With a seemingly never-ending list of sights to see and experiences to tick off, how can you pack the best of Bristol into your year? Our top 24 things to do in 2024 is here to help, covering everything from uniquely Bristol attractions to outdoor adventures. It’s no surprise Bristol was recently named Time Out’s number one place to visit in 2024.

Plan the perfect city break around these highlights or if you’re a local, take on the challenge of experiencing everything on the list.

1. Find filming locations

Scour our UNESCO City of Film for locations that have starred in film and TV programmes such as Doctor Who, The Outlaws, Sanditon, Alex Rider, Poldark, Sherlock, The Killing Kind and more.

A view of Clare Street in Bristol's Old City, with a hand holding a photograph of actor David Tennant filming one of the 2023 Doctor Who specials in the same spot - credit Logan Walker
Image: David Tennant filming the 2023 Doctor Who 60th anniversary episode 'The Giggle' on Clare Street in the Old City, credit Logan Walker

2. Nab tickets for a film festival

Film festivals and events take place across the city throughout the year, so you're bound to find one to suit your tastes, from annual celebration of silent film and visual comedy Slapstick Festival, to leading celebration of classic film Cinema Rediscovered.

Learn more about the life of Cary Grant and enjoy screenings of Cary Grant films at the Cary Comes Home Festival (keep an eye out for festival dates). Discover films created across the globe at Afrika Eye and Bristol Palestine Film Festival (dates TBA), or find out more about the natural world at Wildscreen Festival.

Science fiction and horror fans will love Forbidden Worlds Film Festival which is dedicated to fantasy, action, science-fiction and cult horror films. Bristol Film Festival screens films at iconic venues across the city, including the spooktacular Redcliffe Caves and the magical Clifton College.

Audience watching film in cinema at Watershed - credit Encounters Festival
Image: An audience watching a film in the Watershed Cinema on Bristol's Harbourside as part of the Encounters Film Festival

3. Go to a festival

The year kicks off with Bristol Light Festival and GLOW in Grove Park in February. Don't miss the city's flagship summer festivals Bristol Harbour Festival (19 - 21 July) and Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (9 - 11 August).

Enjoy family fun and find out more about sustainability and nature at the Festival of Nature, or discover new favourite beers at the Bristol Craft Beer Festival.

It's also a great year for music festivals, with Bristol SoundsLove Saves the DayDot to Dot, Siren Bristol (Sugababes and Hospitality on the Harbour) and FOWARDS all returning to the city. Ashton Gate will be holding its first ever multi-artist concert at the stadium in June at BS3 and Kings of Leon.

Performers on Millennium Square during the Bristol Harbour Festival - credit Paul Box
Image: Bristol Harbour Festival

To the north of the city, Westonbirt Arboretum will also be hosting Forest Live, where you’ll be able to see Nile Rodgers and CHIC as well as Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Deco. Watch performances from McFly, Jools Holland & His Rhythm Orchestra and Scouting for Girls at Good Times on the Pitch in Yate.

Bristol Pride returns from the end of June for a two-week celebration, culminating on 13 July with Pride Day – expect music from pop icons and much more. Weston-super-Mare Pride will also return in 2024. Enjoy performances from Hand in Hand – the biennial UK and Ireland LGBTQ+ choir at newly renovated, and re-opened Bristol Beacon.

Celebrate artists from the different diasporas in the city at new festival DIASPORA! on early May bank holiday weekend, featuring dance, theatre, visual arts, poetry, exhibitions and music.

It is also a great year to discover poets and speakers, as Bristol’s annual poetry festival, LYRA returns to the city.

The stage at Bristol Sounds with audience in foreground - credit Bristol Sounds
Image: Bristol Sounds

4. Discover Bristol's world-class music scene

Classical, rock, house, drum and bass, blues, jazz, pop – you’ll find it all in Bristol. Check out the gig listings at Bristol Beacon (which reopened after an extensive five-year refurbishment in November 2023), St George’s BristolLakotaTrinity Centre and other top music venues.

Massive Attack will perform a huge gig on The Downs in August, and while Take That’s shows at Ashton Gate Stadium may now be fully booked, there are still plenty of amazing acts coming to Bristol’s clubs and venues, including SWX, Motion and the O2 Academy. 

Bristol also has some first rate grassroots venues, including The Fleece, Thekla, Strange Brew, The Louisiana, Cosies, Mickey Zoggs and many more. Check out Bristol Gig Guide and Headfirst for the latest updates on live music in Bristol as well as our gigs and concert listings.

An orchestra performing on the stage inside the Beacon Hall at Bristol Beacon - credit Shotaway
Image - Bristol Beacon, credit Shotaway

5. Have a laugh

Bristol has a brilliant comedy and magic scene. Shows run throughout the week at Smoke & Mirrors. Well-known and upcoming comedians perform at Bristol Beacon, Bristol Old Vic, The Bristol Hippodrome, Tobacco Factory Theatres and The Redgrave Theatre.

The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol Improv Theatre and Hen and Chicken all host a variety of alternative theatre, improv and comedy nights, while a little further out of town, Wookey Hole runs regular comedy nights, welcoming both well-known and up-and-coming stars.

Make sure to nab tickets for Bristol Comedy Garden which returns from 12-16 June with five nights of all-star stand-up live in the Big Top and view the Slapstick Festival event programme to see some classic comedy icons at talks and special screenings.

A large number of people stood in front of a white tent that has bar written on it - Credit Bristol Comedy Garden
Image: Bristol Comedy Garden

6. Feast on fantastic food and drink

Our award-winning food and drink scene spans Michelin-starred restaurants, international cuisines, regular street food markets, delicious vegan eatslocally-made craft beers and gins, and so much more. 

Be bowled over by the globe-spanning foodie offering in the historic St Nicholas Market, or dine at the independent restaurants and bars housed inside converted shipping containers at Wapping Wharf. Visit street food stallsdine al fresco or head to one of the city's best beer gardens. Fuel up with a delicious brunch, before exploring further afield, whether you opt for cake in Clifton, breweries in Bedminster, food from across the globe in Easton or Caribbean classics in St Pauls.

Make sure to visit Bristol’s bars and restaurants on boats, including 6 O'Clock Gin at The Glassboat and Three Brothers Burgers. Enjoy fish and chips with sea shanties aboard The Matthew, a cream tea on Bristol Packet or a sunset booze cruise with Bristol Ferry.

Join a food tour, workshop or tasting to learn more about Bristol’s fabulous food and drink scene, or feast on food by top chefs and enjoy an awesome music line up at Valley Fest.

An exciting new arrival to Bristol's food scene in 2024 is BOXHALL, a modern food hall due to open on Welsh Back in the city centre, showcasing independent Bristol street food traders and restaurants.

Two women eating brunch at Rick's Bar on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Rick's
Image - Brunch at Rick's

7. Catch a match at Bristol’s stadiums

Save yourself a spot in the stands at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club for their 2024 fixtures. Nab a ticket for an international fixture: England Women v New Zealand or England Men v Australia.

Cheer on Bristol Bears in the rugby and Bristol City FC at Ashton Gate Stadium, or watch Bristol Rovers over at the Memorial Stadium just off Gloucester Road. 

You can also watch basketball at Bristol Flyers home SGS WISE Arena, or ice hockey at Planet Ice, both located to the north of the city.

An audience at the Seat Unique cricket stadium in North Bristol - credit Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
Image: Gloucestershire County Cricket Club 

8. Stay for the night

One day is never enough in Bristol. See more of the city by checking in for an overnight visit – we’ve got excellent hotels such as the historic Mercure Bristol Grand Hotelcountry house hotelscosy B&Bs and hotels for foodies, along with quirkier accommodation to choose from. 

If you’re looking for somewhere new to visit, Hotel Gotham will be opening in the Old City in 2024. Expect pizzazz and to be pampered in an historic and stylish location. Nearby you can stay in the newly-opened Bank Apartments, situated in the Grade I listed former Bank of England building.

Mercure Bristol The Grand exterior sign - credit Peter Jackson
Image: Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, credit Peter Jackson

9. Spend a night at the theatre

From hard-hitting productions to enchanting musicals and stand-up comedy, catch theatre shows of all genres and for all ages on the stage at Bristol Old VicThe Redgrave TheatreBristol Hippodrome1532 Performing Arts Centre and Tobacco Factory Theatres.

See the shows performed by talented students at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at various venues throughout the year. Watch an improv show, or join in an improv workshop with Bristol Improv Theatre. See what alternative shows are being performed at The Wardrobe Theatre in Old Market, from family-friendly performances to storytelling and stand up comedy.

If you're more into musicals, nab your tickets for GREASE, Six, and Hamilton at The Bristol Hippodrome. 

Audience overlooking the stage at Bristol Hippodrome - credit Freir Turland
Image: The Bristol Hippodrome, credit Freia Turland

10. Soak up some history

From a journey through Bristol’s aviation achievements at Aerospace Bristol, to stepping aboard Brunel’s iconic SS Great Britain, travel through time at the city’s historic attractions and museums.

