Please note: Face to face social visits have restarted at this prison. You can find updated information on timeshow to book, and what to expect below. Purple Visits video calls are also available at this prison. 

If you need support:

You can also email the team at HMP Bristol directly by emailing [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).

See some information that needs updating?

If you notice anything that is incorrect on this page, please contact us on [email protected]. Any further information can be found on the prison website at or you can ring the main switchboard on 0117 372 3100.


HMP Bristol

Cambridge Road




Governor: James Lucas

Pact Worker contact: 01179 244 866, [email protected] 

Emergency contact: 0117 372 3100 (prison switchboard)

Visitors’ Centre Telephone: 01179 244 866   

Visitors’ Centre opening hours: 12.00pm – 14.00pm & 15.45pm – 16.45pm

Visiting times:

HMP Bristol offer visit session's 6 day's a week, the mixing of wings may take place on day's that offer more than one visit per day. 

Visiting Times 2021




 14:00-15:00 and 15:30 - 16:30




 No visits




 14:00-15:00 and 15:30 - 16:30


14:00-15:00 and 15:30-16:30

In addition, HMP Bristol are also offering video calls via Purple Visits. You can find out more about the Purple Visits process here. 

Booking a visit

To book your visit:

Notice: All visits must be booked via the booking line, online booking has been suspended.

Telephone: 0300 060 6510 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)


Email: [email protected] 

You will need:

  • the name and date of birth of the person you would like to visit,
  • their prison number,
  • date of births for all the visitors coming with you.

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 whom are named on the booking will be allowed entry into the prison. 

Prison staff cannot add visitor(s) to a Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List without the consent / authorisation of a Prisoner.

Adults must all have Identification; for more information regarding Identification, please see Identification Policy below.

Please note: to book a legal visit, please call the main prison switchboard on 0117 372 3100. Legal visits are restarting at HMP Bristol.

At your visit

In order to keep visitors, residents and staff as safe as possible, there will be a number of new rules and guidelines which have been put in place by the prison service. Download our quick guide to help you with what to expect at your visit.

The new rules for visiting are as follows:
  1. Social distancing must be maintained at all times to enable us to facilitate your visits safely. Hand washing facilities will be available at all entry points. 
  2. To ensure we facilitate a safe visit for everyone we have altered the length of the visit to 1 hour only. This is one hour with your family and doesn’t include the time following the access and egress to visits. 
  3. Visits will be allocated a time slot for each wing. 
  4. Tables and soft furnishings have all been removed – to allow easy cleaning with Titan-Chlor products between each session 
  5. Chairs will be sat in a bay at least 2m from eachother –you will not be allowed to move the furniture. 
  6. Unfortunately initially there will be no snack or hot drink facilities offered within visits, however as soon as possible we are hoping to provide refreshments we will communicate this as soon as we are able. 
  7.  Visitors from 2 households are allowed to visit their loved one at the same time.   
  8. There will be a requirement for you to wear a face mask for the duration of the visit, this will be supplied by the prison on entry, any one over the age of 11 must wear a face mask to enter the establishment unless medically exempt.  
  9. Visitors will have their temperature checked on arrival and be asked if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have you been in contact to your knowledge with anyone who has the following symptoms? 
    1. Recent onset of a new continuous cough 
    2. High temperature  
    3. A loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) 
  10. All residents will be offered a Lateral flow test on the morning of their visit.   
  11. We ask that visitors request a Covid test the day before the scheduled visit. They can do this by accessing the following link; 

They will need to bring proof of this with their usual ID required on the day of their visit. Proof on a mobile phone or a picture of the negative test will be fine. Visitors will be asked to take a second test on arrival to the PACT centre and will need to upload the results of this test themselves to the government web page. You are eligible for testing if you have not had a positive COVID 19 test in the last 90 days.  

What happens if the test is positive? 

