Days out with kids in bristol – 10 fun things to do this autumn half term

One of the things I love about organising organising days out with kids in Bristol is that there is never a shortage of fun things to do. I know this may feel a bit less so in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still plenty of things to keep your family entertained. Here are my top picks!


1 – Penguin trail @ SS Great Britain

Open daily, 10-5pm

The SS Great Britain penguin trail (requires online booking & pre-payment – grab your slot now!)

Waddle on over to Brunel’s SS Great Britain and meet a group of penguins visiting from the Falkland Islands, where the ship lay abandoned until 1970. Stanley and his friends have come to find out more about the ship’s awe-inspiring homecoming to Bristol 50 years ago, but they’ve been enjoying their visit so much that they’ve lost their eggs! Set off on the Penguin Trail and search the ship and dockyard to help reunite the penguins with their precious chicks.

Don’t miss the free outdoor photography exhibition on the Harbourside. For more click here.


2 – The Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail (free, citywide)

Halloween 2020 is looking a little different. With trick-or-treat a bit of a Covid no-go, the Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail is looking like really good fun and great exercise! It’s a free event for everyone, all you need to do is pop a pumpkin in your window then on Halloween, instead of their usual sweetie hunting antics families can head out and spot all the creations.

Whether you choose to draw your pumpkin and stick it to your window, make something purely from recycled materials and hang it up, or perhaps craft a cutout figure with ghoulish lighting behind it, creativity is the name of the game. So get planning!

Hosted by ARTventurers, there’s even a Facebook group for inspiration for pumpkin carving, costume ideas and much more in the lead up to Halloween.

While remaining free for all, for every official “window cling sticker” sold for The Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail ARTventurers will be making a donation to the Great North Air Ambulance.

For your free printable pumpkin templates and all the trail details click here.


3 – Book a surfing session at The Wave surfing lake in Easter Compton

We now have an artificial surfing lake right here in Bristol. I can’t claim to have visited The Wave yet, but I’ve only heard good things. How could it NOT be fun?!

For more information click here.


4 – Autumnal walk in Brandon Hill park

Grab the kids’ scooters and a bag of mixed nuts to head up to Brandon Hill park. While it’s best known as home to Cabot Tower, which is not currently open due to social distancing measures, the park will always boast a fantastic panoramic view over the city. There are plenty of paths so no need to get overly muddy (unless you want to!) and lots of opportunities to check out the beautiful changing colours of the trees this autumn.

The squirrels in the park are accustomed to close human contact and are usually very happy to be fed. If you’re hungry after seeing the squirrels munching their grub, head over to Park Street for snacks and refreshments (Mrs Potts chocolate house would be a good choice…)


5 – Wild Place

A visit to the Wild Place (near Cribbs Causeway) is a brilliant day out for adults and kids alike. There is so much to do, all in a much more natural setting with larger enclosures than you may be used to seeing. Animal parks and zoos have struggled greatly, and continue to face tough times in navigating their way through the pandemic, with high fixed costs for keeping their animals fed and properly cared for.


6 – National Trust

If you’ve already got a National Trust membership, don’t forget to book your half term slots to make the most of it. If you haven’t got a membership you can still grab your slot online. We are blessed with a few great venues in and around Bristol and Bath, such as Tyntesfield, Dyrham Park and Prior Park. It’s a nice time of year to pull your wellies on and head out into nature. Fancy heading a little further afield? Head off to Stourhead.


7 – Sign up for a seasonal nature box delivery (or make your own!)

If you don’t fancy heading out to nature, why not bring it to you? By signing up for a seasonal nature box delivery online you can get a dose of inspiration delivered to your home. Each box includes everything you need for four seasonal activities: gardening and nature crafts – along with instructions, nature news and a quiz aimed at teaching children about the seasons, plants, insects, birds, soil and rainfall. Of course, you could just make your own!


8 – Bounce off the walls at Freedog (maybe not literally the wall, but close). 

Is it raining? Of course it’s going to be raining at least once this half term…
But there are still plenty of fun things to do in Bristol! Why not book in for a session at Freedog trampolining park? It will save you from bouncing off the walls at home…


9 – Support the creative industries 

There are endless ways you can enjoy creativity whether at home or out and about, I’m sure you’ve discovered quite a few inventive ways to stay positive this year…but have you ever considered taking a singing lesson with a local teacher? (online during Covid times)


10 – Browse an online Christmas market while sipping hot chocolate

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling the disappointment of having no outdoor Christmas markets to look forward to in 2020. There’s nothing that quite sparks the start of the festive season like paying a chilly visit to Bath Christmas Markets to hunt down unique gifts.

Nevertheless, a close second this year will be sipping a hot chocolate while browsing St Peter’s Hospice online market, featuring various local independent creative and crafty businesses.


11 – Book a photoshoot

I know, sorry. This one’s a bit of a sneaky extra one, and totally biased but honestly this really is a brilliant season to capture your family portraits.


Because it’s still pleasant enough to be outdoors and the light is perfect; soft and flattering without the harsh shadows of midday summer sun…plus you can’t beat a bit of warm autumnal colour.

I have currently have a seasonal offer on photoshoot vouchers,  so please get in touch to find out more.

Some places require booking and/or have restricted opening hours, so please check and make plans before visiting to avoid disappointment.



Simon Withyman Photography | Days out with kids in Bristol.