Bristol Prison

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

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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.

Prisoners who are on remand can have up to 3 visits per week. Prisoners who have been convicted (they have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing) can have up to 3 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 or by telephone.

Telephone booking line: 0300 060 6510

Find out about call charges

The booking lines are open:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Tuesday and Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Visiting times

Visits alternate weekly between the main population and vulnerable prisoners.

  • Monday: No visits
  • Tuesday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Thursday: No visits
  • Friday: 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Saturday: 2pm to 4pm
  • Sunday: 2pm to 4pm

Email: to book any legal or professional visits

All visits must be booked by the above functional email address and not to individuals who may respond to the emails. All visits are 1-hour slots starting on the hour.

Times of Face to Face visits:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 11am and 2pm to 4pm

Video link visit times:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm

When making reservation, state the prisoner’s name and number (where possible). You may wish to send a selection or range of dates and times. We highly recommend a minimum of one week notice.

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 or older must prove their identity before entering the prison. Read the list of acceptable forms of ID for all visitors.

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

Family days are run at HMP Bristol by Pact family support services, these are organised at different times throughout the calendar year.

Keep in touch with someone at Bristol Prison

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

Secure video calls

To have a secure video call with someone in this prison you need to:

  • Download the Prison Video app
  • Create an account
  • Register all visitors
  • Add the prisoner to your contact list.

How to book a secure video call

Secure video calls at this prison can be requested by prisoners only.

You will receive a notification if a prisoner has requested a video call with you.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

All prisoners have phones in their cells 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, 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 no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post.

If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:

  • are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

This will allow you to send money by post.

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 prisoner 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 prisoner.

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

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

Friends and families of prisoners are permitted to send books directly to their loved ones, or can order books from approved retailers, which can source and send the books on to prisoners.

For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.

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 prisoners 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.

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.

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

Arrival and first night

When a prisoner 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 prisoner 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 prisoners are at Bristol Prison across 5 main wings. One wing has single cells while the rest are shared.

Education and work

Prisoners 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.

Prisoners 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 prisoners 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.

To contact the Head of family provision at HMP Bristol email:

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency

Call 01173 723 100 if you think a prisoner is at immediate risk of harm. Ask for the Orderly Officer and explain that your concern is an emergency.

Contact category Phone number Additional information
Non-emergency 01173 723 382 Call this number if you have concerns about a prisoner’s safety or wellbeing which are serious but not life-threatening or complete a safer custody contact form on the Prisoners’ Families Helpline website.
Staff Integrity Hotline 0800 917 6877
(24 hours answering machine)
This number can be called anonymously. If you are concerned about a prisoner being bullied by a member of staff, you can use this number. As this line is managed separately from the prison, you can call this number anonymously.
Prisoners’ Families Helpline 0808 808 2003 The Prisoners’ Families Helpline can provide confidential support, advice and guidance.
Unwanted Prisoner Contact 0300 060 6699 If a prisoner is contacting you and you want them to stop, you can use the Unwanted Prisoner Contact Service.

You can complete the Stop prisoner contact online form, email or contact by phone.

Find out about call charges

Problems and complaints

If you have any other problem contact Bristol Prison.

Inspection reports

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

Contact Bristol Prison

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


HMP Bristol
19 Cambridge Road

See map

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Published 15 January 2020
Last updated 15 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Opening hours updated for visits booking telephone line.

  2. Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

  3. Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

  4. Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

  5. Update to rules for sending in money and gifts.

  6. Prison moved into National Stage 3 framework and is now preparing to open visits for family, friends and significant others. We will update this page with specific visiting information as soon as possible.

  7. Updated prison info

  8. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  9. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  10. Updated visiting information in line with new national restrictions in England.

  11. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  12. Updated information about secure video calls.

  13. Visit information update

  14. First published.