One of our favorite summer time activities is to spend the day at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. The Faire is full of fun activities, interesting shopping, and yummy food. It really is great for the whole family but I have some tips to help make your day even more enjoyable.
Plan your day!
Get on the mailing list and/or follow Bristol Renaissance Faire on Facebook to get coupons and find out the theme weekends. Even if you don’t dress in character for the theme weekends, it can be a lot of fun to see other costumes! You can also purchase tickets online in advance.
Once you arrive at the Faire ground, you will find that there are two parking lots. There is a pay lot that is really close to the grounds of the faire. However, there is also a free lot – why spend money on parking when you can save the money for treats inside the faire? Yes, you will need to walk a bit to get to the grounds but you’ve saved a little bit of money.
As soon as you enter, pick up a map and a schedule for for the day (all on one paper, front and back). Take careful note of times for performances. It is also important to note any age recommendations next to certain performances. There are many performances that are a bit, well, bawdy and not appropriate for young children. However, there are many (many!) performances that your kids will love. I recommend picking a time to view jousting and then plan the rest of your day around that. If this is not your first time, I recommend trying to see at least one performance that you haven’t seen before. This summer, we saw the falconry demonstration and it was fascinating.
There are porta-potties throughout the grounds, but the only flushing toilets are near the front of the grounds. If you have small kiddos with you, be sure to stop at the bathrooms when you enter and hopefully you won’t have to stop at too many porta-potties. (Porta-potties with small kids = ewwwwwww.)
There are many things to purchase throughout the grounds that your kiddos will probably be asking for. And although it might be tempting to buy everything, let me make a suggestion: think of some of the bigger souvenir purchases as something that you will use over and over again. My girls love their flower crowns that we purchased at the Faire. They wear them each year, and they each got to pick out one when they were 2 years old. Yep. These are the same crowns that we purchased when they were toddlers. After the Faire, They still look great after years of use. (I keep the crowns in my room because they will come apart if played with every day. But we get them out again the following summer.)
If you are looking for a fun souvenir that won’t break the bank, you can purchase pennants during the jousting for $5 and the knights will sign them afterward. Some of the price of the pennants goes toward the horses used by the Faire.
A Kingdom for the Kiddos
The Kids Kingdom area has lots of fun activities for kiddos. You will find storytime in this area, other activities, and a fun playground. My girls were talking about this playground a week before we went! There are also bathrooms (porta-potties) in this spot. You will also find a changing table in this bathroom area.
The throne room is also located near Kids Kingdom. The throne room has six different themed thrones that you can take pics in. There have been recent changes made to the throne room that I think work really well. A guide walks with you through the different throne rooms, and will take your picture for you! This means that the whole family can be in each pic! And it’s not as rushed because each guide ensures that their group waits before moving. So, I took pics of the girls in each throne and our guide took a couple pics of all of us. So fun!
Eat all of the food!
Some food, you will find in several locations (grilled corn-on-the-cob, mushrooms) and some food, you will only find in certain sections. If this is your first time at the Faire, I recommend that if you see a food that looks good, go ahead and get it. Chances are really good, it’ll be yummy. But, chances are also really good, that if you walk away it’ll be hard to find it again.
Remember, it’s outside….and it’s summer.
Seek out shade throughout the day. Since the Faire is only held on weekends during the summer, it can be a very, very hot day. And even though they are only porta-potties, most of the bathroom areas have running water in the sinks. Take advantage of this running water and damped a paper towel to wipe your face and neck. This can do wonders when you are trying to cool down yourself, or your kids.
Wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking and the paths can be kind of dusty and although your sandals might be very comfortable, if you are wearing sandals your feet may very well be filthy by the end of the day.
Tip your waiter! And your fire whip performer!
Bring cash. Although cards are accepted, some stalls have a minimum purchase if you are using a card. And be sure that some of that cash is in smaller bills. Many of the performers pass around a tip basket or have a tip basket on display. Performing is how many of these actors support themselves so, please, tip them! They work very hard all summer to ensure that your Faire experience is an awesome one.
Have you been to the Bristol Renaissance Faire? What are your tips for a fun day at the Faire?