48 Hours: A twin-city break to Bristol and Bath
Did you know that 13 miles is all that separates the city centres of Bath and Bristol? Yep, a half-marathon distance is all that stands between the two, making it the ideal destination for a twin-city break!
Explore the best of both worlds, from Bath’s stunning architecture and historical streets, to Bristol’s world-famous street art and alternative culture. Here’s how we got on with our 48-hour challenge…
24 hours in Bristol
First things first, Bristol is easy to get to. Just 1hr 25 from Birmingham, or direct from London Paddington from 1hr 43, the train is a hassle-free way to travel with the whole family and is great value too when booking in advance.
Arriving safely into Bristol Temple Meads, first on our list to explore was SS Great Britain. The striking ship is found in the Great Western Dockyard and is absolutely perfect for families. Starting off in the Brunel Institute, we were able to hold a piece of the original hull in our hands, before watching some braver visitors attempt to climb the rig. The dry dock is definitely one not to be missed, where you can venture ‘underwater’ without getting wet – we’ll leave you to work that out!
You can easily spend the whole day here, but after a few hours, and some lunch on board, we headed off to our second stop…
M Shed is the free to enter museum that tells the history of Bristol through the memories and stories of the people who have lived here. Featuring films, photographs and interactive exhibits, kids will love exploring the hands-on activities, plus there’s a kids trail to try too.
These are just two of the fantastic harbour hotspots in Bristol, but the reality is that there is so much more to explore. Luckily, Fritha from Tigerlilly Quinn has already reviewed Bristol Aquarium for us, and Ali described At-Bristol as the day out you won’t want to end – both of which are great options for kids too if you have a bit more time. Plus, with the city centre and old city areas to explore too, you’ll never run out of things to do!
We stayed at the Radisson Blu in Broad Quay, with beautiful views over Bristol’s harbourside. Perfect for families, this hotel provides a great little fun pack for kids, including an activity booklet, sweets and vouchers that can be exchanged for treats, making it a great hotel choice if you’re travelling with the kids. For food, the harbourside is a treasure trove of choice, even with fussy eaters in tow. We settled on No1 Harbourside, which has a great kids menu packed with seasonal vegetables.
From Bristol to Bath
After enjoying breakfast, we hopped on a quick train ride over to Bath, ready for our first stop at the Roman Baths. Possibly one of the most iconic and popular tourist attractions in the city, it’s somewhere that visitors of all ages can really enjoy. A special kids' audio guide is perfect for engaging them in the history, with costumed characters really helping to bring the baths to life. There’s a map and a trail included, which is great to allow them to lead the way and explore, and with so much to discover, we could have happily spent hours here. However, keen to explore as much as possible in our short trip, we headed to the next thing on our list.
Who doesn’t love an open-top bus? The best way to see any city, the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Tour features a whopping 36 stops, exploring all of the famous attractions. You can hop off at any time to delve a little deeper, so this is something that could be a quick tour around the city, or a full day activity exploring every single stop. The audio guide is a great way for kids to keep track of the tour, but we also found they love pointing out things from the top deck of the bus.
Once again, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, but we recommend Comptoir Libanais if you’re looking for something a bit different. Home to authentic Lebanese cuisine, it also has a fantastic kids menu, so it’s great for the whole family.
With bellies full, it was time to head to our third stop for the day (we told you we were busy!), The Edge. Bursting with creativity and a whole host of family exhibits and workshops, you’ll be guaranteed to leave feeling inspired. We saw a fantastic space to encourage kids to read and be creative, and we also had the chance to take part in chair and pottery workshops. With a bumper programme of events, this is a must-visit if your kid has an interest in creative play or crafts.
From here, it was on to the American Museum, which is found just 5 mins outside of the city centre. There are plenty of chances for the kids to get involved, from dressing up in historical outfits, to trails and quizzes geared towards different age ranges. There are loads of family events throughout the year too, giving kids the chance to get stuck in with arts and crafts, and is well worth a visit.
Our fifth and final stop in our action-packed day was to Prior Park for an outdoor performance by the Egg Theatre. If you saw our Instagram story, you may remember a few snaps from this, where theatre meets acrobatics, all set within the trees. Unlike anything we’ve seen before, the kids were mesmerised by the show, which is designed to really bring the magic of nature to life.
And with a few more hours to spare…
Before jumping back on the train to head home, we managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Bristol Aquarium, and Bristol Zoo & Gardens. Like Fritha, we loved Bristol Aquarium; it’s a great place to explore everything under the sea, and younger kids will love seeing the sea creatures in action. Likewise, we’re already planning our return visit to Bristol Zoo & Gardens, as we’d love more time to explore it properly!
Have you ever considered a twin-city break? Let us know your favourite days out in Bristol and Bath in a comment below!