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The 5 Best Museums In Bristol, UK
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The 5 Best Museums In Bristol, UK

Picture of Sophia Karner
Updated: 2 August 2017
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.
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The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

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

Queens Rd, Bristol, UK, +44 117 922 3571

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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

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The Georgian House Museum

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

7 Great George St, Bristol, UK, +44 117 921 1362

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ss Great Britain

First built in the early 19th century, the impressive ss Great Britain has returned to its place of construction in 1970 and has been extensively restored since. The ship itself has been remarkably kept intact and is the obvious star of the museum. Its fascinating working life of over 127 years, which lead through years as a luxury liner, emigrant rescue boat, cargo ship and finally, floating warehouse, is depicted in the museum’s interior in great detail. There are also real diaries and letters that describe the life on board and tell the personal stories surrounding the amazing history of the ss Great Britain. It is definitely worth a visit, and the entry ticket is valid for return visits for an entire year.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-4.30pm

Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol, UK

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The Red Lodge Museum

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

Red Lodge, Park Row, Bristol, UK, +44 177 927 3807