Free Bristol museums could start charging entry fees as Council looks to save £19.5 million

The historic house museums were previously free to visitors and ran on donations

Charging entry fees at two of Bristol’s free historic house museums is one of the many money-saving avenues the City Council is exploring as it looks to bridge a £19.5million budget gap.

The Red Lodge Museum and Georgian House Museum, which are both operated by Bristol City Council’s Museums team, temporarily closed when coronavirus restrictions were at their peak in 2020.

The Georgian House Museum on Great George Street, Bristol.

Both attractions were previously free to enter, running on donations, but visitors could soon be charged when they reopen in April 2022 in order to generate extra income as the Council tries to balance its books.

The Red Lodge Museum, on Park Row, was built in the 1500s and still boasts original Tudor features, while the Georgian House Museum on Great George Street offers a glimpse into what a Bristol merchant’s home might have looked like around 1790.

If plans to start charging entry fees is approved in February, adults would have to pay to enter the museums, although it is understood that children will still go free.

The Red Lodge Museum on Park Row, Bristol.

As part of the same plans, which aim to generate £21,000 in total, Bristol City Council is also seeking to increase income for the Bristol Film Office to make it self-financing.

The city’s cultural sector could be dealt further blows with a proposed £250,000 annual reduction in grants to the Bristol Music Trust and library budget cuts also in talks.

The full budget was rubberstambed at a Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday (January 18) will be considered at a Full Council meeting on February 15.