The beautiful weather of the last couple of weeks has certainly put us in a sunny mood, so it’s time to start filling the diary with excellent events for the summer. Fortunately Bristol is an incredibly lively and vibrant city, and that means there’s always something fun going on, whoever you are.
Feeling inspired? Here are ten of our favourite big Bristol events for your summer calendar!
14th May – 12th June
Have you ever wondered what a knitted Banksy would look like, or how the Clifton Suspension Bridge might work in crochet? Now, thanks to the Briswool exhibit at M Shed, you can see all your favourite Bristol landmarks … in wool! This exhibition is the work of hundreds of knit-happy volunteers, and to see it you can drop in and pay what you feel.
8th June – 29th July
From murder and revenge in Redcliffe Caves to magic and mystery at the Watershed, you can experience some of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Macbeth’, as part of Bristol’s Shakespeare Festival. Run entirely by volunteers, the festival is dedicated to bringing the city the freshest, most exciting productions, all in honour of the Bard.
11th – 19th June
This green-fingered festival celebrates all things sustainable, and there are loads of ways to get involved. Nature-lovers can meet local beekeepers and soak in the scents of bee-friendly flowers at the Meet the Bees event on Gloucester Road on 11th June, and families can take part in all sorts of outdoor adventures as part of the two-week Festival of Nature.
Bristol is home to the UK’s oldest working theatre, the Old Vic, and this year it turns 250! Famous alumni from the Old Vic’s theatre school include Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons and Patrick Stewart. To celebrate the anniversary, the Old Vic is putting on some fantastic shows, including Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ with legendary British stage actor Timothy West in the leading role.
22nd – 25th June
If modern music is more your scene then the Bristol Summer Series might be for you. Now in its third year, this series of live gigs on Bristol’s Harbourside sees some truly big names put on a spectacular show. Tickets for James Bay and Sigur Rós have already sold out, but you can still get your hands on tickets for The Last Shadow Puppets.
1st – 10th July
Bristol Pride is a ten-day celebration of “self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights” for the LGBT+ community. You can expect everything from comedy to theatre, pub quizzes to dog shows, and on the official Pride Day, Saturday 9th, there will be one big party with live music and dancing!
One of many races across the country run by Cancer Research UK, Bristol’s Pretty Muddy is a 5k with a difference: it’s an obstacle course with running and slides and plenty of mud! It’s not too late to enter, so you can still prepare to don something pink and spend a Saturday afternoon getting good and dirty, all for a good cause.
2nd – 3rd July
Live music and barbecue – could you ask for anything more? Grillstock Festival on Bristol’s Harbourside is a weekend of thumping tunes and scorching snacks. Pop along for some top-quality street food, or dig a little deeper into the eating competitions, the BBQ academy, or the ultimate contest to see who will be crowned King of the Grill.
15th – 17th July
Bristol’s Harbour Festival is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and this year will be its 45th birthday. There’s loads to do, including activities for kids, live music and dance, celebrations of green-living and sustainability, and plenty of cool things happening on the water. Plus, even better, it’s free!
11th – 14th August
Bristol takes to the skies as hot air balloon teams from all over the world come together at Ashton Court Estate to participate in one mass balloon ascent. Look up and you’ll see the sky filled with gently drifting hot air balloons; stick around and you’ll see a music and lights extravaganza after the sun has gone down.
Whatever you’re planning on doing in Bristol over the next few months, we hope you have a thoroughly enjoyable summer!
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Bristol Balloon Fiesta by mattbuck (category) (Own work by mattbuck.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bristol Old Vic by NotFromUtrecht (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bristol Harbour Festival by Sberriman (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons