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 – Reopens on 30 July
Contemporary art gallery Arnolfini returns 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.
RWA Bristol – Reopens on 1 August
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.
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and M Shed – reopens in September
According to Visit Bristol, these two venues will return in September with the exact date still to be confirmed. That famous Edward Colston statue is locked away but with a promise from the mayor that it will go on display in one of the council’s museums, we look forward to finding out which one!
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.
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 – reopens on 1 August
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
Bristol Old Vic tours – August and September
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 from 8 August – 5 September. 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! There are also character tours, with actors bringing stories from the theatre’s history to life, on 15, 22 and 29 August at a cost of £50. Find out more.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Virtual Nightglow – 8 August
It’s hard to believe that there won’t be a Balloon Fiesta this year but we have the next best thing. Those iconic balloons took to the skies for a special flypast on 3 August and on 8 August, the event is teaming up BBC Radio Bristol for a virtual nightglow, when balloons are illuminated in time with music. You can watch on the BBC Bristol and Bristol International Balloon Fiesta social media channels from 9pm. Find out more.
Bristol Craft Beer Festival – 11-12 September
Yes, an actual event is actually taking place! With safety measures in place, the epic celebration of beer will return to the Lloyds Amphitheatre. One ticket price gives you access to hundreds of beers. We’ve been before and it was fantastic. Book a ticket here.
Bristol Open Doors – 11 – 13 September
We love Bristol Open Doors, the weekend that lets you have a nose around buildings normally closed to the public. Social distancing means it sadly can’t happen this year but Hidden Bristol, three specially curated walking tours, are taking place instead. The walks are self-guided audio tours which allow up to 40 walkers to explore the stories of the city. Book a tour here.