Our guide to Bristol things to do in lockdown is the most popular post ever on Lifestyle District, but as Bristol reopens it’s great to be able to write another one now that we can finally get out and about.
Here are some great Bristol events, exhibitions and festivals to support. We’ll keep this post updated.
Love Bristol with the Bristol hearts
As illustrated by the image at the top of this post, hundreds of hearts have been painted in locations in the city centre to encourage people to enjoy Bristol in a socially distanced way. There are 365 hearts in total: 52 in College Green, 220 in Queen Square and 103 in Castle Park.
The #LoveBristol and #BristolTogether campaign is a partnership between Visit Bristol, Business West, Broadmead BID, Bristol City Centre BID, Upfest and Bristol City Council.
We The Curious reopens with a new look
The fabulous We The Curious science museum is finally welcoming visitors back on 22 May with an exciting new exhibition. The 68 exhibits and 25 art pieces in Project What If are clustered around seven questions on different themes including rainbows, illness, universe and soul. The questions were sourced from people across the city. We can’t wait!
Bristol Craft Beer Festival
The Bristol Craft Beer Festival returns to the harbourside on 11-13 June. There will be over 30 breweries pouring hundreds of delicious beers. There also lots of yummy food options and other drinks including cider, wine and soft drinks. The ticket includes unlimited beer tasting and a festival glass.
168 Annual Open Exhibition at Royal West of England Academy
We absolutely love the RWA and the annual exhibition is always a massive highlight. It has returned for an amazing 168th year! There a spectacular selection of more than 600 works and all are up for sale. We’ve been to the exhibition and it’s awesome! Book your ticket here.
Experimental Drawing in the City with the RWA
This new four week sketching course takes place from 9 June. Spend time drawing at locations across the city.
RWA has lots of online workshops and courses here.
Bristol museums reopen
Bristol’s free museums including Bristol Museum Art Gallery and MShed are due to reopen on 18 May. Exhibitions to look forward to including photography from the likes of Martin Parr and Sarah Waiswa (part of Bristol Photo Festival) plus a major Bristol street art exhibition.
SS Great Britain
The fabulous SS Great Britain fully reopens on 17 May. Before that you can visit the dockyard and shop Friday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm or enjoy outdoor hospitality from Harbourside Kitchen every day from 10am – 5pm.
Breaking Bread is a socially distanced pop-up drinking and dining environment on The Downs. It’s collaboration between The Pony & Trap, Pasta Loco & Pasta Ripiena, Team Love, The Love Inn and The Pipe & Slippers. We visited last year and it was brilliant.
Bookings are currently open for Breaking Bread’s Pipe & Lovers in May and June. The entertainment line-up looks great!
Heart of Lightness at Watershed
If you’re have a wander around the Harbourside, check out the new artwork by Bristol artist Lucy Turner in the windows of the Undershed, the new bar from the independent cinema Watershed which opens on 19 May.
Bristol Walk Fest
Upfest, Europe’s largest live urban street art festival, couldn’t take place last year due to the pandemic but it’s back in 2021. Over 75 days beginning on 15 May, 75 walls in South Bristol will be transformed with new murals. It will conclude with the festival in Greville Smyth Park on 28-29 August when hundreds of street artists will be painting live.
In-person theatre returns to Bristol Old Vic
We’ve been loving watching Bristol Old Vic productions at home but we can’t wait to return to the amazing building for live theatre.
In-person shows kick off with the return of the smash hit Touching the Void from 26-29 May. Some of the performances will be live streamed online.
The theatre is 255 years old on 30 May and to celebrate it will be opening the unique Thunder Run to the public. It’s an 18th-century construction that was used to create the roar of thunder in the auditorium.
The first new production of the year is Outlier on 12-26 June. It’s a Bristol Old Vic Ferment co-production with Bristol poet Malaika Kegode, Bristol band Jakabol and an accompanying team of independent artists. It also includes two live streamed performances.
Chekhov’s The Three Seagulls takes to the stage from 2-10 July. It’s directed Sally Cookson, who also directed the magnificent A Monster Calls.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Organisers of the iconic Bristol International Balloon Fiesta say planning has begun for this year’s event. In line with step four of the government’s roadmap, the fiesta is expected to take place on or around 12-15 August. Visitors can register their interest here.
The fiesta is a massively important event for Bristol. It attracts around 500,000 visitors and generates £15m for the region. It didn’t happen in 2020 and we really missed it!
Top image credit: Lorne Kramer