Sorry part two has been a long time coming, but here it is! As always, add your suggestions or drop me a line if you have any. It’s getting warmer, so this one has a bit more of an outdoor emphasis. And here’s part one of five days with a preschooler in Bristol, if you need it.
Get down to Hengrove Play Park – this place isn’t a secret, but I believe it’s one of those that you don’t know unless you know. It’s capacity for fun is, frankly, mind boggling. And it’s free.
Get up to Blaise Castle in the morning. Blaise also gets pretty busy at weekends, so a morning play session in the excellent playgrounds is great. You could take a picnic lunch, and a buggy, and do walking naps if you need to, there’s plenty of level paths for little legs and little wheels. There’s also the perfect stream for ‘fooling around’ in your wellies, with sticks, in the shade. And if you’ve got a dog, all the better, they can come too. Blaise is free. The car park is also free. And there is a castle, and a stately home, to look around.
Head to St Werburghs City Farm, which opens at 9am and is absolutely free, although as a charity, it’s nice to give a donation in some way. On Wednesdays, they have stay and play at the Boiling Wells facility there, which costs £1, no need to book.
In the afternoon, stay in the area and head to the marvellous Parlour Cafe for a traditional ice cream sundae and a coffee and maybe a cake. The amazing Baked to Imperfection has just started supplying them. Very tasty.
If it’s one of those lovely still, clear early Summer mornings, arrive at Victoria Park as the sun is hitting the grass and have the playground to yourself, or at least, partially, for an hour or two. Mrs Browns Cafe is back open (always a highlight of my year!) so you can get a decent coffee and enjoy a bench and maybe a snatched gossip with a friend.
If you’re still thirsty for more hill walking and a peaceful afternoon, you could head up the Wells Rd (probably a 20 minute walk from the park) and check out Craftisan in the afternoon. It has a craft table for kids, excellent cake, and is right by the bus stops for your way home/back into town.
Head up to Bristol Museum. Even if you only go twice a year (and one of these times will be for Chinese New Year, guaranteed!), weekday mornings are a good time to get the most out of it. If you’re feeling creative and theatrical, we love the little ‘create your own live painting’ area at the back, where you can do some quality messing about role play without feeling silly.
If you’re feeling like a treat, I really recommend Byron for lunch, they seem to love kids in there, the menu is good value for them, and you get to eat amazing burgers. We also like Wagamamas on the Triangle too, and I know lots of folk love Rocotillos. The cafe in the Bristol Guildhall is also nice, and has a tiny little courtyard.
I’d finish the week on a literal high with a play in Brandon Hill Park. It’s by far my favourite Bristol Park, I just never have a bad walk there, and the playground is the perfect size. You could even take a sneaky wine and meet your other half for pre-home time picnic tea.