We love Bristol no matter what time of the year but when the sun comes out, the city is a very special place to be.
Every summer Bristol bursts at the seams with so many awesome events and this year is no exception. Here’s our pick of the festivals, concerts, exhibitions and theatre that we think you should check out.
Bristol Shakespeare Festival, throughout July, various venues
Nothing says summer like a fold out chair, a glass of fizz in a plastic cup and a bit of outdoor Shakespeare. We enjoyed a wonderful performance of Romeo and Juliet a few years ago on the Brandon Hill Bowling Green and that venue is being used at the festival again this year alongside other brilliant locations including the Widgeon Theatreboat, an historic 82-year-old narrowboat transformed into a theatrical venue.
— Lifestyle District (@LStyleDistrict) July 6, 2013
St Pauls Carnival, Saturday 6 July
Bristol’s famous carnival returned after a three-year absence last year and we’re pleased to see it’s back in 2019. Celebrating its 51st birthday, the streets of St Pauls will once again be full of thousands of people enjoying one of Britain’s biggest celebrations of African Caribbean culture.
Aardman: Animating Early Man, M Shed, 6 July – 3 November
The exhibitions at M Shed are always a joy and the latest sounds great! Discover how the world-famous and Bristol-based animation studio made the hit film, Early Man, with original puppets, sets, tiny props and behind the scenes footage.
Johnny Ball: Wonders Beyond Numbers, St George’s, 8 July
80s TV legend Johnny Ball is coming to town! At the spectacular St George’s concert hall (which if you haven’t seen the recent refurbishment, you really must see), Johnny will be discussing his love for maths on 8 July in an event that might be aimed at those aged nine and over but will make us 70s children reminisce!
Amélie The Musical, Bristol Old Vic, 19 – 21 July
Paris born-Nina has always had a fondness for Amélie, the story of an imaginative and shy romantic with a gift for helping others. We’re intrigued by this musical adaptation of the much-loved movie.
New Order & The Specials, The Amphitheatre, 18 and 19 July
Outdoor concerts on Bristol harbour are always awesome. We just loved the recent Bloc Party gig and this summer the legendary 1980s band New Order will be entertaining the crowds in what is their first visit to the city in 37 years. The following night sees the rock-steady beats of The Specials.
— Lifestyle District (@LStyleDistrict) June 29, 2019
Bristol Harbour Festival, 19-21 July
Always a highlight of the Bristol summer, the Bristol Harbour Festival is back. The event, which around 250,000 people attend each year, covers a huge area of the city with several music stages as well as a food and drink market, children’s entertainment, performances and displays on the river and so much more. Highlights for 2019 including a giant roaming octopus (!), a circus takeover of Queen Square and the chance to get your own personalised poem.
Summer Spectacular, SS Great Britain, 20 July – 1 September
The SS Great Britain is always worth a visit (we’ve been loads of times!) but this summer you’ll get the added extra of daily performances from The Invisible Circus who will be flinging themselves from the rigging as they tell the story of life-changing voyages on board the world’s first great ocean liner. While you’re there, make sure you pop by the brilliant Being Brunel museum too.
Bristol Show Choir, 21 July, St George’s
We love a good choir and the phenomenal acoustics of St George’s is the perfect setting for Bristol Show Choir’s performance of hits from West End & Broadway shows, as well as lesser-known off-Broadway gems.
Kiefer Sutherland, SWX, 22 July
Hollywood actor turned country music star will be bringing his raw and deeply personal tunes to Bristol this summer for a gig that we’re really looking forward to. It’s part of River Town 2019, the launch for which we recently enjoyed on a boat trip around Bristol harbour despite the wet and windy weather!
— Lifestyle District (@LStyleDistrict) June 11, 2019
Tim Eriksen + Mama’s Broke, The Wardrobe Theatre, 22 July
On the same night as Kiefer, traditional American folk and songs of Southern Appalachia will be transformed by Tim Eriksen’s expertise on the banjo, fiddle, guitar and twelve-string Mexican acoustic bass. He’ll be joined by Canadian folk duo Mama’s Broke.
Fly Through History tours, 25 July – 31 August, Aerospace Bristol
Take off on a journey from the earliest pioneers of aviation, through two World Wars, the space race, and on to the iconic Concorde. Step aboard the supersonic jet and discover how Bristol changed the world in these special summer tours.
The Square, 25 July – 7 September, Millennium Square
A special entertainment area for the whole family opens near the We The Curious science museum this summer. The Square features the Bristol Beach Club bar, fitness activities including Sunrise Yoga, Bump Roller Disco and free film screenings from Big Screen Bristol. Local food heroes The Cowshed and Pepe Nero will have delicious treats on offer and visitors can enjoy a ‘taptail’ (cocktails on tap).
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court, 8 – 11 August
We can’t write a guide to summer in Bristol without mentioning the Balloon Fiesta! Europe’s largest annual gathering of hot air balloons has been drawing the crowds for decades whatever the weather. Last year was very wet but we did manage to capture a video of the glorious sight of 100+ balloons taking off for the early morning ascent. The video was featured by The Metro. Fingers crossed for a full weekend of sunny skies this year.
— Lifestyle District (@LStyleDistrict) August 11, 2018
RWA Summer After Hours, 15 August, RWA
We’re big fans of the Royal West of England Academy (and not just because we live over the road!). The current exhibition is a big one. Fire: Flashes to Ashes in British Art brings together several important historic, modern and contemporary artworks on the theme of fire. You can enjoy the exhibition and a glass or two of bubbly at a special evening event on 15 August.
Alice in Wonderland with Immersion Theatre, 16 August, Tyntesfield
If you haven’t yet been to Tyntesfield, the spectacular National Trust gothic revival house and gardens, make this the summer that you visit! There are several special events to enjoy too over the including a performance of the classic Lewis Carroll story on the croquet lawn on 16 August.
The Downs Festival, Clifton Downs, 31 August
We’ve loved this festival for the past few years and the line-up this year suggests we’ll be loving it again! Acts including Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Idles and Neneh Cherry will be headlining the city’s largest one-day music event.
— Lifestyle District (@LStyleDistrict) September 2, 2018