Unfortunately if you test positive we will need to postpone the visit. You will be supported appropriately in line with the government advice for travel. You will be issued with PPE to ensure you can do this safely and will need to book an online test. You must inform the NHS .  If we are unable to facilitate a face to face visit due to a positive test we will enable you to have a purple visit. 

NOTICE: As of 28th May 2021 there have been changes to rules around physical contact during visits and on the number of households who can visit someone in prison.

Physical contact

Children aged 11 and under will now be allowed to hug the loved one they are visiting in prison. There are no restrictions to the contact children under 11 can have, if it is in line with the prison’s normal rules. Children can leave their seat but will need to stay in the area marked out during the visit.

From 22nd July 2021, prisons in England and Wales can begin to allow visitors who test negative for Covid-19 to have physical contact with the person they are visiting.

In order to have physical contact, you will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test result for a test taken on the day of your visit. The testing is voluntary, but it will help prisons identify potential cases of Covid-19 before they come into the prison and therefore reduce the chances of reducing prison regimes in the future.

Visitors who choose to be tested will do so when they arrive at the prison, or alternatively, can take a test in the community or at home on the day of their visit. Visitors who take a test at home must provide evidence of their negative test result. If you test negative, you will be allowed physical contact with the person you are visiting. Each prison will decide individually what physical contact is allowed, based on pre-Covid-19 visiting policies, so physical contact may differ from prison to prison.

If you test positive for Covid-19, your visit will be postponed. You will be able to rebook after your isolation period. Visitors will be given information on where to get help and support.

To protect prisons, visitors are encouraged to access the widely available twice weekly rapid testing in the community. 

You can read more about testing to physical contact here:

Expansion of visits

Visitors from two households can now visit a person in prison at the same time. You can find out the maximum number of visitors allowed on a visit by contacting the prison directly. Adults and children who are over 11 must continue follow social distancing rules from the person you are visiting in prison.

For more information

You can view the updated guidance here.

Family Support from Pact

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.

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 at the weekend)
  • Email the team on [email protected]

Other ways to keep in touch


To speak to a prisoner on the phone, the prisoner must call you using a prison phone.

Prison staff can listen to and record most types of call. Some calls aren’t monitored, for example when a prisoner calls a legal adviser.


Letters to prisoners should be addressed to: 

HMP Bristol,

Cambridge Road,




(Prisoners 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 prisoners’ prison number, please address the envelope as above with the prisoner’s date of birth next to his name.



Through this service, family and friends man send a message to their loved one, which is printed out and delivered by prison staff by hand. You will need to buy a minimum of £5 credit in order to use the service, which runs at a cost of 40p per email. The recipient pays nothing.



This service allows social contacts to exchange voicemails with prisoners.

Upon 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 the prisoner 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 they may leave another message.

In order 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.

Pact services HMP Bristol

Pact Visitors’ Centre

All visitors will need to go to the Pact Visitors’ Centre located in the corner of the car park, prior to the visit. The visitors’ centre offers a child friendly, welcoming space for people visiting. Pact staff will be able to offer advice and support both pre-and post-visit.

Lockers for visitors’ personal items will be housed in the Pact Visitors' Centre as well. You will have access to the lockers between the hours of 12.00pm until 16.45 to store all items securely that are not permitted to be taken into the visiting area.

All visitors are asked to follow the yellow hatched road markings and not to cut through the cars please. 

Food and drink

Please note there will be no food at visits during the coronavirus pandemic. HMP Bristol will be providing bottled water for prisoners and visitors.

Pact run the refreshment service for prisoners and their families in the prison visits hall, a wide range of food and drink including: hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, fresh fruit, crisps, sweets, chocolate bars, cakes, baby food and gluten free products are available to purchase in the visits hall. We believe that simple comforts like a cup of tea, a sandwich, a piece of fruit or a chocolate bar can help, in a small but practical way, to alleviate some of the stress involved in visiting a prisoner.

Prisoners are not permitted to take any food out of the visit with them. 

