The festivals of the summer might be winding down, but Bristol still has plenty to offer the intrepid city-lover. From sport to film to family days out, Bristol’s calendar is as packed as ever over the next few months, so don’t let chilly weather drive you indoors – check out our top 10 Bristol events and embrace the awesomeness of autumn!
The medals are polished, the T-shirts are folded and the runners have been in training for months – that’s right, it has to be the Bristol Half Marathon. Now in its 28th year, the 13.1-mile race sees over 10,000 runners pass under the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, run along Spike Island and finish up on the Harbourside. You can go along to cheer the runners, and if you know someone who’s taking part you can even download the Great Run app and track them live!
2nd July – 25th September
There’s truly something for everyone at M Shed’s latest exhibition, which charts the rise and rise of children’s television from 1946 to today. There are games, activities and nostalgic displays featuring some of television’s best-loved characters, including the Wombles, Sooty, Morph and Gordon the Gopher. Take your kids along and let them meet their heroes face to face, or pop in by yourself and rediscover some of your favourites.
20th – 25th September
This year is the 22nd annual Encounters Film Festival, the country’s leading festival for short film and animation from all over the world. As well as showing the films, the festival will put on talks, workshops and panels with people in the know, making this the perfect event for aspiring filmmakers and film-lovers alike. The screenings and awards ceremony will be held at the Watershed Cinema, and you can get your hands on tickets for individual events, or a full festival pass.
This new festival is all about promoting diversity through performance and on the stage, and it is offering a packed program of events throughout September. There is everything from a photographic exhibition promoting disabled people who dance, to a workshop about sound for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and a series of circus performances in Castle Park!
28th September – 8th October
The Bavarian Beerhouse has been running its Oktoberfest since 2004, and if you are looking for an evening of beer, lederhosen and live oompah music, then this could be the venue for you. Reserve a table in advance and settle in for an evening of music from the alphorn and the tuba, and plenty of speciality foods including sausages and dumplings, all made with meat imported from Germany! Raise a stein to the authentic German Oktoberfest experience, right in the heart of Bristol!
22nd – 30th October
October half term is the perfect time to celebrate Halloween, and this year you and your family can get spooky at Bristol Zoo Gardens. The zoo is offering crafts, spell casting, a black cat trail to a witches’ and wizards’ workshop, and the chance to get up close and personal with some of the zoo’s scary critters! Your little ones can show up in fancy dress, get their faces painted and tuck into themed snacks in the restaurant.
If you go into the centre of Bristol on the Saturday before Halloween, you might be forgiven for thinking the zombie apocalypse has finally happened, but don’t be worried – it’s just the Bristol Zombie Walk. Hundreds of excited volunteers will be donning their scariest zombie costumes and staggering around the city centre. You can go along and watch, or join in yourself, and there’s even an after-party at the Fleece featuring five live bands and DJs.
For some slightly more family-friendly Halloween fun, the ‘Bumps in the Night’ rave is perfect if you and your kids want to dress up and party down. Not only will there be a dancefloor (including glitter cannons and bubbles), there will also be a playdoh table, interactive quiz and play area. For the adults there’s a licensed bar, and a chillout space for babies. Collect your free glowstick at the door and get ready to party!
For a crafty day out without the horrors of Halloween, there’s the Family Arts Festival, a national event taking place over the whole month of October. There will be loads of arty events and activities for a range of different ages, and in Bristol you can enjoy everything from family-friendly classical music, to beatboxing for kids, to a day of delightful doodling.
11th November – 24th December
You might not be ready to start thinking about Christmas yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some warm, autumnal drinks and snacks. This year Bristol’s market will be hosted for the first time by Xmas Markets Ltd., and it promises to be the usual feast for the senses. Plus, if you really do love the season, it’s the best way to get started with planning for Christmas – maybe you can snap up a few bargains while you’re there.
We hope this has given you plenty of ideas for your calendar, and that you have loads of fun soaking up everything autumn in Bristol has to offer!
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Frank Tickner by michael warren from Bristol, UK (IMG_2917) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bristol Zombie Walk Zombie by the_steve_cox from Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License
Bristol Christmas Market by Ruth Johnston from Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License