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.
Bristol Open Doors: 10 – 12 September
The brilliant Bristol Open Doors returns giving you the chance to explore some of Bristol’s amazing buildings and history. This year, you can purchase an Explorer Wristband which allows you to book four experiences. First is also running a free bus to help you travel between venues. Here’s our selection of the 60+ adventures you can sign up to:
Grab your phone on go on a journey along the harbour. From the SS Great Britain, head west to Underfall Yard and the Cumberland Basin. Hear the dawn chorus of blades on the water, smell the creosote of ship’s underbellies, watch the light dance in the piazza. We’ve done this tour and it’s brilliant!
Really enjoyed the wonderful Changing Harbour audio tour for @BrisOpenDoors 🎧— Dan Martin (@Dan_Martin) September 10, 2021
Hosted by the brilliant Sheila Hannon from @Showofstrength & featuring many other voices from #Bristol telling tales from history and looking to the future.
Do the tour this weekend!
[AD | GIFTED] pic.twitter.com/HaFDLWNdpP
This stunning church, parts of which date from the 15th century, caught fire in October 2016 and was left in disrepair. It was bought in 2019 and has been restored as a performing arts venue. This is your chance to be one of the first to see it.
This Grade 1 listed architectural gem was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and is now being carefully renovated to its Georgian appearance on the inside. Discover the long and colourful history of this historic house with tours led by Kings Weston Action Group & local historians.
John Sebastian, Light Vessel 55 is home to the Cabot Cruising Club and part of Bristol’s maritime history. She was built by Charles Hill & Son in 1885 in the Albion Dry Dock & remained in service as a light ship (floating lighthouse) protecting mariners from hazards at sea until 1954.
Hidden behind a small door in the banks of the harbour are the Redcliffe Caves. Discover the stories and hidden secrets of the caves with a specially commissioned audio tour as you venture underground. Navigate your way through the network of tunnels, excavated for the Triassic red sandstone as far back as the Middle Ages.
Discover the LGBTQ+ people and places that shaped Bristol in this new audio tour. Take a journey through secret doors and scandal, through danger and disco, to the present day. Battling the law, an AIDs epidemic and Section 28, hear stories of an irrepressible community uniting in Pride.
All is revealed about the family who lived at Ashton Court Mansion for 400 years in a new outdoor family show by theatre company. Show of Strength. Follow the Smyths and their servants through 400 years of English and Bristolian history.
We The Curious reopens with a new look
The fabulous We The Curious science museum has opened with a 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 were lucky to get a preview before it opened its doors to the public. It is absolutely brilliant. You must go!
Bristol museums reopen
M Shed has reopened with Vanguard, a major Bristol street art exhibition.
The controversial statue of Edward Colston, which was thrown into Bristol harbour by protestors and made international headlines, is also on display.
Almost exactly a year on from the moment it was pulled down and thrown into Bristol harbour, here’s the Colston statue at @mshedbristol— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) June 6, 2021
Bristolians are being asked what should happen to it. What do you think?#Colstonstatue #Colston #BlackLivesMatter #Bristol #VisitBristol pic.twitter.com/G0kRJQItW3
SS Great Britain
The fabulous SS Great Britain has fully reopened.
Until 19 September the dry dock has been transformed into an immersive experience by award-winning multimedia design studio Limbic Cinema. It combines projection, lighting and surround sound to transport audiences on a journey through underwater worlds.
Much of the 1,000 square metres of laminated glass overhead will be darkened, providing a truly unique space for projection-mapped imagery to emerge on the walls and the iron hull.
New outdoor bar from Watershed
Upfest, Europe’s largest live urban street art festival, has been cancelled for the second year in a row but you can still see world class street art. Over 75 days, which started on 15 May, 75 walls in South Bristol are being transformed with new murals.
It includes an amazing 3D mural by Greek street artist Insane51.
This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING 🤩— Dan Martin (@Dan_Martin) July 23, 2021
3D (yes, 3D!!) @Upfest mural in #Bristol by Greek street artist Insane51 👓
Bristol, keep on being brilliant! 😍#streetart #3Dartist #3D #LoveBristol @WeArePlaster @VisitBristol @visitwestuk #75Walls pic.twitter.com/bf6ArdyhEk
Theatre, music and comedy at Bristol Old Vic
We loved watching Bristol Old Vic productions at home but it’s so good to be able to return to the amazing building for live theatre.
The theatre has guaranteed that for all long-running shows until March 2022, two performances each week will remain socially distanced to cater for vulnerable people or those who need to keep extra precautions in place. These socially distanced performances will also require mandatory mask-wearing, whatever happens to other rules in the theatre or in society at large.
Wuthering Heights, directed by Emma Rice, runs from 11 October – 6 November.
Throughout September, there are music performances on the Courtyard Stage.
Can I Live? is an energising and uplifting exploration of the place where the climate emergency and social justice meet, and a call-to-arms to anyone curious about what we can do to help. It’s available to watch online from 4 – 10 October.
Robin Hood: Legend of the Forgotten Forest runs from 25 – 30 November.
Theatre, music and comedy at Bristol Hippodrome
The Bristol Hippodrome was closed completely from March 2020 until August 2021 so it’s great to see it back open again.
A new production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast runs until 18 September.
Legendary 50s musical Grease is on 21 – 25 September. It features Peter Andre as Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine.
Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical runs from 28 September until 2 October.
We really missed the pantos last Christmas so great to see a show for this year’s festive season has confirmed for 4 December to 2 January. It’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring actress Leslie Joseph and TV’s Rob Rinder.
There is much more happening at the Bristol Hippodrome. The full list is here.
Top image credit: Lorne Kramer