Bristol Princes Wharf
Somerset BS1 4RN
The former Bristol Industrial Museum has been transformed into a new museum called M Shed. It is located in an old 1950s Transit shed (originally the 'M' shed) in the heart of the City’s historic harbour.
Outside the museum are the Working Exhibits – massive cranes, a railway and historic port boats. Next door to the M Shed is the L Shed which now houses overflow exhibits from the main museum and is not normally open to the public.
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The M Shed is a brilliant place to visit and has magnificent views of Bristol and its harbour. Here the visitor will find a museum dedicated to telling the amazing story of the City. There are three main galleries:
- Bristol Places
This gallery focuses on the physical and dynamic city – the ways that people have shaped and experienced it and continue to do so. It highlights how and why Bristol has transformed over time, how people have developed various ways in which to move around it, and showcases some amazing discoveries that have been made in and around the city.
Learn how Bristol prepared for, and endured, the Second World War. Meet Bristol’s very own dinosaur Thecodontosaurus; discover the history of commerce; see the variety of different vehicles used to travel around the city including trains, buses and planes; and heaps more.
- Bristol People
This gallery on the First Floor explores social history - the activities past and present that make Bristol what it is. The main themes are creating, trading, challenging and celebrating.
Learn about the city’s trading past and international links; Bristol’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade; explore how Bristol people have challenged for their rights over time. Discover things created in Bristol from music and art to industry and technology; and immerse yourself in one of the many festivals, events and celebrations held in the city.
- Bristol Life Gallery
The Bristol Life gallery on the First Floor explores people’s shared experiences in the city – from the momentous to the everyday, whether out on the town, attending a sports event or chatting to a neighbour.
Hands on exhibits as well as interactive displays complemented by more in depth data base material, re-creates the feel of the 'working dockside' in the 1950's. You can see, hear and share real-life stories and enjoy the amazing views from the gallery’s window onto the city.
These are outside on or beside the wharf. Even if the M Shed is closed you can still see these exhibits. They have all been restored to working order and are operated by bands of volunteers on special days. Visit this website’s ‘Heritage’ menu for more information and trips.
Exhibits on display are:
A Fairbairn Steam Crane and three Electric Cargo cranes
The Bristol Harbour Railway powered by two steam engines Henbury and Portbury
Tug boat John King
Steam tug Mayflower
All in all, a visit to the M Shed is a great day out for the family.
Special ‘Behind the Scenes’ Tours
As mentioned above, L Shed is normally not open to the public. However, the museum’s volunteer guides run tours of M Shed’s overflow store. For dates and more information, go to Web: M Shed/ Behind the Scenes Tours
Plan Your Visit
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Closed Mondays otherwise open all year
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00-17:00 hours
Bank Holiday details at Web: M Shed/ Opening Times
There is full access for wheelchair users (except onto the cranes). Visual and hearing impaired visitors are also well catered for. Full details are at Web: M Shed/ Disabled Access
Superb facilities especially for families; ground floor Cafe and Shop; toilets throughout museum, baby change, buggy park, lockers and cloakroom.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1173 526 600
Full details and map are at Web: M Shed/ Getting There
- On foot
The M Shed is located on the harbourside, a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre or a 20 minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station.
- By Bus
Catch any bus with a city centre drop off - you'll be dropped off at Broad Quay which is about a 5 minute walk away.
- By Boat
Catch a ferry from Bristol Temple Meads and Hotwells to Prince Street Bridge on the Floating Harbour, which is a 5 minute walk away. Boats run every 40-50 minutes - visit the Bristol Ferry Boats website for timetables and fares. Web: Bristol Ferry Boats
- By Car
The M Shed is located on the harbourside in the city centre on Wapping Road (BS1 4RN) around 2 miles (3.2 km) from the M32 motorway.
- nearby public car parks at The Grove (BS1 4RB) and Wapping Wharf (BS1 4RH).
There's parking spaces for Blue Badge holders in the Wapping Wharf car park, and a drop-off and pick up point for taxis at the Wapping Road entrance of M Shed.
Google Map - M Shed