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M Shed Boat Trips

Home > Bristol > Boating | Day Trips | Fun Things To Do | Museums
by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Event: -
Take a Ride on a Water Cannon
Boat trips come in all sorts of forms, from a luxury world cruise to a dinky ferry from one side of a river to the other. You get big boats, little boats, speed boats, and boats that like to take it easy. Even if you haven't been on a boat trip recently, you probably know what to expect. Bristol's M Shed Museum, however, want to give visitors an experience that is a little different however. Up until the 2nd November, you can book a ride on one of three working boats. While you might have to forget about glorious views and pampering, it is a chance to learn about the working history of Bristol harbour, and board some historic ships that most don't get a look at. Trips last half an hour and cost 5 adult or 3 children/concessions. You can book in advance or buy on the day.


26th & 27th July
30th & 31st August
20th & 21st September
18th & 19th October

originally named Phoenix II, Pyronaut was built in 1934, and a member of the docks' fire-fighting service. She played a crucial role during the Blitz, but by the 1960s had become obsolete. She has now been restored to full working order.

John King

2nd & 3rd August
6th & 7th September
4th & 5th October

John King is a tug boat built in 1935 to tow cargo ships from Bristol City Docks to the mouth of the River Avon. It was used to steer the cargo vessels around dangerous bends.

During the Blitz, John King fought against fires in the oil installations, and on they way back to Bristol attacked by a German aircraft. John King survived, but as trade declined and motor boats came in, the workload disappeared. John Kings last big job was in 1970, towing the ss Great Britain to the Floating Harbour.


16th & 17th August
13th & 14th September
25th & 26th October
1st & 2nd November

Mayflower is the word's oldest tug ship, having been built in 1861. Originally designed to work on the Gloucester, Sharpness Canal, and in the River Severn, she was altered in the 1890s for the Bristol Channel. When British Waterways took control of the canal in 1948, Mayflower was considered too old to be modernised with a diesel engine. In 1962/3 the canal froze, and the diesel engine ships were unable to travel properly; Mayflower, was brought back into service to tow them along. She was sold for scrap in 1967, but instead of being destroyed, sat deteriorating until 1981 when she underwent restoration.
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Why? Fun for families
When: Until 2nd Nov
Phone: 0117 352 6600
Where: Floating Harbour
Cost: 5 adult, 3 child/concessions
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