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Docks Heritage Weekend

Bristol harbourside locations

28 - 29 September 2019
11am - 4.30pm at harbourside venues

Albion Dry Dock tours take place at 10am, 11am & 12pm on Saturday 28 September

Free (pre-booking required - see below)

Join us during Docks Heritage Weekend, a celebration of Bristol’s maritime past with events for all ages at Brunel's SS Great Britain, M Shed, Bristol Ferry and Underfall Yard.


This annual event celebrates the important story of Bristol's historic docks, which were the centre of the city's trade for centuries. Eclipsed after the 1920s by Avonmouth Docks, the last regular trading ship departed in 1974 and the Docks were closed to commercial shipping in 1975. Since then the harbour has been regenerated into the leisure, residential and business centre that we see today. This special weekend offers a taster of yesteryear with fun and engaging activities for all the family.

Brunel's SS Great Britain - Albion Dry Dock Tours (places must be pre-booked)

  • Albion Dry Dock Tours with our guides will take place at 10am,11am and 12pm on Saturday 28 September. Tours will last around 40 minutes and must be pre-booked. Book tickets
  • Be among the first people to step inside the Albion site and hear about the historic Albion Dry Dock. The SS Great Britain Trust has reopened the dry dock for ship repair this year.
  • The tours are over uneven ground and beside a deep working dry dock. They are not suitable for children under 10 years old.
  • Tours are free, but do not include entry to Brunel's SS Great Britain. Tickets to the visitor attraction can be found here.

Underfall Yard

  • Experience demonstrations of traditional blacksmithing
  • Watch the pumps that powered a port running on the hour from 11am – 4pm
  • Learn about historic tools with Tools and Trades History Association and play 'guess the tool'
  • Go behind the scenes in the magnificent Victorian Workshops. Only recently restored to working order, all the line-shafting will be in operation and several machines will be at work turning, planing and shaping metal
  • Appreciate engineering in miniature with demonstrations of our collection of model stationary steam engines and workshops
  • Try your hand at knots and rope work with the International Guild of Knot Tyers
  • Visit the Sluice Room and discover the elegant Georgian engineering that makes Underfall Yard the most important piece of land in Bristo
  • Enjoy entertainment courtesy of Bristol based shanty group the Harry Browns

M Shed

  • Performances of The Names, The Names (book in advance)
  • Print your very own map of Bristol docks
  • See cargo handling demonstrations
  • Visit the Fairbairn steam crane
  • Visit an electric crane (charges apply)
  • Take a trip on the tug John King (charges apply)
  • Go back in time and watch historic films about the port

We would like to thank event sponsors The Bristol Port Company