Museums and heritage sites
There is plenty of history and heritage in South Gloucestershire.
You can visit the webpages below for details of opening hours and what’s on at each site.
Museums and collections
Aerospace Bristol showcases how the people and industries of the Bristol area have been at the forefront of aeronautical and space technology.
Visiting the museum will take you through more than a century of aviation including exhibits on aeroplanes, helicopters, missiles, satellites and engines. The highlight is to climb aboard the final Concorde to be built and the last to fly.
Frenchay Village Museum
Frenchay Village Museum has local history about Frenchay Hospital and the Bristol Riots of 1831. There is also a collection of 18th century porcelain made by Richard Champion, children’s wooden toys and visiting exhibitions.
Kingswood Heritage Museum
Kingswood Heritage Museum is in a former 18th Century brass mill at Warmley which features an icehouse and windmill tower. It has displays on the local industrial and social history of the area.
The nearby garden of William Champion has grottoes, an echo pond and a huge statue of the god Neptune.
Rolls Royce Heritage Trust
Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust maintains the aero engineering heritage of Rolls-Royce.
The trust has an unrivalled collection of Bristol-built engines ranging from the Jupiter and the wartime Bristol Hercules to gas turbines such as the Harrier’s Pegasus and Concorde’s mighty Olympus.
An extensive archive of books, technical manuals and other materials is available to researchers by appointment.
Thornbury Museum illustrates the history of Thornbury and the Lower Severn Vale through collections of archaeological, social, domestic and trade items.
There is a special exhibition on the Thornbury Roman coin hoard that was discovered in 2004. Other exhibitions feature regularly.
Yate Heritage Centre
Yate Heritage Centre is housed in a former Victorian stable building. It has changing local history displays, space for community art exhibitions and community events.
Holiday activities for children are offered regularly and there is a free education service and an annual international festival. The local history collections are available for research.
Acton Court is a beautiful Tudor House in Iron Acton that hosted a visit from King Henry VIII in 1535. Both the house and grounds are scheduled monuments and guided tours are offered in the summer months.
Avon Valley Railway
Avon Valley Railway is a heritage train service on the former Midland Railway branch line between Bristol and Bath.
You can visit the beautifully restored Bitton station, take a train ride in a heritage carriage behind one of the steam or diesel locomotives, enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the station buffet or browse for railway-themed souvenirs in the gift shop.
Dyrham Park is a 17th-century house and ancient deer park managed by the National Trust. The house was built by civil servant William Blathwayt and has collections of fine art and porcelain.
The parkland is full of fine views and trees and can be explored in self-guided walks.
Ram Hill Colliery
Ram Hill Colliery in Coalpit Heath is a scheduled ancient monument listed with Historic England. The site is managed by volunteers and offers an insight into the industrial past of the area. Find out about the work of the Friends of Ram Hill colliery on their Facebook page.
Warmley Signal Box
Warmley signal box is a grade 2 listed building that still has the original mechanisms and levers. It was built in 1918 to serve the Bath and Mangotsfield railway line. The box is a Midland Railway type 4D and was taken out of use in 1968.
It has good access from the Bristol to Bath railway cycle path and can be hired for community events.
Winterbourne Medieval Barn
Winterbourne Medieval Barn was built in 1342 and is a rare survivor of our medieval past. It has been restored with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund into a community venue for family activities, craft workshops, music and theatre.
The centre can be hired for celebration events, film shoots and meetings.