Oh how we’ve missed Bristol’s awesome arts and culture venues. Months without being able to pop to Bristol Museum, wander around the SS Great Britain or catch an exhibition at the RWA.
But slowly but surely, our favourite venues are starting to reopen and some much needed outdoors events are planned.
We’ve listed them below and will keep this post updated as more venues reveal their opening dates and events are confirmed.
If you can visit, please do. They really need our support.
The image above is of the wonderful social distancing hearts project by Bristol City Centre BID, Upfest and Plaster. It’s part of the Bristol Together initiative, also supported by Visit Bristol, Business West, Broadmead BID, One City Economy Board and Bristol City Council.
Arnolfini – now open
Contemporary art gallery Arnolfini has returned with a major exhibition by photographer Hassan Hajjaj. The press release tells us: “With his exuberant melee of colours, patterns, appropriated brand logos and found objects, acclaimed Moroccan-British photographer invites you on an exploration of global culture across continents in his series Hassan Hajjaj: The Path.” The exhibition is free but donate if you can.
Also on display is Chantal Joffe: For Esme – with Love and Squalor, which explores the intimate act of painting and portraiture, plus various family workshops. Find out more.
RWA Bristol – now open
We love the RWA and it’s brilliant to see Bristol’s oldest art gallery opening its doors once again. It returns with a major exhibition exploring the work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, a prominent member of the St Ives group and one of Britain’s most significant 20th-century artists. We’ll be going! Book here.
Another exhibition to look out for it the epic Annual Open Exhibition which opens for the 168th year on 14 November. Find out more.
Museums and other visitor attractions
SS Great Britain – now open
It’s a big year for Brunel’s great ship as 50 years ago on 19 July, the world-famous SS Great Britain returned to Bristol. She’s back open for pre-booked slots. You can book yours here. Don’t forget that your ticket gives you unlimited return visits for a year!
Wild Place Project – now open
We’ve already been to Wild Place since it reopened and we had a brilliant time! Giraffes, zebras and meerkats are just some of the animals on show, but the absolute highlight is the spectacular Bear Wood which is home to bears, wolves and wolverines plus a lynx with her new born kittens which we were delighted to spot! Book tickets in advance here.
🦒 A great visit to @wild_place recently. So good to see it open again!
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) July 28, 2020
Tyntesfield – now open
As National Trust members, we are regulars at the spectacular Victorian Gothic country house and estate in the Somerset countryside. Although the house hasn’t yet reopened, you can visit the gorgeous grounds. You need to pre-book a slot, even if you’re a member. We haven’t been able to get a ticket yet though so it seems to be very popular!
Aerospace Bristol – now open
We last visited this museum just before Christmas and loved it. It tells the story of Bristol’s aviation achievements and includes a Concorde that you can climb aboard! Find out more and book your trip here.
✈️ Brilliant time at @BristolAero yesterday for a @VisitBristol #MerryBristmas adventure, a few days after the 16th anniversary of Concorde’s last flight & its iconic lap of honour over #Bristol #ad #gifted
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) December 1, 2019
M Shed – now open
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – now open
We’ve spent many hours at these two museums so it’s great to hear that they are reopening! Visits must be pre-booked in advance. Find out more.
The following exhibitions are taking place:
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Extended until 4 October at M Shed. Tickets purchased before lockdown remain valid but you must pre-book a timeslot. Get a ticket here.
Do you believe in magic?
Extended until 28 February 2021 at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Entry is pay what you think.
Being Human: An exhibition of modern sculpture
Extended until 5 April 2021 at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
Vanguard | Bristol Street Art: The evolution of a global movement
Will now take place at M Shed in summer 2021.
We The Curious – Reopens in November
We have to wait a few more months for the Bristol’s epic science centre to reopen but We The Curious will return will a corker of a show! The team has been developing a new exhibition for three years and based on more than 10,000 questions collected from the public across Bristol, Project What If is inspired by the curiosity of the city’s residents. The seven selected questions will inform seven exhibition areas – called ‘constellations’ – covering themes including illness, rainbows, happiness, the universe, invisibility and time. It sounds brilliant! Find out more here.
Bristol Old Vic live performances – August, September and beyond
After being closed since March, the absolutely awesome Bristol Old Vic reopens for a series of experimental performances. Taking place in the theatre’s spectacular main foyer, bar and cafe, you can book tables of two, four or six to watch the shows.
The programme started on Thursday 20 August with a live performance by Vanessa Kisuule and we were there! It was an amazing evening with the woman whose recent poem, ‘Hollow’, about the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue went viral online.
🎭 A joy to see a live performance again last night and to back in the amazing @BristolOldVic
— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) August 21, 2020
From 9 – 13 September, Bristol Ferment will present the sharings resulting from its recent call-out The View From Here, which asked artists and companies to respond to what can be made now and how we might come together with audiences in this new world. Get tickets here.
Sherlock in Homes is an online murder mystery via Zoom and the audience is challenged to solve the case! Get tickets here.
Wise Children’s Romantics Anonymous will be performed at Bristol Old Vic and broadcast live online around the world from 22 – 26 September. Get tickets here.
Bristol Old Vic’s cohort of young theatre-makers, Leave the Light Ensemble, will present their debut show Buffering on 27-29 September. The group began training in September 2019 and have been collaborating online since the beginning of lockdown to bring the show to life. Get tickets here.
SESSION: The Documentary is a behind the scenes look at the Still House, Stepppaz, Empire Sounds collaboration that toured the UK for two summers in 2018 and 2019. You can stream it for free here but please do make a donation.
Bristol Old Vic tours: September and October
Bristol Old Vic is one of our absolute favourite venues and while we still have to wait to see a show in the stunning auditorium, it’s fantastic to see the theatre starting to reopen with tours. Given the building is more than 250 years old, it’s a fascinating place to visit! Tours run every Wednesday (and some Saturdays) at 10am and 11am until 31 October. It’s one group per booking for a flat rate of £45 but it can be up to 20 people, so get a group together! Find out more.
St George’s Bristol: September, October and beyond
The concert hall with absolutely amazing acoustics is back.
There are various concerts and spoken word performances in the venue’s garden and the stunning auditorium. Included on the bill is a show by West Country legends, The Wurzels! Find out more.
Virtually Upfest: 25 – 27 September
Bristol’s world-famous street art famous isn’t happening in the physical world this year but it certainly is in the virtual one! In collaboration with Bristol-based augmented and virtual reality studio, ZubrVR and finance from Art Council England’s emergency funding, Bedminster’s North Street has been reconstructed with a TRON style feel and as an alternative way to experience the festival.
More than 30 new pieces have been commissioned from artists including Bristol’s Zoe Power, Silent Hobo, Lucas Antics and Andy Council. We’ll see you in VR! Find out more.