Ferries In Bristol
Making your way around Bristol can be more exciting than hailing a taxi or catching the bus. Bristol offers a number of boat trips that can either get you from A to B or take you on a wonderful tour of the city, all from the riverside.
Catch a glimpse of Bristol beneath the surface of the city’s hustle and bustle and connect to the countryside scenes on a boat trip. These fantastic tours give you a different perspective, letting you see sights you’d miss on foot. With tours taking you around the harbour itself, directly to harbourside attractions, to the train station or even out for a meal, there is bound to be an option you love.
Bristol Ferry Boats
Bristol Ferry Boats is the main ferry company in Bristol. They are a community owned organisation and purely focus on providing the city with this fantastic service, not making a profit.
At the moment, all boat tours are suspended due to COVID-19, though they hope to be up and running again on April 3rd 2021 (this date is subject to change). In current times, Bristol Ferry Boats is struggling due to COVID-19, though you can support the group by pre-booking your 2021 tickets or making a donation, both of which can be done through their website.
Under normal circumstances, Bristol Ferry Boats run every day of the year, bar Christmas Day, in the pouring rain or bright sunshine – the fleet are all covered and heated so you don’t need to worry about the weather stopping your trip. Though on some of the longer trips, the river breeze can be a little chilly, so Bristol Ferry Boats recommend wrapping up cozy and warm!
If you fancy a preview before you book, you can catch a glimpse of a virtual tour on the Bristol Ferry Boat social media sites – @bristol.ferry on Facebook or @bristolferry on Instagram.
Bristol Ferry Boats have a fleet of five, named Margaret, Independence, Emily, Matilda and Britgantia and offer six tours for you to choose from.
Avon Gorge Trips
Adult £18.50, Child £16.50
This trip takes you along the scenic River Avon, beginning at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, moving through the historic gates into the lock. Along the tour you can expect to see The Rocks Railway, Old Steamships Dock, to travel under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, past Horseshoe Bend, the Old Powder House, the ancient Sea Mills port and local village Pill.
Along this route, there is commentary, keeping you engaged, entertained, and making sure you don’t miss the history behind these wonderful places. This tour is a great choice for bird watchers, with herons often gathering around Horseshoe Bend in the winter months.
Tea, coffee and snacks are available to buy on the boat, though customers are more than welcome to bring a picnic with them. This makes it a wonderful midday activity if you’re spending a weekend in Bristol.
This trip is 3 hours 30 minutes long and returns you to the harbourside after the tour. The departure site is Brunel’s SS Great Britain, so for those in wheelchairs, if you contact Bristol Ferry Boats, then a more accessible pick up site can be arranged.
For the Avon Gorge Trip, departure times are between 9:05am and 14:45 pm. Book a slot early if you have a particular time in mind, as these time slots are based upon availability.
Brunel’s Bristol Gorge Trip
Adult £15.00, Child £12.00
The departure for this tour is Temple Meads Landing, just a short stroll from the Temple Meads Train Station. This makes is a fantastic choice to kickstart your day if you’re coming into Bristol by rail.
You then have the option to get off of the ferry part way around, at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, explore the ship and the harbourside, then get the regular ferry service back when you are ready, or you can stay onboard and enjoy the round trip.
Brunel’s Bristol Gorge Trip takes you past the first tunnel bridges, by the SS Great Britain, towards the Lock gates, underneath the Clifton suspension bridge and by the floating harbour, via the Avon Gorge.
The trip lasts roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes, so there are tea, coffee and snack facilities on board, or bring a picnic of your own, if you prefer.
Departures are at regular intervals between 10:10am and 17:55pm, depending on the times available when you book your trip.
Rum Cruise or Gin Cruise
If you pick one of these two cruises leave the kiddos at home! These two tours both take you around the harbour. Enjoy a gentle boat trip, floating through the harbour, around the docks, and have a few drinks.
This is a great way to spend an evening in Bristol, getting a front row view to the waterfront.
If you opt for the Rum Cruise, you’ll get two free rum based drinks included in your ticket price; if the Gin Cruise is more up your street, you’ll get two free gin-based drinks. Of course, on either cruise you can buy more on board.
The departure location for these cruises is the Bristol City Centre Landing, scheduled for the cruises to begin at 19:00 pm.
Bands at Beeses
This is an incredible experience absolutely worth checking out. Enjoy a steady and gentle boat trip to Beeses.
The route there is incredibly scenic and beautiful, a great way to start the evening.
Once you are at Beeses, enjoy your meal, a few drinks, and watch the live band.
Each Friday there is a different act and an alternating menu. So, if you have a wail of a time, be sure to check it out more than once; it certainly won’t get boring. You can visit Beeses’ website (https://www.beeses.co.uk/groups.html ) to see the most up to date menus and line up of acts.
This boat trip to Beeses is one way but staff are happy and able to help with advice on using the First Bus system to get you home or to your accommodation safe and sound.
The closest bus stop to Beeses is on Fermain Avenue.
Your ticket with Bristol Ferry Boats gets you your one-way trip and your meal at Beeses. When you book your ticket, specify in the ‘order notes/ requirements’ section if you have any dietary requirements to ensure your meal is what you expect to receive.
