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Interior of Bristol museum and art gallery

Indoor activities in Bristol

Spring weather can be often unpredictable. That’s why it is useful to keep options up your sleeve for when the heavens open.

When it comes to indoor activities, Bristol has lots to offer, including galleries, museums, theatres, as well great shops and entertainment for the whole family.

Simply take one of our trains to Bristol and follow our handy guide below, full of great things to do in Bristol, including indoor activities for kids. 



Established in the early 1960s, Arnolfini is a contemporary art gallery showing work by artists from around the world. Located on the harbourside in the heart of the city, the gallery’s programme includes an exhibition by Portuguese-British painter Paula Rego (until 29 May). Arnolini is also a music venue and cinema. 

Spike Island, Bristol 

Spike Island is an artistic hub in Bristol’s city-centre harbour area. A contemporary art exhibition space, the gallery is also home to a café and studios for those working in the creative industries. It’s a great place to see ambitious large-scale art that’s designed to challenge expectations. 

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

With three floors of art and artefacts, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect place to pitch up for the day if you’re looking to spend time indoors. Housed in an impressive Edwardian building, the museum reveals the story of the Earth, from its geological origins to the high points of cultural ingenuity. In just one building, you can span the history of the world – from the dinosaurs to Picasso! 

Royal West of England Academy

In the heart of the city, Royal West of England Academy is an independent charity sharing some the finest collections of art from around the world. Where new talent meets historical talent, there’s a café for a light refreshment.    

Theatre and cinema 


Watershed is a cinema, café and workspace on Bristol’s harbourside. It shows mainly independent films from the UK and beyond, making it a good place to visit if you’re looking for something beyond the usual blockbuster fare. The café-bar is a super place to hang out, serving a tasty menu that includes decent vegetarian and vegan option. 

Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic has a world-class reputation for commissioning new shows and promoting young talent. It’s also the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world. And a recent redevelopment programme means it’s even bigger and better than ever. 

Bristol Hippodrome 

Bristol Hippodrome is where to go to catch the latest West End and Broadway musicals, such as We Will Rock You, Chicago and School of Rock. It also has a strong programme of touring comedy and music shows.   

Museums and landmarks 

M Shed

Housed in a 1950s transit shed, M Shed tells the story of Bristol, from prehistoric times to the present day. Using photography, film and personal stories, M Shed offers an engaging take on the traditional museum, and includes some fun working exhibits on the harbourside, including cranes and trains. 

SS Great Britain

The world’s first great ocean liner, SS Great Britain was designed by the hugely innovative Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is held in the Great Western Drydock, where it was originally built nearly 200 years ago. Discover the fascinating history of this fine vessel, which spent 30 years as a passenger ship before lugging coal across the Atlantic. 

The Georgian House Museum

This 18th-Century house was once the home of John Pinney, a wealthy slave plantation owner. The 11-room residence reveals what life was like for Pinney and his servants. The Georgian House Museum is a fascinating place to explore, especially in this era of soul searching, as Bristol comes to terms with its colonial past. 

We The Curious

We The Curious has over 300 interactive exhibits that explore the fascinating world of science. From tornadoes and cosmic rays to bubbles and ice, We The Curious encourages visitors to ask questions about the world around us. There’s also a cool 3D planetarium, with a programme of informative and immersive shows. 

Bristol Cathedral 

The impressive Bristol Cathedral is well worth a visit. It boasts vaulted ceilings in the nave, choir, and aisles – all at the same height – giving the space a uniquely open and airy feeling. It also has a long history, with the church dating back to the 12th-Century, and a fine set of towers designed by gothic revivalist John Loughborough Pearson, who was responsible for building Truro Cathedral, among many other important works. 

Food and drink 


It’s all gone a bit Peaky Blinders at this 1920s-style steakhouse, serving top-quality cuts of meat cooked to your liking, as well as a cauliflower steak for vegans and vegetarians. Or why not tuck into one of Mugshot’s speciality pizzas. There’s also a notably impressive cocktail menu, if you’re looking to make a night of it. 


This small and elegant restaurant, housed in a shipping container on Bristol’s Wapping Wharf harbourside, offers a 7-course set menu. If you’re looking for inventive small dishes and quality complimentary wine, then Tare’s the place for you. Make sure you book in advance. 


At the heart of the city centre is this local favourite – Bristol’s oldest Italian restaurant. Enjoy all your Italian favourites at Giuseppe's, including pizza and pasta, as well as a good selection of antipasti, chicken and meat dishes. 

Family fun 

Bristol Aquarium

You’ll discover thousands of exciting aquatic animals at Bristol Aquarium, including rays, sharks, seahorses, piranhas and more. There are 40 themed displays to explore, as well as a giant botanical house known as the ‘urban jungle’. 

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Bristol Zoo Gardens isn’t technically an indoor attraction, but even on a rainy day, it’s a great place to visit, with plenty of places to take shelter. It’s also the fifth oldest zoo in the world and home to gorillas, lions, tortoises, lemurs, penguins, monkeys and chameleons. There’s an adventure playground, where the little ones can let loose for a little while. And there’s the adventure ropes course ZooRopia, with 17 challenging sections ending with a zip wire back down to earth. Please note, the Zoo is closing on the 3 September so book whilst it’s still here!  


Cabot Circus

This covered shopping centre in Bristol’s main retail district has all the big-name fashion shops, such as H&M, Next and Zara, alongside designer outlets, like Boss, Cos and All Saints. And Cabot Circus has plenty of places where you can grab a bite to eat, with Five Guys, Nando’s and Wagamama among the eateries to choose from. 

The Galleries

If there’s anything you can’t get in Cabot Circus, you’ll surely find it at The Galleries. Among the shopping centre’s stores are Waterstones, Boots, Game and Argos. And for refreshments, there’s a Caffé Nero, Greggs and Subway. 

Looking for more inspiration on things to do this spring? Check out our other destinations and book your tickets today

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