This guide includes information that you may find useful for the duration of the time your family or friend is a resident at HMP Bristol. If you notice anything that is incorrect on this page, please contact us at: [email protected]

Any further information can be found on the prison website at or you can ring the main switchboard on 0117 372 3100

If you need support

You can email the Pact team at HMP Bristol directly at [email protected].

For more information, support and advice on all aspects of the justice system, you can contact the Prisoners' Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (9am - 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am - 3pm at the weekend).

Address: 19 Cambridge Rd, Horfield, Bristol BS7 8PS 

Governor: James Lucas 

Pact Worker contact: 0770 4550 634

Emergency contact: 0117 372 3100

Visitors' Centre Telephone: 01179 244 866 - 10:30-5pm Tuesday to Sunday excluding Mondays and Thursdays CLOSED

Visitors' Centre Email: [email protected] 

Visiting Times





15:30 - 16:30


14:00 - 15:00

15:30 – 16:30






14:00 - 15:00

15:30 – 16:30


14:00 - 15:00

15:30 – 16:30


Booking your visit:

Booking now has to go through the booking line - 0300 060 6510

Visitors' Centre Telephone: 01179 244 866

Lines are open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm 

Visitors' Centre Email: [email protected]

You will need:

  • the name and date of birth of the person you would like to visit,
  • their prison number,
  • dates of births for all the visitors coming with you, including children,
  • the dates and times of the requested visits and the Visiting Order number if you have one.

All visits must be booked in advance. Only those visitors whose details have been listed on the Prisoner's Authorisation Contact List as provided by the prisoner and those who are named on the booking will be allowed entry into the prison.

Prison staff cannot add visitors to a Prisoner's Authorisation Contact List without the consent and authorisation of a prisoner.

Adults and children must all have identification, for more information regarding identification, please see Identification Policy below.

At your visit

Security checks

You may be required to have your finger or thumbprints scanned as part of a security check. You may also have an iris scan.

Sometimes you will be sniffed by security dogs. Make sure you wear clothes that are not contaminated by any form of drug as you will be returned to the Visitors' Centre and will not be able to have your visit. You may also be searched by a prison officer (of the same gender). During your visit, officers will be with you throughout and will open and lock doors in front of and behind you at all stages. 

Identification Policy

For all visits, you will need to take secure self-identification, e.g. passport, citizen documentation, driving licence and a household bill as proof of address. In most cases, you will need two forms of documentation. 

If you do not have a passport or driving license, you can order a citizen ID card that you can use. You can find out more here You can also receive a 10% discount on your application by contacting [email protected]

Children's Identification Policy

For Proof of ID for all children, one of the following must be provided:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • Citizen Card
  • Red Book

Dress code 

For security, health and safety reasons, some prisons have a specific dress code for visitors and others have a more relaxed policy, making assessments on a case-by-case basis.

At the time we compiled this information, HMP Bristol's guidelines were as follows:

  • modest dress,
  • no work clothes (including uniforms),
  • no sports shirts or football shirts,
  • no hoods,
  • no mobile phones,
  • no offensive logos,
  • no sunglasses or headscarves unless worn for religious reasons,
  • No short skirts or dresses.

What can I bring in for my children?

You may bring in:

  • dummies,
  • Baby wipes,
  • nappies,
  • milk powder,
  • prescribed medication.

Please note that some of these items may be bagged and tagged in the Visitors' Centre prior to entry into the prison.

If you would like to know more specific information on what you can bring, please contact the prison directly at the details at the top of the page.

Food and drink 

If you would like to know more specific information on what you can bring, please contact the prison directly on the details at the top of the page.


You cannot give money to the prisoner during a visit. Please see the section on sending a prisoner money below.

Banned items

Do not attempt to bring any of the following into prison during your visit: 

  • illegal drugs,
  • alcohol,
  • weapons,
  • a camera,
  • a mobile phone,
  • indecent or obscene material,
  • material that threatens the security of the prison,
  • material that is written in code,
  • car or house keys,
  • any electronic devices, including - SIM cards and memory sticks.

If you are unsure what you can bring, contact the prison directly.

