Visit Bristol – Fantastic Things To Do This Summer

Why not Visit Bristol this summer. From soaring hot air balloons to bustling harbourside festivals, live music and cultural events, Bristol is the place to be. With food festivals and family fun at award-winning attractions; there’s something very special about summer in Bristol!

Visit Bristol – Festivals, Events and News

We the Curious
2 July onwards

Bristol’s science centre We the Curious has over 200 features to explore, including Project What If. Inspired by seven intriguing questions from the people of Bristol, from the science of happiness to the nature of time, you’ll find some of life’s biggest mysteries here. Plus, you’ll be able to make yourself invisible, peer into the TARDIS, and even stop time while exploring. We the Curious is also home to UK’s only 3D planetarium, located on Bristol’s bustling Harbourside; it’s a must-visit this summer. Visit Bristol for more info.

Feast On
26-28 July

Brand new food festival Feast On comes to The Downs in Bristol. It brings together the city’s top restaurants and chefs, showcasing their signature dishes, coveted classics and new flavours. Alongside the food offerings, there will be wine tastings, food sustainability talks, live cooking demos over fire, live music, family-friendly spots and a communal banqueting area. Visit Bristol for more info.

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Bristol Pride Day
13 July

Visit Bristol
Image credit Dan Regan

Bristol Pride Day 2024 will take place on Saturday 13 July, with headliners including The Human League, Ladytron, Claire Richards from STEPS and indie pop sensation Georgia, plus performances from local artists and community groups. This is a free event. There are numerous events taking place 29 June – 13 July all celebrating our diverse LGBTQ+ community as part of the wider Bristol Pride programme. Visit Bristol for more info.

Bristol Harbour Festival
19-21 July

One of the city’s flagship free events, Bristol Harbour Festival attracts over 250,000 visitors with a jam-packed programme of music, dance, circus performances, maritime displays, visiting vessels, on-water activities and some new VIP areas and experiences this year. There are five performance areas around the harbour, bringing beats, boats and backflips to the summer extravaganza. Free event. Visit Bristol for more info.

Visit Bristol – Festivals, Events and News Continued

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
9-11 August

Visit Bristol
Image credit Paul Gillis Photo

One of the highlights of the summer calendar, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a free three-day family-friendly event – the largest of its kind in Europe. With mass ascents of over 100 hot air balloons scheduled for early morning and early evening each day (weather permitting), plus Night Glow shows. As well as the ascents and shows, every day fiesta visitors can look forward to more. Fairground rides, entertainment, live music and awe-inspiring aerial displays, all set in the beautiful grounds of Ashton Court Estate.

New this year, sees Bristol favourite restaurant Pasture providing a dedicated onsite restaurant on the edge of the main balloon launch arena, open for breakfast, lunch and evening meals so visitors can try the city’s finest food, alongside its flagship fiesta. Moreover, a new addition in 2024 sees a limited number of exclusive paid-for tickets for Sky Lounge, enabling people to access the launch field during the Night Glow sessions. Visit Bristol for more info.

The Prospect Building
Open now

The first permanent venue and culture space for the AMAAD team (behind festivals such as Junction 2 and ION), The Prospect Building is just 15 minutes’ walk from Bristol Temple Meads train station, with shows for Honey Dijon (20 July) and Bonobo Presents: Outlier (19 October) already on the listings. Expect collaborative cultural events and shows at this impressively vast and versatile space. Visit The Prospect Building for more info.

Festivals, Events, and More

Old City Sounds
24 August

Visit Bristol
Image credit Julian Preece Bristol City Centre BID

After a successful inaugural event in 2023, Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District brings back its free, day-long music festival with genre-based musical zones across the Old City area of Bristol over the Bank Holiday in August. Zones include Old City Jazz with live jazz, folk, funk and swing music and Old Kids Area with bubble artists, jugglers, circus performers and giant garden games. Visit Bristol for more info.

Bristol Cocktail Weekend
26-29 September

Over 30 of Bristol’s world-class bars and speakeasies are serving up £6 signature cocktails and a whole host of food deals – from pizzas to fine dining – in September for this year’s Bristol Cocktail Weekend for all wristband holders. Visit Bristol for more info.

Visit Bristol – Summer Events at Bristol Attractions

Look Up! The story of hot air ballooning in Bristol at Aerospace Bristol
24 July – 1 September

Discover how hot air ballooning took off in Bristol, see how they’re made and get involved with a basketful of ballooning events and activities this summer at Aerospace Bristol – home to the last Concorde to fly (which was part-built in Bristol) and where the city’s aviation and aerospace history is celebrated. Visit Bristol for more info.

