Whilst on the Gromit Unleashed trail this summer we got to experience many parts of Bristol we hadn't ventured to before. One of the highlights for me was the museums. The M-Shed is a museum for the history of Bristol, entry is FREE but they do ask for a donation. Unlike the museums I remember as a kid everything is so hands on with anything not to be touched being well protected, so I was able to let the boys explore freely. They have a real (old) double decker bus, pelican crossing with traffic lights, air raid shelter, old fashioned toys & street games. As we were on the Gromit trail we only had an hour but will be visiting again to discover more. We also plan to time it so that we can take a trip on Bristol's Harbour Railway, as the boys would love to go on a real (steam) train!
We also visited Bristol City Museum in Clifton. Its more of a traditional Museum however it was still family friendly, with a dedicated (play) area for children to explore. The boys loved the dinosaur & sea life areas. Its also worth noting a that as well as a cafe, they also have a picnic room that is available all year around (its tucked away so ask if you can't find it). Entry to Bristol Museum is also FREE, again asking for a donation.
Whilst we were staying at my Mums in Devon, we took the chance to visit Barnstaple Museum. I visited several times as a child & remembered admiring their insect wall. Again everything was family friendly with exhibits designed for children. In the world war area they did have sound effects of bombs, which scared Joseph (4.5) a little, even though it wasn't loud. Barnstaple Museum is also FREE to enter.
During the summer we also took the boys to @Bristol, Bristol's science museum. All though its not free & to be honest a little expensive, I would say its worth it. At their current age (4.5 & 3) it was great fun with lots to play with & lots of buttons etc to test. It will also be great in a couple of years when they can really get the educational benefit from it. Its a full day out, be aware that parking can be expensive. If you want to skip the cafe at lunch time, they have a great picnic room or if its nice lunch in millennium square (just outside) is lovely, but pack a towel as the fountains are a favourite for the kids to play in!
If you would like to find a free museum in your part of the UK check out this listing over on Money Saving Expert.
x Jo x