Play area

Please note the play area will be closed for visits during the coronavirus pandemic. HMP Bristol will be providing play packs for children visiting.

Pact run the children’s play area in the visits hall. We provide a well-stocked play area with toys, books, games, arts and crafts.  Our play areas are staffed by experienced play workers and volunteers who are highly trained and DBS checked. The parent/carer is responsible for the children and their behaviour whilst in the play area. Prisoners are permitted to use the play area to engage with their children.

 Pact Family Engagement Workers (FEWs)

Pact Family Engagement Workers perform a unique, distinctive, professional role which acts as a bridge between prisons and communities. The aims of the service are to improve the outcomes for children and families of offenders by helping to ensure that prisoners and their families:

  • gain more and faster access to support within their community
  • are known to local authority services when a parent is imprisoned, thus ensuring early intervention, which can help prevent greater problems later
  • can access all the local resources to which they are entitled
  • work together to decrease the chance of intergenerational crime affecting the community

Where to park?

The car park at HMP Bristol is for staff use only so you will not be able to get through the barrier. There are places to park on the street but please allow extra time to find a space. There is also a disabled bay on the main road opposite the prison.


Security checks

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 will also be searched by a prison officer (women and children are searched by a female officer; men may be searched by either gender) before being allowed up to the main hall.

All adults will be given wristbands to wear during their visit and male visitors will also be given a hand stamp.

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

You will need to bring one or more forms of identification with you to all your prison visits.

If you have photographic identification (ID with your name and picture on - for example, a passport or driving licence) then you will only need to show this one form of ID. You can find a list of acceptable types of photographic ID in List A below

If you do not have photographic identification, you will need to show two different forms of ID before you are allowed to visit. You can find a list of the acceptable forms of non-photographic ID in List B and List C below


List A: Acceptable types of photographic ID

You can use any one of the following documents with your photograph on:


If you aren't able to provide one of the ID documents listed above, you will need to provide two different forms of ID – one from List B and one from List C.


If you don’t have photographic ID you must provide one of the following ID documents:


List B

  • A Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person's document, one-way document or a certificate of travel).
  • An older person's bus pass.
  • Freedom Pass.
  • Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS)without a unique reference number.


In addition to one of the above documents, you will also need to provide one of the items from the following list:


List C

  • Your birth or adoption certificate.
  • An education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A Level or degree certificate)
  • A rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated).
  • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
  • A bank, building society or credit union current account card (which has your name on it).


Any combination of the above documents should be accepted, but you will need one from List B and one from List C.

Children’s Identification Policy

  • Children’s Passport
  • Personal Child Health Record (also known as the PCHR, baby book or 'red book') 
  • Birth certificate


Dress code

Please note, there will be extra restrictions in place during the Covid pandemic, including visitors being required to wear face masks during visits.

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, this prison had no specific dress code in place for visitors, however, visitors are asked to ‘dress appropriately’. The prison may not have defined what it considers appropriate, but you can be refused a visit if staff think you are not dressed appropriately when you arrive. In our experience, some of the items of clothing that are often deemed inappropriate by prisons include:

  • revealing or see-through clothing,
  • low cut tops,
  • bare midriffs,
  • dresses and skirts that are above knee-length,
  • scarves,
  • sunglasses,
  • vests worn as a single garment,
  • stiletto heels (or heels above 2.5 inches),
  • slogan t-shirts that could be considered offensive,
  • ripped jeans,
  • hoodies,
  • steel-toe capped shoes/boots,
  • cloaks/capes/ponchos or other clothing that could prevent staff from observing sufficiently (unless worn for religious purposes),
  • Smart watches,
  • hats or head-wear (unless worn for religious purposes),
  • open-toe shoes or flip flops.
  • You will generally not be allowed in the visits hall wearing a coat.

If you are unsure about whether your clothing meets the criteria, please do contact the visitors’ centre beforehand and double check. If in any doubt, please avoid any of the above.

