Plan your weekend: The Harbourside

Plan your weekend: The Harbourside

Bristol’s iconic Harbourside is always a hub of activity! Get your sea legs down to the Harbourside this Bristol Open Doors to learn more about its history as you step on board the boats and discover amazing engineering along the way. Here are our top pics from the area to help you plan your weekend:


© Jim Cossey

1. Boats and Bridges Tour
Step into the past as we discover the importance of the city’s dockyards, marvel at the feats of engineering of our beloved bridges, and cruise past some of the city’s most famous vessels- all aboard Bristol Ferry Boats! Delivered in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering and kindly sponsored by Curtins.
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2. Bristol Adventure Sea Cadets
Take part in interactive demonstrations of marine engineering, including first Aid, fieldcraft, seamanship, maritime skills and activities for younger visitors.
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3. Brunel’s Swivel Bridge
Volunteers are working to conserve a piece of Bristol’s engineering history (170 years old this year!). Learn how the bridge used to swivel over the harbour and find out about its significance to the dockyards.
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© Sebastian Peters

4. Hidden Harbour
Climb aboard Bristol Packet Boat Trips’  Tower Belle for one of two trips down Bristol’s floating harbour! Delivered in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. 
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© Marcus Reville

5. M Shed
Explore the workshops where all the trains, cranes and boats are cared for, and talk to the curators and volunteers who maintain the exhibits. 
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© John Albarran

6. MV Balmoral
Book ahead onto a specialist engineering tour and investigate operational areas of the MV Balmoral normally hidden from view, or drop in for a general tour of the ship and discover its history.
Drop in (Engineering tours sold out)

7. Underfall Yard
See what makes the floating harbour float! Drop in to look around or book ahead to take a tour of the Victorian Workshop (Sat & Sun) and discover the living time-capsule heart of the yard at work with a demonstration. Delivered in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. 
Drop in (or book onto a tour of the Victorian Workshop)

8. The Albion Dock at SS Great Britain
After laying derelict for 3 years, the 1820’s Grade II Listed docks reopened in 2019. Explore the hidden history of Albion Dock and emerging plans for its future on a tour.
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9. LV 55 John Sebastian Light ship
Climb aboard this friendly light ship, built in 1885 to guide other ships to safety. View demonstrations of rope work and radio telephone, hear the band play and drop by at 3pm for a special theatrical performance!
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