The 5 Best Museums In Bristol, UK

Sophia Karner

As one of the UK’s major cities, Bristol not only has a thriving and significant music and theater scene, with a large variety of productions, but also many significant museums that house great collections of natural history, modern art, local archaeology and culture. Explore our list below of the most outstanding museums in this culturally significant area of England.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

1. The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Art Gallery, Museum

The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery houses impressive collections of art, nature, culture and history all under one roof. This includes everything from Egyptian and ancient Assyrian artefacts over Chinese ceramics and diamonds to a fantastic art collection, ranging from Camille Pissarro to famous Dutch and Italian painters. The museum’s temporary exhibitions are as diverse as its permanent collection with, for example, the death: the human experience exhibition that explores the human response to death from across the world, or the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. There are also special events, such as the Mexican Day of the Dead that celebrates the traditional Mexican festival with face paintings and real artefacts.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm

2. M Shed


M Shed

M Shed, located on Prince’s Wharf in Bristol Harbour, is a museum that tells the fascinating history of the city through films and photographs, as well as moving personal accounts and artefacts from prehistoric times to today. The museum’s name, M Shed, is derived from the traditional way that the harbour used to identify its sheds for decades. Since it first opened in June 2011, M Shed has acquired over 3,000 artefacts and stories that not only depict the role of the city in slave trade and transport, but also tell people’s personal stories relating to life and work in Bristol throughout history. Entry to the museum is free.

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm

Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol, UK, +44 117 352 6600

M Shed, Bristol Harbour | © David MCKelvey/FlickrM Shed, Bristol Harbour | © David MCKelvey/Flickr

3. The Georgian House Museum

Museum, Historical Landmark

The Georgian House Museum
© Sam Saunders/Flickr
In 1790, the house which is now home to the Georgian House Museum was built as a family home for the wealthy plantation owner and sugar merchant, George Pinney and his family. At the time, Pinney was considered as nouveau riche, which is also reflected in the house; it is solid but still built to impress. The Georgian House Museum has been faithfully reconstructed and gives authentic insights into what life was like in the Georgian area, for both a wealthy plantation owner and his servants. In 11 rooms spread out over four different floors, visitors are invited to explore everything, from an elegant dining room to the servants’ quarters in the basement. Entry to this museum is also free of charge.

Opening hours: Wed-Thu 10.30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10.30am-4pm

5. The Red Lodge Museum

Museum, Park, School

The Red Lodge Museum is a former Tudor house that has been transformed into a fantastic museum showcasing more than 400 years of history. Behind a small, bright red door, visitors are invited to explore the fascinating past of this house, which has not only been used as royal party house during the 16th century, but also as a Victorian reform school and a dissection theatre for 19th century medical students. The Red Lodge has escaped destruction again and again over the years and has kept the bigger part of its history alive until today. There is not much extra information available in the museum, but the rooms itself tell a riveting story and the volunteers are very knowledgeable and always happy to supply some extra information.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-4.45pm The Red Lodge Museum | © Sam Saunders/FlickrBy Sophia Karner

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