Summer Lates at Bristol Zoo Project
Summer 2024

Experience the Zoo like you never have before as it opens its doors over selected summer evenings. See what the animals get up to after hours and soak up the atmosphere with Bristol Symphony Orchestra playing on 12 July and performance entertainment from stilt artists, live acrobatics, aerial silk performers on 9 August. A brand-new three-storey conservation inspired play area called Explorers Basecamp opens this July too (with wheelchair accessible swings and roundabout), and work is also starting on the ambitious Central African Forest area which when built will be home to Critically Endangered western lowland gorillas. Visit Bristol for more info.

Bristol Attractions

Yeo’s Journey at Cheddar Gorge and Caves
Open now

A new immersive experience featuring lights, animation and music has just opened at Cheddar Gorge and Caves. Telling the story of how the caves were formed, Yeo’s Journey is believed to be the first multi-sensory visitor experience of this kind in the UK, celebrating Cheddar Gorge and Caves – one of Britain’s natural wonders which is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Visit Bristol for more info.

18 July – 1 September

Take a voyage into the unknown with this playful intergalactic experience through time, based on Bristol’s involvement with space science and travel. Meet Bemmie the Ratronaut who will guide you through interactive portals across a maze-like space. Visit Bristol for more info.

Visit Bristol – Summer Events at Bristol Attractions

LUMOSPHERE at The Friary in Cabot Circus
26 July – 18 August

Explore the mysterious portal between our world and the wonders of this universe. An immersive and interactive walk through experience where art and technology collide. Visit Bristol for more info.

Reach for the moon at Wookey Hole
Throughout summer

A giant moon, measuring 5.5 metres wide is suspended 70 metres underground on display as a brand-new visitor experience this year at Wookey Hole in Somerset. This latest addition is set to ignite the imaginations of explorers of all ages, illuminating the stories of the ancient caves. Visit Bristol for more info.

Summer Lates Series at Brunel’s SS Great Britain
25 July and 1 August

Sip on a signature cocktail – aptly names the Steamship – and soak up the musical talents of local bands (such as Sugarmoon, Gusto Gusto and Pretend Friends) in the dockyard of Brunel’s SS Great Britain on selected evenings this summer. Tickets are £14 and you can explore the ship, dry dock and dockyard after hours, without the crowds. Visit Bristol for more info.

Even More Attractions

Summer of Sharks at Bristol Aquarium
20 July – 1 September

See daily talks and feedings of Bristol Aquarium’s six types of sharks at their Summer of Sharks event. There will also be a dazzling art exhibition – Oceanic 31 – featuring 31 different pieces of art highlighting 31 different species of sharks and rays. Visit Bristol for more info.

UK’s first ever Surf Show at The Wave
13-14 July

The first ever Surf Show takes place on the weekend of 13-14 July at The Wave, celebrating all things surfing. Check out – and try out – latest products, surfboard demo sessions, panel discussions, film screening and surf with some of the best UK surfers at this free event. Also on this summer at The Wave is new surfing after dark sessions in evenings from mid-August, powered by new outdoor lighting supported by Good Energy, The Wave’s official renewable energy partner. Visit Bristol for more info.

Summer Events at Bristol Attractions Continued

Harbour History tours with Bristol Ferry
Throughout summer

Discover the secrets of Bristol’s maritime past and the legacy of the engineering hero Brunel with fun and facts from knowledgeable guides on the new Harbour History tours by Bristol Ferry. Visit Bristol for more info.

Sundust Secrets at Wake the Tiger
Now-1 September

Visit the UK’s largest immersive art experience this summer and embark on a summer adventure with Sundust Secrets at Wake the Tiger. There are seven notes hidden in the alternative world of Meridia and the OUTERverse. Find the notes and solve the word riddle to unlock the Top Secret box! Free activity included in price on entry ticket (family discounts available, under 5s go free). Visit Bristol for more info.

More Attractions

Summertopia at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park
13 July – 1 September

A haven of summer fun is coming to Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park this year – and it’s going to be a wet and wild one! With a sand a water play area, Dinosaur Valley, the real farm animals on site, a mini festival stage with ‘Avon Valley’s Got Talent’ shows to join in with and a giant 50metre slip and slide and a foam party. Visitors can even stay overnight at the park’s campsite which offers glamping tents (some with hot tubs), and motorhome and campervan pitches. Visit Bristol for more info.

DinoROAR at Longleat – celebrating its 75th anniversary
20 July – 1 September

With a themed trail, a new giant inflatable and a jungle play zone, you will feel the DinoROAR this year at Longleat’s immersive Jurassic event. Longleat is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a tourist attraction with a special exhibition at Longleat House featuring original photographs and memorabilia from when Longleat first opened its doors to the public on 1 April 1949, including the original ‘House Open’ sign, the first ever guidebook, signed by Lord and Lady Bath, and details of the first Longleat documentary filmed by the BBC that same year. Visit Bristol for more info.

Fantastic Things To Do In Bristol This Summer – Words by Visit Bristol and Rachel McAlley

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