Bristol Prison

Bristol Prison is a men’s prison in the Horfield area of Bristol.

Prison visits are temporarily suspended following instructions for people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We will update here as soon as this changes. You can also follow @HMPPS on Twitter and read a rolling update page.

There are a number of other ways to contact someone in prison if you are unable to visit them. You can:

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.

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Book and plan your visit to Bristol Prison

To visit someone in Bristol Prison you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit at least 2 working days in advance
  • have the the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit.

Men who are on remand can have 2 visits a week. Men who have been convicted (they have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing) can have 2 visits a month.

Contact Bristol Prison if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:

  • travel to Bristol Prison
  • somewhere to stay overnight
  • meals

How to book family and friends visits

You can book your visit online.

You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 060 6510
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times are every day except Thursday from 2pm to 4pm.

Doors open at 1:30pm to allow time for booking in and searches. No visitors will be admitted after 2:30pm.


You can also book by telephone.

Booking line: 0300 060 6510
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Visiting times are Monday to Friday, 9am to 11am and 2pm to 4pm.

Getting to Bristol Prison

Find Bristol Prison on a map

The closest railway stations are Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway, where you can connect with local bus services. All buses numbered from 70 to 79 pass the prison and can be caught from near the central bus station.

To plan your journey by public transport:

If coming by car, you will need to park on the local roads as there is no visitor parking at the prison. There is a parking space for Blue Badge holders on the main road opposite the prison entrance.

Entering Bristol Prison

All visitors aged 16 and older should have either one of the following types of photo ID:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • benefit book
  • senior citizen’s public transport pass
  • annual public transport season ticket (with photo card)
  • employer ID card (if it shows the name of the visitor and the employer)
  • European Community identity card

Or 2 of the following documents:

  • birth or marriage certificate
  • rail or bus pass with photo
  • cheque book or a signed credit or debit card
  • employer ID card that doesn’t show the name of the visitor or the employer
  • trade union or student union membership card
  • library card with signature
  • rent book
  • non-EU foreign identity or residents card

Expired IDs from these lists may be accepted if they appear satisfactory in other ways.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Visitors should dress appropriately. You may be turned away if you are wearing items like revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans. Ask at the visitors centre if you have questions about appropriate dress.

Each group of visitors is allowed to take in a maximum of £50 to buy food and drink from the snack bar in the visiting hall.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Bristol Prison. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you behind. Lockers are available in the visitors centre. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Visiting facilities

There is a visitors centre run by The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT). Family and friends can relax, buy refreshments and get advice and support from the staff.

It is open from midday on visiting days.

Telephone: 01179 244 866
Find out about call charges

The visiting hall includes a play area for children and a snack bar.

Family days

PACT hold regular family days giving residents more time to spend time with their children in a more relaxed setting. They are normally on Thursdays in the school holidays from 2pm to 4pm. These visits are in addition to the resident’s visits entitlement.

Families can apply for these visits in the visitors centre.

Keep in touch with someone at Bristol Prison

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Bristol Prison.

Phone calls

All residents have phones in their rooms which they can use at any time. The phones do not accept incoming calls so they will always need to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this.

They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

You can also exchange voicemails using the Prison Voicemail service.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.


You can send emails to someone in Bristol Prison using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies from the resident, depending on the rules at Bristol Prison.


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Bristol Prison.

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘The Governor’ and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back as well as your name and address.

Gifts and parcels

Friends and family can hand in the following items before a visit:

  • underwear, socks and court clothes (shirts, trousers, shoes, ties and jackets)
  • books (not puzzle books or magazines)

It’s also possible to send these items and other kinds of clothing and footwear by post. For this, you will need a property voucher which the resident must apply for and send you by post. Fix the voucher to your parcel before sending it in.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the order. They will be opened and checked by officers. For court clothes, allow at least 5 days for the parcel to be searched and reach the resident.

Any parcels without a property voucher or that look to be tampered with will be refused.

Residents can buy a variety of items for themselves from the canteen and through a catalogue system.

Contact Bristol Prison for more information on gifts and parcels.

Life at Bristol Prison

Bristol Prison is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Bristol Prison has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board.

Residents can also be trained by the Samaritans to be ‘listeners’ to help support people going through difficult times.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Bristol Prison, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. (In some circumstances a call may be made on his behalf.) This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.

If the resident has cash when they arrive, they will have the chance to buy canteen supplies and add money to their phone account.


Each person who arrives at Bristol Prison gets an induction that lasts about a week. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

They will also get a gym induction so they can safely use the gym facilities.

Everyone also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.


About 500 men live at Bristol Prison across 5 main wings. One wing has single rooms while the rest are shared.

Education and work

Residents have access to a range of work, training and education opportunities. Courses include:

  • maths
  • English
  • IT
  • health and safety
  • food safety
  • catering
  • cleaning
  • NVQs levels 1 and 2 in warehouse and storage and performing manufacturing operations
  • bike mechanics
  • peer mentoring
  • healthier lifestyles

Employability skills workshops are run monthly to give help with CVs, job applications and interview skills.

Residents can also get help and support on issues such as health and wellbeing, substance misuse, housing, debt and family relationships in preparation for release.

Organisations Bristol works with

Bristol works with Catch 22, a not-for-profit business, to help residents prepare for their release. They provide support with things like housing, employment, finance and relationships.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem contact Bristol Prison. If you can’t resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Bristol Prison in response to independent inspections.

Contact Bristol Prison

Governor: James Lucas

Telephone: 0117 372 3100
Fax: 0117 372 3113
Find out about call charges


HMP Bristol
19 Cambridge Road

See map

Safety hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Bristol, call the safety line. Leave as much information as possible and a telephone number for staff to call you back.

Telephone: 0117 372 3382
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, call the main telephone number and ask to speak to the duty governor.

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Published 15 January 2020
Last updated 25 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Visit information update

  2. First published.