From Spring 2024, the SS Great Britain will launch a living exhibition on the top deck of the ocean liner, where you will be able to see plant species which were transported across the globe by Victorians.

Find exhibits around art, nature and history and more at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, while M Shed showcases amazing film and photographs, personal stories, encounter rare and quirky objects through interactive displays. Don’t skip the city’s smaller museums and historic houses either. 

Get to grips with Bristol’s ship building past, present and future, with a trip to Underfall Yard’s hands-on visitor centre, part of an historic 19th century working boatyard.

Be wowed by the views of Bristol’s world-famous landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and learn about its history at the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, delve further into the bridge’s history and engineering at the Leigh Woods vaults at a Hard Hats Tour. Wander into the Clifton Observatory to see superb views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Avon Gorge and Clifton Downs.

A family walking with Mr Brunel alongside the SS Great Britain in the Great Western Dockyard, Bristol - credit Brunel's SS Great Britain
Image: Brunel's SS Great Britain

11. Check out new exhibitions

There's still time to catch Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Concealed/ Reveal at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, or from May onwards you can see a special exhibition of John Constable' paintings, loaned from the National Gallery and V&A in London. Be sure to visit M Shed from March 2024 to view new additions to the ‘Protest’ exhibit, including the city's Edward Colston statue and information on racial injustice.

Catch arty exhibitions and classes the RWA, and contemporary exhibitions at Spike Island and Arnolfini. Keep an eye out for updates from Watershed regarding their new venue, Undershed, an immersive gallery due to launch in summer 2024.

As well as being home to two fantastic photography galleries, The Royal Photographic Society and Martin Parr Foundation, the city also has a series of big photography exhibitions and festivals, including the Photo Open Exhibition at the RWA in spring and BOP Photobook Festival in October.

An exhibition at RWA Bristol in central Bristol - credit RWA Bristol
Image: RWA Bristol

12. Uncover curiosity, creativity and ingenuity at We The Curious

We the Curious closed to the public in April 2022 following a devastating fire on its roof. Since then, repairs have been underway, and the venue will reopen on 2 July 2024, with an opening celebration event planned for Saturday 6 July. You can expect all the hands-on experiences, plus some new surprises, including more than 200 interactive exhibits and new shows in the 3D Planetarium.

More information including the official opening date, ticket options, what’s new and what to expect will be released in the coming months.

Exterior of the Planetarium at We The Curious Bristol - credit Ben Bisek
Image: We The Curious Planetarium, credit Ben Bisek

13. Meet the local wildlife

Be wowed by an exciting array of creatures at Bristol Zoo Project, including the red pandas which will be welcomed in spring. Work is also due to start on the ambitious Central African Forest area, which when built will be home to Critically Endangered western lowland gorillas. 

Dive into the wonders of the deep at Bristol Aquarium; spot big zoo animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm; or get up close to an amazing ensemble of farm animals at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park and Windmill Hill City Farm.

A little further afield you can go on a safari adventure at Longleat or spend a day birdwatching at WWT Slimbridge.

Families looking at giraffes at Bristol Zoo Project - credit Bristol Zoo Project
Image: Bristol Zoo Project

14. See Bristol’s world-famous street art

Go in search of street art including pieces by the world’s most elusive artist, Banksy, who hails from Bristol. For a deep dive into just how this city became graffiti covered and tied up with street art legends, book a tour with Bristol Street Art Walking Tours, or have a go at making your own stencil art with Graft.

Head to the Weston Wallz festival to see murals being painted by talented artists in Weston-super-Mare (24 May - 2 June), or explore Bristol Art District in Bedminster. From 18 May - 2 June in place of its weekend festival Upfest will return with artworks being painted across two weeks. Expect events taking place in multiple venues in Bedminster and wider BS3 with free to attend workshops, live painting, artist talks, artist activities, panel discussions, theatre, comedy and tours exploring the area.

An artwork at the Upfest street art festival on North Street, Bristol
Image: Upfest

15. Discover shopping across the city

Discover the variety of shopping areas in Bristol – from vintage shops to malls including Cabot Circus and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. Bristol Shopping Quarter is home to lots of shops and places to eat too, including sustainable hub Sparks Bristol, ClothingXChange, and pop-up shops throughout the year.

Support Bristol’s independents - Park StreetSt Nick’s MarketChristmas StepsWapping WharfBedminster and Gloucester Road are all home to many independent shops.

