10 places to visit in Bristol this summer
FROM balloons to ping-pong, and history to sport and science, there’s plenty for everyone in Bristol this summer.
An action-packed calendar of events includes many of which are free and this, says John Hallett, managing director of Destination Bristol, makes ‘Bristol an ideal place in which to enjoy a day out’.
Wimbledon is currently showing on the Big Screen in Millennium Square and in Cabot Circus meanwhile Bristol Harbour Festival will kick start the school summer holidays taking place a week before the opening ceremony of London 2012.
And West End favourite, The Lion King, roars into the city for the start of a UK tour at the end of the holidays.
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July 4 sees Bristol Independents Day – a campaign urging shoppers to support the city’s independent traders.
2012 is the second year of the campaign and is supported by the Bristol Food Network, independent traders and the city council.
Jane Stevenson from the Bristol Independents Campaign said: “The 4th of July is a great day to check out some of the wonderful independent businesses in Bristol.
“Bristol’s independent traders help make our city different from any other. They’re also what makes Stapleton Road different from Gloucester Road, or Park Street different from Christmas Steps. So this Independents Day, why not celebrate by shopping independently – by exploring a different high street in the city, or by trying out an independent shop, cafe, bar or market stall where you haven’t shopped before.”
Here’s 10 dates for the diary to keep summer filled with fun in Bristol.
1. Up, up and away – Bristol’s iconic balloon fiesta takes place August 9-12 and for the first time in its 34-year history, 2012 will include a programme of entertainment on the Friday night. The Friday Night IlluminAir builds on the success of Thursday and Saturday night glows and the centrepiece will be an aerobatics performance at dusk. A pair of Silence Twister single-seat planes will perform various manoeuvres while trailing fireworks and smoke from their wings. The fiesta also features mass hot air balloon ascents daily at 6am and 6pm – weather permitting. The free event attracts an audience of tens of thousands and advance parking tickets are on sale now at £10 for privilege passes or £6 for standard passes.
Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN
2. “Friends, Bristolians, West Country bumpkins, lend me your ears….” – this is the welcome to the 2012 Bristol Shakespeare Festival which will see a selection of the bard’s plays performed at locations across the city. It includes a collaboration with Colston Hall on July 7 for a free event – The Complete Re-works of Shakespeare – A Live Art William Shake-Up’. The Festival runs from July 5 to August 1. Ticket prices vary and are available from Bristol Ticket Shop.
Festival venues are:-
Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN T: 0117 963 3438
Berwick Lodge Hotel, Berwick Lodge, Berwick Drive, Bristol, BS10 7TD T: 0117 958 1590
Bierkeller Theatre, All Saints’ Street, Bristol, BS1 2NA T: 0117 926 8514
Boiling Wells Ampitheatre, Watercress Road, St Werburgh’s Bristol, BS2 9YJ, T: 0117 942 8241
Brandon Hill, Great George Street, Bristol, BS1 5QT
Bristol Zoo, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3HA T: 0117 974 7300
Colston Hall, Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR T: 0117 922 3686
Creative Common, Bristol, BS1 6DG
Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX T: 0117 927 6444
3. Foodies Festival – Foodies Festivals are held at Hampton Court, Brighton, Tatton Park, Edinburgh, London, Oxford as well as Bristol’s Harbourside. This year it takes place from July 13 to 15 and will see Martin Blunos preparing signature dishes. Joining him in the Chef’s Theatre will be Diego Da Rae from Prosecco and Romy Gill from Romy’s Kitchen. There will be food and drinks masterclasses. A three day ticket costs £18 (£15 concessions), one-day ticket £10 (concession £8) with free entry for children aged 16 and under accompanied by an adult. It is open 11am to 7pm Friday and Sunday and 10am to 7pm Saturday.
4. Water celebration – Bristol Harbour Festival organised by the city council is a free event taking place at locations across the city from July 20 to July 22. The three-day event will see entertainment at Brunel’s ss Great Britain, M Shed, Queen Square, Castle Park and Millennium Square. It will include a range of live performances including musicians, dancers, circus acts as well as street stalls not forgetting the sailing vessels in the harbour.
5. Lion King – the UK tour of this award-winning production opens in Bristol on August 31 and runs until November 17. It is at Bristol Hippodrome which is celebrating its centenary this year. It opened its doors for the first time on December 16 1912. The theatre boasts a unique feature – the dome in the roof above the stalls which can be opened to reveal the sky.
Bristol Hippodrome , 10 St Augustine’s Parade, The Centre, Bristol, BS1 4UZ T: 0844 871 30333.
6. Big Screen – Watch your favourite tennis player perform at Wimbledon until July 8on the Big Screen in Millennium Square. Coverage starts at 2pm with the finals weekend starting at 1pm. It is also a London 2012 Live Site City which means if you didn’t get a ticket for the Games, you can still see the action as it happens. Visitors and residents alike are encouraged to bring a picnic.
BBC Big Screen, Millennium Square, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB
7. Summer stars – At-Bristol is holding Summer Night Sky Planetarium Show at various times daily until September 17. Visitors are invited to take a tour into the night sky at this presenter-led show. You can sit back and discover sights which you can see from your back garden during the summer and discover the science behind them. Tickets are £1 per seat bookable when At-Bristol admission tickets are bought.
At-Bristol , Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB T: 0117 909 2000.
8. Historic boat trips – a host of events are planned at Bristol’s M Shed this summer including trips on board historic boats, railway trips and experience the working life of a docker in an electric crane cabin. There’s the chance too to experience the harbour on a 1935 tug boat aboard the John King Boat or the fire boat Pyronaut and see her in full water spraying action. Check the museum’s calendar for dates and times as all vary. The museum – which has just celebrated its first birthday – is dedicated to telling the history of the city through the objects and stories of the people who have made the city.
M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN T: 0117 352 6600
9. Summer in Cabot Circus – Watch Wimbledon from a deckchair, outdoor on a lawn in Quakers Friars as the action is shown on the big screen and then similarly see the Olympics too from July 27 to August 12. The sporting action will also include plenty for the family as giant games are available to play including Jenga, Connect4, Dominoes and Chess. Every Saturday until October 6 there’s also a summer food market. Throughout the summer you will also be able to follow HorseWorld’s Trail of Painted Ponies to mark the charity’s Diamond Jubilee. 60 painted model ponies will be in shops and public spaces throughout Cabot Circus and Quakers Friars.
Cabot Circus, Bristol, BS1 3BX T: 0117 9529 361
10. Ping! Bristol – ping-pong tables are popping up across the city until July 27. Marked Stop and Play, the tables are for all to enjoy. As well as free-play, each ping-pong table features a varied programme of master classes, competitions and other free-to-join activities. After the project the tables will be donated to Bristol Community Groups. The national three year project has the aim of getting as many people as possible playing ‘to bring about a sense of community spirit and get more people playing sport on the run up to the Olympics’.