in the car, but there have been a few wonderful occasions when I’ve returned home with nothing particular to do and there has been a baby or child asleep in the car. I’ve loved just sitting in the drive, hearing their cute little snores (and being connected to our home wifi of course).

  7. TLT TLT

    If only I had read this post before setting off on my ten mile trek around Bristol two weeks ago looking for Shaun the Sheep! I could have done with a nap or two along the way. Delightfully witty post x

    • Thank you! I can’t believe you walked all ten miles, that’s really very cool. I love hearing Bristol visitor stories for the first time!

  8. Such a cute post…I remember having to sing to a little one I used to look after as she’d always fall asleep in the car then wouldn’t go down for a proper nap! Hopefully my dreadful singing will keep my own one awake when need be soon! ha! x

  9. ha we don’t drive so I’ve not experienced this much but whenever we got to Tom’s mums Wilf always falls asleep before we get home (he doesn’t actually nap anymore) I kinda love it as I just sit in with him for an hour on my phone and Tom brings me tea and snacks! I really need to learn though so I can visit half of these places! x

  10. This is a genius post and I don’t even live in Bristol (but we have limboed under the golden arches once or twice – don’t judge me!). xx

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