Wander around Clifton Village for pretty Georgian streets lined with boutiques and fine places to eat. Keep an eye out for Sustainable Fashion Week, which will return in the Autumn.

A woman browsing clothes on a rack at a charity shop in Bristol - credit Becky Barnes

16. Take a guided tour

Dig a little deeper into Bristol’s history and culture while you see the sights. You can find tours themed around the city’s pirate past, street art obsession, role in transatlantic slavery, WW2, literary links and more. Keep an eye out for Bristol Open Doors when tours uncover secret and hidden corners of the city. Hop aboard a guided boat trip with Bristol Packet or Bristol Ferry Boats, who also run tours alongside their regular ferry services. 

If you're more of a foodie, pay a visit to the largest vineyard in Somerset, Aldwick Estate to sample some of their award-winning English wines before taking a wander around the farm at Yeo Valley, where you can then enjoy lunch in their canteen. We'd also recommend taking a tour of Bristol's local breweries - highlights include Wiper & True in Old Market, Bristol Beer Factory in South Bristol and Lost and Grounded Brewers in Brislington. Learn about the West Country’s favourite drink, cider at Thatchers.

Find out more about the life of Bristol film star, Cary Grant with Show of Strength’s brand-new tour launching in Spring 2024, alongside their numerous other history walks across the city.

One of the guides from the 'Raising Cary Grant' tour by Show of Strength in central Bristol - credit Show of Strength
Image: Raising Cary Grant tour by Show of Strength Theatre Company

17. Take in the greenery

There are leafy green spaces galore to discover in Bristol and the surrounding area. Picnic in the parks, admire pretty parks and gardens around Bristol, follow countryside walking routes or head for the open air of outdoor attractions Westonbirt Arboretum.

Combine a scenic walk with a bit of history at National Trust houses such as Tyntesfield and Dyrham Park, or Bristol's 45-acre Victorian garden cemetery, Arnos Vale. Take in some sea air and stunning views in North Somerset at Weston-Super-Mare, Portishead and Clevedon.

Make a trip out of visiting the city for a race. Bristol and the surrounding area has lots of races running throughout the city including: AJ Bell Great Bristol Run, Green Man Ultras, Bristol Triathlon, Weston Super Mare Half Marathon and more. If you don’t fancy joining a race, but want to get out and exercise and explore during your visit, the Bristol Harbourside takes in lots of iconic sites (including the colourful houses, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, The Matthew, Banksy artwork and more) on a ~5km loop.

Bristol Walk Fest returns for the whole of May, showcasing the best of Bristol for everyone to enjoy with inclusive walks taking place across the city for people of all ages, interests and abilities. The majority of walking events are free to attend. New for 2024 is the North Somerset Walk Fest.

A male couple walking through the grounds of Westonbirt Arboretum in autumn - credit Johnny Hathaway
Image: Westonbirt Arboretum, credit Johnny Hathaway

18. Hop on a bike

One of the best ways to see the city is on two wheels. Hit one of the easy-to-follow cycling routes such as the Bristol and Bath Railway Path or pedal your way to some Bristol beauty spots.

Opening in 2024 is the Pier to Pier Way, a new 13-mile cycle route linking Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon in North Somerset, just south west of Bristol.

If you want to take on some of the mountain biking trails around Bristol, you can rent a bike or receive instruction through sections from Pedal Progression.

People on mountain bikes in field
Image: Pedal Progression

19. Book a memorable Bristol experience

Choose from a a range of citywide classes, workshops, tours and fun local activities with Yuup, from wine tasting and pottery workshops to dance classes and film nights.

Blow your own glass with the team at Bristol Blue Glass, who use 300-year-old methods to create glass, or do some grafitti stencil art with Graft.

Unleash your inner lumberjack at Whistle Punks, practice your golf swing at Par 59, step up to bat or bowl at Roxy Lanes, aim for a bullseye at Flight Club, or summon your inner Tigger at AirHop, the world’s biggest trampoline park.

See the city from the water on a stand up paddleboard, or in a canoe with the Adventurous Activity Company

Person stand up paddleboarding in harbour
Image: SUP Bristol

Scale a 10 metre high pole to make a 'Leap of Faith', or choose from a range of adventurous activities, from archery to quad biking at Bristol Activity Centre and Mendip Activity Centre.

Go underground and explore cave systems with Wild Wookey at Wookey Hole, or try out Rocksports with Cheddar Gorge & Caves.