If on arrival you find that there is a specific policy at this prison, please do let us know so that we can update this page. You can email us at [email protected].


What CAN be taken upstairs on a visit?

Please note, some of these rules may have changed during the Covid pandemic. Please contact the prison to confirm.

  • Locker key
  • Up to and no more than £50 per table (notes and coins accepted), though only £20 per person
  • Baby milk can be taken up, this must be made up in front of staff
  • Dummies and baby blankets
  • You can take up a coat however, please take it off and put it through the X-ray machine in the white tubs before passing through the metal detectors.
  • Inhalers and heart spray (these will need to be searched)
  • Walking Aid


What CAN’T be taken upstairs?

  • Scarves
  • Watches
  • Wallets
  • Any food/drink or chewing gum
  • Sunglasses
  • Pen or paper/letters/drawings
  • Hats/gloves
  • Make up
  • Phones
  • Tobacco/lighters
  • Sprays (e.g. perfumes, deodorants)



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 smart phone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

You cannot give money to the prisoner during a visit.

Banned items

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

  • illegal drugs
  • alcohol
  • tobacco
  • weapons
  • a camera
  • a mobile phone
  • indecent or obscene material
  • material that threatens the security of the prison
  • material that is written in code

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). For more information, visit


Sending Property to a Prisoner

Reading books can not be handed in during visits, books must be posted in. Please be advised that puzzle books or magazines will not be accepted.

Any prisoner wishing to have property posted in must first make an application to Property Services in Reception; this means completing an application form. The application needs to include the details of all the property that he wishes to have posted in. Only once the application has been approved should the items be sent to the prisoner. Please note that any parcels received prior to the application being approved will be returned unopened. Photographs and postal orders must also always be posted in. 

The amount of clothing that can be initially sent in is being reduced. Prisoners will be allowed an initial allowance of seven pairs each of pants and socks, with an application having been made. This is a one-off allowance, with any further purchases needing to be bought via the approved supplier catalogue.

All prisoners can buy the items that they want/need through the approved suppliers, whose catalogues are available in the Prison. Prisoners are only allowed to make one application to have clothing sent in - if they have lost or damaged any clothing, further purchases will be allowed by catalogue only. All footwear can only be purchased via catalogue from an approved supplier.

Only court clothes can be posted in without the need for an application being made first. The parcel must be clearly marked as ‘court clothes’ and cannot contain any other additional items. Court clothes are defined as the following:

  • Suit trousers/skirt
  • Shirt/blouse
  • Jacket
  • Tie
  • Shoes

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


What can you send in through the post?

  • Letters
  • Photos
  • Cards e.g. birthday cards. However, if the cards have things stuck to them to make a 3D effect they will be taken apart for security reasons.
  • Handmade pictures e.g. drawings done by children. Drawings done with paint will not be allowed and will be stored in their property.
  • Self-addressed envelopes and stamps are no longer accepted. Prisoners will be supplied with paper and envelopes and will need to purchase stamps via their canteen sheets. 

Contrary to what the prison website says we do not have a post box at the prison and will not accept any letters at the gate.

Welfare concerns

If you have any concerns over a prisoner’s safety and welfare, you can call the safer custody hotline on 01173 723 382 and leave a message. For very urgent concerns contact the duty governor via the switchboard on 01173 723 100. 

    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).
    • Your telephone number (so that the prison can call you back).


    Voicemail checked between 10am - 6pm daily. Please wait at least 24 hours for a call back before contacting the prison again.


    If you have non-urgent questions or concerns about your loved one please call the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday).

    Useful contact numbers:

    Prisoners’ Families’ Helpline: 0808 808 2003

    Barnardo’s Bristol Children’s Centre: 0117 978 2441

    Brentry & Henbury Children’s Centre: 0117 959 3800

    Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau: 0344 411 1444

    Bristol Central Job Centre Plus: 0800 055 6688

    A printable PDF version of this guide is available for download here: Bristol