11am: Heritage Open day – Museum and Grottoes
Kingswood Heritage Museum
The Grottoes and the Museum are open free of charge. This year the Museum has a new display entitled Methodism – the Kingswood Connection which includes a renovated Hanham Mount beacon.
The grottoes are not wheelchair friendly and sensible shoes should be worn. The Museum is wheelchair friendly.
No dogs allowed except guide dogs
11:00am — 12:00am
Location: Kingswood Heritage Museum and Warmley Grottoes, Tower Lane, Warmley, BS30 8XT
2.15pm: Warmley Gardens and Grotto Circular Walk
Kingswood Heritage Museum
Explore the Warmley gardens on a circular guided walk, every 2nd Sunday in the month (April to November), starting from the Museum at 2.15pm. £2.50 per adult.
This circular walk will take approximately 90 minutes on level ground some of which may be muddy in wet weather. Bring a torch to help you explore as you wander through the grottoes, which will be specially opened for you by your guide.
Remaining dates for 2015: 13th September, 11th October, 8th November.
Enquiries: – Chris Quarry: 0117 9575 387
The Museum is located in the former Champion Brass Works, at Tower Lane, Warmley BS30 8XT, just off the A4174 Avon Ring Road (Cadbury Heath exit).
Buses 42, 43 and 319 stop nearby, and from Sunday 23rd August 2015, bus service 17A will be rerouted to pass the Museum.
Enjoy free parking, toilets, refreshments and a book and gift shop.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is open on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm, April to November.
It also opens on Bank Holiday weekends (including Mondays) from 11am to 5pm.
The grotto and gardens are open at Bank Holiday weekends but only on the Sunday and Monday (ie not the Saturday).
The Museum is closed December to March inclusive.
We are always pleased to entertain group visits from schools and local societies, and refreshments can be provided.
Interested parties should make contact via email to or by telephone at 0117 960 5664.
A major historical feature in the care of Kingwood Heritage Museum is only open to the public at large for a few days each year, so do not miss the chance to visit.
Shaun Gibbs, one of the Museum's experts on the attraction, calls it "an eighteenth century theme park".
Shaun adds: "When William Champion's zinc making business in Warmley became successful in the late eighteenth century, he built himself an elegant and imposing new house at the heart of his works. The surrounding gardens he added were particularly impressive, laid out in the then popular Dutch style.
"A focal point was the large lake which was not only ornamental but also provided the water supply for the works. In the centre of the lake was a ten metre high stature of the god Neptune with his trident. This is still there, and is believed to be the largest garden statue now standing in the country.
"An essential feature of any large garden of that era was a grotto, and Champion's is thought to be the most extensive man-made grotto surviving. It was probably based on the example at Goldney House, in Clifton, Bristol, built by Champion's uncle, but - uniquely - was comprised mainly of the same black clinker waste from the factory that adorns Neptune."
See the events calendar for upcoming dates.
Did you go to a concert in the 1960s featuring the local band The Poor Souls (or, as they were sometimes mistitled, in an apparent imitation of the regional accent, “The Porr Souls”!)?
These lads from Bristol were regular performers throughout the area in the late 1960s. One of their first gigs was at the Capri coffee bar, in Moravian Road, Kingswood – they were paid £7 for that night. Or perhaps you saw them at the Corn Exchange in Bristol, or at the Dugout, or the Bamboo Club in St Paul's?
Later they went on to play at Bristol's Colston Hall, and supported nationally known bands, like the Moody Blues, the Pretty Things and the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band.
The group's bassist, Ray Holmes, is now a volunteer at Kingswood Heritage Museum, and the Museum has set up a small exhibition to commemorate the band, using Ray's collection of memorabilia.
The picture shows the band in sultry pose against the backdrop of Bristol's Cabot Tower in 1966. Ray is standing at the far left.
Recent visitors to Kingswood Heritage Museum have included members of Alveston Local History Society.
They saw the newly refurbished exhibits at the museum, including the special display “Methodism: the Kingswood Connection”.
The Museum is housed in the 18th century Champion Brass Works at Warmley, and sets out the story of the area from pre-history to the 20th century. It is home to an exhibit featuring the world famous Douglas motorcycles, built not far from the Museum.
Tim Swan, Chair of the Alveston LHS, said: “Our group thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Museum, which is full of fascinating echoes of the past. We would recommend it to everyone.”
Val Jeanes, Museum Administrator, said: “We are always pleased to entertain group visits from schools and local societies, and refreshments can be provided. Interested parties should make contact via email to or by telephone at 0117 960 5664”.
A regular feature of the Spring (end of May) Bank Holiday is the Douglas Motorbike Rally and Cavalcade, attracting Douglas motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country.
Come along to see dozens of vintage motorcycles, talk to their riders/owners and watch as they move off on the Sunday at 12 noon to ride the old factory test route.
The world famous Douglas bikes were built in Kingswood from 1907 to 1957. Some 25,000 were constructed for military use in the First World War.
Kingswood Heritage Museum has a major exhibit featuring the marque, including one of the machines designed for war time despatch riders. The bikes were regular winners of the Isle of Man TT races.
Bill Douglas, great grandson of the founders of the firm, said: “It is always a stirring sight to see the bikes in action, and we expect a big turnout around the area to watch the cavalcade”.
The line up opens at 11am, and the run - along one of the former bike testing circuits via the Chew Valley - begins at noon.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is based in the Brassworks built by William Champion, an 18th Century Quaker industrialist, with Warmley Historic Gardens alongside.
Come inside to...
Kingswood Heritage Museum welcomes friends and volunteers to support a wide range of activities.
Friends get free admission to all events and receive a newsletter with event details.
Meetings are held at the Museum on the second Thursday of February, April, June, August, October and December at 7.30pm to plan fundraising and work co-ordination.
If you would like to help with displays or events, or would like to join the Friends Scheme, please get in touch.
The Brass Works Theatre was created by Kingswood-born playwright and actor Adrian Harris.
This ground-breaking project, which is the only professional theatre and arts space in South Gloucestershire, is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and South Gloucestershire Council. Located above the Kingswood Heritage Museum, it presents a cultural hub for the community of South Gloucestershire.
Adrian began his working life as a mechanic but later trained in London as a professional actor. However, his love of his home town meant he returned to South Gloucestershire and has established a successful career as an actor and playwright with a growing national reputation.
When researching venues, he immediately saw the potential of this space in the museum, which stands on the site the old brass factory. After an arduous but astounding journey to create a theatre out of this blank canvas, the Brass Works Theatre opened its doors in July 2012.