Financial Assistance for Visits

If you are on a low income or receive benefits, you may be entitled to financial assistance for the cost of visiting your relative in prison. Help is provided by the Assisted Prison Visits Unit (APVU). Click here for more information:

Keeping in touch


To speak to a prisoner on the phone, the prisoner has to call you using a prison phone. Prison staff can listen to and record most types of calls. Some calls are not monitored, for example, when a prisoner calls a legal advisor. 


Letters to prisoners should be addressed to:

HMP Bristol

19 Cambridge Road



(Prisoner's name and prison number)

You must write your own name and address on the back of the envelope, or it will not be delivered to the prisoner. If you do not know the prisoner's prison number, please address the envelope as above, with the prisoner's date of birth next to his name.


This prison uses Through this service, family and friends can send a message which is printed out and delivered by prison staff by hand. Once you have signed up, you will receive an activation link via email which you must click on to activate your account and send a message. You must buy a minimum of £5 credit to use the service, which runs at a cost of 40p per email and at no charge to the recipient.


Family members and friends can sign up to Prison, a service which allows social contacts to exchange voicemails with prisoners.

On signing up, you will be given a unique local landline number you can call at any time to leave a message; this message will be instantly available for your loved one to listen to. Prisoners can check their messages by dialling the same unique number from any phone in the prison and may leave a reply. When the message has been heard, the family member receives an instant text notification, signalling that they may leave another message. To access messages, the prisoner pays the cost of a landline call, but the cost of the service itself is paid by the family or friend.

Plans start from £5 per month.

Sending Property to a Prisoner

All prisoners are able to buy the items that they want or need through the approved suppliers, whose catalogues are available in the prison.

Any prisoner wishing to have clothes brought into the prison must first submit an application. Once the application has been approved by the prison, the item should be sent in the post directly to the prison with the prisoner's name and a return address so that they can be checked and placed on the prisoner's property card. Whilst prison staff will try to ensure the prisoner receives the items, this may not always be possible. In the case that the items are rejected, they will be returned to the visitor.

Please avoid bringing in the following items:

  • plain black or navy items,
  • polo shirts,
  • no army-style clothing or gang-related clothing,
  • no items with side pockets,
  • no three-quarter-length trousers.

The above process also applies to court clothes. Appropriate court clothes are defined as the following:

  • suit, trousers or skirt,
  • shirt or blouse,
  • jacket,
  • Tie,
  • shoes,
  • belt (no large buckles).

Should there be any additional items within the package, they will be, and nothing will be passed on to the prisoner. Please note that court clothes are held in reception until the prisoner is actually going to court. Lastly, jeans, t-shirts and trainers will not be accepted as court clothes.

How do I send money to a prisoner?

From 2nd November 2020, the way prisoners can send and receive money has changed. You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post to any prison. You'll need to send money through the Money to Prisoners Portal using a debit card instead.

The Money to Prisoners Portal service is free, secure, and available in all prisons in England and Wales.

To get started on the Portal, you will need the prisoner's date of birth and prisoner number.

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 smartphone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

You cannot give money to the prisoner during a visit. 

Further Support and Advice

Pact family support will be available by email and you can access this by contacting [email protected]. If your issue is complex and you need to talk to us in person, please include your number in the email and tell us that you would like a call back - it would also be helpful if you could let us know whether we are able to leave a message if there is no answer - and we will aim to get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

If you have urgent concerns about the welfare of your loved one in prison, please call the prison Safer Custody line directly. 

Prisoners' Families Helpline

You can also contact the Prisoners' Families Helpline for advice and support on all aspects of the criminal justice system:

Call 0808 808 2003 (9am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 3pm Saturday and Sunday) 

Email the team on [email protected]

Fill in a contact form and request a call back at 

Safer Custody Team

If you are worried about your loved one while they are a resident at this prison, you can contact the Safer Custody team on 0117372 3382.

You may be asked to leave a voicemail. Please make sure you include:

  • Your name.
  • The reason that you are calling.
  • The name of your family member/friend (and their prison number if you know it.

Please wait at least 24 hours for a call back before contacting the prison again.