Nestled in the heart of Bristol’s bustling harbourside, The Matthew of Bristol stands as a testament to the city’s rich maritime heritage. This modern reconstruction of the original ship sailed by John Cabot in 1497 invites visitors to step back in time and experience a crucial piece of history.
As you approach this iconic vessel, the echoes of adventurous voyages across uncharted waters are almost palpable. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique day out, The Matthew offers an immersive glimpse into the past, making it a must-visit destination in Bristol.
My Experience of The Matthew
I remember the Replica Matthew being slowly created when I was younger in Redcliff Wharf, witnessing it progress was really good to see and I dont think now looking back and remembering it I will see a sight like it again, Its now a fond Bristol memory.
The Matthew is now a permanent feature of the harbourside and you will usually see it moored up at Prince’s Wharf or if your lucky you will see it sailing up the harbour on a summers day which is always a joy to see, I haven’t been luckily enough to sail on it yet but I am very interested in the fish and chips sail they offer!
When it is moored at Prince’s Wharf its very easy to visit and everyone is welcome onboard to explore the ship, Its completely free but a donation is always welcome!
Exploring The Matthew: A Visitor’s Guide
Embarking on a visit to The Matthew of Bristol is not just about seeing a ship; it’s about experiencing a slice of history. Here’s how you can make the most of your visit:
- Getting There: The Matthew is moored in Bristol’s harbourside at Prince’s Wharf, easily accessible from the city centre. The vibrant harbourside area is an attraction in itself, with its array of cafes, shops, and cultural venues.
- Best Times to Visit: Open throughout the year, The Matthew has varying visiting hours in summer (April to October) and winter (November to March). It’s advisable to check the opening times before planning your visit, as they can change due to weather conditions or special events.
- What to Expect: Visitors can freely explore the ship, from its lower decks to the commanding view of the upper decks. Knowledgeable volunteer guides are often available to share fascinating stories and answer questions about the ship’s history and operations.
- Special Events and Tours: Beyond just a static exhibit, The Matthew offers a range of activities, from harbour tours to themed cruises, providing an engaging way to experience Bristol’s maritime environment. (View the website at the bottom for more details)
Set Sail on the Matthew
The Matthew of Bristol offers a variety of sailing experiences, catering to different interests and occasions. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely tour or a private celebration, there’s something for everyone.
- Public Trips: Regularly scheduled public trips provide an opportunity to explore Bristol’s harbour or venture further along the Avon Gorge. These trips often feature informative commentary about the local maritime history and landmarks.
- Booking a Trip: Details of upcoming trips and online booking options are available on The Matthew’s official website. It’s a good idea to book in advance to secure your spot, especially during peak tourist seasons.
- Private Hire Options: The Matthew is available for private hire, offering a unique setting for corporate events, weddings, filming, and other special occasions. Customizable options ensure a memorable experience tailored to your needs.
- Educational Opportunities: Schools and educational groups can book trips designed to provide hands-on learning experiences about maritime history and navigation.
Facilities and Accessibility on The Matthew
The Matthew of Bristol, while a historical vessel, strives to accommodate the needs of all its visitors. Here’s what you need to know about the facilities and accessibility:
- Toilets and Catering: Toilet facilities are available during sailing trips, especially those that serve food and drinks. While the ship doesn’t sell food, catering is provided for specific events like the Fish & Chips Trip. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own snacks for longer cruises.
- The Bar on Board: A cash-only bar operates during certain trips, offering a selection of teas, coffees, and alcoholic beverages. To reduce waste, disposable cups are used, though visitors can bring their own flasks or cups.
- Accessibility Considerations: The Matthew’s historic design presents some limitations in accessibility. However, efforts are made to assist those with mobility challenges, including a wheelchair-accessible ramp for boarding. Please note that toilet facilities are located below decks and are not wheelchair accessible.
Visitor Experiences and Activities
Aboard The Matthew of Bristol, every visitor finds something to cherish. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:
The Matthew is Free to Board
Opening Hours – Winter 2023
Saturday & Sunday
10:30am to 3pm
Where to Park
Nearest Car Park to the Matthew is the Wapping Wharf car park behind Cargo: BS1 4RW
Catch a bus to Bristol City Centre, The Matthew is just a 5 min walk away
Nearest Train station is Bristol Temple Meads which is a 20 min walk
Catch a Ferry to Wapping Wharf
Q: Can anyone visit The Matthew, or do I need to book a tour?
A: The Matthew is open to the public for visiting without the need for a tour booking, although checking the ship’s schedule before visiting is recommended.
Q: Are there any age restrictions for visitors or certain activities on The Matthew?
A: The Matthew welcomes visitors of all ages. However, some sailing trips and activities may have age recommendations for safety and enjoyment.
Q: Can I hire The Matthew for a private event?
A: Yes, The Matthew is available for private hire, including corporate events, weddings, and other special occasions. Visit their website for more details and booking.
Q: Is The Matthew accessible to visitors with disabilities?
A: While The Matthew is a replica of a 15th-century ship and has some accessibility limitations, efforts are made to accommodate visitors with disabilities, including a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
Q: Are pets allowed on The Matthew?
A: Assistance dogs are welcome on board. For other pets, it’s best to check with the crew before boarding.
As you step off The Matthew of Bristol, you carry with you not just memories of your visit but but a deeper appreciation for Bristol’s maritime legacy. This ship is more than a tourist attraction; it’s a portal to the past, offering a tangible connection to the adventurers who sailed the seas centuries ago.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a history buff, or just looking for a unique experience, The Matthew provides an enriching journey into the heart of Bristol’s heritage. So, the next time you’re in Bristol, make sure to include The Matthew in your itinerary and immerse yourself in a story that’s as vast and deep as the oceans it once sailed.
Have your Say
Let others know about youre visit to The Matthew and any tips you have in the comments section below, We always love hearing from our guests.