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more things to do when it’s wet in Bristol

An updated list of wet weather ideas in Bristol for 2016.

I’ve been meaning to mention this for ages, but have you been to Waterstones at Broadmead/The Galleries recently? Word on the street is that there is dressing up clothes, a slide, toys and lots to do inside for kids, as well, of course, as many marvellous books to browse. If you’re in the mood for books, my favourite is Foyles at Cabot, which also has a very open to browsing kids area, and a nice coffee shop upstairs.

Don’t all wince at once, but if you can get there early enough of a morning IKEA isn’t a bad place to spend a rain-free couple of hours. Not only does it have toddling/cruising opps galore, meatballs, Dime bars and ok coffee, but it also has playing stations at intervals on the way round, and, if your child is over three, a creche/soft play area that you can leave them in to be looked after for an hour. I didn’t know this until two weeks ago! NB obviously, IKEA gets very busy sometimes, so, if you are easily stressed, like me, I’d avoid it at half term!

The Mendip xplorer, 376 bus. From Temple Meads you can get to Wells, Glastonbury and Street, every half hour, through some glorious countryside, exciting hills to woooo at, and it’s double decker now. I can recommend getting off at Farrington Gurney to visit Farrington’s Farm and soft play if you fancy a new, pretty large soft play and farm shop. I also love Wells, and the Cathedral is beautiful, and only requires a voluntary donation for entry.

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Did you know there’s a family mini-golf in Cabot? Jungle Rumble has both mini-golf and a soft play. It’s right upstairs at the top.

Swimming is obviously a great choice for indoors activity. Fancy trying somewhere different? Brean Splash has fab indoor water park facilities. Also, did you know there’s a pirate swimming pool in Portishead called Parish Wharf? It has a pirate themed water park!

Need a nap-time drive with something fun at the end? What about the Play Port soft play in Portishead. Or Junction 21 in Frome (Frome is lush, btw, if you’ve never been)

For nature lovers, or buffer-lies, as Tibbs calls them, there’s the North Somerset Butterfly House. Note this isn’t open until March 26th 2016 though.

If you have kids that love dressing up, and learning, I’d recommend the Bath Fashion Museum, the SS Great Britain, and the American Museum in Bath (closed till March 2016). All three have plenty of pretty dresses, fun hats and photo opportunities galore. Don’t be fooled by the SS Great Britain being an outdoor looking boat, by the way, 80% of the trip there is inside and out of the rain.


Also, let’s talk about Bristol Zoo in wet weather. If it’s going to be a one-off trip, I’d save it until it wasn’t raining. But if you’ve got an annual pass, I’d go anyway. There’s plenty of indoor houses and sheltered areas, and, let’s face it, it’ll probably be quieter on a rainy day.

Lastly, never miss out Spike Island or the Arnolfini if you’re in town with kids. Both are large white space galleries and child friendly, with very good changing facilities and coffee shops.




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  1. Or you could enjoy a family photo shoot with Epic Photography…its great fun and a sweet experience for the family! They have a gorgeous studio and very child friendly.

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