The Bands at Beeses boat trip leaves from Welsh Back Ferry Landing at 18:00pm. The journey to Beeses is approximately an hour, and Beeses itself closes about midnight. Don’t forget cash for drinks onboard!
Unfortunately, the steps at Beeses may be difficult for wheelchair users to
navigate and so it is generally advised by Bristol Ferry Boats to select a boat trip in a more accessible location.
This is a popular trip for large groups, so if your party is a big group, Bristol Ferry Boats request that you arrange a private hire. This means both you and other guests make the most out of your trips.
Sunday Riverside Roast
Adult £25.00, Child £19.00
A British necessity on a Sunday is a roast dinner, but why not jazz it up a bit? Enjoy your traditional Sunday lunch with a twist, taking a boat trip to the Beeses Tea Gardens.
The boat journey takes you through the countryside routes, along Feeder Canal, Netham Lock, St Anne’s riverbanks and Conham River Park. Animal lovers make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the otters, ducks, swans, kingfishers, deer and foxes that can often be seen on this beautiful route.
There are a range of roast dinner options available for you to choose from, including different dietary requirements if notified beforehand. You can eat in the famous gardens. The price for the trip includes a return journey and a meal – a phenomenal bargain. A child’s ticket will, however, come with a child’s portion of food, so consider this when booking, especially if you have older children with you.
These trips are incredibly popular (no wonder why!) so make sure you book well in advance. The trip is a total of 3 hours, leaving from Welsh Back at 11:00am, and returning at 14:00pm.
It is also worth noting that the steps at Beeses are not wheelchair accessible, and so some customers may struggle and choose a different riverboat journey if necessary.
Number Seven Boat Trips
Another popular boat trip company within Bristol are Number Seven Boat Trips. This company offers their tours on weekends and during school holidays, making them a great choice if you’re bringing the little ones along with you.
Find them on Facebook at @NumberSevenBoatTrips for the latest updates.
At present, Number Seven Boat Trips have been paused, due to COVID-19 government guidelines restricting unnecessary travel. They hope to be up and running again, as soon as it is safe to do so.
Perhaps the more unique aspect of Number Seven Boat Trips are the themed boats. These are available for private hire and are reportedly a great choice for hen and stag parties, work events, or even just for a ladies’ or lads’ night out.
Sunday Brunch Cruise
£22.50 per person, though group deals are available.
The Sunday Brunch Cruise is a 1 hour and 30-minute boat trip.
It includes the peaceful journey as well as a choice of three brunch options and the Number Seven Boat Trips’ signature ‘Ale Mary’.
The cruise departs at 10:30am on (you guessed it) Sundays, from Prince St. Bridge.
£25 per person
This is another great boat ride and a meal trip, also lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Enjoy your curry main and a side dish as you travel along the riverside. Your price also includes a Butcombe beer.
Departure for the Curry Night trips is at 19:00pm on Thursday evenings from the Cottage Inn (postcode: BS1 6XG).
Bristol Harbour Tours
£5.00 per person
This is a ferry service that lets you see the city from a new angle. The tour guides you around the Bristol Harbour, between Hotwells and Temple Meads.
The duration of this trip varies significantly so Number Seven Boat Trips don’t give an estimated time here.
Cross Harbour Ferry Service
90p per person, under 5 free
This trip is less about the exciting journey of being on a boat and a simple method to get to the other side of the harbour. This journey takes you from Capricorn Quay to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, an approximate 25-minute walk without the Cross Harbour Ferry.
This service is available 7:30am – 18:15pm Monday to Friday, and 10:30am – 17:30pm Saturday and Sunday. This is available every day, with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
This cruise takes you on a boat trip stopping by 2 pubs. You stay ashore for 40 minutes at each stop, giving you plenty of time for a drink, and then the group heads back to the boat. This journey lasts approximately 3 hours.
The Party Boat picks customers up from the Cascade Steps in the Bristol city centre, completes the 3-hour journey, and returns to the city centre.
Beeses River Trips 2020
Book a river boat journey to Beeses with Number Seven Boat trips’ Saturday journeys to Beeses. There are departure options at 12:00pm and again at 14:00pm, with the journey lasting approximately 4 hours.
The Hotwells Ferry is a great way to move around the city instead of the bus or a taxi. Hotwells Ferry stops in the Bristol City Centre, the Arnolfini, Lloyds, the Buttery, the SS Great Britain, Gas Ferry North, Mardyke, Pump House Cottage and then The Hand.
Temple Meads Ferry
The Temple Meads Ferry is another fab choice to make your way around Bristol. Beginning in the Bristol City Centre, the route has stops by the Arnolfini, Lloyds, Bathurst Basin, King Street, Totos, Castle Park, and then Temple Meads.
This is a superb way to make your way around the city, especially if you arrived by train to the Temple Meads Station.
Enjoy your Ferry ride!
Whether you’re looking for an interesting way to make it around the city, searching for an evening activity or want to add an extra part to a jam packed day trip, a boat trip around Bristol gives a new, unique vantage point, letting you see the ins and outs of this vibrant city.