Rocketship adventures, a floating pirate panto and knight school – we’ve got oodles of family-friendly ideas for this May half-term in Bristol.

Explore the Solar System at We the Curious

Blow kids’ minds with a Rocketship Adventure to incredible worlds in our Solar System to see where astronauts of the future will explore, including the rings of Saturn and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Afterwards, unravel the mysteries of time in the Time Lab, pop into The Kitchen to learn more about fermentation and fire up their curiosity even further on the interactive exhibits.

We the curious

Guess who at Bristol Zoo (until 31 August)

Challenge youngsters to spy a list of zoo inhabitants as fast as they can! Get involved in the ultimate game of Guess Who before getting crafty in the activity centre with arts and face-painting. 8-12 year olds can go on a trail through the woods, be part of a tree tribe and print their own leaf pattern T-shirt to take home in Tree-mendous fun at Bristol Zoo Gardens on 31 May (booking essential).

Experience Victorian life at Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Experience life as a Victorian sailor by climbing the ship’s rigging and walking out along the mast for a unique view of the harbour with Go Aloft! If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground then there’s still plenty to discover on board, and underneath, this magnificently-restored ship. Check out brand new museum Being Brunel located alongside the ship. Inside you’ll find out more about the life and engineering achievements of Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Kids will love hopping aboard a rocking 1830s railway carriage or stepping ‘inside Brunel’s mind’ with wrap-around sights, sounds and smells from extraordinary moments in his life.

SS Great Britain

Seek out a Land of Adventure at Wild Place

Calling all Wildlife Adventurers! Dress up as your favourite character and embark on a Really Wild Quest around the park, take a magical adventure through the enchanted woodland, spot fairy doors, post your wish under the Magic Wishing Tree and visit the animals from around the world.

Learn about The Big Blue at Bristol Aquarium (26 May - 3 June)

Get your children hooked on life beneath the waves at Bristol Aquarium and discover what lies beneath the water. Take part in hands-on experiments, get up close to tropical fish and learn all about The Big Blue!

Bristol aquarium

Experience a working crane at M Shed (2-3 June)

Experience a working crane on the dockside with trips inside the electric cranes and the Fairbairn steam crane at M Shed. Watch the impressive landmarks at work and find out the vital part they played in the working life of the dockside.

Explore with Alfie Fox at Aerospace (28 May - 1 June)

Get to grips with the principles of flight with hands-on activities under Concorde Alpha Foxtrot (the last Concorde to be built and fly). Have your photo taken in the Concorde Simulator Flight Deck, help Alfie Fox on his fact-finding trail, find the seven 'clocking-in' stations hidden throughout the museum and watch the short animation ‘Miss Todd’ in the John James Lecture Theatre.

Aerospace Bristol

Be propelled into another world with Wild Words at St George’s (30 May)

Wild Words' new family show ‘Vivaldi’s Dream’ propels us into a precarious world, where downloads, apps, virtual reality and 360, 20/20, 24/7, 10D technology have taken over our lives! A thought provoking tale with storytelling, song, live music and film.

Set sail for Captain Barnacle's Private Panto on The Matthew (1 June)

Charm the barnacles off little pirate-lovers on a one-hour trip around the Harbour with Captain Barnacle on caravel replica ship, The Matthew. Expect pirate props, puppets, singing, lashings of silliness and audience participation.

The Matthew

Get Crafty at Bristol Cathedral (30 May)

Bristol Cathedral's family craft mornings offer fun for children of all ages (best suited to under 11s). Explore the Cathedral with trails and tours and get messy creating. 

Love Your Zoo at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm (25 May-2 June)

Noah’s Ark are celebrating BIAZA’s Love Your Zoo Week for the whole of half-term week. Seek out all the hidden hearts in the animal enclosures for a chance to win an Animal Adoption. Take part in the fantastic workshops and visit Noah’s Ark’s newest addition, 26-year-old bull elephant Shaka, who joins two younger bulls in the 20-acre 'Elephant Eden' to form the UK’s first African Elephant bull facility. There will also be a photo competition and plenty of love-themed festivities on social media.

Shaka elephant

Have a laugh at American Museum in Britain (27 & 29 May - 3 June)

Keep up the moral of the troops, and those back home by having fun and telling a joke or two on a Charlie Chaplin inspired family trail.

Victorian month at Tyntesfield (26 May -3 June)

From hopscotch and den building, to silver polishing and napkin folding, there are 10 Victorian things to try at Tyntesfield this half-term. Pre-book horse and carriage rides and Victorian food before they sell out!

National Trust

Celebrate all things rural at The Royal Bath and West Show (30 May - 2 June)

Join in the four-day celebration of great British agriculture, entertainment, food and drink, featuring 4500 Livestock, show jumping and the grand parade of prize-winning animals. 

Knights School at Berkeley Castle (27-30 May)

Grab your swords and make-believe as medieval heroines and heroes of old with Berkeley Castle’s skilled knights in shining armour. There are two separate sessions each day for ages 5-9 years and 10 years to adult. Make sure you stick around for the dramatic and action packed Warrior Show at 3.30pm each day too!

Spring to life at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Head to WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre for a whole week of spring fun. Embark on a Wild Safari, take a VIP Duckery Tour, grab a paddle and spot wildlife on a Canoe Safari, head off on the Spring to Life outdoor trail and learn more about Nature's Newborns.

Get back to nature at Avon Valley Wildlife Park (1-31 May)

May is Nature & Wildlife Month at Avon Valley Wildlife Park. Discover the wildlife that lives along the banks of the River Avon, get back to nature with pond dipping, leaf and bark rubbings, go on a live bug quest round the nature garden, learn how to identify creepy crawlies and go on a poo hunt in a game of Avon Valley Guess Poo!  There’s also nature-themed crafts and quizzes, regular keeper talks and extra activities at weekends and during half-term. From 26 May, little Tiggers can boing to their heart’s content with the opening of the new jumping pillows.

Bug hotel

Cookery classes at Cooking it! (30 May)

Yankee Doogle cookery class will be teaching kids how to make handmade burgers, brownies, cowboys in blankets and burger buns on 30 May or book youngsters (between 6 and 9 years old) on to Mad science cookery class so they can rustle up rainbow pasta, multi-coloured grilled cheese and edible silly putty plus lots more!

Visit a fascinating world of predators at Longleat

Come face to face with the planet’s most astounding predators at Longleat. Get up close to a menagerie of animatronic models including a deep-sea anglerfish, giant 12-metre-long saltwater crocodile, polar bear, sabre-toothed cat and a three-metre-tall spitting cobra…which actually spits! Longleat will also be hosting the blockbuster T-Rex exhibition devised by the Natural History Museum from 24 May – 3 Sept.

Longleat

For even more May half-term inspiration, check out Visit Bristol’s May events page here.

Related

We The Curious
Science Centre
We The Curious

We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol Science Centre) is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.

Bristol Zoo Gardens
Animal Collection
Ring-tailed Lemur with baby

A visit to this city zoo is your passport for a day trip into an amazing world of animals, exhibits and other attractions

Brunel's SS Great Britain
Historic Ship
Brunel's SS Great Britain

Step aboard the award-winning Brunel's SS Great Britain for a ship shape and Bristol fashion day out!

The Big Blue at Bristol Aquarium
Animal/Wildlife
The Big Blue at Bristol Aquarium

Come and dive into Bristol Aquarium and explore what lives beneath the water.

The Land of Adventure at Wild Place Project
Animal/Wildlife
The Land of Adventure at Wild Place Project

Wild Place Project will transform into The Land of Adventure this May Half Term!

Aerospace Bristol
Museum
Aerospace Bristol

Journey through more than a century of fascinating aviation history – including aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets, engines and more – and step aboard the last Concorde ever to fly.

Crane rides at M Shed
Participatory Event
Crane rides at M Shed

Experience a working crane on the dockside with trips inside the electric cranes and the Fairbairn steam crane, M Shed’s biggest exhibits! Watch the impressive landmarks at work and find out the vital part they played in the working life of the dockside.

The Matthew
Historic Ship
The Matthew

Based in Bristol’s floating harbour for much of the year, the Matthew is popular for harbour tours as well as longer sailing trips.

Wild Words – Vivaldi's Dream at St George's Bristol
Theatre
Wild Words – Vivaldi's Dream at St George's Bristol

Wild Words' new, original family show propels us into a precarious world, where downloads, apps, virtual reality and 360, 20/20, 24/7, 10D technology have taken over our lives!

Bristol Cathedral
Cathedral/Minster
Bristol Cathedral

Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.

BIAZA's Love Your Zoo Week at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
Animal/Wildlife
BIAZA's Love Your Zoo Week at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is celebrating BIAZA's Love Your Zoo Week this half term! ​​​​​​​There will be lots going on to celebrate this very special event.

Side by Side: Time for a Laugh at American Museum in Britain
Family
Side by Side: Time for a Laugh at American Museum in Britain

Time to keep the moral of the troops, and those back home up by having fun and telling a joke or too on our Charlie Chaplin inspired family trail.

The Royal Bath and West Show
Countryside
The Bath and West Show

A four day celebration of great British agriculture, entertainment, food and drink, featuring 4500 Livestock, show jumping and the grand parade of prize-winning animals.

Victorian Month at Tyntesfield: 10 Victorian Things to Do
Participatory Event
Victorian Month at Tyntesfield: 10 Victorian Things to Do

From hopscotch and den building, to silver polishing and napkin folding, there are 10 Victorian things to try at Tyntesfield this half term.

Spring to Life at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Seasonal
Spring to Life at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Head to WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre for a whole week of spring fun with lots to learn and plenty to keep you entertained

Knights School at Berkeley Castle
Workshop
Knights School at Berkeley Castle

Grab your swords and head to Berkeley Castle this May half term for Knight School with our skilled knights in shining armour.

Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park

Avon Valley is a place to meet animals of all shapes and sizes, including Shetland Ponies, Pigs, Goats, Donkeys, Rabbits, Snakes, Alpaca, Wallabies, Red & Fallow Deer, Rare Breed Cattle and Sheep and more.

Predators at Longleat
Animal/Wildlife
Predators at Longleat

Come face to face with the planet’s most astonishing predators in this awesome new feature.

Mad science cookery class at Cooking it!
Food and Drink
Mad science cookery class at Cooking it!

May Half Term Mad Science Cookery Workshop is for Children between 6 and 9 years old.