Come rain or shine, Bristol’s a beautiful city to explore. Although, there can be days when the heavens open and being outdoors is just downright undoable. So, it’s a good job Bristol has an excellent array of indoor activities for you to choose from too.
We’ll start on the harbourside with Watershed. When it first opened in 1982, it was the UK’s first ever media centre. Now, it’s an incredible multi-arts venue with three cinemas and an excellent café bar. It’s also the home of the Pervasive Media Studio – a community of more than 100 artists, creative companies, academics and technology experts, who collaborate on projects ranging from wildlife conservation to advanced robotics.
In terms of indie cinemas, Watershed is one of the best around. Its programme of films is far-reaching and curated from around the world. However, art house isn’t for everyone. So if you’re looking for blockbusters, then Bristol has three options for you.
The Odeon on Union Street has a prime location right in the heart of the Bristol Shopping Quarter. There’s a 13-screen state-of-the-art Showcase Cinema de Lux in Cabot Circus. If you’re staying out of town – at our Alveston hotel for example – it’s convenient, as you can utilise the shopping centre’s 2,600-space car park, which is open 24/7. Your third, final and most decadent option is the Everyman cinema, which is located in what used to be Clifton’s historic Whiteladies Picture House. It’s more expensive than your average cinema, but it’s a different experience entirely, with comfy, sofa-style seating, genuinely tasty food and drink, plus the latest in big-screen technology.
Another great option is the Bristol Aquarium. You can find it on the waterfront, directly opposite the We The Curious science centre. Spread over more than 40 different displays, you’ll get to see sharks, stingrays, piranhas, puffer fish and an incredible giant octopus. Be sure to find out the feeding times and plan your trip around them.
Bristol draws comparisons with some of the best city break destinations in Europe, particularly Berlin. However, it’s from Budapest that Bristol has borrowed one of its most popular indoor activities – escape rooms.
Locked in a Room is Bristol’s biggest, and one of the best. Find it around the corner from the Bristol Hippodrome. In total, it has eight incredibly immersive escape rooms, which can be played all at once by up to 44 people. The premise remains the same – you have 60 minutes to escape the locked room by solving puzzles and discovering clues. It’s just like the city’s original escape room – Puzzlair, which remains a popular choice in Bristol’s Old Market Quarter.
If you’re looking for something scarier – and you’re willing to forgo sleep for a few weeks – pay a visit to the 19th-century prison cells of Bristol’s Old Crown Courts to take on Hell in a Cell. It’s been voted the number one Horror Escape in Europe. Everything has been carefully thought out to make it one of the most disorientating escape games around. It’s dark, it’s claustrophobic and it’s legitimately scary. And the live actors are top class. People talk about these kinds of activities being like the Crystal Maze; Hell in a Cell is like Jigsaw’s dropped you into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
From Leatherface to something for petrol heads, Absolutely Karting is a fantastic day out for all ages. It’s one of the best indoor go-karting tracks in the country, featuring a one-kilometre track spread across two levels, with chicanes, ramps and straights where you can reach top speeds of nearly 50mph. The go-karts themselves are top-of-the-line and fitted with 270cc Honda engines. Absolutely Karting boast that you won’t find bigger engines on safer karts in the country. But best of all, it’s only fifteen minutes from our Bristol East (Emersons Green) hotel.
And, last but not least, if you want to feel like a kid again, make your way to Airhop Bristol. It’s the world’s largest trampoline park, with hundreds of trampolines interconnected across the floor and lining the walls. It’s also got foam pits, battle beams, a Total Wipeout area, two dodgeball courts and much more for you to delve into. If you’re staying at our Bristol Cribbs Causeway (M5, J17) hotel, then it’s right on your doorstep. It’s great fun, plus you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour.