Visiting Underfall Yard
Underfall Yard is a working boatyard that welcomes visitors. There is an ever changing landscape of boats to enjoy thanks to the skilled maritime businesses that call the yard home. They have organisations relating to boat building, rigging, blacksmithing, marine engineering, marine safety, maritime training and maritime leisure pursuits. In their Visitor Centre you can explore the fascinating story of Bristol’s Floating Harbour through hands-on displays, a giant interactive map and with the help of their amazing volunteers.
Ride the Human Accumulator, which explains hydraulic power in just 2 minutes. Visitors enter the accumulator drum to act as 80 tonnes of scrap metal. They are lifted several metres upward using the power of pumps and, at the turn of a valve, their downward force pushes hydraulic fluid through an overhead pipe to lift a sluice paddle. Science in action has never been so uplifting.
Enjoy magnet-operated games showing how the water level in the Floating Harbour is maintained; how silt is managed; and how the entrance locks into the Floating Harbour operate. You’ll be awash with knowledge.
Use their giant map of the harbour to locate yourself, your favourites Bristol attractions and discover important features of the docks. Digital screens illuminate the stories and functions of Underfall Yard and the Floating Harbour. Memory and quiz games will help you test your knowledge.
Hydraulic Pump Demonstrations
The Power House was completed in 1887 and converted from steam to electricity in 1907. It was operational until 2010. Three large pumps draw water from the harbour and pressurise it before distributing it around the harbour, via the accumulator. The hydraulic network supplied power to cranes, swing bridges, lock gates, sluices and other functions around the docks. The 1907 pumps have been lovingly restored and are demonstrated for visitors. Their fantastic volunteers explain how they kept Bristol Docks running for over 100 years. Visit their website for details of pump operations.
The slipway at Underfall Yard, known as a ‘Heave-up Slip’, can lift out vessels up to 32m (105 ft) long and 8m (25ft) wide, and up to 180 tonnes dead weight. Boats can be taken out for a quick inspection or anti-fouling or for longer periods for major repair or alteration. Multihulls can be lifted out fully rigged. Narrow Boats can be accommodated either singly or in pairs. Pop along to see who is with them this week!
Group visits of their unique site are led by their enthusiastic tour guides with optional catering packages. Tours last approximately 1 hour and take in the Pump Room, Workshops and Sluice Room. Tours can be run daytime, evenings and weekends. Please contact them to discuss your requirements and to make a booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0117 929 3250
Delicious hot sandwiches prepared onsite, as well as hot and cold beverages, snacks and treats. Once you’ve ordered, you can enjoy your food either in the Visitor Centre or out on the Knuckle with great views of the harbour. On sunny days they put out deck chairs!
Dogs on leads are welcome in all public parts of the site, including the café and Underfall Yard is a popular stopping-off place for those completing the roundtrip of Harbourside walk.
Open 7 days a week
Summer (Easter to October) 8am – 9pm
Winter (October to Easter) 9am – 5pm
As a working yard, occasionally it may be necessary to close the yard gates at short notice to protect visitors from dangerous operations. During these times, the footpath on Cumberland Road provides an alternative route.
Closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays)
Summer (Easter to October) 10am – 5pm
Winter (October to Easter) 10am – 4pm
During periods where the main yard gates are closed for safety reasons, The Visitor Centre remains accessible via the Nova Scotia Place entrance gates.
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm
Their visitor centre, education and meeting room are available for private hire.
|Open (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)|
- Guide Dogs Permitted
- Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
- Ramp/Level Access
- Toilets for Disabled Visitors
- On-Site café/restaurant - Opening date TBC
- Conference facilities - Small education workshop for hire (capacity 40)
- Dogs Accepted
- Toilets - From 16th June
- In town/city centre
- Indoor Attraction
- Outdoor Attraction
- Stag and Hen Parties
Parking & Transport
- Parking (charge) - limited metered parking nearby
Tours and Demonstrations
- Demonstrations Given
- Educational Visits Accepted
- Guided Tours Available for Groups