Enjoy the unforgettable experience of soaring above Bristol in a hot air balloon with Fly Away Ballooning or Virgin Balloon Flights

A girl abseiling on the Wild Wookey caving experience in Wookey Hole in Wells, near Bristol - credit Wookey Hole
Image: Wild Wookey at Wookey Hole

Have fun splashing your way through water sports on the harbour, a day of surfing at The Wave or swimming lengths at The Lido

If you want something a bit more luxurious, you can book a stay at a hotel with a pool too.

A surfer taking part in adaptive surfing at The Wave inland surfing lake near Bristol - credit The Wave
Image: The Wave Adaptive Surfing

20. Plan a day trip beyond Bristol

There are heaps of remarkable and beautiful places within easy reach of Bristol, from the culture-steeped city of Bath to Wookey Hole Caves, where you can explore ancient cave systems and hunt out the infamous Witch of Wookey before strolling through the prehistoric Valley Of The Dinosaurs and playing some pirate-themed miniature golf!

A day out to the spectacular Cheddar Gorge and Caves can include two cave explorations and four beautiful walks around an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Don't forget to stop into the nearby village of Cheddar to sample some locally-made cheese and cider!

Explore the nearby coast of North Somerset - take a bus or train to Weston-super-Mare to spot some street art and murals, walk along the beach at Sand Bay, paddle in the marine lake and visit local attractions including The Grand Pier. Discover more in our guides to ClevedonPortishead and Weston-super-Mare.

South Gloucestershire lies on Bristol’s doorstep and is chock-full of amazing attractions, including Bristol Zoo Project, Aerospace Bristol, The Wave, Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Berkeley Castle, Wolfridge Alpaca Barn, and lots more.

Get inspiration from our guides to the best day trips north, south, east and west of Bristol, and check out some nearby World Heritage Sites.

A family exploring the interior of the caves at Cheddar Gorge & Caves near Bristol - credit Cheddar Gorge & Caves
Image: Cheddar Gorge & Caves

21. Be amazed at Wake the Tiger

Pay a visit to the world’s first Amazement Park®, Wake the Tiger. Explore the new rooms, installations and areas as the award-winning experience opens a new dimension from February 2024. Visit the alternate world of Meridia during the day with your family and friends or check out the adult-only after-hours experiences, or attend Wake The Tiger’s special events where you can expect DJs, dancers, performers and more.

Meridian Soluna event at Wake The Tiger Bristol - credit Wake The Tiger
Image: Wake The Tiger

22. Take a seasonal break to the city

Bristol buzzes all year round, but there’s something special about #SummerInBristol. Book a stay to visit the city during summer months, to visit the city’s festivals, incredible live music, maritime entertainment, delicious food and drink, comedy and more.

Is Halloween your favourite time of year? As well as spooky events around this ghoulish time of year, including award-winning scare mazes at FEAR at Avon Valley, we've got plenty of ways for you to be a dark tourist year round! Uncover tales from Bristol’s gruesome past on a Blood and Butchery tour of Bedminster or with Bristol Ghost Tours, or learn about the Witch of Wookey and past superstitions at Wookey Hole. You’ll find lots of inspiration in our Spooky Bristol section.

Christmas in Bristol is a special time too, with a variety of markets and gift fairs, enchanting light trails, special events at the city's top attractions, and plenty of festive food and drink to tuck into. Make sure to check the latest magnificent theatre shows coming to town, from hilarious panto productions to classic festive tales. 

A group of balloons lifting off in a mass ascent at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - credit Adam Gasson
Image: Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, credit Adam Gasson

23. Discover Bristol’s sacred and spiritual side

Search out the impressive sacred buildings around Bristol including the historic Bristol Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe Church and learn more about religious figures who have shaped the city, such as the Wesley brothers and George Müller.

St Mary Redcliffe run regular Friday tours of the church, and Bristol Cathedral run tours throughout the year. You can also visit The Lord Mayor’s Chapel, The only remaining building of the 13th century Hospital of Saint Mark throughout the year. Located right in the heart of Bristol City Centre, John Wesley’s New Room is home to the original 18th century Chapel, as well as a Museum of John & Charles Wesley's life and work in Bristol.

Exterior of Bristol Cathedral - credit Dave Pratt
Image: Bristol Cathedral

24. Give back to a local cause

Show some love to the fantastic local organisations in Bristol by sharing your time, money or support. You can also support local businesses by buying gifts and souvenirs - check out our gift guides to Bristol experiences, attractions and food and drink. Or read our Ultimate Bristol Gift Guide.

Plan your Bristol break: